The Daily Caller takes a look at the communications mistakes by President Obama’s team in this piece. My comments are below. The entire piece can be read here.
“Several days of discussions have shown the administration is not in as much control of the story as they should be,” said Scott Stanzel, a deputy press secretary for President George W. Bush, who also painted bin Laden as an unpopular Muslim extremist. Obama’s deputies had plenty of time to make a decision prior to the raid, but their media-related disputes have now blurred their military success, he said.
Philip Brasher, DC reporter for The Des Moines Register, caught up with a number of Iowans who were in the Nation’s capital on September 11, 2001, to get reaction to the Navy Seals’ successful operation to bring justice to Osama bin Laden. Below are my comments in the story. The whole story can be read here.
Other Iowans who also were in Washington on Sept. 11 expressed similar sentiments at hearing the news.
“Hopefully that provides a little bit of relief to the families of those who were lost on that day,” said Scott Stanzel, who grew up in Sac City and was a 28-year-old staffer in the White House press office in 2001.
Stanzel was evacuated to an office building away from the White House on Sept. 11 when the Secret Service feared the White House itself was about to be hit. Stanzel wound up working late into the evening assisting then-press secretary Ari Fleischer after he arrived back in Washington with President George W. Bush.
“Having worked there at the White House, I knew it was something that security officials and the intelligence agencies focused on every day,” Stanzel said of bin Laden having been found and killed. Stanzel now lives in Seattle and runs his own public relations business.
POLITICO reporter Jeanne Cummings spoke with several former Bush 43 staff members to get reaction to the killing of Osama bin Laden. Her story includes thoughts from Karl Rove, Karen Hughes, Stephen Hadley and me. Below are my comments. You can see the whole story here.
And Scott Stanzel, a former press officer, was in Bluffton, S.C., watching a baseball game on ESPN when he spotted a tweet from Keith Urbahn, the former chief of staff to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, before the president’s announcement that read: “So I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Osama bin Laden. Hot damn.”
Stanzel was visiting with his girlfriend Priscilla Jones, who also worked in the Bush White House, as he began pouring over his tweets and emails looking for confirmation that the Bush teams’ shared ordeal was over.
“It was a constant focus of President Bush’s administration and it was something that we thought about just about every day whether it was in the first term or up until the last day of the White House in January 2009,” he said.
“Osama bin Laden is just one person in an organization committed to killing innocent people. However, bringing him to justice was very symbolic for America and an important act that, hopefully, will bring some peace to the families of the victims,” he added.
Earlier today, I was a guest on KWMT Radio (Fort Dodge, Iowa). KWMT host Duane Murley is a fellow Sac City native. We discussed the news of the Navy Seals successfully tracking down Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and what it was like to be at the White House on September 11, 2001. Below is the audio from the interview (in two parts).
Three thousand, five hundred and nineteen days ago, Americans came to know the name Osama bin Laden. We should never forget the victims who perished on Sept. 11, 2001. Justice has been served.
What this means to the war on terror will be learned in the days, weeks and months ahead. Right now, we should all be thankful for the brave men and women in uniform, as well as our intelligence officers, who relentlessly pursued the terrorist and delivered the final judgment.
Last Thursday, the POLITICO Arena question of the day was, “Birthers or Truthers – Which is worse?” It’s a question that bothers me, as if there is any comparison between the two. Below is my response, which you can also see here on POLITICO and cross-posted at Red County.
I live in Seattle, where encountering someone from the loony left is a common occurrence. Last year in the span of just a few days, I had two people ask me if, given my service as President George W. Bush’s deputy press secretary, I was “in on it” (Sept. 11) or if I knew my boss had “planned the whole thing.” After politely asking what color the sky was in their world, I disengaged from the conversations. I couldn’t help but wonder if these two otherwise seemingly normal people knew they were suggesting I was complicit in the slaughter of nearly 3,000 innocent Americans.
The very idea that the birther conspiracy could be compared to that of the truthers is deplorable. One group’s crazy idea is that the current president wasn’t eligible to hold the office because of his birthplace. The other’s belief is that the former president was a mass murderer. One theory is laughable. The other is despicable.
If Terry McAuliffe or Howard Dean (DNC chairs during President Bush’s two terms) issued statements disavowing the truther conspiracy of their fringe, I’m not aware of them. Republican leaders like RNC chairman Reince Priebus, Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Gov. Mitt Romney have been very responsible in putting the birther idea in its place. Maybe that’s because the mainstream media is more prone to tar the entire right side of the political spectrum with the faulty ideas of a few, while the same reporters give leaders of the left a pass on answering for the hateful theorists in their ranks.
I’m quoted in this Daily Caller story from Thurday looking at Obama’s decision to provide his long form birth certificate to verify he was born in Hawaii.
Here’s my comment (full story at the link below):
Former deputy White House press secretary Scott Stanzel told The Daily Caller that the document’s release and Obama’s appearance in the White House briefing room to talk about it only elevated the story. His appearance on Oprah shortly thereafter made the story even bigger, and then he joked about the conspiracy theory at 2012 campaign fundraisers Wednesday night.
“President Obama said he’d made this decision a couple weeks ago,” Stanzel said. “I don’t understand why it takes two weeks to produce the document. In my view, the White House generally doesn’t try to release news in a haphazard way. Having the president of the United States show up in the press briefing room like this, they had to know it would be front page news.”
Below is my response to today’s POLITICO Arena question: “Are two-week budgets the new normal?”
Pres., Stanzel Communications, former Dpty. WH Press Secretary :
Despite having control of the House, Senate and White House last year, Democrats in Washington failed to produce a budget. Making initial progress on cutting federal spending by passing two-week extensions of the current budget is a logical way for Republicans to put pressure on President Obama, Sen. Harry Reid and other congressional Democrats.
With each fortnight, Republicans have an opportunity to demonstrate to the country that they are serious about trying to put our fiscal house in order and have heeded the clear message of the 2010 election. Democrats will be on the defensive when President Obama and his allies defend the status quo while the public learns that it is quite possible to make significant cuts to federal spending.
In the long term, we would all be better served if Congress adopted a two-year budget cycle. That way, members of Congress could spend the year after an election addressing the spending priorities of the federal government. This would result in more certainty in planning for necessary programs. The following year could then be dedicated to conducting oversight of the bureaucracy and addressing other critical policy issues.