November 20 2012

A Brief Comment on Talking Points

Julie Gunlock

Much has been said about Susan Rice and those bothersome talking points. Charlotte's continuing coverage keeps me up-to-date (and laughing!).  Some Democrats in Congress, thinking they can squeeze a little more blood out of the War on Women angle, are trying to shield Rice from having to admit any guilt over her misleading statements to the American people by claiming criticism of Rice is somehow sexist. Again, Charlotte’s analysis (here, here, and here) of this strategy is spot on.

As annoying as I find the war on women narrative, Rice's defenders are even more irritating when they seem to give life to these talking points; suggesting the talking points themselves betrayed the country; not the person reading the talking points.

Take, for instance, the press' constant discussion of who changed the talking points. It's a veritable witch hunt out there to find the official who changed the wording on those talkers. Are we to believe that Susan Rice is somehow a victim of someone else's bad writing or some higher-ups' overzealous editing? 

It appears this is her defense. 

I've worked for several members of Congress and have written my share of talking points and I have never seen a member of Congress deliver talking points without first reviewing them and very often, making changes to them. That's because, ultimately, Congressmen (at least the ones for which I worked) understood that it wouldn’t be a staffer delivering the comments or taking the heat for any errors or inaccuracies; it was them. Their reputations were on the line.

Susan Rice knew exactly what she was doing when she repeated those talking points. She ultimately read them on five network news programs. This isn’t North Korea (yet). She could have refused. 

She didn’t. That was her choice to make. Now she should act like a grown woman, and own up to her mistakes.

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