American Future Fund: “Security”

American Future Fund suggests President Obama has been negligent on his national security duties, claiming he “skips 50 percent of his national security briefings” and insinuating that he blew off a meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he was in New York for the U.N. General Assembly meeting. In reality, President Obama reads his security briefing each day and is regularly updated by intelligence personnel, and while there was never any in-person meeting scheduled with Netanyahu, they did speak on the phone.

President Obama Reads A Daily Paper Briefing When He Is Not Able To Attend In-Person Briefings

Claim That Obama Skips Half His Security Briefing Comes From Conservative Opinion Writer Marc Thiessen And Conservative Government Accountability Institute. From Thiessen’s September 25, 2012, Washington Post column: “After hearing from sources in the intelligence community that President Obama was not attending his daily intelligence meeting on a daily basis, I asked researchers at the Government Accountability Institute, a nonpartisan research group headed by Peter Schweizer (who is also my business partner in a speechwriting firm, Oval Office Writers) to examine at Obama’s official schedule. We found during his first 1,225 days in office, Obama had attended his daily meeting to discuss the Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) just 536 times — or 43.8 percent of the time. During 2011 and the first half of 2012, his attendance became even less frequent — falling to just over 38 percent.” [, 9/25/12]

  • Thiessen Is A Fellow With The Conservative American Enterprise Institute And A Former Bush Speechwriter. From Thiessen’s American Enterprise Institute bio: “A member of the White House senior staff under President George W. Bush, Marc A. Thiessen served as chief speechwriter to the president and to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. […] At AEI, Thiessen writes about U.S. foreign and defense policy issues for The American and the Enterprise Blog.” [, accessed 10/4/12]
  • GAI Is A Conservative Research Organization Run By Thiessen’s Partner. From the Washington Post: “Marc Thiessen has posted a response to this column, in which he argues that practices before the September 11 attacks should not be considered. It is an interesting, if not very factual argument. (Reagan, for instance, suffered the loss of 241 servicemen in Beirut as a result of a terror act.) We also find it curious that he now discloses the study was done at his request, by his business partner, and that he now describes the Government Accountability Institute as ‘nonpartisan’ whereas in his earlier column he had called it a ‘conservative investigative research organization.’” [, 9/24/12]

Concept Of ‘Skipping’ Security Briefings Relies On False Notion That In-Person Briefings Are Scheduled Every Day. From the Washington Post: “Marc Thiessen, a former Bush speechwriter who writes an opinion column for The Washington Post, then drew attention to what he called the ‘startling new statistics’ in the [Government Accountability Institute] report. […] That column also includes the White House’s response — that Obama reads his PDB every day, but he does not always require an in-person briefing every day. The White House argument is that this is how Obama structured his White House operation, so it is specious to say he has ‘skipped’ a meeting that was not actually scheduled.” [, 9/24/12]

White House: Obama Reads Brief Daily And Has In-Person Meetings Most Days When At The White House. From White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: “He receives a presidential daily briefing, a PDB, every day of the week.  He has briefings in person with his national security team most days when he is at the White House.  He has extensive conversations with, meetings with and updates from his senior national security team, separate and apart from those specific meetings and from the PDB that’s prepared every day for him.  And when he is on the road — as you know, he travels, as is the custom, with senior national security staff and is kept abreast of all the information that is provided in the PDB on a regular basis, and is in regular contact with his senior national security staff in Washington when he’s on the road.” [, 9/13/12]

Even Without A Dedicated Daily In-Person Meeting, Obama Is Briefed By Intelligence Officials Throughout The Day. From White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: “Well, let’s be clear, because it’s selective representation of the facts about the last few days.  Just in the last 24 hours, the President has been briefed numerous times, directly, by National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, by Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough, by Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor John Brennan, and others, including a secure call at 2:00 p.m. yesterday and another briefing at 10:00 p.m. yesterday.  And he did, as he does every day, obviously have a presidential daily briefing today, and constant updates from his team. […] [W]hen he is here in Washington he has briefings in person in the Oval Office with his national security team regularly.  And when he is on the road, he has phone conversations that supplement and augment the briefings he receives on paper that are specific to the so-called PDB.” [, 9/14/12]

Recent Presidents Have Preferred Various Briefing Styles – By Same Logic, President Reagan Skipped 99 Percent Of Briefings. From the Washington Post: “Clearly, different presidents have structured their daily briefing from the CIA to fit their unique personal styles. Many did not have an oral briefing, while three — two of whom are named Bush — preferred to deal directly with a CIA official. Obama appears to have opted for a melding of the two approaches, in which he receives oral briefings, but not as frequently as his predecessor. […] As it turns out, no president does it the exact same way. Under the standards of this ad, Republican icon Ronald Reagan skipped his intelligence briefings 99 percent of the time.” [, 9/24/12]

Obama Did Not Skip Any Scheduled Meetings With World Leaders

American Future Fund cites an editorial from the conservative Investors Business Daily to prove the president is “too busy to meet with our closest ally” in the Middle East, and displays on-screen text saying “Obama skips diplomacy… makes time for ‘The View’”.

Obama “Did Not Skip Any Scheduled Meetings.” From the Center for Public Integrity: “Obama did not skip any scheduled meetings at the UN with world leaders — he declined to hold impromptu sideline meetings that sometimes follow annual UN conferences, according to news reports.” [, 10/2/12]

Obama Went On The View Two Weeks After Libya Attack. From the Center for Public Integrity: “Obama went to Las Vegas the next day, the official White House schedule shows, and spoke of the attack. And the president, as the ad seems to suggest, did not ‘snub key allies’ the day of the attack in Libya to be on ‘The View.’ His television appearance was two weeks after the attack.” [, 10/2/12]

Secretary Clinton Met With Netanyahu And Other World Leaders In Person During UN Assembly Meeting In New York. From the Associated Press: “The new hope for negotiated end to Iran’s decade-long nuclear standoff came after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with the foreign ministers of Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — powers that have sought, over several rounds of talks, to persuade Iran to halt its production of material that could be used in nuclear weapons. All such efforts have failed so far. […] Clinton met later Thursday with Netanyahu one-on-one for 75 minutes at a New York hotel where she was expected to hear the alternative argument for possible military action. The U.S. official said they agreed that Iran must be prevented from becoming a nuclear power, without going into details. Their meeting occurred just hours after the Israeli leader warned in an address to the U.N. General Assembly that Iran will have enough enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon by next summer.” [Associated Press via, 9/27/12]

Obama Spoke With Netanyahu By Phone On September 28. From the Associated Press: “The White House says President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (neh-ten-YAH’-hoo) remain in ‘full agreement’ about keeping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. The Obama administration’s account of Friday’s phone call offered no mention of Netanyahu’s dire declaration to the U.N. General Assembly. The Israeli leader on Thursday held up an image of a bomb and warned that the world only has until next summer to stop Iran from building one.” [Associated Press via, 9/28/12]

  • White House: Obama’s Schedule Prevented Meeting With Netanyahu In Person During UN Assembly. From the BBC: “Mr Netanyahu’s team had asked for talks during the UN General Assembly in New York, but US officials said Mr Obama’s schedule would not allow it. Mr Netanyahu has met Mr Obama on all but one of his US trips since 2009. […] US officials said the president and Mr Netanyahu were in ‘frequent contact’  and that the Israeli leader would meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton instead. Mr Obama – who is in the middle of an election campaign – is due to speak at the UN General Assembly in New York on 25 September, while Mr Netanyahu will give an address on 28 September. ‘They’re simply not in the city at the same time,’ White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said. He added: ‘Contrary to previous press reports, there was never any request for a meeting between the prime minister and president in Washington, nor was this request ever denied.’” [, 9/11/12]

[NARRATOR:] President Obama skips 50 percent of his national security briefings. September 11, 2012, our ambassador is murdered. U.S. embassies under attack. Our president skips his security briefing the next day to attend a fundraiser in Vegas. Al Qaeda surges. Turmoil engulfs the Middle East. Our president too busy to meet with our closest ally in the region. Is America leading? Are we safer? It’s time for a leader who takes charge. American Future Fund is responsible for the content of this advertising. [American Future Fund via, 10/3/12]