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Bystander-in-chief?


Whenever a new problem emerges - and there have been a lot of them over the past year - President Obama seems to say that he had no knowledge of it before it was in the media.

As the video here highlights, on issue after issue - from the IRS's targeting of conservative groups to NSA eavesdropping on Angela Merkel to the malfunctioning Obamacare website, and more - the President's standard response is "I didn't know, I found out when you did". This has led to charges that he is a "bystander" President, and not only from Republicans.  A front-page article in the New York Times earlier this week discussed growing talk of Obama the Onlooker:

As a practical matter, no president can be aware of everything going on in the sprawling government he theoretically manages. But as a matter of politics, Mr. Obama’s plea of ignorance may do less to deflect blame than to prompt new questions about just how much in charge he really is.

Although "I didn't know" is a type of defence, the cumulative effect is to make the President appear clueless.

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