Archive for January 25th, 2012

Rescued By A Speech?

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Jessica Buchanan

OK – call me the most cynical man in America – but I’m a little suspicious of Jessica Buchanan’s rescue from Somalian pirates on the DAY of Obama’s State of the Union speech.  (Tuesday night EST is Wednesday morning in Somalia.)

I’m very happy that the American woman and her Danish colleague were snatched from the hands of kidnappers by US Seals after negotiations failed.  I’m not even bothered that nine pirates were killed in the rescue – I figure that’s an occupational hazard of kidnapping people. But the timing of this whole operation is raising my eyebrows to new heights.

The two were kidnapped in early October – nearly 4-months ago.  “High-level negotiations for their release” started around November.  Last week, new intelligence emerged indicating that Ms. Buchanan’s health was in (unspecified) danger. This gave the operation “a sense of urgency,” according to Pentagon officials.  Obama told them to start planning a raid which Seals successfully completed only hours before he addressed the nation.

As the President stepped before Congress last night, he looked at Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and said: “Leon, good job tonight, good job.” Leon grinned back.

As a speechwriter for over 30-years, I can tell you opportunities for great opening remarks as powerful as those rarely come along.  Maybe sometimes you have to push them a little.