President Obama's first public comments about the Fort Hood killings — appended to a scheduled press conference at the Interior Department on Thursday — have triggered criticism from the right and comparisons to George W. Bush's decision to continue reading "The Pet Goat" to schoolchildren after being alerted that America was under attack on 9/11. Did Obama show poor judgment—or are conservatives protesting too much? (Watch Obama's first public comments about the Fort Hood killings)
Obama's approach was disturbingly flippant: It was surprising to watch the president give a hearty "shout out" to bureaucrats gathered for the conference before shifting into a more appropriate tone, says Linda Chavez in Commentary: "He treated the event like a pep rally, rather than a tragic occasion [for] a wider audience than those gathered in the room." Surely, I'm not the only one reminded of Bush's response to the 9/11 attacks.
"Obama's Pet-Goat moment"
The "Pet Goat" comparison is unfair...to George Bush: "You can debate if Bush should have immediately ran out on the kids and then made his speech," says Paul Cooper at News Real, "but there is no debating the strength of his first public words on the incident." Bush got right to the point, saying: "Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward, and freedom will be defended."
"Obama's Ft. Hood reaction is far worse than the left's smear of Bush's 'pet goat' moment"
The comparison is strained at best: Likening this to Bush's "Pet Goat" moment "seems like a stretch," says Dan Amira at New York Magazine. "The 9/11 attacks were an ongoing threat, and required immediate action from the president to coordinate a military response. Every second he continued to read to children was a second without a commander-in-chief." By the time Obama spoke, the Fort Hood gunman had been neutralized. Obama's "offense [is] not much more than a failure of decorum."
"Was yesterday Obama's 'Pet Goat' moment?"
It's Obama's critics who are showing disrespect: "Some conservatives are sure searching for a way to turn the shooting at Ford Hood into yet another way to attack Barack Obama," says Ron Chusid at Liberal Values. They fail to grasp "how disrespectful to the troops their sick attempts to play politics with this really are." Shame on them.
"Bizarre attacks on Obama's response to Fort Hood shootings."
SEE THE WEEK'S FULL COVERAGE OF FORT HOOD:
• Fort Hood: The Al-Qaeda question
• Fort Hood: What the world is saying
• Red flags at Fort Hood
• Sunday Talk Show Briefing: Religion's role in Fort Hood (Video)
• Fort Hood: Crime or terrorism?
• Who is Nidal Hasan: A timeline of the suspect's life
• What Kimberly Munley's heroism means
• Fort Hood: The combat stress debate
• Fort Hood: Breaking opinion