PM Note: One Speech, Two Obamas; Drones vs. GTMO

May 23, 2013 5:56pm

Breaking – Congressional sources tell ABC News that embattled IRS director Lois Lerner has been placed on administrative leave. More to come.

Watch video of Obama and the heckler here, but it was sort of beside the point – http://abcn.ws/12yUzYj

One Speech. Two Obamas. Drones vs. GTMO – You could argue that President Obama’s big address on terrorism was bipolar.

It began with an argument that the U.S. can target and kill people – even citizens – it suspects of being terrorists without a trial in foreign lands. And it ended with a patriotic plea for Americans to have more faith in the American legal system. America, he seemed to say in closing, you’re bigger than Guantanamo Bay.

The president lamented the killing of civilians, and he announced a three-prong criteria to make the targeted killings an even more focused, last resort with fewer civilian casualties.

A moment later he argued that civilian casualties can save other lives.

The bookend to Obama’s legal argument on drones, which effectively asked Americans to have faith in his extrajudicial judgment (unless Congress can come up with something better, was his patriotic plea to close Guantanamo Bay and have faith in the American judicial system.

“Look at the current situation, where we are force-feeding detainees who are holding a hunger strike. Is that who we are? Is that something that our Founders foresaw? Is that the America we want to leave to our children?,” he asked. “Our sense of justice is stronger than that.”

Here’s the full wrap from Abby Phillip – http://abcn.ws/12QK8AX

Here’s the text – http://abcn.ws/13OefKu

Sideshow to a Key Speech – Oh! and the President engaged a heckler today. “The voice of that woman is worth paying attention to,” he told an audience at the National Defense University as CodePink’s Medea Benjamin berated him on Guantanamo Bay and his drone policy.  But that, as Jon Karl points out, was a sideshow to “one of President Obama’s most significant speeches, an attempt to mark a shift in what is known (but he does not call) the war on terror.”

Indeed, Karl points out that Obama effectively wove the heckling – its dissent and its message – into his speech.

The key line of the speech was in the broader point, per Karl:  ”This war, like all wars, must end. That’s what history advises. That’s what our democracy demands.”

Karl’s full analysis is here: http://abcn.ws/16RfEmH

Obama Orders DOJ Review of Leak Investigation - There was also the matter of the DOJ review of the leak investigation he ordered.

Karl: “President Obama is also a little uneasy with the way journalists have been dragged into the Justice Department’s aggressive pursuit of national security leak investigations.  In fact, he has ordered Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct a 45-day review Justice Department guidelines on the issue.” http://abcn.ws/10Pl75c

Don’t forget: Much of what we know about the drone war is as a result of leaks. The drone war was, until today, still technically secret. The legal justification for the program was made public… with a leak. What Obama said has to do with the journalists accepting the leak and not the officials who bring the info to light.

Republicans Aim to Recruit, Elect More Women- Making sure that more  Republican women run for office and that they get  the support they need is the focus  of “Right Women, Right Now,” a new initiative by  the Republican State Leadership Committee to encourage and mentor GOP women considering a run for office. http://abcn.ws/11dPkuq (Shushannah Walshe)

Darrell Issa to Lois Lerner: Assertion of ‘Fifth’ Invalid- While Congress continues to investigate the Internal Revenue Service profiling case, House Oversight and Government Reform committee Chairman Darrell Issa has determined that a top IRS official’s refusal to testify during a hearing Wednesday is invalid. http://abcn.ws/10W3KQU (John Parkinson)

Ohio Voter Fraud ‘Does Exist’ But ‘Not An Epidemic’- In what was one of the 2012 election cycle’s most important battleground states, “voter fraud does exist,” Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted acknowledged in a report on Thursday. “But it is not an epidemic.” http://abcn.ws/14VRXpd (Garrett Bruno)

AccuWeather Chief: Tornado Warning Science ‘Is Not There’- As the people of Moore, Okla., grapple to recover following the devastating tornado that hit its community earlier this week, the head of a major weather forecasting service told a congressional subcommittee Thursday that the technology doesn’t yet exist to provide warning times of an hour or more before a tornado strikes. http://abcn.ws/12ZUSMl  (Arlette Saenz)

Emily’s List Endorses Allyson Schwartz for Governor of Pennsylvania- Emily’s List is backing Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) in her bid for governor of Pennsylvania, making their first endorsement of the 2014 gubernatorial cycle. The group, known for backing female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights, is supporting Schwartz in her bid against Republican Gov. Tom Corbett. http://abcn.ws/1aaFw9S (Shushannah Walshe)

US Says 4 Americans Killed by Drones in Counterterror Strikes- Attorney General Eric Holder has disclosed in a letter to Congress that four Americans were killed by U.S. drones in the course of the government’s attacks on terrorists. http://abcn.ws/12Qhhg1 (Pierre Thomas, Chris Good)

Support for Legal Status Holds; So Do Sizable Partisan Divisions- Nearly six in 10 Americans back a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants, with narrow preference for prompt action on the issue. Partisan divisions are sharp, a factor likely to be reflected in the full Senate debate ahead. http://abcn.ws/12PqyoF (Greg Holyk)

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