Sunday, April 11, 2010

Eleanor gets egg on her face

December 3, 2009, the House Committee on Homeland Security held a hearing entitled "The United States Secret Service and Presidential Protection: An Examination of a System Failure" and Mark J. Sullivan, Director of the Homeland Security Department, was among those appearing before the Committee. Ava and C.I. attended the hearing and C.I. broke the only news from the hearing in that day's snapshot: Barack Obama is not receiving a greater number of threats than previous presidents or George W. Bush did.

And yet, as we noted last week, the lie continues to be repeated. A reader e-mailed whining on Thursday that it was a lie! Barack was receiving more death threats! And the proof was that C.I. didn't include a transcript.

A) It wasn't an Iraq-related hearing or topic so C.I. felt no need to include one. B) Not including one allowed C.I. to be kind about US House Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton who made a real fool of herself in public.

Norton revealed that she wasn't concerned about the safety of "any old president," but Barack mattered to her. Not exactly the attitude that a member of the US Congress should express, regardless of what party they belong to.

Norton mugged relentlessly. Norman Fell on a full season of Three's Company didn't mug as much as Norton did in her first round of questioning. She found herself so amusing. As is often the case, those most amused by themselves end up playing the fool -- as Norton did that day.

When not mugging, Norton was attacking. She yelled at Sullivan. She snapped at him. She cut him off repeatedly, she mocked him and the Secret Service and she revealed that she wishes she had mastered a foreign language (we've never heard anyone pronounce "poser" as she did -- apparently, she believed she was offering the French pronunciation).

All in all, as the screen snap below demonstrates, it was not a pretty day for Eleanor Holmes Norton. C.I. handed us her notes from the hearing (taken the day of) and Jess went to the Committee's webpage to stream the hearing (click here).


Here's the transcript, as taken by C.I. in real time at the hearing and as checked by Jess this morning.

US House Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton: Let me tell you what my concern is, Mr. Sullivan. It is well known, it's been in the press over and over again, that this president has received far more death threats than any president in the history of the United States. An alarming number of death threats. I'm not going to ask you for the details on that. But here we had the first State Dinner, not of just any old president, but of the first African-American president. Was there any attempt to increase security given all you know which is what we know about threats to this president of the United States?

Mark Sullivan: Ma'am, no matter who the president is --

US House Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton: I'm asking about this president! And my question is very specific. Given death threats to this president, was there any attempt to increase the security at this event, yes or no?

Mark Sullivan: Ma'am, I can't talk about that. Number one, I will address the threats. I've heard a number out there that the threat is up by 400%. I'm not sure where that number --

US House Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton: Is it up at all? We aren't asking for the number.

Mark Sullivan: Well I would just -- I think I can answer that, ma'am. It isn't up 400% and I'm not sure where that number came from but I can --

US House Rep: Eleanor Holmes Norton: Please don't assign!

Chair Bennie G. Thompson: Just a minute. We can't hear the gentleman.

US House Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton: Please don't assign to me a number in my question. I just asked you if the threats were up. Are the threats up or not, Mr. Sullivan?

Mark Sullivan: They are not. The threats right now in the inappropriate interest that we're seeing is the same level that it has been for the previous two presidents at this point and time.

US House Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton: This is very comforting news.

Norton is revealed to be an idiot in public and the best she can muster is not an apology (for her false claims -- "it is well known" or her behavior) but to insist, "This is very comforting news." We'd further note that "I was at that State Dinner" Norton, if she was as outraged in real time by security as she portrayed herself to be at the hearing, should have spoken up at the dinner. Not only should she have, but it was duty to do so.
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