UPDATE: Well, now that Rahm Emanuel has packed off to the deepest wilds of Africa on the day of the release of this report, I got to admit: Lewis was maybe on to something - even prescient! Because no one's going to be able to ply Emanuel with questions while he's off on his Heart of Darkness-themed holiday jaunt. Our own Sam Stein reports that "Transition officials did not specify where in Africa he went, though another source said the family would be going on a safari." That means Emanuel will return having done further study on deadly predators in their natural surroundings, which isn't good news for anyone.
So, here's the latest worry for President-elect Barack Obama: is it okay that he's in Hawaii? This matter taken up by MSNBC's Tamron Hall Monday, with the help of The Nation's Ari Melber and Townhall's Matt Lewis. Because why not? It's almost Christmas, and no one's watching the news anyway! So it feels like almost a dick move to point this exchange out:
HALL: Matt, I bring up location because obviously I think if it were really a big deal and there was something that he needed to do, meaning the President-Elect, any type of damage control, he would be in Chicago and not on vacation, which gives off the idea obviously he knows what's in the report. If he's easy-going at the golf course, whatever we read tomorrow won't be a big deal.
LEWIS: I think it's very likely what we read tomorrow will not be a big deal. However, you know, you could make an argument that if he wants it to appear to be not a big deal he would be out of the country. But, look, I find the most interesting thing about this is the Chicago Tribune reported last week there were, like, twenty-one phone conversations between Rahm Emanuel and Blago.
Yeah, uhm...I know they eat a lot of spam there, and shoot Lost, and worship Polynesian rainbow-gods, and people often go there to forget Sarah Marshall, but Hawaii is not "out of the country." In fact, since 1959, it's been a part of the United States, which is about as not out of the country as a location can get.
Of course, maybe what Lewis is saying is that Obama could enhance the play-it-cool effect by traveling even farther afield, like to whatever nation keeps his secret birth certificate hidden! Let's hope so! There are mistakes, and then there are mistakes made by "Zombie" Radar, and the latter are in an entirely different class. This should have been an easy catch for Tamron Hall, as well.
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