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Even before Jonathan Last’s newsletter, people knew that Hillary wasn’t helping herself. Last’s newsletter just highlights Hillary’s missteps:

By just about every account, her book is uninteresting and unreflective, a carefully contrived piece of positioning. Yet instead of owning that, she insisted at an event that she was “done with being really careful about what to say.” And that was before uttering inanities about how “the American political system is the most difficult, even brutal, in the world.” (She might look at Egypt, for instance. Or Venezuela. Or China. Or Greece. Or Russia. Or any country where instability and chaos is the norm and the children of former presidents aren’t given $600,000 sinecures from independent_”independent”?_media conglomerates.)

I wrote this article last night to highlight Hillary’s unforced mistakes from her interview with Bret Baier and Greta van Susteren. Here’s the first of Hillary’s unforced errors:

Ms. van Susteren asked Hillary if she would’ve traded the Taliban 5 for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Secretary Clinton replied that she had worked on a different deal to free Sgt. Bergdahl. When Ms. van Susteren said that people were shocked that Hillary said the Taliban 5 didn’t pose a threat to Americans, Hillary replied that “As long as they’re in Qatar, they don’t post a threat to Americans.” Van Susteren replied, saying “Well, bin Laden was never in the United States.”

Hillary knew this question was coming. What’s interesting is that Hillary used the Obama administration’s chanting points rather than distance herself from that disaster. It’s one thing to be loyal. It’s another to walk the plank for the Obama administration on one of their biggest, and most recent, foreign policy disasters.

If there’s anything we’ve learned about the Clintons throughout the years, it’s that they’re loyal to themselves. They aren’t even loyal to each other. Hillary isn’t stupid. That begs this question: Why would Hillary stay loyal to the Democrats’ chanting points? The only explanation that makes sense is that she’s buttering up Obama’s base supporters.

The anti-war doves are President Obama’s political base love the thought of closing Gitmo. Was Hillary making a play for President Obama’s base?

Whatever the reason, the truth is that she’s helping the Biden campaign through her book tour. If she wants to be president, she needs to stop granting interviews to serious news organizations because she’s doing terribly in those interviews.

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Bret Baier’s interview with Tommy Vietor, the former spokesman for the NSA, is feisty but it’s more informative than feisty. Here’s a brief clip of the interview:

This sentence jumps off the page:

VIETOR: He told Tom Donnilon and his joint chiefs and his SecDef to begin moving all military assets into the region.

This is significant because of what was happening throughout northern Africa, which Andy McCarthy highlights beautifully in this article:

As we have covered here before (see, e.g., here), the release and return to Egypt of the Blind Sheik, Omar Abdel Rahman (whom I prosecuted in the Nineties), has been a cause célèbre in Egypt for many years. On September 10, 2012, the day before rioting at the U.S. embassy in Cairo, an Egyptian weekly, El Fagr, reported that several jihadist organizations, including the Blind Sheik’s group (Gamaat al-Islamia, or the Islamic Group) and al-Qaeda emir Ayman al-Zawahiri’s group (Egyptian Islamic Jihad), were threatening to burn the American embassy in Cairo to the ground. The promised action against the embassy was an effort to extort the release of Abdel Rahman and other jihadists jailed by the United States.

Apparently, the administration didn’t take the Blind Sheikh’s son’s threat seriously. That’s apparent because, according to Mr. Vietor, more than 24 hours later, President Obama still hadn’t moved military assets into the region.

That’s incredible for multiple reasons. First, it’s the anniversary of 9/11. That alone is reason to preposition troops and put them on high alert. Second, the Blind Sheikh’s sone threatened to raid the Cairo embassy and take hostages in an attempt to free his terrorist father. Third, the riots at the Cairo Embassy happened as predicted, with the hostage-taking the only thing that didn’t happen. Fourth, the distance between Cairo and Benghazi is only 400 miles by air. A flight that distance takes less than an hour in the Navy’s and Air Force’s fastest jets.

This begs a totally new set of questions that haven’t been asked yet.

First, why didn’t President Obama and Secretary Clinton take threats seriously enough to preposition troops in the eastern Mediterranean Sea? Second, why didn’t President Obama order military assets be moved into the Mediterranean when the Cairo attacks happened as predicted? They started 4 hours before the initial attack on Benghazi. Third, why didn’t President Obama head to the Situation Room the minute the first reports of the Cairo riots happened? According to Mr. Vietor, President Obama never went to the Situation Room.

President Obama and his administration spent an entire convention bragging about what a great national security president he was. Vice President Biden said that “bin Laden is dead and Detroit is alive.” Then-Sen. Kerry said “Ask Osama bin Laden if he’s better off now than he was 4 years ago.”

The reality is that President Obama, Secretary of Defense Panetta and Secretary Clinton didn’t position military assets in the Mediterranean. Thanks to their inaction and inattentiveness, 4 American patriots were murdered by an emboldened group of terrorists. Those terrorists still haven’t been brought to justice.

It’s time we got a real commander-in-chief who worries more about Las Vegas fundraisers than he worried about 4 American patriots who were murdered.

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Just when President Obama, Vice President Biden, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton thought it couldn’t get worse, it did. This article provides the salt for these clowns’ open wounds:

First, Sarah Palin. In 2008, the Alaskan conservative warned that Putin was on the prowl. Quote: “After the Russian army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of moral indecision and equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next.”

Wow. Mrs Palin not only got the country that Putin would threaten right, she also predicted the reason behind it. Obama’s “indecision and equivalence” over Iran, Egypt and, most importantly, Syria, has probably encouraged Putin to believe that there would be next-to-no Western response to an attack on Ukraine.

This was highly predictable. It’s only surprising to the children at Foggy Bottom and in the West Wing. They either didn’t see this coming or they didn’t care. History won’t award a gold star to any of these fools for their decisions prior to Russia’s invading Crimea. (A dunce’s cap for each is the better fit.)

Unfortunately for the Feckless Foursome, the humiliation doesn’t (and shouldn’t) stop there:

Second, Mitt Romney. Romney’s foreign policy approach was broadly mocked in 2012. The country was keen to withdraw from overseas conflict in the wake of Iraq and Afghanistan and Mitt’s vague neo-conservatism seemed out of step with the public mood. Sometimes, said the critics, it came off as something that his advisers were coaching him to say; a nod and a hint to AIPAC rather than a strongly held belief. Rachel Maddow concluded, “It’s not just that Romney is uninformed; it’s that he hasn’t figured out how to fake it.”

Romney confirmed the sceptics’ worst fears when he described Russia as America’s “number one geopolitical foe.” Barack Obama lashed out with some adolescent sass: “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because. The Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”

Actually, people who lived through the 80’s are praying that we’d that type of leadership back. That was when Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Margaret Thatcher and Pope John-Paul II brought down the Soviet Empire. That was when Jeane Kirkpatrick and Lech Walesa contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The Feckless Foursome didn’t notice or didn’t care that Putin still thinks that the collapse of the Soviet Union was “the collapse of the century“:

Mr Putin therefore went out of his way to extol the virtues of democracy and talk up Russia’s potential for foreign investment. He lamented, however, the collapse of the USSR in 1991, calling it “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe”.

That’s quite the contrast in sobriety. The Feckless Foursome insisted that Russia was a friend that didn’t have expansionist goals, despite Putin’s expansionist rhetoric. While Rachel Maddow was making herself look stupid, Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin said unpopular things that turned out to be 100% right.

Finally, I’d love asking Mrs. Clinton how that reset button thingy is working out lately.

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While watching Vice President Biden talk on the substantive issues of the day, I often get the impression that the color of the sun in his world is different than the sun that this earth orbits. This interview is one for the ages:

Block: Let’s start with the assault weapons ban that does appear to be dying in the Senate. Is the White House still pushing to have that passed? Do you assume that it’s now not going to happen?

Biden: I am still pushing that it pass. We are still pushing that it pass. The same thing was told to me when the first assault weapons ban in 1994 was attached to the Biden Crime bill; that it couldn’t possibly pass. It was declared dead several times. I believe that the vast majority of the American people agree with us. The vast majority of gun owners agree with us. That military-style assault weapons are – these are weapons of war. They don’t belong in the street, and the recent decision declaring the right of someone to own a weapon in their home for self-protection, Justice [Antonin] Scalia acknowledged that you can constitutionally banned certain type of weapons. And, so, I haven’t given up on this.

Block: You are going to push for it. The Majority Leader Harry Reid says he doesn’t even have 40 votes for the assault weapons ban.

Biden: Look, last time we passed it we only had seven Republican votes in 1994.

Block: But he doesn’t have the Democrats.

Biden: Well, again. I have never found that it makes any sense to support something and declare that there is no possibility of it passing. There is a lot happening. Attitudes are changing, and I think the president and I are going to continue to push and we haven’t given up on it.

Having only 7 Republicans vote for the 1994 assault weapons ban is one thing. Having all 45 Republicans and 15 or more Democrats voting against Sen. Feinstein’s bill is quite another. Apparently, Vice President Biden hasn’t figured that out.

As foolish as that is, the part that’s more telling is when he says that “attitudes are changing” about assault weapons. If he’s thinking that attitudes are changing in the administration’s direction, he needs to hop in his spaceship and return to this solar system.

Then again, perhaps we’re better off with him off in that distant galaxy.

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Tonight’s debate wasn’t the substantive debate that conservatives were hoping for. When Vice President Biden rolled his eyes the first time, I wondered if that was a signal for what was ahead. It was.

Let’s be clear about this. Vice President Biden was the aggressor tonight. That’s almost automatically a sign of who won the debate. Tonight was the exception to that rule.

It isn’t that I think Paul Ryan won tonight’s debate, though he showed he’s more than capable of being a heartbeat away from the presidency. It’s that Joe Biden was consistently dismissive of Ryan.

There’s no question that the MSNBC crowd is ecstatic tonight. If I got a sawbuck for each of their internal and external fistpumps, I’d have enough to pay for a lavish month-long vacation in the Carribbean. There’s equally no question that Vice President Biden’s antics turned off independents and women. This video of Greta van Susteren interviewing Brit Hume says everything:

Vice President Biden didn’t just turn off Brit Hume and Greta van Susteren. He turned off Chris Wallace, too:

That’s only part of Vice President Biden’s problem. When asked about additional security forces for the Benghazi Consulate, Vice President Biden said that the administration didn’t know about requests for additional security. That’s a bald-faced lie according Wednesday’s testimony:

“We weren’t told they wanted more security. We did not know they wanted more security there,” Biden said.

First, this administration’s insistence that they didn’t know about the requests is frightening. Either the administration is lying about not knowing or they weren’t interested in the security conditions at a consulate in a growing terrorist hotspot.

If Vice President Biden wants us to believe that this administration didn’t pay attention to the escalating terrorist threats near the consulate, then he’s asking us to believe that they don’t pay attention to growing terrorist threats around the world.

That’s frightening.

The good news for Democrats about tonight’s debate is that it fired up the progressive base. The bad news is it turned off the other 70+ percent of the voters.

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7:50 CT — Welcome to LFR’s VP debate liveblog.
8:00 — Ed Rollins “Paul Ryan will get the job done.” I agree.
8:02 — Martha Raddatz introducing the debate. Nine segments, alternating between foreign, domestic policy.
8:03 — Starting with Libya, Biden promises “We’ll get to the bottom of this.” Now Biden is talking about President Obama’s foreign policy accomplishments. “President Obama
8:06 — Ryan: “First they blame the Youtube video for the attack, now they’re blaming the Romney-Ryan ticket for the terrorist attack.”
8:08 Ryan: We shouldn’t have called Bashar Assad a reformer when he’s aligning with the Russians.
8:15 — Biden: These are the most crippling sanctions in history.
8:22 — Biden is being unbearably smug. I hope it’s coming across that way at home.
8:29 — Ryan: I think Vice President Biden knows what it’s like for the words to not come out right.
8:38First Biden gaffe: I heard that death panel stuff from Sarah Palin. It seems like every vice presidential debate, I hear this stuff.
8:40 — Ryan is now asserting himself. He’s pouring it on about Medicare, citing Ron Wyden, Alice Rivlin & Sen. John Breaux as proponents for premium support for Medicare.
8:58 — I thought I’d give Martha Raddatz a fair shot. The only time she interrupts, she interrupts Ryan right before he finishes his point.
9:00 — BIDEN’S SECOND GAFFE: We went there for one reason, to get that killed Americans.
9:25Best tweet of the night from Jonah Goldberg: Biden: We don’t have litmus tests, but I guarantee we’ll appoint pro-choice justices.

Jim Hoft’s post about this morning’s Morning Joe focuses on Joe Scarborough’s “Emperor has no clothes” moment. While that’s noteworthy, it’s worth talking about what Mika Brzezinski said about the vice presidential debate. That section starts with Mike Barnicle laughing while saying that Vice President Biden “will be great. He’s gonna be great.” That’s when Brzezinski said “And his decaded in Congress will help. I think Paul Ryan is outmatched.”

First, it’s noteworthy that Ms. Brzezinski thinks that the smartest man on policy in Congress is outmatched intellectually by the most gaffe-prone politician of the last half-century. That’s laughable. Paul Ryan is quick on his feet. He isn’t gaffe-prone. He knows the budget thoroughly. He was taught pro-growth economic policy by Jack Kemp.

What part of that resume says Ryan will be outmatched?

This leads to a second point, a point that the pundits aren’t making. The vice presidential debate is far more important than they’re admitting. It isn’t important because people are deciding whether they’d rather vote for Vice President Biden or Congressman Ryan.

It’s important because a strong debate performance by Congressman Ryan a) makes him acceptable as the man 1 heartbeat away from the presidency and b) would sustain the momentum created by Mitt Romney’s performance.

When Paul Ryan debated President Obama at the Health Summit, Ryan administered a thorough butt-whooping to President Obama’s ego. Now we’re supposed to believe that Vice President Biden has Ryan’s number, that he’s Kryptonite to Paul Ryan?

That’s a stretch even a double-jointed 15-year-old gymnast couldn’t make.

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Conservatives didn’t disagree with Vice President Biden when he told a gathering in Council Bluffs, Iowa that the middle class had gotten squeezed the past 4 years. Gas was $1.84 a gallon when President Obama took office. It’s now at $3.79 a gallon. That’s the direct result of President Obama’s tightfistedness in granting permits for new drilling projects.

Electricity and natural gas prices have jumped, too, thanks in large part to President Obama’s EPA restricting coal mining and fracking. Other EPA regulations are causing coal-fired power plants to shut down or to announce that they’re shutting down.

This picture tells another important story:

It’s incredible seeing a picture showing gas prices at almost $6.00 a gallon. Those prices aren’t squeezing the middle class. They’re demolishing the middle class.

While other factors are driving up California’s gas prices, including a statewide cap and trade system, President Obama’s policies still strongly contributed to this expensive energy trend.

President Obama’s energy policies are one of the biggest contributors to struggling families’ plight. While President Obama’s policies can’t be blamed for California’s $6 gas and closed stations, they’re certainly the chief cause for the nation’s high gas prices.

Had President Obama, then-Speaker Pelosi and Senate passed their cap and trade law, which was high on their list of priorities, it’s indisputable that the nation’s gas prices would mirror California’s. They certainly would mirror California’s prices.

It’s time to flush this administration’s policies from our system. We can’t afford 4 more years of rising gas prices, electric bills, high unemployment, explosive deficits and falling household incomes.

We can’t afford the sight of pictures fo $6 a gallon gasoline.

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CEOs see gloomy GDP growth this quarter:

Four major business groups see gloomy times ahead for the job market and the economy, according to a string of separate surveys and polls released this week that cast fresh doubt on hopes that the economic recovery may have turned the corner.

Top executives and small-business owners polled by the Business Roundtable, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Federation of Independent Business, and chief financial officers surveyed by the management firm Deloitte pointed to uncertainty posed by new regulations, shaky demand overseas and the “fiscal cliff” facing the federal government as prime reasons keeping companies from investing and hiring at a faster pace.

The Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs from some of the nation’s top companies, on Wednesday dropped its growth expectations for the third quarter to the lowest level since the middle of the Great Recession. The trade group lowered projections for sales, capital spending and hiring in its latest CEO Economic Outlook Survey to their lowest levels since 2009.

I don’t think Vice President Biden got this report. Here’s what he said at the Democrats’ convention:

And folks, because of the decisions he’s made, and the incredible strength of the American people, America has turned a corner. The worst job loss since the Great Depression, we’ve since created 4.5 million private-sector jobs in the last 29 months.

This graph paints a dismal picture, too:

During his speech at the Democrats’ convention, Vice President Biden asked whether Osama bin Laden was better off now than he was 4 years ago. Since he set that benchmark, it’s only fair to use that criteria across North Africa and the Middle East. Charles Krauthammer’s column provides proof that life’s pretty good for some disgusting people:

Iran repeatedly defies U.S. demands on nuclear enrichment, then, as a measure of its contempt for what America thinks, openly admits that its Revolutionary Guards are deployed in Syria. Russia, after arming Assad, warns America to stay out, while the secretary of state delivers vapid lectures about Assad “meeting” his international “obligations.” The Gulf states beg America to act on Iran; Obama strains mightily to restrain…Israel. Sovereign U.S. territory is breached and U.S. interests are burned.

Life couldn’t get much better for state sponsors of terrorism and traditional American enemies. They know that they’re on easy street. They know President Obama’s foreign policy of appeasement is good for bad guy business.

In a very real sense, Iran, Russia and Syria are much better off today than they were 4 years ago. In fact, it won’t take long before Iran’s mullahs will be insufferable and unstoppable. Just a little more enrichment and they’ll have a nuclear weapon. By any sane administration’s measure, that means Iran is the biggest winner in President Obama’s high-stakes gamble.

Meanwhile, trusted allies like Israel and Poland were thrown under the bus. President Obama sent the final unmistakable message to Israel when he accepted a meeting with Egyptian President Morsi while refusing to meet with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu or Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

President Obama’s message to the Israelis was simple: Drop dead. We don’t care.

Another unmistakable message this administration sent was during the protests of the rigged Iranian elections of 2009. This administration’s message to the protesters was equally clear: Drop dead. We’re siding with the mullahs, not with Iran’s freedom-loving people.

Things are badly wrong when the people that should fear the US are smiling and the people that trust the US are worried and fidgeting. That’s where we’re at right now.

To adapt a phrase from a legendary story, there’s no joy in Worldville tonight. The One just made the world a nastier neighborhood.

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