Politics

Obama Returns To The White House For Crisis Meetings

Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

White House schedulers offered a clue late Sunday for President Barack Obama’s unexplained midnight return to the White House from his vacation in Martha’s Vinyard.

Officials released a Monday schedule, and it shows that Obama will allow media photographers to portray him meeting in the White House with aides to talk about the unfolding disasters in Iraq and in Ferguson, Mo.

In the morning, “the President and Vice President will meet with members of the National Security Council to receive an update on Iraq,” says the schedule.

“In the afternoon, the President will meet with Attorney General Holder to receive an update on the situation in Ferguson, Missouri,” the schedule continues.

Media photographers will be allowed to photograph both meetings, said the statement.

That’s unusual. Most of Obama’s meetings are not mentioned on the schedule. The press is excluded from many, which are photographed just by Pete Souza, the White House’s in-house photographer.

He also could have held both meetings at his vacation spot. But the media coverage of his White House meetings will produce more reassuring images for domestic and international audiences.

Also, the schedule leaves plenty of time in the afternoon for Obama to make one of his characteristic short-notice and brief statements. Obama rarely invites or answers questions at those short-notice events.

The ongoing Ferguson disaster — complete with images of fully-armed police, African-American rioters and looted shops — threatens Obama’s already-tepid support among the critical swing voters in the suburbs.

The original Aug. 9 shooting by police of Michael Brown might have boosted African-American turnout in the cities. But any positive gain for Democratic vote-counters will be eroded — or even reversed — by negative reactions to the riots among swing-voters.

The continuing disaster in Iraq — complete with stories of women and captured by Islamic slave-traders — doesn’t help Obama among any demographic group. And Obama’s effort to fix it with air strikes is angering the progressives who supported him in 2008 because of his promise to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq.

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