The New York Times, having feasted for days on remarks about President Obama made by former New York City Governor Rudy Giuliani at a private dinner for Scott Walker, is now switching targets to Walker himself.
The Wisconsin governor and presidential hopeful, immensely popular among conservatives for taking on his state's public-sector unions and triumphing in a recall election, is being chided by the Times for refusing to condemn what Giuliani said about Obama: "I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country."
Left-wing Times columnist Charles Blow was predictably outraged by Giuliani's "vile statement," defending Obama's criticism of the United States by insisting that "sometimes, America requires critique. Jingoism is an avoidance of realism."
Meanwhile, reporters Michael Barbaro and Michael D. Shear took time out of their busy schedules to assure Times readers that "President Obama Has, in Fact, Expressed Love for His Country," and even found some examples, albeit peppered with criticism of America.
Jonah Goldberg at National Review had an alternative take on Giuliani's remarks that would surely make Times reporters faint.
More than any other president, Obama was raised with a detachedly critical view of America. He grew up abroad and in Hawaii, which is as close as you can get to growing-up abroad and still be in the United States. (Sorry, I love Hawaii, but it’s true.) At school he hung out mostly with the foreign-exchange students from Pakistan. “For years when Barack was around them, he seemed to share their attitudes as sophisticated outsiders who looked at politics from an international perspective,” David Maraniss writes in his biography of Obama. “He was one of them, in that sense.”
Reporter Trip Gabriel's Monday front-page story on Walker naturally played up the Guiliani remarks: "In Pre-Primary Pivot to Right, Walker Shifts Tone on Abortion." An earlier online headline was "harder"-edged: "Scott Walker Hardens Tone on Social Issues to Woo Christian Conservatives."
Mr. Bush and other presidential hopefuls said the president’s patriotism was not in doubt. But Mr. Walker repeatedly said he did not know. On Saturday, he said he did not know whether Mr. Obama was a Christian.
The next line was in an earlier version of Gabriel's story but excised from the final version. It was captured by the change-tracking website NewsDiffs:
His remarks, which infuriated Democrats, are likely to play well with hard-right elements of the Republican base, suggesting a degree of calculation about them.
Calculation? Gabriel omitted the fact that Walker wasn't the one who brought up Obama's religion; a Washington Post reporter goaded him with the question. The governor refused to participate in the game of gotcha. Somehow that becomes calculation on Walker's part.
Maggie Haberman used the Post's gotcha to create a wedge between the "establishment" GOP and Gov. Walker in her Saturday online report, "Republicans Scott Walker’s Handling of Giuliani Comments."
While former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York has been criticized for remarks he made at a small dinner event in Manhattan about President Obama and his “love” for America, establishment Republicans also have questioned the reaction of the person being honored at that reception, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who is a likely Republican presidential contender in 2016....But his lack of any separation from Mr. Giuliani over the comments has frustrated some senior Republicans, who said Mr. Walker was still not sure-footed on the national stage.