US Politics

  Bush Argues with Iraq War CriticsSeptember 30, 2006 10:07 President Bush and opposition Democrats continue to argue about the war in Iraq, as political tensions rise with congressional elections now just over a month away. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.
President Bush is keeping up his attack on critics of the war in Iraq, with a speech Friday to the Reserve Officers Association. He defended his decision to topple Saddam Hussein, and again made reference to the leak of a U.S. intelligence report that says fighting in Iraq is creating a new generation of terrorist leaders.

The analysis by 16 U.S. intelligence agencies says the war is breeding a deep resentment of U.S. involvement in the Muslim world, while cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement.

Mr. Bush says portions of that report were leaked to the press for political purposes, and are being used by opposition Democrats to justify their calls to bring U.S. troops home.

  No on Dale Groutage: Favors Change In Endangered Species ActSeptember 29, 2006 11:06 We do not support Dale Groutage for senate in Wyoming, who wants to change the Endangered Species Act to give ranchers more control over killing wolves. Wolf populations are still at historically low levels in the 48 contiguous states.
  House Passes Disputed Anti-terror BillSeptember 28, 2006 08:34 The House approved a new system of questioning and prosecuting terrorism suspects yesterday, setting clearer limits on CIA interrogation techniques but denying access to courts for detainees seeking to challenge their imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and elsewhere.

The 253-168 vote was a victory for President Bush and fellow Republicans. Bush had yielded some ground during weeks of negotiations, but he embraced the language that the House approved with support from 34 Democrats and all but seven Republicans.

Senators also began debating the measure yesterday and defeated, along party lines, a Democrat-sponsored amendment that would have expanded detainees' legal rights. Senators predicted that their chamber will approve the legislation today, which would enable Bush to sign the bill shortly before the Nov. 7 elections.
  Who Are George Allen'S Critics And Where Have They Been?September 26, 2006 21:07 The crumbling of George Allen's political career is taking place before our eyes and Virginians ought to try to understand why this is happening.

This is a classic snowballing political story. Set off by a gaffe (the macaca incident), the story gathered speed because the candidate stumbled and wandered and lurched from explanation to explanation (macaca referred to on e thing, then another, then the senator had never heard the word before), and then another badly-handled situation came along (the Jewish question.) And through it all, reporters have been hearing from readers, Virginians and people who knew the Allen family in some way over the decades--all with stories that seem to connect to one or another of Allen's apparent flaws. By now, his honesty, his straightforwardness, his basic humanity all seem to be in doubt.

How could this happen to someone who has been in elective politics for more than two decades, to someone who ran for and was elected to the jobs of governor and senator, and was--for a few moments at least--a leading candidate for president of the United States?

  Hillary Charges Back In Husband'S DefenseSeptember 26, 2006 21:03 Hillary Rodham Clinton is emerging as her husband's key defender in the who-lost-Osama fight, but the senator's role as family protector could boomerang to hurt her career, Clinton-watchers say.

Responding to negative remarks about Bill Clinton by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the senator went on the attack Tuesday, saying the former president was more responsive to pre-Sept. 11, 2001 intelligence than Bush or Rice.

"I'm certain that if my husband and his national security team had been shown a classified report entitled 'Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside United States,' he would have taken it more seriously than history suggests it was taken by our current president and his national security team," she told reporters on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

Sen. Clinton was referring to an August 2001 intelligence memo claiming al-Qaida wanted to hijack civilian airliners; Rice and other administration officials didn't take immediate action on the information.
  White House May Declassify Iraq/Terrorism ReportSeptember 26, 2006 11:36 The White House said Tuesday it may release at least portions of a secret intelligence assessment after news reports said the document showed Iraq had worsened the threat from terrorism.
"There`s been calls for it, and it`s being given serious consideration," spokeswoman Dana Perino said of the classified National Intelligence Estimate for Iraq and terrorism, which represents the consensus view in Washington.

Opposition Democrats have seized on news reports of the document to attack the White House, with just over one month before critical November legislative elections.

  Moderator Wallace Takes A Breather After Bubba BashingSeptember 25, 2006 23:53 What a relief last night for debate moderator, Chris Wallace.

On Sunday on Fox TV Bill Clinton had Chris Wallace coiled into the fetal position as the former Alpha president jabbed angrily at Chris’ thigh, “looking like Gary Busey after a three-day coke bender,” according to New Hampshire political watcher Karl Zahn.

On Monday it was Chris tossing questions to the “folks at the bottom” representative, the Green-Rainbow party’s Grace Ross.

“Yeah, well, you know, we talk about an outside voice,” she said sitting among the millionaire candidates. “I make about $20,000 to $30,000 a year.”

On Sunday it was eyes-a-blazing Bill vs. Chris in his pink tie, leaning as far back in his chair as he could go without totally tipping over while Bill bore down on him, practically snorting.

“I was like, ‘Go Bill,”’ said a very impressed Jane Denis of Natick.

Then on Monday it was Chris vs. Christy Mihos. Clearly the chirpiest candidate in the history of America, Christy told viewers how he has “spoken truth to power” and is “not beholden to the special interests,” and how “we are the laughingstock of the nation on this Big Dig.”

Back to Sunday and the Chris-and-Clinton show again. “I felt kind of bad for the guy (Wallace),” said Robin Lebeaux of Milford. “Clinton creamed him. It was the bully on the twerp on the playground.”
  Ellsworth Linked To Abramoff DonationsSeptember 21, 2006 10:06 Democrat Brad Ellsworth has done the same thing he criticized incumbent Republican Rep. John Hostettler of doing: taking donations from House members who took money from convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Federal Election Commission records indicate Ellsworth has taken more - $7,574 in contributions to Hostettler's $5,000.

Calling it Hostettler's "Abramoff Connection," Ellsworth's campaign charged Monday that the 8th District congressman took contributions in 2004 from Congressmen Eric Cantor, R-Va., Jack Kingston, R-Ga., Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., and John Linder, R-Ga.

The four Republicans had accepted a total of $31,000 from Abramoff or his clients during

The time Abramoff represented them, according to The Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks money in politics.
  Religion Enters U.S. Senate Race In VASeptember 21, 2006 10:01 When the Forward, a Jewish newspaper in New York, looked into a rumor last month that Virginia Sen. George Allen - whose political base sits securely in the Christian right - was descended from prominent Italian Jews, editor J.J. Goldberg said it was in many ways meant to satisfy "a curiosity."

This week, it turned into a campaign issue.

As he debated his Democratic opponent James H. Webb Jr. this week, Allen was asked whether his mother's father was Jewish. Allen lashed out. Not only was the question "not relevant," he complained that the questioner was "making aspersions about people because of their religious beliefs." The next day, he confirmed that his grandfather had been Jewish but reaffirmed that "I was raised a Christian and my mother was raised as a Christian."

Allen is not the first politician to learn, in a similarly public way, that he has Jewish ancestors. The others took it as an intriguing window into their pasts, a way to link previously unconnected dots. But Allen appears to be the first to have had such a visceral reaction and have it so publicly.
  Massachusetts Voters To Decide Next Governor In Historic ElectionSeptember 20, 2006 08:43 Massachusetts voters face a historic choice on Nov. 7 that could result in the state's first black or its first female elected governor, after the primary campaign whittled the major party candidates to Democrat Deval Patrick and Republican Kerry Healey.

While independent Christy Mihos and Grace Ross of the Green-Rainbow Party will also be on the general election ballot, Healey and Patrick showed from their acceptance speeches on Tuesday that theirs will not only be an epic, but also a high-octane contest.

Each is looking to succeed Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, who opted not to seek a second term as he considers a run for president. Although the Democratic Party remains dominant in Massachusetts, it has not held the governor's office since 1991, when Michael S. Dukakis finished his term.
  Poll: Democrat Leads Minn. Senate Race - Washingtonpost.ComSeptember 18, 2006 11:17 A new poll showed Democrat Amy Klobuchar with a strong lead over Republican Rep. Mark Kennedy in the U.S. Senate race, with the election less than two months away.

Klobuchar, the Hennepin county attorney, was leading Kennedy 56 percent to 32 percent, according to the Star Tribune's Minnesota Poll published Monday.

A July poll showed Klobuchar with 50 percent of likely voters' support compared to 31 percent for Kennedy.

The two are vying for the seat being vacated by Democrat Mark Dayton, who is retiring after one term. The race is considered a chance for Republicans to pick up a Democrat-held seat.

Independence Party candidate Robert Fitzgerald remains at 3 percent; other candidates garnered less than 1 percent.
  Ney + Abramoff = Martinez (R-FL)September 16, 2006 08:36 It hasn't gotten much attention, but Bob Ney's guilty plea released today contained dirt on at least one other politician.

In the document, Ney fessed up to lobbying Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL), then a Bush cabinet official, on behalf of an Abramoff client. The official's department later acted favorably toward Abramoff's client, according to news accounts.

Ney admitted to arranging a January, 2003 meeting with Mel Martinez, then Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, to "[advance] the interests of Abramoff's Native American Indian Tribal clients."

Ney told Martinez that his "number one priority as the newly installed Chairman of the Housing Subcommittee was Native American Indian Tribal housing," according to the plea.
  Rep. Ney (R-OH) Faces Prison TermSeptember 15, 2006 08:38 Ohio Rep. Bob Ney has admitted improperly accepting tens of thousands of dollars worth of trips, meals, sports tickets and casino chips while trying to win favors for a disgraced Washington lobbyist and a foreign aviation company run by a gambler known as "the Fat Man."

Ney, a six-term Republican, had defiantly denied any wrongdoing for months, but he reversed course and agreed to plead guilty in court papers filed Friday. Prosecutors will recommend he serve 27 months in prison. Ney was expected to formally plead guilty in court Oct. 13.

"I have made serious mistakes and am sorry for them," said Ney, 52. "I am very sorry for the pain I have caused to my family, my constituents in Ohio and my colleagues."

Ney became the first lawmaker to admit wrongdoing in the congressional corruption investigation spawned by disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

  Moderate Republican Wins But Has Tough Job AheadSeptember 13, 2006 08:58 Moderate Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, who has bucked President Bush on tax cuts and the war in Iraq, defeated a conservative challenger Tuesday in a contest crucial to the larger fight for control of Congress.

With 72 percent of precincts reporting, Chafee was declared the winner with 55 percent of the vote to Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey's 45 percent.

The last big day of primaries before the November elections also brought an intriguing Democratic contest for the Senate in Maryland. Nine states had primaries Tuesday -- including Arizona, Delaware, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and Wisconsin -- and the District of Columbia.
  Democrats Blast Bush For 'Playing Politics' With 9/11September 12, 2006 11:16 The White House quarreled with Democrats Tuesday over whether President Bush was trying to win political points by using a September 11 anniversary speech to defend the war in Iraq and his war on terror.

Bush spokesman Tony Snow said although there were "three or four sentences" in the president's 17-minute address Monday night that could be considered controversial, Bush took pains not to be partisan. He said Bush had to discuss the dominant issue of Iraq, but he wasn't "picking fights" or making any demands of Congress.

"This was not a speech that was designed to single out anybody for partisan reasons, but gave the president's honest reflections and reactions to what has happened since September 11, 2001," Snow said. "The president decided that yesterday wasn't a day for partisanship."

Democrats, in a campaign to win control of Congress from the president's Republican Party, charged that Bush was using a national day of mourning for partisan gain. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said Tuesday that Bush was "more consumed by staying the course in Iraq and playing election-year politics."
  Commentary: Bush Still Fighting The Last WarSeptember 11, 2006 10:22 Do you feel safer than you did five years ago? Republicans hope the answer is yes and that you'll give them full credit.

Of course, on a related note, they also hope you've developed full-fledged amnesia.

They hope you've forgotten all about immigration reform and how the White House and GOP-controlled Congress were going to fix a broken system and seal a porous border -- things that make many Americans feel less safe and less secure.

Five years after the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Bush administration is still fighting the last war.

We require that air travelers remove their shoes and toss out water bottles before boarding airplanes when what we should worry about isn't a repeat of something that already happened, but something that hasn't yet been dreamt up.

It is worse with immigration where Bush -- despite having a good grasp of the issue -- doesn't want to fight at all, perhaps since it means firing at members of his own party.

The shame of it is that the president has plenty of weapons in his arsenal. According to the Republican National Committee, Bush has, in the last 15 months, raised $166 million for the coffers of 27 Republican candidates, the national GOP and its state chapters across the country.

  Down The Homestretch, The House Wanders Off CourseSeptember 08, 2006 15:19 While I support HR503, I agree with this columnist as well. Spend a half hour to save horses, then get on with the real business!

Let us stipulate, as the lawyers like to say, that horses should not be slaughtered for human consumption.

Let us further stipulate that there is nothing inherently offensive about minting coins to commemorate the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth.

Still, the question arises: What are House Republicans thinking?

Returning from a five-week summer vacation, GOP lawmakers have much to worry about: war in Iraq and Afghanistan, terrorism and border problems, high energy prices and health-care costs, and none of the federal government's annual spending bills enacted.

So what did House leaders decide to make the centerpiece of the week? H.R. 503: the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. This legislation, passed yesterday, followed Wednesday's action on a full slate of bills including H.R. 2808, the Abraham Lincoln Commemorative Coin Act.
  Clinton Officials To Abc: Fix Or Pull 9/11 MiniseriesSeptember 07, 2006 12:17 A miniseries about the events leading to the September 11 attacks is "terribly wrong" and ABC should correct it or not air it, former Clinton administration officials demanded in letters to the head of ABC's parent company.

But in a statement released Thursday afternoon in apparent response to the growing uproar, ABC said, "No one has seen the final version of the film, because the editing process is not yet complete, so criticisms of film specifics are premature and irresponsible."

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, Clinton Foundation head Bruce Lindsey and Clinton adviser Douglas Band all wrote in the past week to Robert Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Co., to express concern over "The Path to 9/11."

The two-part miniseries, scheduled to be broadcast on Sunday and Monday, is drawn from interviews and documents including the report of the September 11 commission. ABC has described it as a "dramatization" as opposed to a documentary.
  Ok, Let’S Talk About Security, Say DemsSeptember 06, 2006 09:38 Democrats aggressively engaged Republicans on national security issues yesterday, even adopting some of the GOP’s tactics, as the two parties heightened their rhetorical battle over who is best equipped to keep Americans safe after the November election.

Republicans are working in the two months before November’s vote to shift national attention to security issues that helped them win in 2002 and 2004. The president and other administration officials have made a string of speeches in recent days on the Iraq war and the broader war on terrorism. And Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) plans to highlight national security issues on the floor this month, including possible votes on military tribunals and the government’s domestic wiretapping program.

“Five years after our nation was attacked, the terrorist danger remains,” President Bush said in a speech delivered at the Capital Hilton yesterday.

Democrats say the debate on national security suits them just fine.

“Invading Iraq was a mistake, a strategic blunder, a step, a major step in the wrong direction for winning the war on terror,” said retired Gen. Wesley Clark, a 2004 Democratic presidential contender.
  Despite Ridicule Even From Her Party, Harris Wins Race For Florida Republican Senate NominationSeptember 06, 2006 09:26 U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris, who as Florida secretary of state oversaw the controversial recount that gave George W. Bush the 2000 U.S. presidential election, claimed the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate despite a campaign ridiculed even by her own party.

In the gubernatorial primary, U.S. Rep. won the Democratic nomination to succeed popular Gov. Jeb Bush.

Harris next faces an uphill battle against incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, who had no primary challenger. Polls have shown Nelson more than 30 points ahead in a general election matchup.

"Tonight is great victory for our party and for Florida," Harris said late Tuesday. "It's a great victory because it shows each of us we can overcome adversity to achieve extraordinary victories."

Davis won a concession from state Sen. Rod Smith, who trailed 47 percent to 41 percent with 96 percent of precincts reporting. Davis' opponent in November will be Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist, who claimed the Republican nomination to replace Bush.
  Rumsfeld And The "New Fascism"September 04, 2006 21:52 When Donald Rumsfeld warns, as he did in his speech at the American Legion Convention in Salt Lake City last week, about "a new type of fascism" he is correct, but in the opposite manner from the intent of his explosive remarks.
When Democrats fight back by flailing at Rumsfeld and stating that he should leave for advocating the wrong policies regarding the Iraq War the question that remains is: If Rumsfeld leaves before sundown what kind of replacement will surface? After that the corollary question should be asked of, "Will a definitive policy change be made?"

The most cursory look at the Cheney-Bush playbook provides one resounding answer - there will be no change. The reason is that the game plan for global empire established when Bush's father was in office and declared the dawning of a New World Order is looming ever larger with breakneck rapidity.

Rumsfeld is one of the "good old boys" of the Project for the New American Century. This is the gang that invoked a New Pearl Harbor in a famous position paper as it sought to mold the world in accordance with its image.

This New World Order would be led by Washington neoconservatives with the likes of the Carlyle Group, Halliburton, and Bechtel forming the new praetorian global guard in the manner of the ancient Rome that ultimately collapsed under the quicksand of its own towering greed.
  Religious Zealots Don’T Belong In CongressSeptember 04, 2006 21:51 U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris is entitled to her religious convictions. However, when the Florida congresswoman uses zealotry to misinform people about the Constitution for political gain, that’s where we have to draw the line.

Even before Harris put her foot in her mouth about church-state separation, she hadn’t a prayer of being the Republican that beats Sen. Bill Nelson in November. She faces three other candidates seeking the GOP nomination in Tuesday’s primary.

Other Republicans like her wouldn’t mind an American theocracy. But Harris is so politically clumsy that she’s become a liability. She’s Hurricane Kay, a windbag destroying the GOP’s chances of gaining a Senate seat in Florida.

Republicans think Nelson is vulnerable, but most think Harris isn’t the one to bring him down. Her remarks to a Baptist publication confirmed their opinion and worsened our suspicions.
  GOP's Hold On House ShakierSeptember 03, 2006 10:37 Raye Haug, a retired librarian in northern Virginia, for years happily voted to reelect her longtime congressman, Republican Frank R. Wolf. But the GOP record of the last six years — on foreign policy, the economy and the environment — has so soured Haug that she wants to vote for a Democrat in this year's midterm election.

Any Democrat.

"I don't think I've ever before been willing to vote for someone just because of their party affiliation," said Haug, who walked precincts one sweltering Saturday for Judy Feder, Wolf's Democratic opponent, even though she knew little about her.

As Labor Day signals the start of intense campaigning for the Nov. 7 election, the political landscape is crowded with disgruntled voters like Haug, who tell pollsters they don't like the direction the country has taken under President Bush and Republican rule in Congress.
  GOP's Hold On House ShakierSeptember 03, 2006 10:37 Raye Haug, a retired librarian in northern Virginia, for years happily voted to reelect her longtime congressman, Republican Frank R. Wolf. But the GOP record of the last six years — on foreign policy, the economy and the environment — has so soured Haug that she wants to vote for a Democrat in this year's midterm election.

Any Democrat.

"I don't think I've ever before been willing to vote for someone just because of their party affiliation," said Haug, who walked precincts one sweltering Saturday for Judy Feder, Wolf's Democratic opponent, even though she knew little about her.

As Labor Day signals the start of intense campaigning for the Nov. 7 election, the political landscape is crowded with disgruntled voters like Haug, who tell pollsters they don't like the direction the country has taken under President Bush and Republican rule in Congress.