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Obama vs. Bush on natl. security

From NBC's Mark Murray
The failed terrorist attack on Christmas Day has produced a slew of stories during this otherwise slow Christmas/New Year's holiday season -- on the Nigerian man who allegedly tried to blow up the Detroit-bound plane, on how the passengers subdued him, and on the stepped-up security measures.

But this Washington Post article, in particular, has drawn our interest: on the difference between President Obama's response and George W. Bush's. "After the attempted terrorist act, Obama sought answers to questions about the suspect and asked for new security steps at airports, White House officials said. But he did not ask to raise the nation's threat level -- and, in fact, left the decision entirely to [Homeland Security Secretary] Napolitano, senior officials said. Nor did he rush to address the public on camera, though he is likely to do so in the next few days, an official said." (In fact, Obama is set to make a statement later today.)

The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder offers this reason why Obama has remained quiet until today. "Here's the theory: a two-bit mook is sent by Al Qaeda to do a dastardly deed. He winds up neutering himself. Literally. Authorities respond appropriately; the president (as this president is wont to) presides over the federal response. His senior aides speak for him, letting reporters know that he's videoconferencing regularly, that he's ordering a review of terrorist watch lists, that he's discoursing with his secretary of Homeland Security."

"But an in-person Obama statement isn't needed; Indeed, a message expressing command, control, outrage and anger might elevate the importance of the deed, would generate panic (because Obama usually DOESN'T talk about the specifics of cases like this, and so him deciding to do so would cue the American people to respond in a way that exacerbates the situation)."