TheDC Morning: White House retracts claim that Osama bin Laden used wife as human shield

Mike Riggs Contributor
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1.) White House modifies bin Laden capture story after one day — Not 24 hours after journalists across the country accepted some rather salacious details regarding Osama bin Laden’s death at face value, the Obama White House has changed the official narrative. “The White House backed away Monday evening from key details in its narrative about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, including claims by senior U.S. officials that the Al Qaeda leader had a weapon and may have fired it during a gun battle with U.S. forces,” Josh Gerstein reported. “Officials also retreated from claims that one of bin Laden’s wives was killed in the raid and that bin Laden was using her as a human shield before she was shot by U.S. forces.” How did journalists from the New York Times to ABC to National Journal end up running stories containing–to put it charitably–culturally and politically significant fictions? The finger-wagging Poynter Institute put it best in a headline this morning: “Journalists mostly suspend skepticism about sourcing with news of Osama bin Laden’s death, await photos, video.”

2.) Pakistan needs some time to clear its head, think about where this is going
— What else could explain the Pakistani government’s refusal/failure/inability (depending on how charitable you’re feeling) to help the U.S. Government capture Osama bin Laden in the fair country of Pakistan? Pundits are done asking if Pakistan screwed America and are now asking why. Writing in Foreign Affairs, Shuja Nawaz suggests that “the Pakistani military is galled by the general sense that it has been reduced to an army for hire, and many of the generals now argue that the United States is treating the country as a client state, not as an ally.” This could explain why Pakistan reportedly scrambled its fighter jets after receiving reports of U.S. choppers in Abbottabad. At Outside the Beltway, James Joyner writes that “even if Zardari is a true ally, he doesn’t truly run his own government. Even the Pakistani military and intelligence elites are divided, with double games being run inside double games.” In short: We’ve been fooled a dozen times. That’s shame on us.

3.) Osama boosts Obama — The NYT’s statistical savant Nate Silver is trying to convince lefty bloggers that killing Osama bin Laden will be good for Obama’s approval ratings. To put it in Silver’s double-negativese: “I’m not certain that some analysts aren’t underestimating the impact.” Here’s his down-the-middle writeup: “Americans…consider both foreign and domestic policy when they cast their ballots. The killing of Osama bin Laden is going to be perceived as unambiguously good news by almost all Americans. It makes it easier for Mr. Obama to make the case that the country has made progress since he took office.” Baba Wawa agrees, and told her View audience, “I would hate now to be a Republican candidate thinking of running.” Hmm. Would that also mean admitting that killing OBL is the only progress he’s made since taking office?

4.) Tom Tancredo attacks Ron Paul and the Chamber of Commerce
— “In an email to supporters of his PAC Friday, Tom Tancredo accused his former congressional colleague and fellow 2008 Republican presidential candidate [Ron Paul] of doing a ‘180 turn’ on immigration and ‘standing with La Raza and the Chamber of Commerce,'” writes the American Spectator’s Jim Antle. Joining Tancredo in criticizing Paul is VDare, an anti-non-white people website that has been called racist, xenophobic, and also plain weird. The source of their ire is Paul’s new book, “Liberty Defined,” in which the good doctor suggests a “generous visitor worker program” and slams the idea of a national ID card. Antle can’t help but wonder, as Dan McCarthy did last year, if Paul will be pulled further to the fringe by mountain climber and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson.

5.) Rick Scott to get another chance to veto Failrail — “The U.S. Department of Transportation on Monday signaled it is ready to enter into a multi-year funding agreement with the state of Florida to build the $1.2 billion project. It would link downtown Orlando with Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties,” reports the Orlando Sentinel. “If it is approved by Congress, Gov. Rick Scott will make the final decision on whether to move forward with SunRail.” He already said no once. Will he say it again?

6.) Something happened in Canada last night — Canada is no longer run by a benevolent dictator, according to the Washington Post: “Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper won his coveted majority government in elections Monday that also marked a shattering defeat for the opposition Liberals, preliminary results showed. Harper, who took office in 2006, has won two elections but until now had never held a majority of Parliament’s 308 seats.” Uh, only 308 seats WTF? LOL.

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