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Did the Prez Really Say That About U.S. Atty and U.S. Marshals Nominees?

The President in Louisiana/white house photo

The President in Louisiana/white house photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — While Washington may be our nation’s capital, it’s not likely to be mistaken for the capital of sincerity.

Which brings us to the endless stream of press releases the White House  issues when announcing the nominations of U.S. Attorneys and U.S. Marshals.

Take, for example, on June 9, when the White House issued a press release announcing the nomination of six U.S. Marshals, President Obama was quoted as saying: “Throughout their careers these individuals have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to justice.”

On the same day,when the White House announced the nomination of Robert O’Neill for U.S. Attorney in Florida, President Obama said: “Robert O’Neill has shown an unwavering commitment to justice throughout his career.”

On July 14, in nominating four U.S. Marshals, the President said in a press release: “These individuals have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to public service throughout their careers.”

On July 21, the White House issued another press release announcing the nomination of three more U.S. Marshals and President Obama was quoted as saying: “Throughout their careers these individuals have shown a deep commitment to public service.” On Aug. 4, in announcing three more U.S. Marshals, the President said: “Throughout their careers, these dedicated law enforcement professionals have shown an unwavering commitment to public service.”

Get the point?

In other words, the White House just loads the press releases with boilerplate quotes that are in all likelihood written by someone else. In fact, don’t be surprised if the president never saw — let alone uttered those words before they went into the release, media experts say.

Reporters see the quotes as nothing more than boilerplate quotes, quotes to be ignored. They seldom end up in print or on the air unless there’s a need to fill some space.

NBC's Michael Isikoff/ meet the press photo

NBC's Michael Isikoff/ meet the press photo

“These are pretty much assembly line press releases churned out by some junior staffer toiling in the white house boiler room,” says Washington investigative reporter Michael Isikoff, formerly of Newsweek and now of NBC News.

The quotes, he said,  “generally go to the delete pile.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a written request for comment.

Don Goldberg, a former Clinton White House staff member and former investigative reporter for the late columnist Jack Anderson, said the boiler plate language is meant more for the families and relatives  to see.

Goldberg, a partner in Qorvis, a Washington corporate communications firm, said it’s likely someone on a lower level makes up some of the quotes and gets approval from someone higher up in the communication department.

After that, he said, ” they probably have a standard quote they use over and over again. The notion that they would spend time with the president or even the chief of staff on this, it’s just not what they do.”


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