Full Focus

President Obama meets in the Situation Room with his national security advisors to discuss strategy in Syria, Saturday, August 31 (Photo by Pete Souza)


President Obama talks on the phone in the Oval Office with Speaker of the House Boehner, Saturday, August 31 (Pete Souza)


Chat away.

162 Responses to “Full Focus”

  1. August 31, 2013 at 4:43 pm

  2. 3 Byo
    August 31, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    POTUS just outsmarted all the congressional experts again! They hoped to appear on TV, claim expertise in foreign policy, accuse Obama of everything no matter how Syria turns out.
    You want a debate, have at it, mofo!

  3. 7 utaustinliberal
    August 31, 2013 at 4:45 pm

  4. 11 Nena20409
    August 31, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Congrats Bobfr on your Gold πŸ˜‰

  5. August 31, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Saw a similar tweet by LL. Do think it really important to thank the President because of the much wider scope of lesson he taught the world today & his unambiguous rejection of AEI, NEOCON doctrine of American Exceptionalism & perpetual war.

    #FORWARD Together

  6. 16 GGAIL
    August 31, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    This is what I enjoy about this Administration & their Leader. We get to see them working!

    • 17 Ladyhawke
      August 31, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      What a powerhouse of brilliant and dedicated public servants. Each member of the cabinet giving President Obama their undivided attention and counsel. It’s just breathtaking to see them all together.

  7. August 31, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Modern marriage: missus and me on the couch, she on her iPad, me on the laptop, football on the tv.

  8. 27 hopefruit2
    August 31, 2013 at 5:06 pm

  9. 29 Indie Liberal
    August 31, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    Nice pic. Glad to see some real adults in charge.

    One pet peeve I have is that sometimes I wish that PBO and VP Biden would go to bat for SOS Kerry. Don’t like that article about Obama overriding his National Security team, and suspecting that his SOS is “furious” with his last minute decision to go to Congress (a smart move IMO).

    Jeff (Jefferson Obama) tweet was sorta out of the ordinary, but it’s discouraging to hear fellow Obots blame Kerry for hanging Rice, Hagel out to dry, when he did nothing wrong. SOS Kerry has not done anything to undercut or undermine PBO, VP Biden, NSA Rice, or SOD Hagel. Unless there is still bitterness over the way things played out with Rice, that was just shocking to read.

    I support my POTUS all the way, but some 2 cents. Thanks.

    • 30 hopefruit2
      August 31, 2013 at 5:22 pm

      Listen, during the Bin Laden raid, PBO also overrode his National Security Team, INCLUDING VP Biden. When John Kerry accepted the job as SOS, he understood that he was working under PBO, and not PBO’s boss. That should also be understood by the American People. I don’t think Kerry is “furious” about anything – he’s a mature statesman and ultimately, he knows that PBO has the final say as Commander-in-Chief.

      Jefferson Obama needs to take a break and get some perspective – he’s losing it on this particular issue because he wants PBO to start striking Syria yesterday. But on this issue, PBO knows a lot MORE than him, and I trust this President whom I elected TWICE. When Jefferson Obama runs for President and develops a record of accomplishments on foreign policy similar to that of PBO, I will give him his due as Commander-in-chief, with a record to match.

      • 31 Indie Liberal
        August 31, 2013 at 5:47 pm

        Well said on everything here, and I trust PBO. This wasn’t easy for him or his team. Hope they can all get some R&R while they can.

    • August 31, 2013 at 5:25 pm

      Who said SOS Kerry undermined PBO? Missed that.

      • 33 Indie Liberal
        August 31, 2013 at 5:45 pm

        Hi Chips,

        It was in this tweet that said that Kerry “hung Dr. Rice, Hagel, etc. out to dry” when he wasn’t CIC. That was very discouraging to read from Obot. Team Obama would be applaled at that. We are better than that.

    • 37 jacquelineoboomer
      August 31, 2013 at 5:29 pm

      I wouldn’t trust anything you see on Twitter about infighting within the administration, until it’s confirmed by President Obama or those personally involved. There have been so many people backtracking all day today, just as one example, that it’s better to just try to wade through the garbage. Answer people if you want, while realizing they may change their minds in the next half hour. Anyway, that’s my take to keep our sanity.

      • 38 Indie Liberal
        August 31, 2013 at 5:49 pm

        Good advice. I don’t use Twitter, but lurk and read my favorite music artists and some cool tweets from you and other good folks here. πŸ™‚ Keep up the good fight.

        Yes we still can!

  10. 40 Jovie
    August 31, 2013 at 5:07 pm

  11. 41 Jovie
    August 31, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    • August 31, 2013 at 5:15 pm

      So, he “overrode his advisors” was more premature bullshit?

      • August 31, 2013 at 5:17 pm

        They wouldn’t want to destroy their record of being 100 % wrong/inaccurate would they, LL ….

      • 44 57andfemale
        August 31, 2013 at 7:22 pm

        ….a…..wouldn’t it be NORMAL to discuss, agree, disagree? Come to consensus? And if you can’t, it’s still the ciC’s decision. Isn’t that what a group of advisers is for?

        And seriously – who is talking to Chuck Todd from inside the situation room? Methinks some his highest level source is a janitor.

    • 45 Puddin'
      August 31, 2013 at 9:58 pm

      This person is just so unnecessary…and apparently can’t stand the fact that he is unimportant, too…poor pitiful person!!!

  12. 46 Linda
    August 31, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Poor Mrs Greenspan….she is just outraged that our President is playing golf.

    • 47 anniebella
      August 31, 2013 at 5:22 pm

      Is Mrs. Greenspan outrage that Congress is still out on vacation? Why don’t Congress come back this week-end and have the debate?

      • 48 MightyPamela
        August 31, 2013 at 5:33 pm

        Because Boner ain’t giving up those primo tee-off times he has setup between now and 9/9.

      • August 31, 2013 at 5:52 pm

        I listened to Pres. Obama’s speech on CSpan. They then had callers. The host announced that Speaker Boehner invited the House to come back tomorrow. Either that was wrong or was changed.

    • 50 hopefruit2
      August 31, 2013 at 5:26 pm

      Andrea Greenspan is UGLY – on the inside and outside. And that is bad optics for MSNBC and for America, and for the entire world for that matter!

      • 51 Nena20409
        August 31, 2013 at 5:33 pm

        You said UGLY ❓ Yes she is bat poop UGLY and she is incoherent most of the time.

      • 52 Vicki
        August 31, 2013 at 5:44 pm

        Mrs. Greenspan gave the Corporate response to the President’s speech. What a pitiful spectacle—Chuck Toad, David G. I turned it off after her introductory remarks.

    • 53 nathkatun7
      August 31, 2013 at 6:24 pm

      These media people are morons! I am glad the President is out there playing golf, getting fresh air and decomposing from the immense stress he is under. I often take long walks when I have to deal with difficult and stressful situations that are not one billioneth of what the President has to deal with. This notion that he should shut himself inside the White House because he is dealing with a crisis is absurd. Back in high school I was taught about the importance of physical exercise. As my PE teacher emphasized, a sound mind requires a sound body. I wish I practiced this regularly.

  13. 54 vitaminlover
    August 31, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Sometimes wonder if our First Lady Obama is a follower of this blog and maybe has a secret identity. If she does I bet that she feels uplifted and I bet that she shares the things we do with her husband. Well…just in case….HELLO First Lady Obama!!!!

  14. August 31, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Have any of you noticed a general sluggishness of loading mostly everything on the web … started ~ 30 min ago ??

  15. August 31, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    I think what also makes this a major move is that POTUS is now pitting the RWNJs against each other, i.e., the isolationists vs the interventionists, further emphasizing major philosophical party rifts.

    • 87 Ladyhawke
      August 31, 2013 at 5:36 pm


      A Very Wise Decision by Obama

      By James Fallows

      ————transcript with annotations by James Fallows——————

      Over the last several days, we’ve heard from members of Congress who want their voices to be heard. [And of course Obama understands that even many of those people, plus most of the rest, were actually hoping he would ignore them. That was they could complain about his arrogant imperial overreach now, plus themselves avoid taking what can only be a difficult vote.] I absolutely agree. [Don’t throw me in that briar patch!] So this morning, I spoke with all four congressional leaders, and they’ve agreed to schedule a debate and then a vote as soon as Congress comes back into session…. And all of us should be accountable [see above. Every single Representative and Senator is either going to have to vote to support the Administration, or explain a No vote the next time Assad gasses someone.] as we move forward, and that can only be accomplished with a vote.



    • 88 Vicki
      August 31, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      Yes, meta. Ted Cruz happy, Peter King unhappy.
      Bunch of clueless big mouths.

    • 91 nathkatun7
      August 31, 2013 at 6:40 pm

      You are absolutely right, meta! We’ve already heard from Peter King. I think John McCain and Lindsay Graham are not that far behind. They wanted war yesterday. On the other side, I am sure Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are happy to be able to vote NO against military action to appease their libertarian/teabag supporters.

  16. 93 vcprezofan2
    August 31, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Obviously I missed a big one! Thanks for making it available, guys.

  17. 94 joyfulmeme
    August 31, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    A couple of days ago I was in disbelief on the reports of an imminent strike this week without allies. I came here to request that someone talk me down because the reports didn’t reflect my understanding of how our president works through these issues. Today, PBO talked me down. Delighted with his decision.

    Congress, both Dems and Reps like to throw rocks at this President. They need to have skin in the game. They don’t get much done so it will be very interesting to see what they do. Once again, we will see who the adult in the room is. Let the games begin.

    • 95 globalcitizenlinda
      August 31, 2013 at 7:51 pm

      I responded to you yesterday and asked you to listen to what PBO and his team are saying –


      because most times the media just pushes a line they want and support it with gossip and innuendo

  18. 96 hopefruit2
    August 31, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    When you think about it, everything in people’s minds these days MUST feature President ‘Bama πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    • 97 Nena20409
      August 31, 2013 at 5:49 pm

      Ala as in Bama

      Alabama the Football powerhouse πŸ˜‰

      • 98 hopefruit2
        August 31, 2013 at 5:52 pm

        SO I’m the one who’s projecting here! PBO is on my mind!!!

        • 99 Nena20409
          August 31, 2013 at 5:55 pm

          I am not going to touch that HF2…..for your radar is pretty close. I know that my family members are obsessive about Bama and Auburn. Today is Saturday……In August……College Football is usually in the Air…….oops, minds of many US males.

    • August 31, 2013 at 5:52 pm

      Hell, a PeeWee football team could beat the Jets.

      • 101 Nena20409
        August 31, 2013 at 5:57 pm

        LL talk to HF2 above……..Aug on Saturdays…….’Bama generally could be the Powerhouse, Alabama ❗

        • August 31, 2013 at 5:58 pm

          Oh, I know. And I was opining that pretty much my dead grandmother could beat the Jets right about now.

          • 103 Nena20409
            August 31, 2013 at 6:17 pm

            The Jets are that Bad? So how come that Twin Coach is still there and Not fired……but that Coach before him with a marginal winning season was fired?

            • August 31, 2013 at 6:19 pm

              I’ve noticed this in comparing coaches in US sports to coaches in, say, the English Premier League. In the US, coaches stay on long after they should’ve been fired. Meanwhile in the EPLβ€”and other Euro leaguesβ€”the bookies start making bets as to when managers will be fired before the first kickoff.

  19. 105 carolyn
    August 31, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    The president is giving Assad enough rope to hang himself, and also tightening the noose around Syria. The House won’t even be back until Sept 9, so he has all of this weekend and week to work with world leaders, which he and SOS Kerry will do…..and eventually, I think Syria will be isolated in a geopolitical way. As we have seen with PBO, there are many avenues to an objective.

  20. August 31, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Infuriating that the MSM can just make stuff up (talk through their hats) and no one seems the wiser.

    What happened to accountability in journalism?

    Glad that Kerry will be making the Talk Show round, though he may have unpleasant flashbacks to his 2004 campaign.

    MSM (and Jeff Gauvin at this point) love to highlight imagined “rifts” within the Administration while conveniently ignoring the lies, inconsistencies and giant chasms in Congress. Oh, and speaking of Congress:

    “Charlie Foxtrot” LOL.

  21. 108 jacquelineoboomer
    August 31, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Joe Biden looks totally with the President in that top photo, by the look in his eye, whatever the President is saying at that moment. The others look like they work for the guy at the head of the table, and that they understand the seriousness of his decisions. No slackers there.

    I’m good. Off to take a rest and put politics out of me head!

  22. 109 yardarm756
    August 31, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Ya’ll watch, the next shiny thing is that POTUS “chickened out”. He gave his authority to the ineffective Congress……Good tp for Sunday shows.

  23. 110 desertflower
    August 31, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Spot on! http://immasmartypants.blogspot.com/2013/08/conciliatory-rhetoric-as-ruthless.html

    For years now I’ve been writing about how President Obama employs conciliatory rhetoric as a ruthless strategy. After his remarks this morning regarding Syria, I think a few more people are catching on to what I mean by that. For example, here’s one of my favorite quotes that describes what it looks like.
    One way to deal with that kind of bad-faith opposition is to draw the person in, treat them as if they were operating in good faith, and draw them into a conversation about how they actually would solve the problem. If they have nothing, it shows. And that’s not a tactic of bipartisan Washington idealists — it’s a hard-nosed tactic of community organizers, who are acutely aware of power and conflict. It’s how you deal with people with intractable demands — put β€˜em on a committee.
    What the President just did today was put the United States Congress on the “committee” to decide what we’ll do about Syria’s use of chemical weapons. That is a bold move that seems to have caught most everyone off guard. But it totally eliminates the position of “arm chair quarterbacks” who have taken up residence on the sidelines bitching about what is happening on the field.

    This is what the term “holding them accountable” REALLY means! Put up, or STFU.

  24. 111 GGail
    August 31, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    Syrian rebels say delay in any strike will cost lives, undercut US credibility

    Syrian rebels want President Obama and US forces to come and fight their Civil War.

    Ain’t gonna happen

  25. 112 dotster3
    August 31, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    I see others have noted this, but I also now see Jeff Gauvin sounding like a bratty child, stomping around the room, throwing things, because he did not get his way. He appears very immature and completely lacking in any kind of effort to understand President Obama’s reasoning and purpose behind his decision today.

  26. 116 desertflower
    August 31, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Even Steve Benen came out on a Saturday…with something more than his regular “This week in God”


    over the last several decades, presidents in both parties have increasingly consolidated authority over national security matters, tilting practically all power over the use of force towards the Oval Office and away from the legislative branch. Whereas the Constitution and the War Powers Act intended to serve as checks on presidential authority on military intervention abroad, there’s been a gradual (ahem) drift away from these institutional norms.

    That is, until this afternoon, when President Obama stunned everyone, announcing his decision to seek “authorization” from a co-equal branch of government.

    It’s one of those terrific examples of good politics and good policy. On the former, the American public clearly endorses the idea of Congress giving its approval before military strikes begin. On the latter, at the risk of putting too fine a point on this, Obama’s move away from unilateralism reflects how our constitutional, democratic system of government is supposed to work.

    Arguably the most amazing response to the news came from Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the chair of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterintelligence & Terrorism, and a member of the House Intelligence Committee:

    “President Obama is abdicating his responsibility as commander-in-chief and undermining the authority of future presidents. The President does not need Congress to authorize a strike on Syria.”

    This is one of those remarkable moments when a prominent member of Congress urges the White House to circumvent Congress, even after many of his colleagues spent the week making the exact opposite argument.

    • 117 desertflower
      August 31, 2013 at 6:09 pm

      t’s one of the angles to today’s news that’s so fascinating — Obama isn’t just challenging Congress to play a constructive role in a national security matter, the president is also telling lawmakers to act like adults for a change. They’re federal lawmakers in the planet’s most powerful government, and maybe now would be a good time to act like grown-ups who are mindful of their duties.

      In his first inaugural address, Obama said, “[I]n the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things.” For the last four-and-a-half years, much of Congress ignored this call. Today, members received a striking reminder.

    • August 31, 2013 at 6:10 pm

      That was AWESOME!! Their heads have to be exploding right about now.

    • 119 Sandy1110
      August 31, 2013 at 10:52 pm

      That’s what happens when Obama Derangement Syndrome takes hold. People are so hell-bent on opposing PBO that they end up eventually stepping on each other’s toes while they twist and turn to keep opposing whatever he does.

  27. August 31, 2013 at 6:09 pm

  28. August 31, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    I didn’t want to out Jeff Gauvin on the spot directly because I like the guy. We’ve all had our meltdowns, some more publicly than others πŸ™‚ and I want to give him some time to get over his. In the meantime, this is what I tweeted. I am calling my rep, you should too…

  29. August 31, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    Ooooooooh, love Steve Benen!

    Congress, be careful what you wish for

    The funny thing about a dog that chases a car? Sometimes it catches the car and has no idea what to do next……


  30. 125 carolyn
    August 31, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    I just wrote the White House thanking the President for what he did today. I also asserted that Congress needs to start governing and stop playing in the sandbox.
    I am SO glad PBO is our president!

  31. August 31, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    They’re all freaking out …. as expected …. because they refuse to step back, study carefully, and THINK …. about just who Barack Obama REALLY IS ….

    His lesson plan for Americans and humanity is obviously causing some much consternation πŸ™‚


  32. 128 desertflower
    August 31, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Dem signers of Barbara Lee’s letter to PBO requesting Congressional approval regarding Syria

    Click to access Lee%20Letter%20to%20President%20Obama_Syria.pdf

    Republican house signatures from Scott Rigell’s letter to PBO

    Click to access 8.28.13_letter_to_potus_with_signatories.pdf

    • 129 nathkatun7
      August 31, 2013 at 7:09 pm

      Thanks DF for sharing the lists of Dems and Repubs urging the President to seek Congressional authorization for military action in Syria. All these members of Congress can’t hide now. They must vote and own their votes. I was pleased that my Representative did not sign Barbara Lee’s letter. Nevertheless, today I sent her an e-mail urging her to support the President on Syria. I did the same with my two U.S. Senators. I hope we all take up the responsibility of citizenship by urging our Representatives and Senators to support the President.

      • 130 desertflower
        August 31, 2013 at 7:21 pm

        You’re very welcome:) We all need to do what you have taken the time to do. Write our reps and senators and let our voices be heard.

      • 131 anniebella
        August 31, 2013 at 7:22 pm

        I will email my Congressman also, he didn’t sign that letter from Rep. Lee. And I will email my Senator also.

  33. 132 Nena20409
    August 31, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    Where is Our very Own Amk? Yes, in South Africa…… πŸ˜‰ Check in Amk. It would be nice to hear his views on this decision.

  34. 135 Bill R.
    August 31, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    “A senior State Department official tells Fox News “the president’s decision to take military action in Syria still stands, and will indeed be carried out, regardless of whether Congress votes next week to approve the use of such force.”

  35. 138 anniebella
    August 31, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Golf. How dare Obama go play golf this evening? This President is dam if he do, dam if he don’t.

  36. August 31, 2013 at 7:05 pm

  37. August 31, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    It seems as if Jeff Gauvin is coming down a bit. He really does feel the plight of the Syrians on a visceral level.

  38. 146 Jovie
    August 31, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    Well my account is susoended again! That’s 5 in 2 weeks
    It’s probably the same crowd from Kos that has followed me all over the web, at any rate I guess whoever is doing this is a bitter sad person/people!
    Come on my tweets are not that bad, chill out!

    • 147 mtmarilyn
      August 31, 2013 at 7:12 pm

      Your tweets are great!!! Keep fighting the good fight. Be more creative with your name. We will follow you anywhere!

    • August 31, 2013 at 7:16 pm

      Haters are gonna hate, Jovie. As Marilyn noted, might be wise to adopt a different twitter handle – significantly different.

    • 149 Nena20409
      August 31, 2013 at 7:17 pm

      Wow…..You must be hitting some Nerves.

      Someone suggested a JMS or so……Or Use Jovie spelled backwards……..Eivoj….or …VieoJ………make them work at figuring you out…..Congratulations!

    • August 31, 2013 at 7:17 pm

      Noooooooooooooo!!! Jovie, you are definitely in the Guinness Book of Records now! Are you sending a lot of tweets to people who don’t follow you? I think that can get you suspended??

      • 151 Jovie
        August 31, 2013 at 7:26 pm

        Only Jeff and Bwd and of course the media.
        But everybody sends the media thoughts and doesn’t get suspended.
        It’s doubtful that Andrea mitchel follows any of you, and yet…
        That said, I will make another one and then it will get suspended again.
        Next time I am taking the suspension all the way to the White House, see if the President can help me out here!

        • August 31, 2013 at 7:31 pm

          πŸ˜† Remember Jovie, PBO’s got this – he’ll sort it out!!

          Completely weird, though, that you’re getting all these suspensions. Are you able to appeal them?

  39. August 31, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Happy Labor Day, everybody! Like every other day, it’s one to be grateful that President Obama is in the Oval Office. >^..^<

  40. 155 sherijr
    August 31, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Wow I missed big stuff today, thank you all – Chips, LL, UT et al for keeping us informed, so I can catch up. Will listen to POTUS speech now.

  41. August 31, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    One way to deal with that kind of bad-faith opposition is to draw the person in, treat them as if they were operating in good faith, and draw them into a conversation about how they actually would solve the problem. If they have nothing, it shows.

  42. 161 99ts
    August 31, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Nena – you don’t have to be on twitter to read his tweets

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