The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pants On Fire: Obama And His $102,000 Retainer For Bo And Sunny!

US Presidents throughout US History have housed a family dog in or near the White House. Some US Presidents actually housed animals  other than the customary "man's best friend." From Lyndon Baines Johnson through the 44th President (with a possible exception for Jimmie Cater) all lived with canine in tow. Ah, life for the family canine is a wonderful life!


Until this man won election in 2008 and dared to win again in 2012.   It seems the 2012 General Election saw voters who voted for and clinched a second term for President Obama was simply too much for millions across the land. The seething hatred has even led to angst even for the Obama's Bo and Sunny.  My  introduction will become clear after a few words about the source of a fact check about President Obama and his Oval Office pets. 


Tampa Bay Times Politifact has come under scrutiny and serious disparaging from some on the Left. Rachel Maddow has rightfully depicted serious problems with the fact-checking authority on two to three occasions. The most recent complaint about the Fact-checker was point-on and duly delivered via the progressive liberal show host: Greenlee Gazette (excuse the 30 second advertisement). Maddow has a point. And, yes a few noted progressive Facebook pages have sworn-off Politifact. 

I plan to continue use of the fact-checker,along with additional scrutiny to verify its rating system with other sources. The TPI will not just write-off the fact-checking group as a total waste with zero absence of "cred" credibility.That said,  we are offering a Politifact piece that screams for web site posting.

President Obama has a $102,000 dog-trainer at tax payer expense!

The Truth-O-Meter Says:

Does Obama have a 'dog-trainer on retainer for $102,000 a year at taxpayer expense'?

Readers recently forwarded us an email that’s been making the rounds for several years. Because it appears to have returned  to heavy rotation, we decided to do a few fact checks from among its dozens of claims, all of which are critical of President Barack Obama.
Here, we’ll check the claim that Obama is paying a pretty penny in taxpayer money -- specifically $102,000 a year -- to keep a dog trainer on retainer. The White House didn't respond to our inquiry, but we were able to piece the story together on our own.
Presidents have a long history of family pets, dating all the way back to George Washington, who kept dogs, horses and even a parrot. During his presidency,Theodore Roosevelt housed enough animals to run a small petting zoo on the south lawn, including 13 horses, six dogs, several cats, and even such exotic animals as a zebra.
The Obama White House is certainly pet-friendly, but a little more tame: The Obamas have two Portuguese water dogs, Bo and Sunny. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., gave Bo as a gift to the Obamas in 2009 (fulfilling one of the newly inaugurated president’s campaign promises), and Sunny joined in August 2013.
It’s obvious that the family adores Bo, but do they spend more than $100,000 per year to have a dog handler at their beck and call?
Suggestions that the Obamas were spending lavishly on Bo circulated at least as far back as 2010. That’s when bloggers claimed that Bo had flown solo to Maine in a private jet when the family took a trip there, based on an article in a local newspaper, the Morning Sentinel, which had reported that Bo had arrived "in a small jet before the Obamas" along with "the president's personal aide, Reggie Love."
We and others debunked the claim that Bo flew on his own airplane. In reality, the airport in Waterville, Maine, could not accommodate Obama’s usual airplane, so Obama and his staff flew into a different airport on separate jets, one of which carried several members of Obama’s presidential staff and Bo.
The Sentinel later issued a correction: "Today's story about the arrival of the Obamas said the Obamas' dog and one aide arrived on a small jet before the First Family, but there were other occupants on the plane, including several other staffers."
But this that wasn’t enough to stop pieces of the rumor from morphing into another outrageous claim about Bo.
Some of these rumors focused on Love, who holds a job known informally as the presidential "body man" -- a position that combines aspects of scheduler, valet, and conversational partner.Love began to work for Obama in 2006 and served as the president’s personal aide from 2009 until 2011. That meant that he was at Obama’s side almost constantly.
Because the Morning Sentinel listed Love as Bo’s one and only traveling companion, some bloggers incorrectly assumed (or willfully spread the fiction) that his job was "dog trainer." Meanwhile, a 2011 report to Congress confirmed that Love was paid $102,000 a year. Love’s salary matches that listed in the chain email.
But Love was far from a dog trainer. His job was to provide any necessary personal assistance and arrangements for the leader of the Free World. The notion that Obama was keeping a dog trainer on retainer for $102,000 a year is nonsense.
In tracking Bo’s history, we did find references to one trainer, Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz, who trained the dog before his introduction to the presidential lifestyle.
Sylvia-Stasiewicz was known for training dogs who lived among Washington’s politicians, including Kennedy’s family, who took Bo to her before giving the dog to the Obamas. According to the Washington Post, the Kennedy’s worked with Sylvia-Stasiewicz to determine "whether the dog would be suitable for a very busy family with two young daughters." By her own admission, Sylvia-Stasiewicz was unaware that the dogs’ final destination would be the White House.
However, according to the "Annual Reports to Congress on White House Staff," she was never paid by the Obama administration.
Our Ruling
The chain email said that "Obama is the first president to keep a dog trainer on retainer for $102,000 a year at taxpayer expense." The claim stitches together a few pieces of accurate information in a way that makes them inaccurate.
A dog trainer, Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz, has been associated with Bo, but she was used briefly and was never paid by the administration. Meanwhile, Reggie Love was an Obama aide who earned $102,000, but to the extent that dog handling took any of his time, it was a small fraction of his total duties, and "dog handler" certainly wasn’t his title.
We rate this claim Pants on Fire.

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