Oliver North
PITTSBURGH -- According to the experts, this ought to be "Obama Country." In the 2008 presidential election, the Obama "Hope and Change" machine scored big in western Pennsylvania, carrying the region with nearly 58 percent of the vote. But this week, there's little evidence of that support here in the Steel City, where more than 70,000 freedom-loving Americans have gathered for the National Rifle Association's 140th annual meeting.

On Wednesday, while NRA officials were making final preparations for the "Three Rivers Celebration of American Values," President Barack Obama made an unanticipated visit to the White House pressroom for a "special announcement." Several police officers -- veterans of the campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan or both -- were in the security operations center here when a duty officer announced that the television networks were interrupting regular programming for live coverage of urgent presidential remarks.

Because this was transpiring on the 206th anniversary of the first U.S. Marine expedition -- to "the shores of Tripoli" -- it occurred to some that the commander in chief might be going to deliver an important message about the current chaos in Libya, the Middle East or Afghanistan. But no, POTUS had something of far greater consequence on his mind -- more crucial than American troops fighting a two-front war, the NATO-generated stalemate in North Africa or a bloodbath in Syria. He wanted to talk about his birth certificate.

Obama's blessedly brief comments, delivered without the aid of a teleprompter, stunned everyone in the room. "You've got to be kidding me!" and "They broke in for (SET ITAL) that (END ITAL)?" were the least onerous expletive-deleted comments from the "audience" in the security center.

Their critique had nothing to do with where Obama was born. Little was said about why he had waited -- "for 2 1/2 years," by his own admission -- to resolve what he described as "this kind of silliness." Instead, the overwhelming sentiment was colossal disappointment that the leader of the Free World had stooped to whine about being "distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers" while our nation confronts monumental problems.

"I'm ashamed to say, I voted for him," one of the policemen said to me as we walked out of the command post. He continued: "My National Guard unit was called up for duty in Iraq while Bush was president. After Obama was elected, I volunteered to go to Afghanistan with a police (mobile training team). Though I didn't agree with George Bush about Iraq, I never doubted he really meant it when he said he cared about all of us over there and prayed for us every day. But all Obama thinks about is himself."


Oliver North

Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.