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White House braced for Bowe Bergdahl backlash
Politico ^ | June 4, 2014 | EDWARD-ISAAC DOVERE and CARRIE BUDOFF BROWN

Posted on 06/04/2014 4:16:21 PM PDT by Second Amendment First

President Barack Obama’s Rose Garden appearance Saturday afternoon with Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s parents was an attempt to humanize the prisoner swap to deflect potential criticism of letting five Taliban leaders out of Guantanamo Bay, White House aides say.

It didn’t work.

White House aides were aware Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had been tagged a deserter, and that they would be grilled over not keeping Congress in the loop. But they figured people would be most outraged over the national security implications.

(Also on POLITICO: Obama officials head to Hill to talk Bergdahl)

The White House has been surprised by how much attention has remained on the questions about Bergdahl, from the circumstances of his disappearance to the wild beard his father grew while he was being held that’s even led to Bergdahl’s hometown canceling a celebration. All this, Obama aides say, is in their minds a proxy for the hatred toward the president.

The new PR plan: Frame the criticism as another example of Republicans complaining about something just because Obama was the one to do it.

White House aides and other liberal outlets are highlighting what they see as Republican hypocrisy, citing past quotes from GOP lawmakers calling for Bergdahl’s freedom.

Republicans had been saying for years that the United States should do “everything possible” to get Bergdahl back—and now many are leading the outrage over the deal Obama made. Reps. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) and Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) and new Iowa GOP Senate nominee Joni Ernst are among those who started out tweeting out praise about Bergdahl’s release—then, after the political tide turned, deleted those tweets. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in February even endorsed the idea of a five-prisoner swap “depending on the details”—now he says what he knows of the terms of the deal present a “grave risk.”

(Sign up for POLITICO’s Morning Defense tip sheet)

“I’m for prisoner exchanges but only if the deal is right,” which means releasing only those who aren’t going to reenter the battlefield, McCain said Wednesday. “These are hard core [prisoners] that were judged to be a risk to national security.”

Obama aides say they’re not worried about the prospect of weeks of segments on Fox News or hearings by a Republican House that has spent four years investigating and rebuffing the White House on issues like Solyndra and Fast and Furious.

That’s not to say aides were surprised by the questions about Bergdahl as a possible deserter, most of which had been in the public and under White House review for a very long time. This was always going to be complicated, but they didn’t think not getting Bergdahl back, no matter the circumstances, was an option.

The United States has a “pretty sacred rule and that is we don’t leave our men or women in uniform behind and that dates back to the earliest days,” Obama said Tuesday at a news conference in Warsaw, Poland. “Regardless of the circumstances, whatever those circumstances may turn out to be, we still get an American soldier back if he’s held in captivity. Period. Full stop. We don’t condition that.”

(Also on POLITICO: Full defense policy coverage)

Aides believe that’s how most people outside of the Republicans in Congress and their base will see the situation.

“I think the principle of leaving no man behind will ultimately prevail,” said White House spokesperson Eric Schultz.

Bergdahl’s release came at the end of a week in which Obama was trying to, as he and his aides repeatedly put it, “turn the page” on Afghanistan — first with a surprise trip there last Sunday, then with the announcement of his phased troop withdrawal plan and then with a speech at West Point meant to present his vision of foreign policy going forward.

White House aides argue that was a coincidence, though Obama did thank the emir of Qatar for his help finalizing the deal on Tuesday, the same day he announced the plan to get out of Afghanistan and the day before the West Point speech.

To Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), that’s a little too convenient for a deal he already thinks was disproportionate.

Graham said the White House has a habit of manipulating foreign events for presidential gain, citing the leaks of classified information after the bin Laden raid, the faulty talking points on Benghazi and now this.

“Is it an accident that in the same week the president announces the end of hostilities, the withdrawal of all forces by 2016 and also retrieves the one captive?” Graham said. “They were looking at the end of hostilities as being a political shot in the arm for them and regaining a lost solder would be seen as positive.”

From what Graham has seen, he says he believes the White House simply wasn’t up to speed with all the questions about Bergdahl.

“All the information coming out from his unit is pretty bad. We’re not going to try this young man on the Internet,” Graham said, “but they completely blew this.”

National Security Adviser Susan Rice’s turn on the Sunday talk shows had long been planned for the weekend after the West Point foreign policy vision speech, White House aides say. But even though they were aware of the deserter questions, the lines she and other aides have been using to defend Bergdahl’s record were no mistake.

Bergdahl, “served with the United States with honor and distinction,” Rice said on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

“Sergeant Bergdahl put on the uniform of the United States voluntarily and went to war,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday, explaining the line. “That takes honor and it is a mark of distinction.”

Graham used that as a way to draw a direct line, through Rice, between Bergdahl and Benghazi. She had to step out of the running for Secretary of State after delivering faulty talking points on the deadly Benghazi attack in September 2012 as the U.N. ambassador.

“Who told Susan Rice that he served with honor and distinction? Where does she get all this stuff? Who told her that that the consulate in Benghazi was strongly and significantly secured when it was a death trap?” Graham said. “They are trying to pump up the deal.”

The White House has also scrambled to get Congress on its side, after it failed to give notice to lawmakers that prisoners would be released from Guantanamo Bay.

All 100 senators are being briefed Wednesday evening by James Dobbins, a State Department specialist on Afghanistan and Pakistan, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work, Admiral James Winnefeld, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Robert Cardillo, the deputy director of national intelligence.

As for chief of staff’s Denis McDonough’s meeting with Democratic Tuesday to discuss the release, White House aides chalk that up to his regular outreach on the Hill, not a response to the backlash.

The administration line has been that it has previously consulted lawmakers about the possibility of a deal, but two senior Democrats on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence — Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein of California and Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia said such conversations were a long time ago.

“When they say, ‘Oh yes, they were briefed,’ what they are referring to is 2011-2012 when I was still in grade school,” Rockefeller said.

But some Democrats are backing up the White House.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) that over any of the other concerns about Bergdahl or informing Congress, soldiers and their families need to know the United States will bring every last captive home, no matter what.

“That is fundamental thing that our country needs to stand for,” Brown said.

Asked whether the White House miscalculated, Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said he trusted the top military commanders, including Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Winnefeld.

Levin would not say whether he viewed the deal as a good one or a bad one.

“I can’t make that judgment but I put a lot of stock into what the military leaders say,” Levin said. “This isn’t something Obama decided without the advice and support of his military. They’re the ones who are in command of the people who would be at risk if these guys returned to the battlefield. They also have a sworn obligation to bring their people home.”


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: bergdahl

1 posted on 06/04/2014 4:16:21 PM PDT by Second Amendment First
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To: Second Amendment First
President Barack Obama’s Rose Garden appearance Saturday afternoon with Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s parents was an attempt to humanize the prisoner swap to deflect potential criticism of letting five Taliban leaders out of Guantanamo Bay, White House aides say.

It didn’t work.

It worked fine with the members of the press.

It was only those pesky soldiers who screwed it up. They Swift Boated the story!

2 posted on 06/04/2014 4:18:19 PM PDT by Steely Tom (How do you feel about robbing Peter's robot?)
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To: Second Amendment First

Considering that the Resident-in-Chief at the White House is an imbecile who’s totally out of touch with the American people, it’s no surprise there’s a “backlash.”

The only surprise is that those tools in the White House even care.


3 posted on 06/04/2014 4:20:14 PM PDT by Jack Hammer
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To: Second Amendment First

There is something else here. Don’t chase the dissenter rabbit. Bring him home and try him and shoot him. But he is not the story. Why did we pay ransom? There is something huge under this.


4 posted on 06/04/2014 4:20:51 PM PDT by SADMILLIE
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To: Second Amendment First
White House aides were aware Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had been tagged a deserter,

Wow, so they knew they were lying when they sent out Rice to say he served honorably and with distinction.

5 posted on 06/04/2014 4:20:52 PM PDT by kevao (Biblical Jesus: Give your money to the poor. Socialist Jesus: Give your neighbor's money to the poor)
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To: Second Amendment First
“I think the principle of leaving no man behind will ultimately prevail,” said White House spokesperson Eric Schultz.


I'm in complete agreement with Mr Schultz.

Bowe should not be left behind.

He should be brought home to face a Court Martial and if he deserted he should be thrown in Leavenworth for the rest of his life

If he actively taught the Taliban how to best ambush our troops and how to improve their IEDs he should be tried, convicted and executed by hanging - a firing squad is much of an honorable death for such a dishonorable criminal.

But I do agree he should not be left behind, just not for the same reason Mr Schultz does

6 posted on 06/04/2014 4:23:26 PM PDT by rdcbn
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To: Second Amendment First

“All this, Obama aides say, is in their minds a proxy for the hatred toward the president.”

Oh I see. So when Dianne Feinstein said he broke the law. It was because of her hatred for Obama. Got it now.


7 posted on 06/04/2014 4:23:31 PM PDT by Durbin
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To: Steely Tom

Actually, it didn’t even work well with the press. That’s why the WH is in frantic spin mode. They tried the misunderstood hero meme, they’ve tried the eeeevil Republican “Swift Boat” meme, and nothing is working.

That’s probably why Holder - the bad cop - announced the revival of the “home grown terrorist” section, devoted to the tracking of imaginary right wing terrorists. All this while verified Muslim terrorists - “refugees” that Obama brought into this country - go unnoticed until the bombs go off.


8 posted on 06/04/2014 4:23:32 PM PDT by livius
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To: Second Amendment First
Spin, they didn't brace for backlash, they didn't expect it. This is called "blowback" and the libs can't handle it.


9 posted on 06/04/2014 4:25:03 PM PDT by darkwing104 (Forgive but don't forget)
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To: Second Amendment First
Aides believe that’s how most people outside of the Republicans in Congress and their base will see the situation.

Those are the aides that advised this travesty in the first place. Pity 0bama didn't exchange them for Bowe. BTT

10 posted on 06/04/2014 4:25:16 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Second Amendment First

Obama did not have time to tell Congress of the “trade” before it happened.
Obama did not tell any member of Congress about the trade. They had to learn about the trade by “reading the newspaper” because there wasn’t time.
Yet, there was time to fly the Bergdahls from Idaho to Washington between the trade and the photo op.

My conclusion is that Obama thinks we are all as stupid as members of the DemonCrap party.


11 posted on 06/04/2014 4:25:36 PM PDT by MIchaelTArchangel (Have a wonderful day!)
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To: Second Amendment First
"The new PR plan: Frame the criticism as another example of Republicans complaining about something just because Obama was the one to do it."

We have a PR regime in charge of our nation. Susan Rice is the lead PR idiot. Obama waits to read the spin in the newspaper. Amazing.

12 posted on 06/04/2014 4:27:06 PM PDT by Oldeconomybuyer (The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.)
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To: Second Amendment First

I didn’t read it, I read nothing this homosexual run blog reports.


13 posted on 06/04/2014 4:27:14 PM PDT by boomop1 (term limits will only save this country.)
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>> prisoners would be released from Guantanamo Bay

The closest Politico will come to mentioning the 5 high-risk terrorists.

The Mainstream Ministry of (Mis)information is working hard to bend this story.


14 posted on 06/04/2014 4:27:18 PM PDT by Gene Eric (Don't be a statist!)
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To: Second Amendment First

The WH is really feeling the heat? That’s too bad.
Let me try to think of something tactful to say...


15 posted on 06/04/2014 4:29:23 PM PDT by tumblindice (America's founding fathers: all armed conservatives)
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To: tumblindice
OK. Dear WH: schadenfreude photo: schadenfreude schadenfreude.jpg
16 posted on 06/04/2014 4:31:27 PM PDT by tumblindice (America's founding fathers: all armed conservatives)
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To: Durbin

Apparently Feinstein outed herself as a rabid racist.


17 posted on 06/04/2014 4:36:25 PM PDT by all the best (sat`~!)
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To: Second Amendment First
"White House aides were aware Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had been tagged a deserter, and that they would be grilled over not keeping Congress in the loop. But they figured people would be most outraged over the national security implications. "

In other words, come hell or high water Obamadullah was going to SET THE 5 TALIBAN COMMANDERS FREE BECAUSE HIS #1 PRIORITY IS HIS TALIBAN BROTHERS!

18 posted on 06/04/2014 4:41:27 PM PDT by Obama_Is_Sabotaging_America
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To: MIchaelTArchangel

“Yet, there was time to fly the Bergdahls from Idaho to Washington between the trade and the photo op.”

It’s just a coincidence. That, and...oh look! A rabbit!


19 posted on 06/04/2014 4:44:59 PM PDT by 22202NOVA (This Space For Rent. Offers accepted.)
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To: Second Amendment First
"The White House has been surprised by how much attention has remained on the questions about Bergdahl, .."

cuz dude that was like so 4 days ago.

20 posted on 06/04/2014 4:45:25 PM PDT by uncitizen
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To: SADMILLIE

I thought that at first - something really bad must be at stake to bring us to our knees/ make us do this - but then I realized no- and came to terms with the fact that the something huge was Obama’s desire to set the terrorists free, since America is the real problem here. We need to get all these poor guys who were simply reacting to the evil subjugation by America out of Gitmo. In short - Obama is on their side :).


21 posted on 06/04/2014 4:45:27 PM PDT by TeddyRay
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To: SADMILLIE

Why were those particular detainees released? Who decided who was to be released? What happened to the $6 billion the State Dept. can’t account for?


22 posted on 06/04/2014 4:47:19 PM PDT by ilovesarah2012
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To: Second Amendment First
The United States has a “pretty sacred rule and that is we don’t leave our men or women in uniform behind and that dates back to the earliest days,” Obama said Tuesday at a news conference in Warsaw, Poland. “Regardless of the circumstances, whatever those circumstances may turn out to be, we still get an American soldier back if he’s held in captivity. Period. Full stop. We don’t condition that.”

BULLSHIT!*

That mindless assertion would suggest that if the North Vietnamese had "captured" and held Jane Fonda, we would have risked lives to "save her" from herself.
In an alternate universe, perhaps.

I remember, quite clearly that there was almost unanimous agreement to pay a huge sum to the To the N. Vietnamese, conditional on their keeping her for the rest of her miserable life!

* Moderator, before removing this post due to "language," please do yourself a favor and check the scholarly validation of the concept...

Princeton Press--- 'On Bullshit'

23 posted on 06/04/2014 4:49:13 PM PDT by publius911 ( Politicians come and go... but the (union) bureaucracy lives and grows forever.)
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To: SADMILLIE
There is something huge under this.

Weapons. Syria.

24 posted on 06/04/2014 4:49:22 PM PDT by Cementjungle
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To: Second Amendment First

White House seem to treat the words “honor and distinction” as meaningless phrase you say to every serving military officer. They have to have done something during their service to deserve that honor. Simply joining the military isn’t enough


25 posted on 06/04/2014 4:49:40 PM PDT by 4rcane
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To: Second Amendment First
I'm surprised I haven't seen more commentary on the parallels between Bergdahl and "Old Shoe" in the film, "Wag The Dog."

For those that haven't seen the film, suffice it to say that the powers that be invent a hero POW to distract the public, and he turns out to be, well, less than a hero...

26 posted on 06/04/2014 4:52:30 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Qui me amat, amat et canem meum.)
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To: Second Amendment First
One of the Senators was talking to Greta, and said he is more convinced than ever that the administration intentionally by passed Congress.
27 posted on 06/04/2014 4:56:38 PM PDT by mware
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To: mware
Damn, I am listening to Greta right now and she said the WH ran the bypassing of Congress by the AG.

WTH

28 posted on 06/04/2014 4:59:14 PM PDT by mware
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To: Second Amendment First
“I think the principle of leaving no man behind will ultimately prevail,” said White House spokesperson Eric Schultz.

Hey, Obamorons, YOO HOO!

That only applies to Americans in uniform not providing aid and comfort to the enemy.

As for deserters and traitors,

Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonored , and unsung.

29 posted on 06/04/2014 5:06:12 PM PDT by publius911 ( Politicians come and go... but the (union) bureaucracy lives and grows forever.)
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To: rdcbn
"I  think the principle of leaving no man behind will ultimately prevail,” said White House spokesperson Eric Schultz.

Except when it comes to patients af VA hospitals.

30 posted on 06/04/2014 5:06:29 PM PDT by Hoodat (Democrats - Opposing Equal Protection since 1828)
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To: darkwing104

Agreed, this article is BS.


31 posted on 06/04/2014 5:08:38 PM PDT by CityCenter (Resist Obamacare!)
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To: Second Amendment First

But was he a captive or a turncoat like so many in Korea?


32 posted on 06/04/2014 5:18:04 PM PDT by RetiredTexasVet (If you lined up the best and brightest of this administration, you'd just have a string of dim bulbs)
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To: Steely Tom

God Bless All Swiftboaters, young and old!


33 posted on 06/04/2014 5:25:38 PM PDT by miserare (2014--The Year We Fight Back!)
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To: SADMILLIE
But he is not the story. Why did we pay ransom? There is something huge under this.

...And why did Obama trade 5 for 1? Why is Bergdahl alive, when everyone other captive gets murdered? It makes no sense, unless you are a terrorist sympathizer.

Obama and his admin. has alot to answer for, and this f'wad gov't better MAKE him answer and hold these illegitimate ass prix accountable!

34 posted on 06/04/2014 5:27:56 PM PDT by sirchtruth (Freedom is not free.)
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To: SADMILLIE

Why did the White House OUT the covert CIA station chief in Afghanistan?????


35 posted on 06/04/2014 5:28:34 PM PDT by ridesthemiles
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To: Joe 6-pack

I thought about that film while reading about this latest mess. Going to have to watch it again.


36 posted on 06/04/2014 5:33:34 PM PDT by Inyo-Mono (NRA)
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To: Inyo-Mono

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1v4ZLwevXAI


37 posted on 06/04/2014 5:35:03 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Qui me amat, amat et canem meum.)
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To: SADMILLIE

“There is something huge under this.”

As “Sherlock Holmes” noted ‘eliminate the impossible and what you have left, however improbable, is the answer.

For me that means that obozo wanted to let these 5 killers out and he found a way to do it. Period. Full stop.


38 posted on 06/04/2014 5:37:20 PM PDT by TalBlack (Evil doesn't have a day job.)
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To: SADMILLIE

I think you are correct! Is it possible that there is something so big that, if known, 95% of America would storm the WH. Is it possible that the Muzzies have knowledge so significant that they are threatening to release it to America and Obummer is being blackmailed???


39 posted on 06/04/2014 5:37:34 PM PDT by alabama_heart
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To: Second Amendment First

Politico is America’s version of Nazis waving flags for Der Fuhrer and goosestepping in torch-light parades.

Politico should be banned from FR for the same reason that Stormfront is banned.

F’ Politico, you dirty, slimey Nazi SOBs.


40 posted on 06/04/2014 5:37:44 PM PDT by sergeantdave
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To: sirchtruth

“I will stand with the Muslims”

No one has asked WHY


41 posted on 06/04/2014 5:41:24 PM PDT by combat_boots (The Lion of Judah cometh. Hallelujah. Gloria Patri, Filio et Spiritui Sancto!)
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To: Steely Tom

Obama might have asked the blonde Taliban guy to shave the beard off for the cameras, in return for expending a great deal of (like, any remaining) political capital for getting his son out of there...


42 posted on 06/04/2014 5:42:10 PM PDT by The Antiyuppie ("When small men cast long shadows, then it is very late in the day.")
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To: Second Amendment First

Politico propaganda directly from the Ministry of praise and promotion.


43 posted on 06/04/2014 6:02:34 PM PDT by Moorings
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To: MIchaelTArchangel

Or at least as bone stupid as State’s Jen Psaki.


44 posted on 06/04/2014 6:48:44 PM PDT by onedoug
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