RNC "Daisy" Ad Missing Some Petals Of Truth

May 22, 2009 9:19 am ET

Evidently out of new ideas, the RNC released an ad titled "Daisy" based on a controversial 1964 LBJ political ad. The ad also included a clip of White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs saying closing Guantanamo Bay was a hasty decision.  The full exchange between Gibbs and the press reveals that Gibbs actually said that the "hasty decision" was made by the previous administration and that Guantanamo Bay "was a mistake to set up [as] a rallying cry for enemies around the world."

Gibbs Comment Featured In "Daisy" Ad:

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs: "We have made some hasty decisions that are now going to take some time to unwind. And closing Guantanamo Bay obviously is one of those decisions." [ABC News, 5/21/09]

However, The Ad Took Gibbs' Quote Completely Out Of Context.  The Full Excerpt Of His Statement Is As Follows:

MR. GIBBS:  Well, the President -- as I said yesterday, the President understands there are a lot of thorny decisions that have to be made, that we're going to work with Congress in order to make them.  We've made some of them in the last few days, working with Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill, working through issues about how to bring detainees to swift and certain justice.

Some of that has been applauded and some of that has been derided.  But the President understands that there aren't any easy decisions in this.  But he's going to continue to work in this administration and work with this Congress in order to fulfill the promise that he made in the executive order in closing Guantanamo Bay.

Q    This is a President who has not been afraid to admit that he made a mistake in the past when he made one.  If you say Congress deserves a plan before we ask them for resources, was it a mistake to ask for the resources before you give them a plan?

MR. GIBBS:  It was a mistake to set up something that became a rallying cry for enemies around the world and to hope for so long that we could simply continue to perpetuate the theory of keeping detainees there while the courts ruled otherwise. 

I don't doubt that the President -- and I think he'll say this tomorrow -- that we've made some hasty decisions that are now going to take some time to unwind.  And closing Guantanamo Bay obviously is one of those decisions.

[...]

Q    Thank you.  All right.  And you said hasty -- you talked about hasty decisions tomorrow, that it's going to take some time to unwind.  Are you talking about the President's hasty decisions or the previous administration's hasty decision as it regards Guantanamo?

MR. GIBBS:  No, no, no, I'm sorry, let me be -- good question.  My boss might want to know the answer to that.  (Laughter.)  No, no, I'm discussing decisions that were made in the previous administration --

   You were not referring to the executive order --

MR. GIBBS:  No, no, no --

Q    -- as a hasty decision.

MR. GIBBS:  No. 

Q    Absolutely not?

MR. GIBBS:  Thank you for letting me clarify that before I go see the boss later this afternoon.

 [White House, accessed 5/22/09, emphasis added]

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