Jonathan Chait

Did Obama Smear Gore? [Updated]

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Update: Geraghty says he was joking. Mea culpa.

National Review's Jim Geraghty has an item entitled, "Al Gore Doesn't Toe the Obama Line, Pays the Price":

As liberal blogs used to say, “I question the timing.”

Al Gore, on his personal site, June 14, 2010 : 1:08 PM:

“When the operators of Southern Seaplane in Belle Chasse, La., called the local Coast Guard-Federal Aviation Administration command center for permission to fly over restricted airspace in Gulf of Mexico, they made what they thought was a simple and routine request.”

“A pilot wanted to take a photographer from The Times-Picayune of New Orleans to snap photographs of the oil slicks blackening the water. The response from a BP contractor who answered the phone late last month at the command center was swift and absolute: Permission denied.”

This behavior is completely unacceptable. Access by reporters should be as unfettered as possible. This de facto form of censorship needs to stop.

The web site of the tabloid Star magazine, twenty-five hours and twenty-seven minutes later:

Al Gore‘s split from wife Tipper after 40 years of marriage was a shock to everyone who thought theirs was the ideal marriage. Now Star can exclusively reveal that the former Vice President was having an affair with Larry David‘s ex-wife for the past two years!

Remarkable coincidence, having this rumor turn up roughly one day after Gore accuses authorities of “de facto censorship.”

Yes, I'm sure that is Obama's plan. Al Gore criticizes BP, and Obama won't countenance any criticism of BP, unless of course it's coming from him or his own administration. So he decided to smear Gore, in order to discredit him as an environmental spokesman. That certainly seems like the most plausible way to account for the fact that a tabloid published a rumor of a politician having an affair with a celebrity.

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