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A tale of two Barack Obamas

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: June 3, 2013

After it was revealed the Justice Department had obtained phone records, as well as personal and work email records, of reporters at The Associated Press and Fox News, and even labeled one reporter a criminal “co-conspirator,” Obama simply announced that Attorney General Eric Holder would review the department's “guidelines governing investigations that involve reporters” and report back by July 12.

In all three cases, Obama issued vague denunciations of alleged abuses and failures, but the in-charge presidential persona seen in Moore was nowhere to be found. With the flip of a switch, Obama went from authoritative CEO to out-of-the-loop intern.

Clearly, Obama wants to have it both ways, claiming to be an in-charge leader one moment, then a powerless bystander the next, based on crass political considerations, not his actual involvement in any activity.

Given that Oklahomans are benefitting from federal disaster response, some will no doubt argue we should ignore this administration's failures elsewhere. But Americans have a right to expect competence and ethics in all parts of government at all times.

In Moore, Obama declared, “When we say that we've got your back, I promise you, we keep our word.” The value of this promise shouldn't be tied to which of the two Obamas stands behind the podium at the time. Given what happened to four Americans in Benghazi who had reason to think the government really had their backs, skepticism is justified.