Now that The One has weighed in on this urgent matter, I can finally end my hunger strike. Quick background: Pop sensation Nicki Minaj caused a minor stir last week when she appeared to endorse Mitt Romney during a freestyle rap session (audio NSFW). Is a young, black, female, multi-platinum recording artist allowed to commit such political heresy? Could she really have meant what she said, or was it just part of the show? The President of the United States waded into this national mystery -- at last! -- and offered his interpretation of Minaj's political rhapsody:
Phew. I was beginning to really worry that Obama may have lost Nicki Minaj, so I'm eternally grateful for the detailed clarification. ("She likes to play different characters." Actual presidential quote). I'm also impressed that our president has so much bandwidth that he's able to stay current on the latest stylings of hip-hop artists. Thankfully, we can rest assured that he isn't neglecting anything more important as he accommodates these pressing concerns -- like, say, meeting with his jobs council. Or superficial stuff like this:
President Obama is touting his foreign policy experience on the campaign trail, but startling new statistics suggest that national security has not necessarily been the personal priority the president makes it out to be. It turns out that more than half the time, the commander in chief does not attend his daily intelligence meeting. The Government Accountability Institute examined President Obama’s schedule from the day he took office until mid-June 2012, to see how often he attended his Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) — the meeting at which he is briefed on the most critical intelligence threats to the country. During his first 1,225 days in office, Obama attended his 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.
The article quotes an Obama spokesman downplaying the importance of Obama being physically present at these national security meetings, but it's clear that his predecessor adopted an entirely different approach to the briefings:
By contrast, Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush almost never missed his daily intelligence meeting....While the Bush records are not yet available electronically for analysis, officials tell me the former president held his intelligence meeting six days a week, no exceptions — usually with the vice president, the White House chief of staff, the national security adviser, the director of National Intelligence, or their deputies, and CIA briefers in attendance. Once a week, he held an expanded Homeland Security briefing that included the Homeland Security adviser, the FBI director and other homeland security officials. Bush also did more than 100 hour-long “deep dives” in which he invited intelligence analysts into the Oval Office to get their unvarnished and sometimes differing views. Such meetings deepened the president’s understanding of the issues and helped analysts better understand the problems with which he was wrestling.
Relax, guys. The dude's "got a lot on his plate," and besides, haven't you heard? He got Bin Laden, so everything's fine. Parting thought: Maybe Nicki Minaj's endorsement was genuine. I've actually read that she's a stickler about work ethic (no joke), plus she might feel alienated by Obama's gutting of NASA (joke):