The New York Daily News this morning:
More than 40 heads of state came together in Paris to denounce a wave of terrorism that defiled the City of Light last week — yet there was one glaring exception: The U.S. sent only a low-level official.
French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron and dozens of other world leaders all took part in the powerful denunciation of last week’s terror attacks that left 17 innocents dead.
Even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas set aside their differences to march together on Boulevard Voltaire.
But the nation that stands as the symbolic face of the war on terror was nowhere in sight.
No high-level official from the administration came to the rally sponsored by the French embassy in Washington, D.C., either. And remember Obama’s slow, soporific comments earlier in the week, where he sounded like he was groggy from cold medicine.
Look at this lineup below…
French President Francois Hollande, center, is surrounded by heads of state including (left to right) Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Council President Donald Tusk and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as they attend the solidarity march in Paris.
And imagine how much more powerful it would be if the leader of the free world -- remember when we called a U.S. president that? -- were there, walking arm in arm with the rest of them.
This is not some right-wing assessment. Ask Jake Tapper:
A man and his son came over to me holding a sign saying “I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” beseeching me to share their message with the American people. And world leaders were standing together amidst a procession that included Francois Hollande of France, Angela Merkel of Germany, David Cameron of Great Britain, Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, along with the leaders of Mali, Jordan and Turkey.
It is no small thing for the king of Jordan, a direct descendent of the Prophet Mohammed, to march in a rally prompted by the murders of people who mocked Islam as well as of innocent Jews -- all of whom were killed by Islamic extremists.
The United States, which considers itself to be the most important nation in the world, was not represented in this march -- arguably one of the most important public demonstrations in Europe in the last generation -- except by U.S. Ambassador Jane Hartley, who may have been a few rows back. I didn’t see her. Even Russia sent Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
I say this as an American -- not as a journalist, not as a representative of CNN -- but as an American: I was ashamed.
I certainly understand the security concerns when it comes to sending President Barack Obama, though I can’t imagine they’re necessarily any greater than sending the lineup of other world leaders, especially in aggregate.
But I find it hard to believe that collectively President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Attorney General Eric Holder -- who was actually in France that day for a conference on counterterrorism -- just had no time in their schedules on Sunday. Holder had time to do the Sunday shows via satellite but not to show the world that he stood with the people of France?
There was higher-level Obama administration representation on this season’s episodes of “The Good Wife” on CBS.