Obama Attended VP Debate Moderator’s Wedding

Barack Obama attended Martha Raddatz' wedding. Now, she's moderating the VP debate. Conspiracy!

When Martha Raddatz got married 21 years ago, a young law student named Barack Obama attended her wedding. She’s set to host the vice presidential debate tomorrow night and her wedding guest also went on to do well for himself.

When I first saw the headlines on Twitter this morning, my inclination was that, while this was no big deal, it’s silly to have a debate moderator with such as obvious conflict of interest. Upon reading the story, though, I’m not sure there’s even that.

The Daily Caller (“ABC News scrambles to downplay Obama’s attendance at VP debate moderator’s wedding“):

President Barack Obama was a guest at the 1991 wedding of ABC senior foreign correspondent and vice presidential debate moderator Martha Raddatz, The Daily Caller has learned. Obama and groom Julius Genachowski, whom Obama would later tap to head the Federal Communications Commission, were Harvard Law School classmates at the time and members of the Harvard Law Review.

After TheDC made preliminary inquiries Monday to confirm Obama’s attendance at the wedding, ABC leaked a pre-emptive statement to news outlets including Politico and The Daily Beast Tuesday, revealing what may have been internal network pressure felt just days before Raddatz was scheduled to moderate the one and only vice-presidential debate Thursday night.

Both Politico and The Daily Beast jumped to ABC and Raddatz’s defense. The Huffington Post, a liberal news outlet, joined them shortly thereafter, while calling “unusual” ABC’s attempt to kill the story before it gained wide circulation.

 

So . . . Obama was a classmate and friend of the guy Raddatz married, not necessarily of Raddatz herself? Oh, and it turns out that she and Genachowski have been divorced since 1997.

Hell, the bigger scandal here is that Obama appointed his old law school buddy to head up the FCC. Except that that sort of thing happens all the time.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Media, Quick Takes, US Politics, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. John Peabody says:

    Agree. I can’t even remember what weddings I attended in the early 90s, let alone bothered by such a shaky connection. Anyone who is ‘disturbed’ by this is a twit.




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  2. Fiona says:

    Tucker Carlson has become a joke. Why would Raddatz risk her good reputation to influence the outcome of a debate for a guy who came to her first wedding ( she’s now on husband number three) as a guest of the groom?

    Please Tucker, try to regain whatever dignity you used to have.




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  3. More (ahem) journalism from The Daily Caller.

    What a joke.




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  4. Scott says:

    I read somewhere on line it’s called “working the refs”. Just about right. It’ll blow over by afternoon.




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  5. @Fiona: @Doug Mataconis: Indeed on Carlson and the DC. Yeesh.




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  6. ernieyeball says:

    NEWS FLASH: Dateline Hawaii…
    The Daily Caller has learned from reliable, unnamed sources with absolutely no axe to grind, that when Barack Obama was a child he stepped on MULTIPLE CRACKS in sidewalks BREAKING HIS MOTHERS BACK and contribting to her ULTIMATE DEMISE!
    The Caller is attempting to persuade authorites to exhume his mothers body and check selected Hawaiian sidewalks for the Presidents footprints!
    We are on this!!!




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  7. Gromitt Gunn says:

    If anything, wouldn’t a groom’s guest and law school buddy and his first wife be *less* likely to help each other out, not *more* likely?




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  8. Franklin says:

    So the Daily Caller neglected to mention the divorce?

    /sorry, can’t be bothered to click on their link …




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  9. rudderpedals says:

    Foundation laying for post-debate spin, nothing to see here folks, move along.

    I think I read the same article Scott did, it went on to recall the Gwen Ifill ref beating of 08.




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  10. James H says:

    Well, it does point up a rather bipartisan thing that never sits quite right with me. For a democracy, America seems to have a rather incestuous governing class.




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  11. James Joyner says:

    @James H: That was my first thought. But even that doesn’t really hold up: Obama was years away from being part of the “governing class” in 1991; he was a mere law student. And Raddatz, who was much older than Obama, was just a local journalist.

    The story would appear to be that our “governing class” consists mostly of people from a narrow feeder system that goes through Harvard and Yale. But we already knew that.




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  12. Rafer Janders says:

    Hell, the bigger scandal here is that Obama appointed his old law school buddy to head up the FCC. Except that that sort of thing happens all the time.

    Well, according to Wikipedia:

    “Genachowski was on the staffs of the Select Committee investigating the Iran-Contra Affair and then U.S. Representative Chuck Schumer. In 1994 FCC Chairman Reed Hundt hired him as a senior legal advisor; he was chief counsel 1996-1997. He was Chief of Business Operations and a member of Barry Diller’s Office of the Chairperson at IAC/InterActiveCorp and executive responsible for the creation of Fox Broadcasting Company and USA Broadcasting…He had previously served on the Boards of Directors of Expedia, Hotels.com, and Ticketmaster.
    Genachowski was a co-founder of LaunchBox Digital and Rock Creek Ventures; a Special Advisor at General Atlantic; and a member of the Boards of Directors at The Motley Fool, Web.com, Mark Ecko Enterprises, and Beliefnet. In April 2006, he was appointed to the Board of JackBe. He served on the Board of Common Sense Media, a leading organization seeking to improve the media lives of children and families and the Advisory Board of Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2). He also helped found the New Resource Bank, the country’s first commercial green bank.”

    Seems to be a highly intelligent lawyer and businessman experienced in the media and communications industry, and extremely well-suited to head up the FCC. So what’s the scandal, exactly? President is friends with qualified appointee?




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  13. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Joyner:

    The story would appear to be that our “governing class” consists mostly of people from a narrow feeder system that goes through Harvard and Yale. But we already knew that.

    And that Obama was able to get into that governing class despite having no prior connections with it, based solely on his intellect. He was a middle-class black kid from Hawaii with a funny name, but because he was smart and hard-working, he was accepted.




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  14. James Joyner says:

    @Rafer Janders: Mostly making a joke there. FCC isn’t exactly a plum gig and he did have legit qualifications and relevant background.




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  15. Tony W says:

    @ernieyeball: I think you meant Kenyan sidewalks…




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  16. stonetools says:

    Lord, what has John Stewart wrought?
    Since his ” I’m not your monkey” moment, Tucker Carlson seems bent on proving …. something or other. He looks like an idiot here.




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  17. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Joyner:

    Gotcha. But I’d disagree that FCC isn’t a plum gig. Sure, there are plummier, but as resume items go, it’s not a bad one. Beats digging ditches.




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  18. C. Clavin says:

    This entire thing confused me.
    Then I saw it was coming from Tucker Carlson and the Daily Caller.
    Now I understand.
    They ran out of 6 year old Obama speeches to resurect.




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  19. Murray says:

    “The Daily Caller …”

    Enough said.




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  20. Davebo says:

    “Hell, the bigger scandal here is that Obama appointed his old law school buddy to head up the FCC. Except that that sort of thing happens all the time.”.

    I seem to recall a young man with the last name of Powell getting that post in the recent past.




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  21. ernieyeball says:

    He was a middle-class black kid from Hawaii with a funny name, but because he was smart and hard-working, he was accepted.

    They ran out of 6 year old Obama speeches to resurect.

    Anyone who is an orator at such a young age can grow up to be President of the USA!




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  22. CSK says:

    @Fiona:

    Genachowski was her second husband. Her first husband was Ben Bradlee, Junior. She was a reporter for the ABC affiliate in Boston, and Bradlee was in editorial at the Boston Globe.




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  23. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Isn’t it simply understood that an ABC news drone and debate moderator will be a liberal hack with a pro-Obama agenda? How does that not go without saying? So whether it was this Raddatz character or some other numbskull from ABC the end result would be the same. Liberal talking points in lieu of legitimate questions or liberal talking points in lieu of legitimate questions. Six or half a dozen. C’est la vie.




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  24. JKB says:

    @Rafer Janders: because he was smart and hard-working

    Assumes facts not in evidence. Contemporary Obama has not demonstrated himself to be particularly smart or hard working. Stories of his earlier career have not demonstrated this either, particularly the hard working part. Perhaps young Obama had these traits but the evidence has not been released. Neither has the rational for his admittance to the Ivy league schools, which could have been influenced by his own claim of foreign birth and recent revelations of possible Saudi financial support.




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  25. JKB says:

    What is revealing is that a so-called professional news organization did not think it would be relevant to disclose the ties upon her selection. It’s not the conflict of interest, it’s the cover up.




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  26. Jen says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: Yes, just like Jim Lehrer from the dreaded anti-conservative PBS was in the tank for Obama. The post debate narrative clearly shows how biased he was toward the president. /s




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  27. David M says:

    @JKB:

    Contemporary Obama has not demonstrated himself to be particularly smart or hard working. Stories of his earlier career have not demonstrated this either, particularly the hard working part. Perhaps young Obama had these traits but the evidence has not been released. Neither has the rational for his admittance to the Ivy league schools, which could have been influenced by his own claim of foreign birth and recent revelations of possible Saudi financial support.

    OK, you’re just trolling now, no one could possibly believe that.




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  28. grumpy realist says:

    @JKB: WHAT “own claim of foreign birth”?

    I swear, you’re not going to be satisfied until the poor guy is dangling at the end of a rope.




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  29. David M says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Isn’t it simply understood that an ABC news drone and debate moderator will be a liberal hack with a pro-Obama agenda? How does that not go without saying? So whether it was this Raddatz character or some other numbskull from ABC the end result would be the same. Liberal talking points in lieu of legitimate questions or liberal talking points in lieu of legitimate questions.

    Do you really think there wouldn’t be a difference if the moderator was from Daily Kos or ThinkProgress instead of ABC?




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  30. James H says:

    @James Joyner:

    Yes, the 21-year-old Obama was not part of the governing class. And, yes, we already knew that Harvard and Yale are the feeder system therein. But that doesn’t make me any more comfortable with the notion that the folks who hold real influence in this country seem to come from an insular group.




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  31. CSK says:

    @James H:
    Obama was actually 30 when he graduated from HLS. But no matter. Raddatz was 38; Genachowski, her then-husband, was 29. If anyone cares. I was present at the occasion.




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  32. bk says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Isn’t it simply understood that an ABC news drone and debate moderator will be a liberal hack with a pro-Obama agenda?

    By mouthbreathers, perhaps. In the meantime, I don’t recall the “Daily Caller” getting all upset over the fact that a sitting Supreme Court Justice was sleeping with the head of a firm that was lobbying against Obamacare. No conflict there.




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  33. MM says:

    Obama was actually 30 when he graduated from HLS. But no matter. Raddatz was 38; Genachowski, her then-husband, was 29. If anyone cares. I was present at the occasion.

    Was there genuflecting towards Mao, or maniacal laughter about the splendid future of Manchurian candidate Obama that we need to be aware of?

    Lord, what has John Stewart wrought?
    Since his ” I’m not your monkey” moment, Tucker Carlson seems bent on proving …. something or other. He looks like an idiot here.

    I think Carlson saw the street cred and the money that Breitbart was getting and just wants to jump onto the conservative alt-journalism gravy train.




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  34. JKB says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I’m not sure what your concern is as it is well known Obama had a claim of Keynian birth for a long time in his book bio. Frontline over at PBS has an interview with an old classmate from Hawaii who tells that 10-yr old, new in school Barry Obama claimed to be Keynian royalty and/or an Indonesian prince. So there is a history of Obama embellishing his background when it suited him.




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  35. David M says:

    @JKB:

    The claim “Obama had a claim of Kenyan birth” is at best misleading and more likely a lie. Well done sir, I am again in awe of your person integrity.




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  36. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @JKB: Wouldn’t it make you feel better to just come right out and call him shiftless and uppity?




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