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Entries in Rolling Stone (3)

Wednesday
Apr252012

Obama Talks Politics, Pop Culture With "Rolling Stone"

Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- After a week of interviews and speeches aimed at courting young voters, President Obama has taken his message to the cover of Rolling Stone.

In a wide-ranging interview that hits newsstands Friday, the president talks about everything from election-year politics to foreign policy to Mick Jagger.

With the general election fight under way, Obama stays largely on message and refuses to take any direct stabs at presumed GOP nominee Mitt Romney, but makes it clear his Republican rival will not be able to avoid the positions he’s been promoting on the campaign trail.

“I don’t think that their nominee is going to be able to suddenly say, ‘Everything I’ve said for the last six months, I didn’t mean.’ I’m assuming that he meant it. When you’re running for president, people are paying attention to what you’re saying,” he tells Rolling Stone’s Jann Wenner.

Heading into November, the president says his burden is to explain how his administration’s policies will give Americans the economic security they are looking for.

“There’s understandable skepticism, because things are still tough out there,” Obama says. “The fact of the matter is that times are still tough for too many people, and the recovery is still not as robust as we’d like, and that’s what will make it a close election. It’s not because the other side has a particularly persuasive theory in terms of how they’re going to move this country forward.”

Moving on to pop culture, the president dishes about hanging out with singer Mick Jagger and explains why he thinks The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart is “brilliant.”

“It’s amazing to me the degree to which he’s able to cut through a bunch of the nonsense, for young people in particular, where I think he ends up having more credibility than a lot of more conventional news programs do,” says the president, who admits to not watching a lot of TV.

When it comes to rocking 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Obama recalls spending 45 minutes watching Jagger rehearse for his White House concert in February and how  impressed he was with the respect the rock legend showed for the younger musicians around him. “It was great fun, just watching them work through stuff. And he had unbelievable energy. I tell you, that guy, when he performed the next night, he was as energized as he’s ever been.”

The president is also far from modest about his own vocal skills. “I can sing. I wasn’t worried about being able to hit those notes,” he says of his now famous rendition of the Al Green classic “Let’s Stay Together” at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. “The only problem with my Apollo performance is that everywhere I go now, somebody wants me to sing. My whole point is that the fewer the performances, the higher the ticket price, so you don’t want to overdo it,” he says.

The president’s Rolling Stone interview caps a week of outreach to young voters that included a stop by NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and visits to college campuses in three critical battleground states.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr182011

Pentagon Review Clears McChrystal in 'Rolling Stone' Controversy

Official White House photo by Pete Souza (file)(WASHINGTON) -- A military investigation has cleared Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his staff of violating military policy in their interactions with a Rolling Stone reporter.

The ensuing article, “The Runaway General,” published in June of 2010, portrayed General and staff frustrated with Washington policymakers and disrespectful of the chain of command. The article led to McCrystal being relieved of command of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and his subsequent retirement from the Army.

But the Pentagon's review of an earlier investigation could not verify many of the claims and anonymous quotes in the article. A six page memo, issued by the Department of Defense Inspector General disagrees with conclusions of an investigation by an Army Inspector General and issues the following two conclusions:

1. The evidence was insufficient to substantiate a violation of applicable DoD standards with respect to any of the incidents on which we focused,

2. Not all of the events at issue occurred as reported in the article. In some instances, we found no witness who acknowledged making or hearing the comments as reported. In other instances, we confirmed that the general substance of an incident at issue occurred, but not in the exact context described in the article.


McChrystal was appointed last week to a new board set up by the White House and First Lady Michelle Obama to help bring stability to the lives of military families.

That appointment was criticized by the mother of Pat Tillman, the former NFL player who was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in April of 2004. McChrystal signed off on a Silver Star citation for Tillman that did not mention he was killed by friendly fire even as he wrote an urgent memo to commanders at the Pentagon making clear Tillman likely was killed by friendly fire. He wrote the urgent memo to preclude and “public embarrassment if the circumstances of Corporal Tillman's death become public.”

The Pentagon Inspector General cleared McChrystal of any wrongdoing in that instance as well.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

Thursday
Feb242011

Top Military Officer Accused of Deploying Psy-Ops Against Lawmakers

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A top U.S. military officer in Afghanistan is under scrutiny for allegedly ordering the illegal use of "psychological operations" against American dignitaries during official visits to the country last year.

Among the visiting officials who may have been targeted by "psy-ops" was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Mike Mullen.

Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, who heads the effort to train Afghan forces, instructed subordinates to use tactics reserved exclusively to target the enemy, sources familiar with the situation told Rolling Stone magazine.

Caldwell reportedly sought to pressure U.S. senators and congressmen and other VIPs to provide more troops and funding for the war. Gen. David Petraeus, commader of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said he was preparing to open an investigation "to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding the issue."

Caldwell "categorically denies" the allegations, a spokesman told Rolling Stone.

The magazine report is based largely on the account of a reservist with the Texas National Guard, Lt. Colonel Michael Holmes, who lead the information operations unit in Kabul.

"My job in psy-ops is to play with people's heads, to get the enemy to behave the way we want them to behave," Holmes is quoted as saying. "I'm prohibited from doing that to our own people. When you ask me to try to use these skills on senators and congressmen, you're crossing a line."

Holmes said he was told to focus exclusively on a "deeper analysis of pressure points we could use to leverage the delegation for more funds."

The so-called "IO" unit compiled detailed research on the backgrounds of visiting dignitaries and honed Caldwell's presentations to be as compelling as possible, according to Holmes, who says he tried to resist Caldwell's orders and later reported them to superiors.

Federal law prohibits government use of propaganda techniques, including psychological tactics, on U.S. citizens.

The lawmakers allegedly targeted by the campaign include Arizona Sen. John McCain, Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, and Minnesota Sen. Al Franken.

The psy-ops team also may have targeted the Czech ambassador to Afghanistan and the German interior minister, according to documents obtained by the magazine.

"Charges of this nature are very serious and disturbing and have to be fully investigated," Reed said in an interview on MSNBC.

But he and other senators mentioned in the article insisted they were not swayed by any single briefing or encounter during a visit to Afghanistan.

"I try to get a broad view and not to put too much stake in any one position while I travel," said Reed, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam and who's been to Afghanistan 11 times.

"For years, I have strongly and repeatedly advocated for building up Afghan military capability because I believe only the Afghans can truly secure their nation's future. I have never needed any convincing on this point," said Levin. "I am confident that the chain of command will review any allegation that information operations have been improperly used in Afghanistan."

The latest Rolling Stone article, entitled "Another Runaway General," follows a June expose by the magazine that resulted in the resignation of the top U.S. military officer in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal. ´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio