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Jefferson County Recorder Of Deeds' Anti-Obama Comments Ignite Social Media Furor

Screenshot from Progress Missouri

Jefferson County Recorder of Deeds Debbie Dunnegan Waters contends that she was simply asking a question when she posted an item on Facebook this week asking members of the military “why no action is being taken” against President Barack Obama, who she refers to as “our domestic enemy” and “supposedly our commander in chief.”

Her query went viral Friday on Twitter, and prompted a deluge of emails – pro and con – into her inbox.

Waters,a Republican running for re-election in November,says she isn’t advocating the overthrow of the government or physical harm to Obama.

“I just wanted to know what oath (the military) took,” she said in a telephone interview. “I’m not calling the president a domestic enemy. I’m not calling the president anything. He is the president. Do I agree with what the president is doing? Absolutely not.  Anybody that asks me, I’ll be happy to tell you that.”

Waters’ Facebook post is generating sharp criticism from Democrats, who have circulated it on Twitter and posted it on various websites.

“What she posted is really troubling,’’ said Sean Nicholson, executive director of Progress Missouri, a progressive activist group that is displaying Waters’ Facebook item on its website. “What in the world does she mean by ‘action against our domestic enemy...supposedly the commander in chief?’ "? 

Braxton Payne, who works for a local Democratic consulting firm, is credited with first publicizing Waters’ comments. He said he posted the link several times on Twitter because he was outraged with her Facebook comments, especially since she is an elected official.

Waters said her Facebook post – put up a couple days ago – was prompted by her anger over how Obama is addressing the dual crises of the Ebola disease spreading overseas and the ISIS terrorism group in the Middle East.  She is upset that the president has sent troops to Africa to deal with the disease but is not sending ground troops to fight ISIS.

She said she can’t understand “why we can fight a virus with boots on the ground, but not humans with boots on the ground when they’re cutting people’s heads off.”

In any case, Waters said she is stunned that her Facebook comments have generated a controversy. “I should have known better than to use certain phrases,’’ she observed. “Maybe my choice of words was bad.”

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.