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U.S. President Barack Obama listens in a conference at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, June 11, 2013.


U.S. President Barack Obama listens in a conference at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, June 11, 2013.

Event Summary

On Tuesday afternoon, AEI’s Danielle Pletka, Jonah Goldberg, and Marc Thiessen hosted a Google Hangout to discuss the scandals that have embroiled the White House in recent weeks.

Thiessen began by defending the Obama administration’s pursuit of officials who have leaked classified information, but he expressed reservations about certain investigative tactics. Goldberg argued that the US Department of Justice acted practically in granting appropriate deference to the press without creating special rights for reporters to divulge classified information. 

Switching gears, Pletka acknowledged that the 2012 Benghazi attack could have happened on any president’s watch, but faulted the Obama administration in particular for obfuscating the details of the attack and its subsequent coverup.

Thiessen observed how the Reagan-era “peace-through-strength” coalition has frayed to the point of breaking. The GOP is united in its criticism of President Obama as commander in chief, he said, but it is divided on issues ranging from defense cuts to the Syrian conflict to Afghanistan strategy. Goldberg concluded that unanimity on any foreign policy topic in the coming years may be elusive within the GOP. 
–Stephan Burklin

Event Description

In recent weeks, the White House has been under siege from all sides for its stewardship of the nation’s executive authority. The Obama administration has been accused of eavesdropping on journalists, of unfairly targeting conservative nonprofits, and of botching (and belatedly trying to cover up) national security crises.

The president tried to change the subject by announcing the beginning of the end of the war on terror, but raised more questions than he answered, including: Does the 2012 Benghazi attack coverup have implications for Syria? Will we ever close Guantanamo? How will a lame-duck president keep America safe and restore his credibility?

AEI scholars Danielle Pletka, Marc Thiessen, and Jonah Goldberg will discuss the scandals plaguing the White House and consider likely implications. We invite you to tune in to their Google Hangout conversation.

RSVP to participate in this Google Hangout
Click here on June 4 at 1:15 PM ET to participate in this Google Hangout

This event will be livestreamed.


1:15 PM
Jonah Goldberg, AEI
Marc A. Thiessen, AEI
Danielle Pletka, AEI

2:00 PM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Alex Della Rocchetta at [email protected], 202.862.7152. 

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.

Speaker Biographies

Jonah Goldberg is a fellow at AEI and a bestselling author and columnist. His nationally syndicated column appears regularly in scores of newspapers across the United States. He is also a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, a member of the board of contributors to USA Today, a contributor to Fox News, a contributing editor to National Review, and the founding editor of National Review Online. In 2011, he was named the Robert J. Novak Journalist of the Year at the Conservative Political Action Conference. He has written on politics, media, and culture for a wide variety of publications and has appeared on numerous television and radio programs. Before joining National Review, he was a founding producer for “Think Tank with Ben Wattenberg” on PBS and wrote and produced several other PBS documentaries. He is the recipient of the prestigious Lowell Thomas Award. He is also the author of two New York Times bestsellers: “The Tyranny of Clichés” (Sentinel HC, 2012) and “Liberal Fascism” (Doubleday, 2008). At AEI, Goldberg writes about political and cultural issues for and the AEIdeas blog.

Danielle Pletka was a long-time US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations senior professional staff member for the Near East and South Asia. In that role, Pletka was the point person on the Middle East, Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan issues. As the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI, Pletka writes on national security matters with a focus on Iran and weapons proliferation, the Middle East, Syria, Israel, and the Arab Spring. She also studies and writes about South Asia (Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan). She is the coeditor of “Dissent and Reform in the Arab World: Empowering Democrats” (AEI Press, 2008) and the coauthor of “Containing and Deterring a Nuclear Iran” (AEI Press, 2011). Her most recent study, “Iranian influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan,” was published in May 2012. She is currently working on a follow-up report on US–Iranian competitive strategies in the Middle East, to be published in the summer of 2013.

Marc Thiessen was a member of the White House senior staff under former president George W. Bush. He served as chief speechwriter to Bush and to former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld. Before joining the Bush administration, Thiessen spent more than six years as spokesman and senior policy adviser to former Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Jesse Helms. He is a weekly columnist for The Washington Post, and his articles can be found in many major publications. His book on the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation program, “Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack” (Regnery Press, 2010), is a New York Times bestseller. As a fellow at AEI, Thiessen writes about US foreign and defense policy issues for The American and the AEIdeas blog. He appears every Sunday on Fox News Channel’s “Fox and Friends” and makes frequent appearances on other TV and talk radio programs.

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