Mitt Romney is now receiving regular intelligence briefings. This means that he is better informed that Barack Obama, who skips most of his intelligence briefings. Over the past year, the president attended just 38% of his briefings. He missed every briefing in the week leading up to the 9/11/2012 attack.
Always eager to be too clever by half, the White House is actually trying to spin this as a strength for Obama. They argue that he is so smart he doesn’t need briefings; he can get everything he needs from the briefing book. It’s only dullards like George W Bush that actually want to hear from the intel guys directly, ask questions, and have a conversation.
I’m not making this up: Dana Milbank actually says that Bush held intelligence briefings because he didn’t like to read:
This is how it was done in the Clinton administration, before Bush decided he would prefer to read less.
How it was done in the Clinton administration is not a record to emulate. CIA Director James Woolsey lamented his lack of access to President Clinton, and was never once able to obtain a one-on-one meeting. Woolsey said “It wasn’t that I had a bad relationship with the president. It just didn’t exist.” He also reportedly once joked “Remember the guy who in 1994 crashed his plane onto the White House lawn? That was me trying to get an appointment to see President Clinton.”
UPDATE: Since the story broke, Obama’s attendance has improved dramatically, with him attending the meeting five days in a row. The last time that happened was February.
But wait, I’m confused! I thought that Obama was too smart to need intelligence briefings. Did he get dumber? Explain it to me, Dana Milbank!