The prime directive for liberal pundits is to protect Obama at all costs. Deflect criticism; redirect blame.
Today on Andrea Mitchell Reports, Mitchell and company do their best to defend the indefensible president. This time they collectively come to the rescue of Obama over the damaging Snowden NSA leaks and the recent news that the administration had been monitoring the personal cell phone of Germany's Angela Merkel.
The response from the White House was predictable: Obama didn’t know anything about it.
Mitchell starts the dialog by asking “how credible is that denial?” Mitchell directed her first question to NYT White House correspondent Mark Landler, who tried to run interference for the president by essentially arguing that the daily presidential intel briefings are, well, not as straightforward as they might seem:
Well, Andrea, the brief the president gets every day has sort of a binder that's attached to it that has a lot of other supporting documents. I think one of the questions here is, is it possible that the actual intercepted data and background material was in that supporting document, which the president wouldn't receive in his daily brief but would be available to his top advisers—national security adviser, chief of staff, and others that take part in the briefing. So one of the questions is if President Obama didn't know, did senior officials who regularly brief him know? If they did know, then why wasn't he told?
He goes on to stress how important the president’s relationship with Merkel has been for international policy. The tactic Landler is using is the tried and true Democrat subordinate blame game: Somebody below the president must have failed him.
MSNBC’s Chuck Todd was next up for the Obama save. Mitchell sets up Todd’s response by throwing in a shameless Bush dig:
Also, Chuck Todd, the degree to which he pays attention to this daily brief. How important is it to him? We've known presidents who have both really -- Bush 41 intensively studied that brief, a former CIA Director himself. Others have been criticized for not paying enough attention. George Bush 43 was criticized for not paying attention before 9/11.
Todd continues the stumbling redirect by bringing up Reagan and the “infamous days” of the Iran-Contra Affair—and emphasizing the president’s trusting nature.
There's a trust this president has of his intelligence team now ... he's not going to get into sources and methods on the PDP on this front. The question is ... did his aides know and did they deliberately keep him out of the loop? “Plausible deniability” came up with Reagan Contra. Those infamous days...
So the president’s problem is that he trusts his people too much—and besides, even Reagan had problems with this kind of stuff, right?
Operation Protect Obama is in trouble.