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  Former Aide Blames Bush For Leak DeceitNovember 20, 2007 20:39 Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan blames President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for efforts to mislead the public about the role of White House aides in leaking the identity of a CIA operative.

In an excerpt from his forthcoming book, McClellan recounts the 2003 news conference in which he told reporters that aides Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby were "not involved" in the leak involving operative Valerie Plame.

"There was one problem. It was not true," McClellan writes, according to a brief excerpt released Tuesday. "I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest-ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice president, the president's chief of staff and the president himself."

Bush's chief of staff at the time was Andrew Card.

The excerpt, posted on the Web site of publisher PublicAffairs, renews questions about what went on in the West Wing and how much Bush and Cheney knew about the leak. For years, it was McClellan's job to field — and often duck — those types of questions.

Now that he's spurring them, answers are equally hard to come by.

White House press secretary Dana Perino said it wasn't clear what McClellan meant in the excerpt. "The president has not and would not ask his spokespeople to pass on false information," she said.

Plame issued a statement saying the opposite.

"I am outraged to learn that former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan confirms that he was sent out to lie to the press corps," Plame said. "Even more shocking, McClellan confirms that not only Karl Rove and Scooter Libby told him to lie but Vice President Cheney, presidential Chief of Staff Andrew Card and President Bush also ordered McClellan to issue his misleading statement."

 
  Former Giuliani Protege Pleads Not GuiltyNovember 09, 2007 10:21 Former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik pleaded not guilty Friday to federal charges of conspiracy, tax fraud and making false statements.

Bernard Kerik's indictment comes a year after he admitted to misdemeanor charges of financial impropriety.

Kerik entered the plea in federal court in White Plains, New York, after investigators announced a 16-count indictment against him.

Prosecutors say Kerik received about $255,000 in renovations to his Riverdale, New York, apartment from a company seeking to do business with the city of New York and concealed the income from the Internal Revenue Service.

The indictment also charges Kerik made several false statements to the White House and other federal officials.

"It is a sad day when this office returns an indictment against a former law-enforcement officer," U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia said in announcing the charges, "particularly one who served in positions as high as those held by Bernard Kerik."

If convicted on all 16 counts in the indictment, Kerik could face a maximum sentence of 142 years in prison and $4.7 million in fines, prosecutors said.

"Moral relativism is not an appropriate yardstick for our public officials," said David Cardona, special agent in charge of the New York FBI office. "The only acceptable level of corruption in a trusted government official is zero."

Kerik's attorney, Ken Breen, was unavailable for comment.

Kerik surrendered to officials Friday morning for his noon arraignment, an FBI spokesman said.
  Analysis: Right Splinters On GOP FieldNovember 07, 2007 16:17 The splintering of prominent Christian conservatives over the Republican presidential contenders reflects a schism _ between the dogma of God, guns and gays and the desire to beat Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Months of disagreement within this important GOP voting bloc culminated this week in a flurry of endorsements:

Televangelist Pat Robertson is backing Rudy Giuliani. Conservative Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas is supporting fellow Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Moral Majority co-founder Paul Weyrich is going for Mitt Romney.

All the candidates are flawed in the eyes of the Christian right, which is why some evangelical leaders are holding out and might favor a third-party candidate.

"You've got a wide-open primary, and you have various people who are ideologically acceptable _ not perfect, but ideologically acceptable," Brownback said in an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press.

"If they're acceptable and can win, that's better than losing," Brownback said, speaking by telephone on a campaign swing through Iowa with McCain. "I think you're seeing a more pragmatic expression taking place."

For his part, Robertson said he worries not about electability but about terrorists. Also, he feels reassured that Giuliani would appoint Supreme Court justices who view abortion from a conservative stance.
  Ex-Illinois Gov. Ryan Headed For PrisonNovember 07, 2007 09:40 Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan will surrender himself to begin serving a prison term, his lawyer said on Tuesday after a Supreme Court justice turned down a bid from the Nobel Peace Prize nominee to remain free while he appeals his corruption conviction.

"He said OK ... He said he was prepared to surrender," Jim Thompson, Ryan's lawyer and himself a former Illinois governor, told reporters about the 73-year-old Ryan's reaction when he got the word.

Thompson said he would accompany Ryan to a federal prison in Oxford, Wisconsin, where he must report by sunset on Wednesday to begin serving a 6-1/2 year sentence. He did not say exactly when Ryan would travel to the prison, a minimum-security facility in rural Wisconsin.

Ryan, who was promoted for several years for a Nobel Peace Prize because of his opposition to the death penalty, had filed an emergency request for continued bail pending his appeal to the top U.S. court. But Justice John Paul Stevens turned him down on Tuesday.

A jury convicted Ryan and lobbyist Larry Warner on 18 counts of racketeering, conspiracy, fraud and other offenses involving favoritism and kickbacks for state contracts and property leases that enriched Ryan and his friends.
  Oh, the Hypocrisy of it: Rev. Pat Robertson Endorses Rudy Giuliani, Despite Abortion StanceNovember 07, 2007 09:32 Rudy Giuliani Wednesday morning won the endorsement of the Rev. Pat Robertson, one of the evangelical Christian movement's most recognizable leaders, who said he put aside his differences with Giuliani over abortion because he believes the ex-mayor will appoint staunchly conservative judges.

Robertson also said he is backing Giuliani because "to me, the overriding issue before the American people is the defense of our population from the bloodlust of Islamic terrorists. . . . We need a leader with a bold vision who is not afraid to tackle the challenges ahead."

Robertson said he was willing to overlook Giulani's pro-abortion rights stance because he takes him at his word that he will appoint "strict constructionist" judges to the Supreme Court and federal bench –- a widely accepted term for judges likely to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion rights ruling.

Robertson's endorsement is a coup for Giuliani, who has struggled to convince conservative Christian leaders that he would be an acceptable Republican nominee despite his long-standing support of abortion rights and gay rights, plus his somewhat messy personal life.

"Having him aboard gives us a great deal of confidence because he has a tremendous amount of insight into what the main issues are and how they should be dealt with. His advice is invaluable and his friendship is even more invaluable," Giuliani said at a news conference here.

Robertson is a pioneering figure in the Christian conservative movement, but he has been controversial at times, particularly in the days after 9/11 when he appeared to endorse comments by the Rev. Jerry Falwell that the attacks were brought on by a decadent society.