The Yahoo! Groups Product Blog
- Members: 34
- Category: Presidents
- Founded: Jun 23, 2004
- Language: English
Yahoo! Groups Tips
Did you know...
Message search is now enhanced, find messages faster. Take it for a spin.
Show Message Summaries
Sort by Date
This reminds me of the great outcry a few months ago
when Democrats refused to debate on FOX:
Nevada Dems Nix Fox Debate
By: Ryan Grim
March 12, 2007 11:59 AM EST
The Nevada State Democratic Party is pulling out of a
controversial presidential debate scheduled for Aug.
14 in Reno and co-hosted by Fox News, according to a
letter released late Friday from state party chairman
Tom Collins and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
The letter said Nevada Democrats had entered into the
agreement with Fox, despite strong opposition from
Democratic activist groups such as MoveOn.org, as a
way of finding "new ways to talk to new people."
But Collins and Reid wrote that comments on Thursday
by FOX News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, when he
jokingly compared Democratic presidential candidate
Barack Obama, the junior senator from Illinois, to
Osama bin Laden, "went too far," and prompted Nevada
Democrats to end the partnership.
"We cannot, as good Democrats, put our party in a
position to defend such comments," the letter said.
"In light of his comments, we have concluded that it
is not possible to hold a presidential debate that
will focus on our candidates and are therefore
cancelling our August debate. We take no pleasure in
this, but it is the only course of action."
The debate was to be hosted by Fox News Channel and
Fox News Radio, the Nevada State Democratic Party and
the Western Majority Project.
A statement released Friday night from Fox Vice
President David Rhodes said: "News organizations will
want to think twice before getting involved in the
Nevada Democratic Caucus, which appears to be
controlled by radical fringe, out-of-state in interest
groups, not the Nevada Democratic Party. In the past,
MoveOn.org has said they 'own' the Democratic party.
While most Democrats don't agree with that, it's
clearly the case in Nevada."
--- Julie Keller <julieannkeller@...> wrote:
Except for McCain and Paul.
Continuing Rush’s content (in thepost directly below)
that YouTube is a gigantic liberal conspiracy,Jose
Antonio Vargas at WashingtonPost.com learnsthat so
far, only two Republican candidates have signed up for
. . . But so far, only Sen. John McCain (Ariz.)
andRep. Ron Paul (Tex.) have agreed to participate in
the debate,co-hosted by Republican Party of Florida in
St. Petersburg. . . .
Sources familiar with the Guiliani campaign said he’s
unlikely toparticipate. . . .
In an interview Wednesday with the Manchester (N.H.)
Union Leader,Romney said he’s not a fan of the
CNN/YouTube format. Referring to thevideo of a snowman
asking the Democratic candidates about globalwarming,
Romney quipped, “I think the presidency ought to be
held at ahigher level than having to answer questions
from a snowman.” . . .
“We’re very hopeful that all the campaigns will get on
board,”said Steve Grove, head of news and politics at
Added state Republican spokeswoman Erin VanSickle:
“It’s animportant debate in an important battleground
state that just moved itsprimary to Jan. 29th. In
other words, we have every confidence thatthey will
attend. They can’t afford not to.”
When in the course of human events, it becomes
necessary for onepeople to dissolve the political
bands which have connected them withanother, and to
assume among the powers of the earth, the separate
andequal station to which the Laws of Nature and of
Nature's God entitlethem, a decent respect to the
opinions of mankind requires that theyshould declare
the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men
are createdequal, that they are endowed by their
Creator with certain inalienablerights, that among
these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
That to secure these rights, governments are
instituted among men,deriving their just powers from
the consent of the governed. Thatwhenever any form of
government becomes destructive of these ends, itis the
right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to
institute newgovernment, laying its foundation on such
principles and organizing itspowers in such form, as
to them shall seem most likely to effect theirsafety
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long
established shouldnot be changed for light and
transient causes; and accordingly allexperience hath
shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer,
whileevils are sufferable, than to right themselves by
abolishing the formsto which they are accustomed.
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations,
pursuing invariablythe same object evinces a design to
reduce them under absolutedespotism, it is their
right, it is their duty, to throw off suchgovernment,
and to provide new guards for their future security.
So,can we ITMFA?
July 29, 2007
In the ’60s, a Future Candidate Poured Her Heart Out
By MARK LEIBOVICH
WASHINGTON, July 28 — They were high school friends
from Park Ridge, Ill., both high achievers headed East
to college. John Peavoy was a bookish film buff bound
for Princeton, Hillary Rodham a driven, civic-minded
Republican going off to Wellesley. They were not
especially close, but they found each other smart and
“interesting” and said they would try to keep in
Which they did, prodigiously, exchanging dozens of
letters between the late summer of 1965 and the spring
of 1969. Ms. Rodham’s 30 dispatches are by turns
angst-ridden and prosaic, glib and brooding, anguished
and ebullient — a rare unfiltered look into the head
and heart of a future first lady and would-be
president. Their private expressiveness stands in
sharp contrast to the ever-disciplined political
persona she presents to the public now.
“Since Xmas vacation, I’ve gone through three and a
half metamorphoses and am beginning to feel as though
there is a smorgasbord of personalities spread before
me,” Ms. Rodham wrote to Mr. Peavoy in April 1967. “So
far, I’ve used alienated academic, involved
pseudo-hippie, educational and social reformer and
one-half of withdrawn simplicity.”
Befitting college students of any era, the letters are
also self-absorbed and revelatory, missives from an
unformed and vulnerable striver who had, in her own
words, “not yet reconciled myself to the fate of not
being the star.”
“Sunday was lethargic from the beginning as I wallowed
in a morass of general and specific dislike and pity
for most people but me especially,” Ms. Rodham
reported in a letter postmarked Oct. 3, 1967.
In other letters, she would convey a mounting
exasperation with her rigid conservative father and
disdain for both “debutante” dormmates and an
acid-dropping friend. She would issue a blanket
condemnation of the “boys” she had met (“who know a
lot about ‘self’ and nothing about ‘man’ ”) and also
tell of an encounter she had with “a Dartmouth boy”
the previous weekend.
“It always seems as though I write you when I’ve been
thinking too much again,” Ms. Rodham wrote in one of
her first notes to Mr. Peavoy, postmarked Nov. 15,
1965. She later joked that she planned to keep his
letters and “make a million” when he became famous.
“Don’t begrudge me my mercenary interest,” she wrote.
Of course, it was Hillary Rodham Clinton who became
famous while Mr. Peavoy has lived out his life in
contented obscurity as an English professor at Scripps
College, a small woman’s school in Southern California
where he has taught since 1977. Every bit the
wild-haired academic, with big silver glasses tucked
behind bushy gray sideburns, he lives with his wife,
Frances McConnel, and their cat, Lulu, in a one-story
house cluttered with movies, books and boxes — one of
which contains a trove of letters from an old friend
who has since become one of the most cautious and
analyzed politicians in America.
When contacted about the letters, Mr. Peavoy allowed
The New York Times to read and copy them.
The Clinton campaign declined to comment.
The letters were written during a period when the
future Mrs. Clinton was undergoing a period of
profound political transformation, from the “Goldwater
girl” who shared her father’s conservative outlook to
a liberal antiwar activist.
In her early letters, Ms. Rodham refers to her
involvement with the Young Republicans, a legacy of
her upbringing. In October of her freshman year, she
dismisses the local chapter as “so inept,” which she
says, audaciously, she might be able to leverage to
her own benefit. “I figure that I may be able to work
things my own way by the time I’m a junior so I’m
going to stick it out,” she writes.
Still, the letters reveal a fast-eroding allegiance to
the party of her childhood. She ridicules a trip she
had taken to a Young Republicans convention as “a
farce that would have done Oscar Wilde credit.” By the
summer of 1967, Ms. Rodham — writing from her parents’
vacation home in Lake Winola, Pa. — begins referring
to Republicans as “they” rather than “we.”
“That’s no Freudian slip,” she adds. A few months
later, she would be volunteering on Senator Eugene
McCarthy’s antiwar presidential campaign in New
Hampshire. By the time she delivered her commencement
address at Wellesley in 1969, she was citing her
generation’s “indispensable task of criticizing and
But in many ways her letters are more revealing about
her search for her own sense of self.
“Can you be a misanthrope and still love or enjoy some
individuals?” Ms. Rodham wrote in an April 1967
letter. “How about a compassionate misanthrope?”
Mr. Peavoy’s letters to Ms. Rodham are lost to
posterity, unless she happened to keep them, which he
doubts. He said he wished he had kept copies himself.
“They are windows into a time and a place and a
journey of self-discovery,” he said in an interview.
“This was what college students did before Facebook.”
The letters are Mr. Peavoy’s only link to his former
pen pal. They never visited or exchanged a single
phone call during their four years of college. They
lost touch entirely after graduation, except for the
30-year reunion of the Maine South High School class
of 1965, held in Washington to accommodate the class’s
most famous graduate, whose husband was then serving
his first term in the White House.
“I was on the White House Christmas card list for a
while,” Mr. Peavoy said. Besides a quick
receiving-line greeting from Mrs. Clinton at the
reunion, Mr. Peavoy has had just one direct contact
with her in 38 years. It was, fittingly, by letter,
only this time her words were more businesslike.
In the late 1990s, Mr. Peavoy was contacted by the
author Gail Sheehy, who was researching a book on the
first lady. He agreed to let Ms. Sheehy see the
letters, from which she would quote snippets in her
1999 biography, “Hillary’s Choice.” When Mrs. Clinton
heard that Mr. Peavoy had kept her old letters, she
wrote him asking for copies, which he obliged. He has
not heard from her since.
“For all I know she’s mad at me for keeping the
letters,” said Mr. Peavoy, a pack rat who says he has
kept volumes of letters from friends over the years. A
Democrat, he said he was undecided between supporting
Mrs. Clinton and Senator Barack Obama.
Ms. Rodham’s letters are written in a tight, flowing
script with near-impeccable spelling and punctuation.
Ever the pleaser, she frequently begins them with an
apology that it had taken her so long to respond. She
praises Mr. Peavoy’s missives while disparaging her
own (“my usual drivel”) and signs off with a simple
“Hillary,” except for the occasional “H” or “Me.”
As one would expect of letters written during college,
Ms. Rodham’s letters display an evolution in
sophistication, viewpoint and intellectual focus. One
existential theme that recurs throughout is that Ms.
Rodham views herself as an “actor,” meaning a student
activist committed to a life of civic action, which
she contrasts with Mr. Peavoy, who, in her view, is
more of an outside critic, or “reactor.”
“Are you satisfied with the part you have cast
yourself in?” she asks Mr. Peavoy in April 1966. “It
seems that you have decided to become a reactor rather
than actor — everything around will determine your
She is mildly patronizing if not scornful, as she
encourages her friend to “try-out” for life. She
quotes from “Doctor Zhivago,” “Man is born to live,
not prepare for life,” and signs the letter “Me” (“the
world’s saddest word,” she adds parenthetically).
Ms. Rodham becomes expansive and wistful when
discussing the nature of leadership and public
service, and how the validation of serving others can
be a substitute for self-directed wisdom. “If people
react to you in the role of answer bestower then quite
possibly you are,” she writes in a letter postmarked
Nov. 15, 1967, and continues in this vein for another
page before changing the subject to what Mr. Peavoy
plans to do the following weekend.
Ms. Rodham’s dispatches indicate a steady separation
from Park Ridge, her old friends and her family,
notably her strict father. She seethes at her parents’
refusal to let her spend a weekend in New York (“Their
reasons — money, fear of the city, they think I’ve
been running around too much, etc. — are ridiculous”)
and fantasizes about spending the summer between her
sophomore and junior years in Africa, only to dismiss
the notion, envisioning “the scene with my father.”
While home on a break in February of her junior year,
Ms. Rodham bemoans “the communication chasm” that has
opened within her family. “I feel like I’m losing the
top of my head,” she complains, describing an argument
raging in the next room between — “for a change” — her
father and one of her brothers.
“God, I feel so divorced from Park Ridge, parents,
home, the entire unreality of middle class America,”
she says. “This all sounds so predictable, but it’s
Ms. Rodham has been described by people who knew her
growing up as precocious, and in the letters she is
scathingly judgmental at times. She spent the bulk of
one letter on a withering assessment of dormmates.
“Next me,” Ms. Rodham says wryly. “Of course, I’m
normal, if that is a permissible adjective for a
In other notes, she speaks of her own despair; in one,
written in the winter of her sophomore year, she
describes a “February depression.” She catalogs a
long, paralyzed morning spent in bed, skipping
classes, hating herself. “Random thinking usually
becomes a process of self-analysis with my ego coming
out on the short end,” she writes.
Another recurring theme of Ms. Rodham’s musings is the
familiar late-adolescent impulse not to grow up. “Such
a drag,” she says, invoking the Rolling Stones, a rare
instance of her referring to pop culture.
Her letters at times betray a kind of innocent
narcissism over “my lost youth,” as she described it
in a letter shortly after her 19th birthday. She wrote
of being a little girl and believing that she was the
only person in the universe. She had a sense that if
she turned around quickly, “everyone else would
“I’d play out in the patch of sunlight that broke the
density of the elms in front of our house and pretend
there were heavenly movie cameras watching my every
move,” she says. She yearns for all the excitement and
discoveries of life without losing “the little girl in
At which point, Ms. Rodham declares that she has spent
too much time wandering “aimlessly through a verbal
morass” and writes that she is going to bed.
“You’ll probably think I’m retreating from the world
back to the sunlight in an attempt to dream my child’s
movie,” she says.
The letters contain no possibly damaging revelations
of the proverbial “youthful indiscretions,” and
mention nothing glaringly outlandish or irresponsible.
Indeed, she tends toward the self-scolding: “I have
been enjoying myself too much, and spring and
letter-writing are — to the bourgeois mind — no
She reports in one letter from October of her
sophomore year that she spent a “miserable weekend”
arguing with a friend who believed that “acid is the
way and what did I have against expanding my
In a previous letter from her freshman year, she
divulges that a junior in her dorm had been caught at
her boyfriend’s apartment in Cambridge at 3:15 a.m. “I
don’t condone her actions,” Ms. Rodham declares, “but
I’ll defend to expulsion her right to do as she
pleases — an improvement on Voltaire.”
Ms. Rodham’s notes to Mr. Peavoy are revelatory, even
intimate at times, but if there is any romantic energy
between the friends, they are not evident in Ms.
Rodham’s side of the conversation. “P.S. thanks for
the Valentine’s card,” she says at the end of one
letter. “Good night.”
Her letters contain no mention of any romantic
interest, except for one from February 1967 in which
Ms. Rodham divulges that she “met a boy from Dartmouth
and spent a Saturday night in Hanover.”
Ms. Rodham skates earnestly on the surface of life,
raising more questions than answers. “Last week I
decided that even if life is absurd why couldn’t I
spend it absurdly happy?” she wrote in November of her
junior year. “Then, of course, the question naturally
bellows operationally define ‘happiness’ Hillary
Rodham, acknowledged agnostic intellectual liberal,
From there, she deems the process of self-definition
to be “too depressing” and asserts that “the easiest
way out is to stop any thought approaching
introspection and to advise others whenever possible.”
The letters to Mr. Peavoy taper off considerably after
the first half of Ms. Rodham’s junior year; there are
just two from 1968 and one from 1969.
“I’m sitting here at a stolen table in a pair of dirty
denim bell-bottoms, a never-ironed work shirt and a
beautiful purple felt hat with a purple polka-dotted
scarf streaming off it,” she writes in her final
correspondence, March 25, 1969. A senior bound for law
school, she betrays exhaustion with the times, a
country at war and a culture in tumult. “I’m really
tired of people slamming doors and screaming
obscenities at poor old life,” she says, and describes
the sound of chirping birds amid the “soulless
academia” that she will inhabit for just a few more
weeks as an undergraduate.
Heat rises between Iraq PM and Petraeus
By STEVEN R. HURST and QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA, Associated
Press Writers 2 hours, 34 minutes ago
BAGHDAD - A key aide says Prime Minister Nouri
al-Maliki's relations with Gen. David Petraeus are so
poor the Iraqi leader may ask Washington to withdraw
the overall U.S. commander from his Baghdad post.
Iraq's foreign minister calls the relationship
"difficult." Petraeus, who says their ties are "very
good," acknowledges expressing his "full range of
emotions" at times with al-Maliki. U.S. Ambassador
Ryan Crocker, who meets with both at least weekly,
concedes "sometimes there are sporty exchanges."
It seems less a clash of personality than of policy.
The Shiite Muslim prime minister has reacted most
sharply to the American general's tactic of enlisting
Sunni militants, presumably including past killers of
Iraqi Shiites, as allies in the fight against al-Qaida
An associate said al-Maliki once, in discussion with
President Bush, even threatened to counter this by
arming Shiite militias.
History shows that the strain of war often turns
allies into uneasy partners. The reality of how these
allies get along may lie somewhere between the worst
and best reports about the relationship, one central
to the future of Iraq and perhaps to the larger Middle
A tangle of issues confronts them, none with easy
• Al-Maliki, a Shiite activist who spent the Saddam
Hussein years in exile, hotly objects to the recent
U.S. practice of recruiting tribal groups tied to the
Sunni insurgency for the fight against the Sunni
extremists of al-Qaida, deemed "Enemy No. 1" by the
Americans. His loud complaints have won little but a
U.S. pledge to let al-Maliki's security apparatus
screen the recruits.
• Aides say the Iraqi leader also has spoken bitterly
about delivery delays of promised U.S. weapons and
equipment for his forces.
• Petraeus, meanwhile, must deal with an Iraqi
military and police force, nominally under al-Maliki's
control, that often acts out of sectarian, namely
Shiite, interests, and not national Iraqi interests.
He faces a significant challenge in persuading
al-Maliki to shed his ties to radical Shiite cleric
Muqtada al-Sadr, who runs the Mahdi Army militia.
• On the political front, Crocker is grappling with
the prime minister's seeming foot-dragging or
ineffectiveness in pushing through an oil-industry law
and other legislation seen as critical benchmarks by
the U.S. government. Reporting to Congress in
September, Crocker may have to explain such Iraqi
inaction while U.S. troops are fighting and dying to
give al-Maliki political breathing space.
First word of strained relations began leaking out
with consistency earlier this month.
Sami al-Askari, a key aide to al-Maliki and a member
of the prime minister's Dawa Party, said the policy of
incorporating one-time Sunni insurgents into the
security forces shows Petraeus has a "real bias and it
bothers the Shiites," whose communities have been
targeted by Sunnis in Iraq's sectarian conflict.
"It is possible that we may demand his removal,"
A lawmaker from the al-Sadr bloc, who wouldn't allow
use of his name because of the political sensitivity
of the matter, said al-Maliki once told Petraeus: "I
can't deal with you anymore. I will ask for someone
else to replace you."
Such a request isn't likely to get much of a hearing
in Washington, where the Bush administration presents
Petraeus as one general who can improve the Iraq
Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told Newsweek magazine
the Petraeus-al-Maliki relationship is "difficult."
For one thing, the Americans retain control of the
Iraqi military. "The prime minister cannot just pick
up the phone and have Iraqi army units do what he
says. Maliki needs more leverage," Zebari said.
The prime minister has complained to President Bush
about the policy of arming Sunnis, said the Sadrist
"He told Bush that if Petraeus continues doing that,
he would arm Shiite militias. Bush told al-Maliki to
calm down," according to this parliament member, who
said he was told of the exchange by al-Maliki.
In Washington, White House officials who have sat in
on Bush's video conferences with al-Maliki denied that
exchange took place.
In a public outburst earlier this month, al-Maliki
said American forces should leave Iraq and turn over
security to Iraqi troops. He quickly backpedaled, but
the damage was done.
"There is no leader in the world that is under more
pressure than Nouri al-Maliki, without question.
Sometimes he reflects that frustration. I don't blame
him," Crocker told The Associated Press.
"We are dealing with existential issues. There are no
second-tier problems," said the veteran Middle East
diplomat. "And we all feel very deeply about what
we're trying to get done. So, yeah, sometimes there
are sporty exchanges. And believe me, I've had my
share of them.
"That in no way means, in my view, strained
relations," Crocker said. "Wrestling with the things
we're all wrestling with here, it would almost be
strange if you didn't get a little passionate from
time to time."
Petraeus called his relations with al-Maliki "very
good ... and that's the truth." But he acknowledged,
"We have not pulled punches with each other."
In an interview with the AP, the U.S. commander noted
that more than 3,600 U.S. military personnel have
given their lives in Iraq, "and where we see something
that could unhinge the progress that our soldiers and
their soldiers are fighting to make ... or jeopardize
some of the very hard-fought gains that we have made,
I'm going to speak up. And I have on occasion. And on
a couple of occasions have demonstrated the full range
Associated Press Military Writer Robert Burns
contributed to this report.
Sex suit could be problem for Bloomberg
By SARA KUGLER, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 34
NEW YORK - Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks his mind and
that is a big part of his cachet in anything-goes New
But new details from a sexual harassment lawsuit he
settled in 2000 and other racy comments over the years
show how his blunt style could prove a liability if he
runs for president as an independent.
Before his election as mayor in 2001, Bloomberg was
the target of a sexual harassment suit by a female
executive who accused him of making repeated raunchy
sexual comments while he was chief executive of his
financial company, Bloomberg LP.
Among the allegations in the complaint:
_Bloomberg asked the woman who sued if she was giving
her boyfriend "good" oral sex.
_He said "I'd like to do that" and "That's a great
piece of a--" to describe women in the office.
_When he found out the woman was pregnant, he told her
"Kill it!" and said "Great! Number 16!" — an apparent
reference to the number of women in the company who
were pregnant or had maternity-related status.
Bloomberg denied the accusations. Both sides were
barred from commenting because of confidentiality
agreements. Stu Loeser, the mayor's spokesman, said
Friday he had no comment for this story.
The suit was a minor annoyance for Bloomberg during
the mayoral race in 2001; opponents in that first race
tried, with little success, to draw attention to the
allegations. It was not an issue in his 2005
But the suit and other potential embarrassments
resulting from Bloomberg's tendency to speak his mind
are largely unknown to the rest of the country and are
certain to be re-examined if the billionaire media
mogul undertakes a third-party, self-financed
presidential campaign for 2008.
Bloomberg has denied having any plans to seek the
presidency. Yet he recently left the Republican Party
to become an independent and has increased his
out-of-state travel, increasing his national
The harassment suit was filed in 1997 by former
Bloomberg LP sales executive Sekiko Sakai Garrison.
Bloomberg adamantly denied all the allegations in the
suit. He settled the case in 2000 for an undisclosed
amount without admitting any wrongdoing.
During his first mayoral campaign, aides told
reporters that Bloomberg had passed a polygraph test
in which he had denied the allegations. That year, his
campaign refused to release the actual test. Loeser
said Friday the mayor's office would not provide The
Associated Press with a copy of the original
Bloomberg founded Bloomberg LP in the early 1980s to
provide financial information in a way that had never
been available before on Wall Street. According to
Garrison's suit, Bloomberg and other male managers at
the company made "repeated and unwelcome" sexual
comments, overtures and gestures, contributing to an
offensive, locker-room culture.
Comments attributed in the suit to Bloomberg include:
"I'd f--- that in a second," "I'd like to do that,"
and "That's a great piece of a--."
Once, according to the suit, Bloomberg pointed out a
young female employee and told Garrison, "If you
looked like that, I would do you in a second."
The suit also accused Bloomberg of referring to
Mexican clients as "jumping beans" and saying of
another female colleague who was having trouble
finding a nanny that "all you need is some black who
doesn't even have to speak English to rescue it from a
Some elements of the case were made public at the
time. An individual with direct knowledge of the case
provided additional details to the AP.
The individual said Bloomberg admitted in a
deposition, which never was made public, that he had
said the words "I'd do her" about Garrison and other
women. When asked during the deposition what he
thought that expression meant, Bloomberg said it means
to have a personal relationship, according to the
individual, who is barred from discussing the case and
spoke on condition of anonymity.
The individual also said Garrison had a tape of
Bloomberg leaving a message on her home answering
machine, saying he had heard she was upset about the
pregnancy and maternity comment and adding: "I didn't
say it, but if I said it I didn't mean it."
Garrison sought $15 million in the suit. She is bound
by a confidentiality agreement and declined comment to
Garrison, who worked at Bloomberg LP from 1989 until
1995, left the company, unable to return to work after
Bloomberg allegedly made the remarks about her
pregnancy, according to her suit. The company
contended Garrison was fired.
Besides Garrison's suit, two other suits were filed in
the late 1990s that accused the company of sexual
harassment; one was dismissed and the other was
withdrawn. The people involved in those suits also are
bound by confidentiality agreements.
Bloomberg is often praised for his straight-talking,
no-nonsense style. Since he took office in 2002, his
language in public settings has sometimes risen to a
level that some may find blunt, but rarely offensive.
When asked recently whether New Yorkers should be
concerned about a foiled plot to blow up John F.
Kennedy International Airport, his exasperated
response was that people should "get a life!"
"You can't sit there and worry about everything," he
His staff and circle of city commissioners praise him
endlessly as a boss, but acknowledge that he is often
"He can be a little gruff," Patricia Lancaster, his
commissioner for the Buildings Department, said at a
recent news conference. She is one of a number of
women serving in high-level jobs throughout his
administration, including his No. 2 in City Hall, the
first Deputy Mayor Patti Harris. Many are part of a
close-knit group that has remained fiercely loyal to
him for years, following him from his company to
various city government jobs.
In private conversations, Bloomberg is less inhibited
and is known to tell bawdy jokes, use provocative
language and comment on women's appearances.
The public got a glimpse of this in 2003, when he told
a pair of disc jockeys on a radio program that he
would "really want to have" actress-singer Jennifer
Lopez. A day later, Bloomberg backpedaled a bit and
told reporters, as his face reddened, that he would
want to "have dinner" with her.
The 65-year-old divorced bachelor had a reputation as
a womanizer during the years he was building his
financial empire. He began dating his girlfriend,
investment firm executive and former state banking
superintendent Diana Taylor, before his first run for
"I like theater, dining and chasing women," he once
told a reporter. "Let me put it this way: I am a
single, straight billionaire in Manhattan. What do you
think? It's a wet dream."
In his 1997 autobiography, he boasted of keeping "a
girlfriend in every city" during his years as a young
Wall Street up-and-comer in the 1960s and 1970s.
A less-restrained Bloomberg was also portrayed in a
book of quips, quotes and anecdotes attributed to him
and put together by employees for a birthday present
in 1990. It contains such statements as: "If women
wanted to be appreciated for their brains, they'd go
to the library instead of to Bloomingdale's."
Or, as he is quoted as saying about his invention, the
Bloomberg computer terminal that made him rich, "It
will do everything, including give you (oral sex). I
guess that puts a lot of you girls out of business."
A former longtime Bloomberg employee who was familiar
with the book confirmed the authenticity of the quotes
to the AP and said Bloomberg regularly made similar
offensive remarks. The person spoke on condition of
anonymity out of fear that Bloomberg would retaliate.
During Bloomberg's 2001 campaign, he dismissed the
book as "Borscht Belt jokes" and said he did not
recall saying those things.
Lee Miringoff, head of the Marist College poll that
tracks New York politics, said the allegations had
little impact on public opinion at the time, but that
a presidential run would draw more scrutiny.
"He doesn't have a defined national persona at this
point," Miringoff said. "Certainly as a presidential
candidate there might be a resurfacing of this — it
gets a second airing if he does decide to run."
"That's a nice piece of a--." LOL! Thanks Mayor Mike for showing us
billionaires can be just as childish as high-schoolers.
CNN Calls Republicans’ Bluff, Reschedules YouTube
cnnyou.gif On July 23, all eight Democratic
presidential candidates participated in the
CNN/YouTube debate. By uploading a 30-second video to
YouTube, “voters could directly question a
presidential candidate during the debate.” Steve
Grove, YouTube’s news and politics editor, called this
new debate format “more democratic than ever.”
Yet so far, just three Republican presidential
candidates — Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), Sen. John McCain
(R-AZ), and as of yesterday, Tommy Thompson — have
confirmed that they will participate in the Sept. 17
Both former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and
former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney have said
that they have scheduling conflicts. CNN has called
their bluff. The website for Republican presidential
candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) reports today that CNN
has postponed the September debate:
We received word yesterday that the
CNN/YouTube/Florida GOP presidential candidates debate
scheduled for September 17 has been postponed. A new
date has yet to be determined.
ThinkProgress spoke with the Paul campaign today, who
confirmed that CNN contacted them and said that it is
rescheduling the debate. The campaign said that it
believes it was done to accommodate the schedules of
the other candidates. Earlier today, the New York
Times reported that CNN “said it would work with the
campaigns to find a new date.”
It’s unclear whether the other candidates will
actually participate in the rescheduled debate. Romney
recently mocked the debate, stating, “I think the
presidency ought to be held at a higher level than
having to answer questions from a snowman,” referring
to a citizen dressed as a snowman who submitted a
question about global warming.
Chief Justice Roberts suffers seizure
By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer 9 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - Chief Justice John Roberts suffered a
seizure at his summer home in Maine on Monday, causing
a fall that resulted in minor scrapes, Supreme Court
spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said.
He will remain in a hospital in Maine overnight.
Roberts, 52, was taken by ambulance to the Penobscot
Bay Medical Center, where he underwent a "thorough
neurological evaluation, which revealed no cause for
concern," Arberg said in a statement.
Roberts had a similar episode in 1993, she said.
The incident occurred around 2 p.m. EDT on a dock near
the home in Port Clyde on Maine's Hupper Island. Port
Clyde, which is part of the town of St. George, is
about 90 miles by car northeast of Portland, midway up
the coast of Maine.
Roberts was taken by private boat to the mainland and
then transferred to an ambulance, St. George Fire
Chief Tim Polky said.
"He was conscious and alert when they put him in the
rescue (vehicle)," Polky said. The hospital, in
Rockport, did not immediately return a call from The
Named to the court by President Bush in 2005, Roberts
is the youngest justice on a court in which the senior
member, John Paul Stevens, is 87. Bush was informed of
the hospitalization by his chief of staff, Josh
Bolten, the White House said.
Roberts is the father of two young children.
Doctors called Monday's incident "a benign idiopathic
seizure," Arberg said. The White House described the
January 1993 episode as an "isolated, idiosyncratic
Larry Robbins, a Washington attorney who worked with
Roberts at the Justice Department in 1993, said he
drove Roberts to work for several months after the
incident. Robbins said Roberts never mentioned what
the problem was and he never heard of it happening
In 2001, Roberts described his health as "excellent,"
according to Senate Judiciary Committee records.
Roberts became chief justice after the death of
William Rehnquist in September 2005, although Bush had
first chosen him to take Sandra Day O'Connor's seat
when she announced her retirement earlier that year.
He had served as an appellate judge in Washington and
spent more than a decade before that as a lawyer at
the Hogan and Hartson law firm, where he specialized
in arguing cases before the Supreme Court.
Roberts also served in the Reagan and Bush
administrations in the 1980s and '90s. He was a clerk
for Rehnquist after graduating from Harvard Law
Roberts spent a couple of weeks in Europe in July,
teaching a course in Vienna and attending a conference
in Paris. He was at the court in Washington late last
Associated Press writer David Sharp in Portland,
Maine, contributed to this story.
On the Net:
Supreme Court: http://www.supremecourtus.gov
FBI, IRS search home of Sen. Ted Stevens
17 minutes ago
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Agents from the FBI and Internal
Revenue Service on Monday searched the home of U.S.
Sen. Ted Stevens, an official said.
Investigators arrived at the Republican senator's home
in Girdwood shortly before 2:30 p.m. Alaska time, said
Dave Heller, FBI assistant special agent.
Heller said he could not comment on the nature of the
The Justice Department has been looking into the
seven-term senator's relationship with a wealthy
contractor as part of a public corruption investigation.
Lawmakers look to revolutionize primary plan
By Sam Youngman
July 31, 2007
Three senators — one Republican, one Democrat and one
Independent — are proposing a plan that would
revolutionize the nation’s presidential primary
Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Amy Klobuchar
(D-Minn.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) announced
Tuesday they are proposing legislation that would
institute a new primary structure that divides the
country into four regions, with each region’s states
voting in a different month.
The Regional Presidential Primary and Caucus Act,
which would take effect in the 2012 elections, is a
result of this year’s rush by states to the front of
the line, with big states like California, New York
and New Jersey moving to Feb. 5 and Florida jumping to
A document outlining the plan that was obtained by The
Hill said it would “encourage the greatest number of
good candidates to enter the race, allow voters an
opportunity to hear all candidates’ ideas [and] ensure
more Americans a chance to cast a meaningful vote.”
The proposal calls for a rotating schedule of the four
regions, while still protecting the “traditional”
first states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
The states would be divided into the East (Region I),
South (II), Midwest (III) and West (IV) regions.
A lottery would be held to determine which region
votes first on the first Tuesday or within six days of
the first Tuesday in March. The other regions would
follow in numerical order in April, May and June.
Whichever region goes first in 2012 would go to the
back of the line in 2016.
One office said the plan is based on the Rotating
Regional Presidential Primaries Plan first adopted by
the National Association of Secretaries of State in
The senators pushing for the new plan said it was
developed in response to the crowded front end of the
2008 primary season. According to them, next year, 33
states have scheduled their primaries or caucuses
before March 1. In 2004, there were only 19, and in
2000, there were 11.
On Feb. 5, 2008, 18 or more states will hold their
caucuses or primaries, leading many to believe the
party’s nominees will be known long before the summer
campaign season begins.
“Under this schedule, the primary contests in both
major parties could be over by March 1st — nearly 6
months before the nominating conventions,” the
Aside from garnering more Senate support, the bill
also raises a number of other questions.
Most primaries are set by state law, seen most
recently in Florida, where the state legislature
ignored the bylaws of the Republican and Democratic
national committees and made its primary Jan. 29 by
In some states the parties set the date and host the
elections and are responsible for the cost of the contests.
The polling is in, and Hillary made a big mistake in her sharp
disagreement with Obama over whether the president should meet with
leaders of rogue nations.
According to the Rasmussen Poll, Democrats agree with Obama over
Hillary by 55 percent-22 percent. Without a poll to pretest her
comments, Hillary instinctively took the "insider" position that the
president should only meet with such leaders after extensive probing
by subordinates to assure that the meetings would be productive. But
she was wrong.
Democrats want the president to meet with leaders of such nations
without preset conditions.
At the South Carolina Democratic presidential debate, Hillary and
Obama clashed over Obama's statement that he would meet with leaders
of rogue nations like North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, and Iran if he
were president. Hillary said that she would not do so and would not
allow herself to be used for "propaganda purposes."
All week, Hillary pounded out her message, enlisting former
Secretary of State Madeline Albright and her possible future
secretary of state, Dick Holbrooke, to speak up on behalf of her
position. She blasted Obama as "naïve," one of her few direct
attacks on her opponent. For his party, Obama ridiculed her position
as "Bush Cheney lite," a comment that got under Hillary's skin.
The exchange had little real significance during the two hour
debate, but Hillary's obsession with the issue all week has given it
real importance. She made a big mistake in the debate and amplified
it all week.
Why? Perhaps Hillary is not using polling the way Bill always did —
to pretest and post-test all important issues. If she had, she would
not have locked into the minority position among Democratic primary
voters and would not have stayed with that view all week.
Maybe her campaign staff was caught flatfooted for once.
The fact is that this week's debate was the first time the two
Democrats have clashed seriously since the contest began early this
This round definitely goes to Obama.
Anything to loosen the strangle hold of big money...
It sounds interesting to me.
--- Greg Cannon <gregcannon1@...> wrote:
> Lawmakers look to revolutionize primary plan
> By Sam Youngman
> July 31, 2007
> Three senators — one Republican, one Democrat and
> Independent — are proposing a plan that would
> revolutionize the nation’s presidential primary
> Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Amy Klobuchar
> (D-Minn.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) announced
> Tuesday they are proposing legislation that would
> institute a new primary structure that divides the
> country into four regions, with each region’s states
> voting in a different month.
> The Regional Presidential Primary and Caucus Act,
> which would take effect in the 2012 elections, is a
> result of this year’s rush by states to the front of
> the line, with big states like California, New York
> and New Jersey moving to Feb. 5 and Florida jumping
> Jan. 29.
> A document outlining the plan that was obtained by
> Hill said it would “encourage the greatest number of
> good candidates to enter the race, allow voters an
> opportunity to hear all candidates’ ideas [and]
> more Americans a chance to cast a meaningful vote.”
> The proposal calls for a rotating schedule of the
> regions, while still protecting the “traditional”
> first states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
> The states would be divided into the East (Region
> South (II), Midwest (III) and West (IV) regions.
> A lottery would be held to determine which region
> votes first on the first Tuesday or within six days
> the first Tuesday in March. The other regions would
> follow in numerical order in April, May and June.
> Whichever region goes first in 2012 would go to the
> back of the line in 2016.
> One office said the plan is based on the Rotating
> Regional Presidential Primaries Plan first adopted
> the National Association of Secretaries of State in
> The senators pushing for the new plan said it was
> developed in response to the crowded front end of
> 2008 primary season. According to them, next year,
> states have scheduled their primaries or caucuses
> before March 1. In 2004, there were only 19, and in
> 2000, there were 11.
> On Feb. 5, 2008, 18 or more states will hold their
> caucuses or primaries, leading many to believe the
> party’s nominees will be known long before the
> campaign season begins.
> “Under this schedule, the primary contests in both
> major parties could be over by March 1st — nearly 6
> months before the nominating conventions,” the
> document reads.
> Aside from garnering more Senate support, the bill
> also raises a number of other questions.
> Most primaries are set by state law, seen most
> recently in Florida, where the state legislature
> ignored the bylaws of the Republican and Democratic
> national committees and made its primary Jan. 29 by
> In some states the parties set the date and host the
> elections and are responsible for the cost of the
More than 70,000 bridges rated deficient
By H. JOSEF HEBERT and SHARON THEIMER, Associated
Press Writers Thu Aug 2, 7:03 PM ET
WASHINGTON - More than 70,000 bridges across the
country are rated structurally deficient like the span
that collapsed in Minneapolis, and engineers estimate
repairing them all would take at least a generation
and cost more than $188 billion.
That works out to at least $9.4 billion a year over 20
years, according to the American Society of Civil
The bridges carry an average of more than 300 million
vehicles a day.
It is unclear how many of the spans pose actual safety
risks. Federal officials alerted the states late
Thursday to immediately inspect all bridges similar to
the Mississippi River span that collapsed.
In a separate cost estimate, the Federal Highway
Administration has said addressing the backlog of
needed bridge repairs would take at least $55 billion.
That was five years ago, with expectations of more
deficiencies to come.
It is money that Congress, the federal government and
the states have so far been unable or unwilling to
"We're not doing what the engineers are saying we need
to be doing," said Gregory Cohen, president of the
American Highway Users Alliance, an advocacy group
representing a wide range of motorists.
"Unfortunately when you consistently underinvest in
roads and bridges ... this is the dangerous
consequence," Cohen said of Wednesday's deadly
Mississippi River bridge collapse in Minneapolis. He
said engineers have estimated $75 billion a year is
needed just to keep highways and bridges from further
deterioration, but that only around $60 billion a year
is being provided.
Last year, 75,422 of the nation's 597,562 bridges, or
about 12.6 percent, were classified as "structurally
deficient," including some built as recently as the
early 1990s, according to the Federal Highway
The federal government provides 80 percent of the
money for construction, repair and maintenance of the
so-called federal-aid highway system including
Interstate highways and bridges. But states set
priorities and handle construction and maintenance
A bridge is typically judged structurally deficient if
heavy trucks are banned from it or there are other
weight restrictions, if it needs immediate work to
stay open or if it is closed. In any case, such a
bridge is considered in need of considerable
maintenance, rehabilitation or even replacement.
Congressional leaders say the number of bridges in
need of repair is too high and the funding too low.
There is crumbling infrastructure all over the
country, said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid,
D-Nev. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who heads the
Senate panel that controls transportation spending,
said the Bush administration has threatened vetoes
when Democrats try to increase such spending.
White House deputy press secretary Scott Stanzel,
declined to address spending and accused the Democrats
of using the bridge collapse for partisan purposes.
Democrats were not alone in calling for more bridge
"People think they're saving money by not investing in
infrastructure, and the result is you have
catastrophes like this," said Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis.,
a member of the House transportation committee.
The federal government is now providing about $40
billion a year to improve and expand the nation's
highways and bridges.
The main source of revenue for roads and bridges, the
federal highway trust fund, is failing to keep up with
spending demand. The 18.3 cents a gallon in federal
taxes hasn't changed since 1993, and the demand for
more fuel-efficient vehicles could affect fuel
Funding isn't the only issue getting attention after
the Minnesota collapse.
Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said in an
interview with The Associated Press that she had asked
her department's inspector general to evaluate the
agency's overall bridge inspections.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, most
bridges in the U.S. Highway Bridge Inventory — 83
percent — are inspected every two years. About 12
percent, those in bad shape, are inspected annually,
and 5 percent, those in very good shape, every four
The Department of Transportation's inspector general
last year criticized the Highway Administration's
oversight of interstate bridges. The March 2006 report
said investigators found incorrect or outdated maximum
weight calculations and weight limit postings in the
National Bridge Inventory and in states' bridge
databases and said the problems could pose safety
hazards. The Highway Administration agreed that
improvements in its oversight of state bridge
inspections and data were needed.
Incorrect load ratings could endanger bridges by
allowing heavier vehicles to cross than should, and
could affect whether a bridge is properly identified
as structurally deficient in the first place, the
inspector general said.
The audit didn't identify any Minnesota bridges or
mention the state beyond noting that 3 percent of its
bridges were structurally deficient, placing it at the
low end among states. It said those bridges were
crossed by an average of 30,000 to 40,000 vehicles a
day, putting it 13th among the states.
An analysis of 2006 Federal Highway Administration
data found that Minnesota bridges were generally in
better shape than those in other states. Only about 6
percent of the state's 20,000 bridges were listed as
being structurally deficient. In Oklahoma, nearly 27
percent of bridges were cited by the federal
government as being structurally deficient.
In Nemaha County in southeastern Nebraska, about 58
percent of 194 bridges are structurally deficient.
More than 55 percent of neighboring Pawnee County's
188 bridges are in the same shape. Of the 10 worst-off
counties for bridges, seven are in Oklahoma or
On the other end of the scale, at least 10 counties
with a significant number of bridges have none that
are structurally deficient, according to the latest
government statistics. A half-dozen of those are in
Several governors on Wednesday ordered state
transportation officials to inspect particular bridges
or review their inspection procedures.
Beyond Minnesota, North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven said
his state doesn't have any bridges similar to the
Minneapolis bridge but he had asked state officials to
review inspection procedures. Presidential hopeful and
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson ordered an inspection
of several steel-truss bridges in the state. Arizona
Gov. Janet Napolitano directed state transportation
officials to conduct a statewide review, starting with
highly traveled bridges in urban areas.
Associated Press writers Jim Abrams, Julie Hirschfeld
Davis and Jennifer Kerr in Washington and Frank Bass
in East Dover, Vt., contributed to this report.
DNC shares oppo game plan with Netroots
By: Roger Simon
August 3, 2007 06:19 AM EST
CHICAGO -- It is not true that Democrats don’t listen
to Republicans. They do.
The Democrats are listening to every word the
Republican presidential candidates say, writing it
down and even videotaping them whenever possible.
Once upon a time, this used to be called oppo (for
opposition) research and was rarely talked about
Today, it is such standard procedure it is just called
research. And two top Democratic practitioners of that
research came here to the YearlyKos convention to tell
liberal online activists exactly what they were doing.
The Democratic National Committee is openly courting
the “Netroots” community, and Mike Gehrke, the DNC
research director, and Parag Mehta, the DNC director
of training, were only too happy to pull back the
curtain a little and tell these activists how they
intended to help destroy the Republicans next year.
Gehrke went through the Republican top tier with a
PowerPoint presentation, and here is my summary of the
DNC game plan for each:
What he thinks he has going for him: Competence and
his record as mayor of New York City. Also, he
contrasts well with President Bush and with the
He will sell his electability and the fact that if he
is the nominee he can win Florida and Ohio. Final
point he will stress: Sept. 11, Sept. 11, Sept. 11.
What the Democrats will say about him: His
accomplishments in New York are exaggerated. He can
get nominated only by abandoning his centrist image.
He has flip-flopped on choice, immigration and
bipartisanship. Firefighters and survivor families
have a different story to tell about Giuliani and
There is also the question of how well he had prepared
the city for a major disaster. Further, his
post-mayoral record is open to attack regarding his
lobbying, his advancement of Bernie Kerik and his
What he thinks he has going for him: competence,
success in business, the Olympics and the fact that he
was governor of a “blue” state, Massachusetts.
He will stress his conservatism, his "pro-life" views
and that he is a Mormon who believes in strong family
values. He, too, will stress electability. He has
demonstrated a good ground game so far and is showing
strength in early-primary states. He is also wealthy
enough to contribute millions to his own campaign.
(At this point, an audience member raised her hand and
said: “You have to put down also that he ‘looks
presidential.’” People murmured their assent from
around the room.)
What the Democrats will say about him: He is a recent
convert to conservatism with many flip-flops and has
made some “weird” statements. Everything he does looks
political. He is still largely unknown after running
What he thinks he has going for him: He is still
breathing. His campaign has time to smooth rough
waters. He has been in tough times before: In 2000, he
was lower in the polls with less money than he has
What the Democrats will say about him: He is no longer
a maverick. His “base” -- i.e., the media -- no longer
loves him. His money situation is very bad.
What he thinks he has going for him: Gehrke put up a
big question mark on the screen next to Thompson’s
picture. “Can somebody tell me why this guy is
running?” Gehrke asked the group.
And though it was a rhetorical question, people began
shouting out: “He’s an actor.” “He has a great voice
and great gravitas.” “He’s tall.”
What the Democrats will say about him: He passed only
five bills in the Senate while he was there, and four
were ceremonial. His non-campaign/campaign so far has
been a “train wreck.” He was a corporate lobbyist and
Washington insider. He has a thin record of public
Gehrke assured the group that the DNC was also
gathering information on the other Republicans,
including Michael Bloomberg and Newt Gingrich.
“We’re going to New Hampshire, South Carolina and Iowa
and getting them all on videotape,” he said.
Afterward, I asked Gehrke about the Netroots. “These
guys have changed what I do,” he said. “Blogs are much
more sophisticated and much more based in research and
facts today. A lot of stuff that is discovered is
discovered by people in their world.”
Not that there aren’t limits.
After Gehrke and Mehta were finished, a man raised his
hand and said that John McCain was a POW but that he
never had psychological counseling to deal with
post-traumatic stress syndrome, and this could be used
The people in the room reacted to this with silence.
Some shook their heads.
“Let’s be very, very careful,” Mehta said. “Some
people say, ‘Romney is a Mormon and McCain was a POW.’
But let’s remember that [Senate Majority Leader] Harry
Reid is a Mormon, too. We are the party of religious
tolerance. Other people say, ‘Rudy Giuliani lived with
a gay couple.’ Great, but we don’t think there is
anything wrong with that. So let’s use things in the
Giuliani's daughter backing Obama
1 hour, 27 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - The daughter of Republican hopeful Rudy
Giuliani has signaled she's backing Democrat Barack
Obama for president.
According to her Facebook profile, Giuliani's
17-year-old daughter, Caroline, belonged to Democrat
Barack Obama's Facebook group "Barack Obama (One
Million Strong for Barack)." She left the group Monday
morning after the online magazine Slate sent an
Her profile can be viewed by Facebook users who have
access to New York City's Trinity School or Harvard
University networks. Caroline, who is Giuliani's
daughter with his second wife, Donna Hanover, recently
graduated from Trinity and will attend Harvard in the
Slate posted a screen shot of her profile, which uses
a slightly different last name. She lists herself as
having liberal political views.
Giuliani, a leading Republican candidate, has asked
for privacy to deal with strained relationships in his
family. Son Andrew, 21, has said their relationship
became distant after Giuliani's messy divorce from the
children's mother and his marriage to third wife
"There's obviously a little problem that exists
between me and his wife," Andrew Giuliani told The New
York Times earlier this year.
In May, Giuliani attended his daughter's high school
graduation but kept a low profile, sitting in a last
row balcony seat with his wife and leaving without
speaking to his daughter, the New York Daily News
Neither the Giuliani nor Obama campaigns had any
comment on Caroline's political preference.
Yepsen: Straw poll might mean more than you think
Even without front-runners, results could speak to
strength of message, organizational prowess.
By DAVID YEPSEN
REGISTER POLITICAL COLUMNIST
August 5, 2007
In the 1980 Republican presidential caucus campaign,
Tennessee Sen. Howard Baker said one function of the
Iowa caucuses was to "winnow the field" of candidates.
By that he meant Iowa caucus-goers in both parties
take presidential campaigns with large numbers of
candidates and cut the field to a more manageable size
for voters in other states to consider.
For Republicans, the Iowa scythe comes out Saturday.
That's when the state Republican Party stages its
colorful but controversial "straw poll" at Hilton
Coliseum in Ames.
With a $35 ticket, any Iowan who will be 18 on
Election Day 2008 can cast a vote for a Republican
presidential candidate. (You don't even have to be a
registered Republican, but you do have to show a
government-issued photo ID, or student photo ID from
an Iowa school, to prove your Iowa-ness.)
One week from today, some of the candidates who do
poorly will no longer be standing in the race. They
will be damaged goods contemplating a withdrawal from
the contest, because their fundraising will wither.
Is this fair? Is too much made of this poll? Could
there be surprises? And most important to political
observers, what's the handicap on how candidates will
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Arizona Sen.
John McCain, two of the national leaders in the race,
said they weren't going to compete in the event. They
might still get votes from their supporters, but the
two are not actively organizing to buy tickets and
turn out votes.
Some in the party once estimated 50,000 people would
show up, but that number has been scaled back to
35,000 or so following the withdrawals. Party
officials also say some rank-and-file Republicans are
unhappy with the party these days and might not
attend, although they hope a crowd in the thousands
will help boost morale.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is expected to
win. He leads in opinion polls of Iowa Republicans and
has run a disciplined campaign in the state. Following
the withdrawal of Giuliani and McCain, Romney
announced he was cutting back his effort. He still
planned to win, he said, just not run up the score.
That looks like a wise decision - there's no point
paying for more tickets than you need. But he could
look bad if someone comes close to him because he
slacked off. An upset would stun his campaign.
The big battle is for the second- and third-place
finishes. Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, former Arkansas
Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy
Thompson are competing hard for these "place" and
"show" positions. The outcome could knock one or more
from the race.
Brownback probably leads the competition, though
Thompson has waged an intense, 99-county campaign in
the state. Thompson indicated last week he would have
to reconsider his candidacy if he doesn't finish first
Brownback has courted social conservatives and
attacked Romney for flip-flopping on abortion by
moving from a pro-choice to a pro-life stance. Romney
has said he changed his mind on the subject, just as
Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush did.
Brownback has also worked other groups in the party,
such as economic conservatives unhappy with the tax
All other candidates are expected to finish far
behind. None has much chance of winning the
nomination. Their efforts are considered to be more
protest or token candidacies than serious bids for the
White House. So, a poor showing in the poll isn't
likely to deter them from continuing their quixotic
The political community will be watching to see how
former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson does. He's not yet
announced and won't be at the event, yet there is
considerable buzz for his candidacy in GOP circles. A
recent KCCI-TV poll shows him running in second place
among likely GOP caucus-goers. A good showing from
straw-poll attendees could further boost his standing,
representing a spontaneous show of support.
Also, Giuliani and McCain might get some votes despite
their opting out of the competition to buy meal
tickets and votes. If their totals are good, that,
too, would boost their candidacies. As it is, they are
not expected to do well and can spin a poor showing by
saying they weren't engaged in the ticket buying.
Surprises could happen because a fair number of
attendees buy their own tickets or make up their own
mind. They aren't robots paid for by a campaign. Some
Romney supporters are worried about attendees mooching
a ticket off their man to go vote for someone else.
One surprise could come from Texas Congressman Ron
Paul, who is attracting a zealous following of
younger, libertarian supporters. Some of them are
promising a good showing in the voting.
The results could tell us something about social
conservatives and whether they are starting to rally
to one candidate or another. So far, they've been
dividing among several of the candidates, or are
remaining undecided, much to Giuliani's advantage.
About the only way he can win the caucuses and the
nomination is if this key constituency remains
The results also tell us something about a candidate's
message and organizational prowess, two things that
are often harbingers of success in the caucuses
Campaigns spend weeks looking for supporters, signing
them up, getting tickets in their hands and arranging
for bus transportation to and from Ames. It's
expensive and time-consuming, but campaigns that opt
to compete say it is a good organizational shakedown
for caucus night.
The exercise also says something about a candidate's
message. A candidate's followers must be inspired
enough to go to Ames for the voting.
Even if the candidate provides a free ticket and a
round-trip bus ride, supporters need a certain level
of dedication to devote a good chunk of a summer
Saturday to casting a vote. Candidates such as Paul,
who attract passionate supporters, can do well as a
The event might also be significant if Republican
candidates use it to put distance between themselves
and the Bush administration. President Bush is
personally popular with many rank-and-file
Republicans, but many of these same stalwarts are
unhappy with the large increase in federal spending
and the protracted Iraq war.
Candidates are given 20 minutes for speeches to the
crowd, and the event draws considerable national media
attention. It's an opportunity for the candidates to
signal to Americans how their administrations would be
different from the current one. Given the party's low
standing in the polls, that will have to happen sooner
Instead of any Bush-bashing, it's more likely the
speeches will give candidates an opportunity to unveil
new themes or attacks as they try to attract
straw-poll voters and reach a larger audience in Iowa
and around the country.
Role as harbinger
The straw poll may tell us something about who the
Republican nominee will be and who it won't be. In the
last three cycles in which Republicans had competitive
fights for the nomination, the eventual winner of the
nomination finished among the top three in the straw
For the 1988 race, nominee George H.W. Bush finished
third in the 1987 straw poll. For 1996, nominee Bob
Dole finished first in 1995's straw poll. The 2000
nominee, George W. Bush, finished first in the straw
poll in 1999.
The 1987 victor was Christian broadcasting executive
Pat Robertson. His win stunned the Bush forces and
prompted a shake-up in his campaign. It was a sign
Bush was in trouble in Iowa and foreshadowed his
third-place showing in the caucuses.
Robertson's win also confirmed the rising strength of
religious conservatives in the party, a group that's
been a force ever since.
The difference between those earlier straw-poll
contests and this one is the decision by front-runners
not to participate. What does a playoff like this tell
us if the leading teams in the league aren't playing?
Maybe not much.
Giuliani, McCain and Fred Thompson don't need a
straw-poll win to raise money or improve their
national name recognition. But by not competing, they
allow Romney, the expected winner, a boost of media
attention and a chance to develop momentum that might
be difficult to stop in later contests.
The poll has several limitations. First, people have
to pay to vote. Also, they must come to Ames. Those
two factors give an advantage to people living close
to Ames and those with enough money for a ticket. The
presidential campaigns pay for many of the tickets,
which makes this a pay-to-play proposition.
The event might give Iowa even more influence over the
nominating process of the Republican Party. Iowa
already hosts the caucuses, which winnow the field.
With emergence of the straw poll as an important test,
critics say Iowa gets "two bites at the apple."
The Iowa Republican Party defends the poll as a
grass-roots organizational effort that helps motivate
party faithful and raises money for state and local
campaigns. The money also helps defray the costs of
staging the caucuses.
Critics also say we media types over-blow the event.
August is often a slow news month, and the hoopla of
the straw poll, coupled with the colorful Iowa State
Fair at the same time, provide irresistible photo
DAVID YEPSEN can be reached at dyepsen@... or
August 8, 2007, 12:30 pm
First Presidential Votes Might Be Cast in 2007
Jackie Calmes reports on the 2008 presidental race.
CampaignThe first 2008 presidential votes may be
moving into 2007 after all, making a race that has
started earlier than ever even more intense.
South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson
will announce that he is moving its primary date ahead
of Florida’s Jan. 29 vote, to reclaim his state
party’s “first in the South” presidential-nominating
banner. But he will do so in New Hampshire, home of
the first-in-the-nation primary. And he will be joined
by New Hampshire’s longtime Secretary of State Bill
Gardner, who alone has the power to set that state’s
date for both parties, now tentatively Jan. 22.
If both were to move their dates up, that likely would
force Iowa — always protective of its party caucuses
as the first nominating contests of any kind — to
consider moving its date from next Jan. 14 into
A prominent South Carolina Republican who spoke with
Dawson this week said that both South Carolina’s
Republicans and New Hampshire would make a change. But
another source suggested that only Dawson would
announce a change, while New Hampshire’s Gardner would
appear as a show of support for South Carolina
Republicans and remain mum on his plans for now. One
reason: The Democratic Party’s rules committee meets
later this month, and all of this state maneuvering is
in violation of both parties’ rules. Those rules have
sought to prevent the front-loading of presidential
nominating contests, but the threatened penalties —
forfeiture of convention delegates — have proven weak.
Traditionally New Hampshire and Iowa have coordinated
to protect their early-voting status — with the
support of the national parties, and presidential
candidates eager for their votes — but with each
presidential-election cycle, the pressure has grown
from other states coveting candidates’ attention to
them and their issues. By law, Iowa’s party caucuses
must be eight days before New Hampshire’s primaries,
and New Hampshire, by law, requires its primaries to
be a week before any state’s similar contest.
So New Hampshire had tentatively planned on Jan. 22
primaries, eight days after Iowa’s caucuses. South
Carolina Republicans had planned to hold primaries on
Feb. 2; state Democrats’ are on Jan 29. Speaking in
something of a riddle, Dawson told his fellow state
Republican this week that South Carolina’s Republican
primary would be at least 10 days before Florida’s
Jan. 29 primaries, but not on the same day as Nevada’s
caucuses, which are Jan. 19, and 12 days after New
That suggests New Hampshire ultimately could be moving
as early as the first week of January. Iowa would then
be certain to move up from Jan. 14. To avoid getting
caught in the holiday period, Iowans have said the
caucuses would have to be in mid-December.
While all the campaigns have braced for that prospect,
it still would wreak havoc in their Iowa operations.
Since Iowa’s unique caucuses require getting
supporters out to vote for an entire winter evening,
in unfamiliar living rooms or meetings halls across
the state, they pose an organizational challenge in a
typical year. But, lamented one campaign’s Iowa
operative, “How do you do this mobilizing around
Christmas? It would be a real challenge.”
“Nobody wants to go in December, but Iowa will be
first,” said Carrie Giddins, communications director
for the state Democratic Party.
Bush treated for Lyme disease
August 8, 2007 at 5:14 PM EDT
WASHINGTON — U.S. President George W. Bush was treated
for Lyme disease last August, the White House
announced Wednesday after failing to disclose the
problem for nearly a year.
Mr. Bush was treated for what his doctors described as
“early, localized Lyme disease” after developing the
characteristic bullseye rash.
Lyme disease is a tick-borne infection that, if left
untreated, can cause arthritis and other problems.
Symptoms can include lethargy, joint pain, fever,
limping and loss of appetite. A bacterial disease, it
can be eradicated with antibiotic treatment in the
early stages. It can recur in some patients, but Mr.
Bush's doctors say it hasn't with him.
White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said the treatment
was not disclosed earlier because it happened after he
had his last physical, on Aug. 1, 2006. He said
doctors decided not to do blood tests to determine for
certain that he had Lyme disease because the treatment
worked and he never progressed to other symptoms.
“It was a rash,” he said. “It's not uncommon for the
president to have tick bites when he's out biking.”
Six Democrats at Candidate Forum Wear Shades of Gray
on Gay Marriage
By CQ Staff | 1:56 AM; Aug. 10, 2007 |
By Sara Lubbes, Josh Stager and Jesse Stanchak, CQ
Six of the candidates seeking the 2008 Democratic
presidential nomination participated Thursday in a
two-hour forum in Los Angeles devoted to issues of
concern to gays and lesbians. The event — moderated by
journalist Margaret Carlson and sponsored by the Human
Rights Campaign, a gay-rights activist group — was
broadcast live by co-sponsor Logo, a lifestyle cable
channel aimed at gay and lesbian viewers.
Taking questions separately in a talk-show-like
setting were front-running candidates New York Sen.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and
former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards. Also
participating were New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson,
Ohio Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich and former Alaska Sen.
Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd and Delaware Sen.
Joseph R. Biden Jr., did not attend, citing scheduling
conflicts. Logo offered to hold a second forum for
Republican candidates, but the leading candidates for
the party’s nomination declined to participate,
Unlike several candidate debates held earlier this
year, the Democrats never appeared on stage together,
but took questions at 15-minute intervals from Carlson
and a panel made up of Human Rights Campaign President
Joe Solmonese, singer Melissa Etheridge and Washington
Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart. Candidates
were questioned in the order in which they agreed to
commit to the forum, with chief rivals Obama and
Clinton book-ending the discussion as first and last,
The questions covered a mix of topics, including
same-sex marriage, AIDS funding and employment rights
for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender couples.
The following is a roundup of some of the forum’s key
Most Discussed Issue: Debate about same-sex marriage
dominated the forum. With only two candidates,
Kucinich and Gravel, supporting full marriage rights
for same-sex couples most of the scrutiny went to
Obama, Edwards, Richardson and Clinton: All of them
proclaimed their support for civil unions that provide
many partnership rights to same-sex couples but do not
constitute marriage under the law.
“The country isn’t there yet,” said Richardson of his
opposition to gay marriage. “Civil unions with full
marriage rights is achievable.”
Clinton described her opposition as “a personal
position,” adding that marriage laws should be
determined by state legislatures.
Obama, who served in the Illinois Senate for eight
years prior to his 2004 election to the U.S. Senate,
would not say if he would have voted for a bill to
legalize gay marriage. “It depends on how the bill
would’ve come up,” he said.
In one of the most direct moments of the night,
Edwards backtracked on recent comments that his
personal faith influenced his opposition to gay
“I shouldn’t have said that,” Edwards said, adding,
“My position on same-sex marriage has not changed. I
believe strongly in civil unions.”
The discussion also focused heavily on the Defense of
Marriage Act, or DOMA, a 1996 statute that was crafted
by a Republican-controlled Congress and signed by a
Democrat, President Bill Clinton, who is married to
Hillary Clinton. The law prohibits the federal
government from recognizing same-sex marriage.
Edwards went the farthest in calling for an outright
repeal of the law. “We desperately need to get rid of
DOMA,” Edwards said. Edwards has said he would not
have voted for the bill if he had been in the Senate
Richardson was a member of the U.S. House in 1996 and
did vote for the DOMA bill. But he said he backed it
as part of an effort to block conservatives from
pushing through a more stringent measure, a
constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
Richardson described DOMA as “a cheap political way to
decimate a bad initiative.”
Clinton, whose husband was heavily criticized by gay
rights groups for signing the law, gave a more
defensive response, saying it helped Democratic
candidates in 2004 deflect Republican efforts to brand
them as pro-gay marriage.
“DOMA provided great protection against the Republican
strategy to cynically use marriage as a political
tool,” she said. But she expressed support for
repealing the section of the law that defines marriage
as only between a man and a woman, leaving in place
only the section that gives states jurisdiction over
Most Uncomfortable Moment: Etheridge grilled
Richardson for using the Spanish word for the anti-gay
epithet “faggot” on the Don Imus radio show in March
2006, then asked Richardson pointedly if he believes
being gay is a personal choice or an inherent
Richardson voiced the most conservative view among the
candidates. “It is a choice,” he said quickly, looking
down. Etheridge repeated her question in a friendly
tone, wondering aloud if Richardson did not understand
her the first time.
“I’m not a scientist,” he answered. “I don’t see this
as an issue of science or definition. I see gays and
lesbians as people...I don’t like to answer
definitions like that that are grounded in science or
something else that I don’t understand.”
Most Impassioned Moment: Kucinich, one of the most
vocal supporters of gay rights among the candidates,
won high praise from the panel for his support of full
marriage rights for homosexuals. Carlson joked that
Kucinich is “so evolved” for a member of Congress and
asked how he got that way.
Kucinich said that, as mayor of Cleveland, he was
attacked for hiring a police chief who was sympathetic
to gay rights.
“To me, who cares? It really doesn’t matter,” he said,
over cheers from the crowd. “Every one of us taking a
stand has the potential to help any one of us evolve.
That’s the gift we give to each other.”
Most Nuanced Response: For the candidates who don’t
fully support legalizing same-sex marriage, the
challenge at the forum was to explain their positions
on issues in a way that made them palatable to the gay
constituency, while not alienating the majority of
voters who are not gay.
All the candidates endorsed repealing the ‘don’t ask,
don’t tell’ ban on gays in the military, but Clinton
had a little more to prove. She was first lady when
the law was signed by President Clinton in 1993, and
said she only came out against the policy in 1999.
Clinton said that at the time the law was enacted,
“Don’t ask, don’t tell” was meant to be a defensive
bill designed to prevent more restrictive measures
that moderates as well as conservatives might have
been tempted to endorse.
Best Line: “Back then, mainstream media marginalized
me. Oh, I was a maverick. Oh, I was ‘Kooky Gravel.’
Well, I tell you what, all you gotta do is live long
enough that they look back and say, ‘My God, was he a
courageous leader.’” — Gravel, who was initially not
invited to the debate, playfully acknowledging his
role as an outsider candidate in the race.
Top Point of Agreement: All the candidates agreed that
federal marriage benefits should be extended to all
couples, regardless of sexuality. The disagreements
only b egan when candidates were asked what they would
call such a union and why. While candidates who
supported anything less than full marriage rights
didn’t impress the moderators, they all agreed that
homosexuals should be guaranteed equality under the law.
Bush War Adviser Says Draft Worth a Look
Aug 10 06:25 PM US/Eastern
By RICHARD LARDNER
WASHINGTON (AP) - Frequent tours for U.S. forces in
Iraq and Afghanistan have stressed the all-volunteer
force and made it worth considering a return to a
military draft, President Bush's new war adviser said
"I think it makes sense to certainly consider it,"
Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute said in an interview with
National Public Radio's "All Things Considered."
"And I can tell you, this has always been an option on
the table. But ultimately, this is a policy matter
between meeting the demands for the nation's security
by one means or another," Lute added in his first
interview since he was confirmed by the Senate in
President Nixon abolished the draft in 1973. Restoring
it, Lute said, would be a "major policy shift" and
Bush has made it clear that he doesn't think it's
The repeated deployments affect not only the troops
but their families, who can influence whether a
service member decides to stay in the military, Lute
"There's both a personal dimension of this, where this
kind of stress plays out across dinner tables and in
living room conversations within these families," he
said. "And ultimately, the health of the all-
volunteer force is going to rest on those sorts of
personal family decisions."
The military conducted a draft during the Civil War
and both world wars and between 1948 and 1973. The
Selective Service System, re- established in 1980,
maintains a registry of 18-year-old men.
Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., has called for
reinstating the draft as a way to end the Iraq war.
Bush picked Lute in mid-May as a deputy national
security adviser with responsibility for ensuring
efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan are coordinated with
policymakers in Washington. Lute, an active-duty
general, was chosen after several retired generals
turned down the job.
Romney wins, Huckabee in 2nd
THOMAS BEAUMONT AND JENNIFER JACOBS
REGISTER STAFF WRITERS
August 11, 2007
Ames, Ia. — Republican presidential candidate Mitt
Romney emerged on top at Iowa GOP’s straw poll
Saturday in Ames.
The win boosted the former Massachusetts governor’s
standing as the party’s frontrunner in Iowa, although
attendance at this first show of Iowa campaign
strength appeared to fall short of expectations.
Candidate Votes Pct.
1. Mitt Romney 4,516 31.6%
2. Mike Huckabee 2,587 18.1%
3. Sam Brownback 2,192 15.3%
4. Tom Tancredo 1,960 13.7%
5. Ron Paul 1,305 9.1%
6. Tommy Thompson 1,039 7.3%
7. Fred Thompson 203 1.4%
8. Rudy Giuliani 183 1.3%
9. Duncan Hunter 174 1.2%
10. John McCain 101 0.7%
11. John Cox 41 0.3%
Romney, who heavily outspent his opponents preparing
for the fundraising event, received 4,516 votes or
Roughly 30,000 to 33,000 Republicans attended the
state party fundraiser on the Iowa State University
campus, short of organizers’ goal of exceeding the
crowd of 38,000 who attended the most recent straw
poll in 1999.
A factor in the lower turnout was the absence of some
of the field’s better-known candidates — former New
York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Sen. John McCain of
Arizona, and likely candidate Fred Thompson, a former
U.S. senator from Tennessee.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee had said his
campaign’s future depended on a strong showing in
Ames. He finished in second place, with 2,587 votes or
18.1 percent. Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas placed
third with 2,192 votes, 15.3 percent after campaigning
aggressively to be the choice of the Iowa GOP’s
influential social conservatives.
“Obviously this was an incredible day and victory for
us,” Huckabee said. “What happened for us today was
Huckabee said he and his campaign staff had been
saying they had momentum and it proved true.
“We overperformed,” he said. “The bigger story is we
did it with not a dime of paid advertising.”
He said he hopes all the people who promised they’d
get behind him “if he got traction” will now step
Meanwhile, former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, who
said he would quit the race if he finished worse than
second place, finished sixth with 1,039 votes or 7.3
Thompson could exit the race as early as Sunday.
"Clearly it'll be difficult for the campaign to
continue," said Thompson's Iowa adviser, Steve Grubbs.
Grubbs said Thompson will likely go to church Sunday,
like he always does, and contemplate his future. An
announcement will come later Sunday or Monday, his
Voting machine difficulties delayed the announcement
of the vote totals. About 1,500 ballots needed to be
recounted, said Mary Tiffany, a spokeswoman for
Republican Party of Iowa.
Two machines caused the problem, said State Auditor
David Vaudt. “What likely happened is someone
submitted their ballot too quickly after the other,”
he said. The ballots from those machines were hand
counted, then re-fed into the system to recalculate
the vote. A campaign poll-watcher said in one
instance, a black box contained 500 paper ballots but
the machine’s memory said it had scanned in 498.
Romney, the leader in recent Iowa polls, had said a
victory in Ames would ensure his place in his party’s
top tier nationally. He described himself Saturday as
the candidate of change that he argued the party
requires in order to win in 2008.
“Change begins in Iowa and change begins today,”
Romney told more than 10,000 Republican activists
during his speech at Iowa State’s Hilton Coliseum. “If
there’s ever been a time we need to see a change in
Iowa, it’s now.”
U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, who had banked much his
campaign on a strong straw poll showing, said the
results were his “ticket to the caucuses” and pledged
to continue the race.
“We’re still in this race, we’re still going to move
aggressively forward,” Brownback told a crowd of 50 in
his tent. “We’ve separated ourselves from the rest of
Brownback said his campaign, which has not yet used
televised ads, planned to begin buying air time.
Romney, Brownback, Huckabee and Thompson were among
eight candidates to attend the high-profile political
festival that marks the end of the first round of the
campaign for Iowa’s leadoff GOP nominating caucuses.
The straw poll votes are nonbinding, and voters are
free to choose another candidate in the official Iowa
Giuliani’s and McCain’s decisions in June to skip the
event altered the straw poll’s role. Typically seen as
a potential first measure of candidate strength in the
field at large, this year’s event was more of an
opportunity for a second-tier candidate to emerge.
Candidates also attending were U.S. Reps. Duncan
Hunter of California, Ron Paul of Texas and Tom
Tancredo of Colorado, as well as Chicago businessman
Brownback had sparred with Romney in the weeks leading
up to Saturday, challenging Romney’s commitment to
opposing abortion rights, a key issue to Republican
stalwarts in Iowa. Brownback, who opposes abortion
rights, had been conducting a telephone campaign
attacking Romney on his abortion position and other
“We win when we stand on principles and do not abandon
them,” Brownback said in an indirect reference to his
criticism of Romney, who supported abortion rights
until after his election to governor in 2002.
The event was expected to raise roughly $1 million for
the Iowa Republican Party, partly through sales of the
$35 tickets, but more through rental fees the
candidates and interest groups paid to set up tents
around Hilton Coliseum.
Participating candidates viewed the event as a
practice run for mobilizing their Iowa organizations,
a priority in the organization-heavy caucuses,
scheduled to launch the 2008 nominating contests in
Romney, Brownback and Huckabee had rented hundreds of
tour buses to deliver their supporters to the grounds
around Hilton Coliseum.
The campaigns bought up blocs of thousands of tickets
and handed them out to their supporters, with more
than just hope that they would vote for them at voting
stations in Hilton Coliseum and nearby buildings.
Romney’s campaign aides had asked people who received
a ticket from them to sign a pledge to vote for the
candidate, which annoyed at least one family. Voting
generally went smoothly, although the sweltering day’s
high humidity was a factor in some ballots sticking
together, which caused marginal delays, party
The grounds around the coliseum were transformed by
mid-morning into a scale model of the Iowa State Fair,
going on 40 miles south in Des Moines. A Ferris wheel
sponsored by FairTax, a group promoting tax reform,
spun while Des Moines rock band The Nadas jammed on a
stage set up in Romney’s compound outside Hilton
Hundreds of attendees streamed onto the grounds as
buses from all over the state unloaded.
With roughly 50 voting machines set up in sites in
Hilton and surrounding buildings, lines formed quickly
as balloting began at 10 a.m. Staff from the Story
County auditor’s office supervised the voting, and
state Auditor David Vaudt oversaw the ballot counting.
There were few complaints about the voting process.
Inside, syndicated radio host Laura Ingraham was the
master of ceremonies, and the polished stagecraft
included candidate videos played on jumbo screens.
The nation’s political news media were focused on the
event, despite the high-profile no-shows. More than
400 members of at least 150 news organizations were on
hand covering the event.Dozens of satellite news
trucks crowded the parking area just south of the
Giuliani said in June that he would not participate in
the straw poll, suggesting his campaign could more
wisely spend the estimated $3million it would take to
prepare for Ames by investing in his early-state
McCain said his reason for giving up his straw poll
plan was that Giuliani’s absence diminished the
contest’s significance. Later, McCain slashed his Iowa
and national campaign organizations in light of
“I think anybody who is not in the straw poll made a
mistake,” U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa
Republican, told reporters. “They are losing an
opportunity to refortify their national position. And
particularly Giuliani, that’s for sure.”
Lorna Burnside, a rare undecided Republican attending
the event, said she doesn’t begrudge Giuliani or
McCain for skipping the event, but thinks they did
their Iowa campaigns a disservice.
“You can’t get this many people together and not make
an impact by staying away. You just can’t do it,” she
said. “There’s just too many people here.”
Staff writers Jennifer Jacobs and Jason Clayworth
contributed to this article.
August 11, 2007
Indicted Romney Finance Co-Chair Resigns
Lost amid the Ames Strawpoll activity today, Mitt
Romney's campaign has announced the resignation of its
national finance committee co-chairman, Alan B.
Fabian, who was indicted in Maryland for "allegedly
shady business dealings." Romney will return Fabian's
$2,300 campaign contribution.
"Federal prosecutors have charged Fabian with
defrauding companies out of $32 million. He was
indicted Wednesday by a Maryland grand jury on 23
counts, including mail fraud, money laundering,
bankruptcy fraud, perjury and obstruction of justice,
according to the Baltimore U.S. attorney's office."
It took less votes to win the straw poll than to win a state
representative seat. That's how "meaningful" the event was.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Greg Cannon <gregcannon1@...>
> Romney wins, Huckabee in 2nd
> THOMAS BEAUMONT AND JENNIFER JACOBS
> REGISTER STAFF WRITERS
> August 11, 2007
> Ames, Ia. — Republican presidential candidate Mitt
> Romney emerged on top at Iowa GOP's straw poll
> Saturday in Ames.
> The win boosted the former Massachusetts governor's
> standing as the party's frontrunner in Iowa, although
> attendance at this first show of Iowa campaign
> strength appeared to fall short of expectations.
> Candidate Votes Pct.
> 1. Mitt Romney 4,516 31.6%
> 2. Mike Huckabee 2,587 18.1%
> 3. Sam Brownback 2,192 15.3%
> 4. Tom Tancredo 1,960 13.7%
> 5. Ron Paul 1,305 9.1%
> 6. Tommy Thompson 1,039 7.3%
> 7. Fred Thompson 203 1.4%
> 8. Rudy Giuliani 183 1.3%
> 9. Duncan Hunter 174 1.2%
> 10. John McCain 101 0.7%
> 11. John Cox 41 0.3%
> Romney, who heavily outspent his opponents preparing
> for the fundraising event, received 4,516 votes or
> 31.6 percent.
> Roughly 30,000 to 33,000 Republicans attended the
> state party fundraiser on the Iowa State University
> campus, short of organizers' goal of exceeding the
> crowd of 38,000 who attended the most recent straw
> poll in 1999.
> A factor in the lower turnout was the absence of some
> of the field's better-known candidates — former New
> York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Sen. John McCain of
> Arizona, and likely candidate Fred Thompson, a former
> U.S. senator from Tennessee.
> Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee had said his
> campaign's future depended on a strong showing in
> Ames. He finished in second place, with 2,587 votes or
> 18.1 percent. Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas placed
> third with 2,192 votes, 15.3 percent after campaigning
> aggressively to be the choice of the Iowa GOP's
> influential social conservatives.
> "Obviously this was an incredible day and victory for
> us," Huckabee said. "What happened for us today was
> Huckabee said he and his campaign staff had been
> saying they had momentum and it proved true.
> "We overperformed," he said. "The bigger story is we
> did it with not a dime of paid advertising."
> He said he hopes all the people who promised they'd
> get behind him "if he got traction" will now step
> Meanwhile, former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, who
> said he would quit the race if he finished worse than
> second place, finished sixth with 1,039 votes or 7.3
> Thompson could exit the race as early as Sunday.
> "Clearly it'll be difficult for the campaign to
> continue," said Thompson's Iowa adviser, Steve Grubbs.
> Grubbs said Thompson will likely go to church Sunday,
> like he always does, and contemplate his future. An
> announcement will come later Sunday or Monday, his
> aide said.
> Voting machine difficulties delayed the announcement
> of the vote totals. About 1,500 ballots needed to be
> recounted, said Mary Tiffany, a spokeswoman for
> Republican Party of Iowa.
> Two machines caused the problem, said State Auditor
> David Vaudt. "What likely happened is someone
> submitted their ballot too quickly after the other,"
> he said. The ballots from those machines were hand
> counted, then re-fed into the system to recalculate
> the vote. A campaign poll-watcher said in one
> instance, a black box contained 500 paper ballots but
> the machine's memory said it had scanned in 498.
> Romney, the leader in recent Iowa polls, had said a
> victory in Ames would ensure his place in his party's
> top tier nationally. He described himself Saturday as
> the candidate of change that he argued the party
> requires in order to win in 2008.
> "Change begins in Iowa and change begins today,"
> Romney told more than 10,000 Republican activists
> during his speech at Iowa State's Hilton Coliseum. "If
> there's ever been a time we need to see a change in
> Iowa, it's now."
> U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, who had banked much his
> campaign on a strong straw poll showing, said the
> results were his "ticket to the caucuses" and pledged
> to continue the race.
> "We're still in this race, we're still going to move
> aggressively forward," Brownback told a crowd of 50 in
> his tent. "We've separated ourselves from the rest of
> the field."
> Brownback said his campaign, which has not yet used
> televised ads, planned to begin buying air time.
> Romney, Brownback, Huckabee and Thompson were among
> eight candidates to attend the high-profile political
> festival that marks the end of the first round of the
> campaign for Iowa's leadoff GOP nominating caucuses.
> The straw poll votes are nonbinding, and voters are
> free to choose another candidate in the official Iowa
> Giuliani's and McCain's decisions in June to skip the
> event altered the straw poll's role. Typically seen as
> a potential first measure of candidate strength in the
> field at large, this year's event was more of an
> opportunity for a second-tier candidate to emerge.
> Candidates also attending were U.S. Reps. Duncan
> Hunter of California, Ron Paul of Texas and Tom
> Tancredo of Colorado, as well as Chicago businessman
> John Cox.
> Brownback had sparred with Romney in the weeks leading
> up to Saturday, challenging Romney's commitment to
> opposing abortion rights, a key issue to Republican
> stalwarts in Iowa. Brownback, who opposes abortion
> rights, had been conducting a telephone campaign
> attacking Romney on his abortion position and other
> "We win when we stand on principles and do not abandon
> them," Brownback said in an indirect reference to his
> criticism of Romney, who supported abortion rights
> until after his election to governor in 2002.
> The event was expected to raise roughly $1 million for
> the Iowa Republican Party, partly through sales of the
> $35 tickets, but more through rental fees the
> candidates and interest groups paid to set up tents
> around Hilton Coliseum.
> Participating candidates viewed the event as a
> practice run for mobilizing their Iowa organizations,
> a priority in the organization-heavy caucuses,
> scheduled to launch the 2008 nominating contests in
> Romney, Brownback and Huckabee had rented hundreds of
> tour buses to deliver their supporters to the grounds
> around Hilton Coliseum.
> The campaigns bought up blocs of thousands of tickets
> and handed them out to their supporters, with more
> than just hope that they would vote for them at voting
> stations in Hilton Coliseum and nearby buildings.
> Romney's campaign aides had asked people who received
> a ticket from them to sign a pledge to vote for the
> candidate, which annoyed at least one family. Voting
> generally went smoothly, although the sweltering day's
> high humidity was a factor in some ballots sticking
> together, which caused marginal delays, party
> officials said.
> The grounds around the coliseum were transformed by
> mid-morning into a scale model of the Iowa State Fair,
> going on 40 miles south in Des Moines. A Ferris wheel
> sponsored by FairTax, a group promoting tax reform,
> spun while Des Moines rock band The Nadas jammed on a
> stage set up in Romney's compound outside Hilton
> Hundreds of attendees streamed onto the grounds as
> buses from all over the state unloaded.
> With roughly 50 voting machines set up in sites in
> Hilton and surrounding buildings, lines formed quickly
> as balloting began at 10 a.m. Staff from the Story
> County auditor's office supervised the voting, and
> state Auditor David Vaudt oversaw the ballot counting.
> There were few complaints about the voting process.
> Inside, syndicated radio host Laura Ingraham was the
> master of ceremonies, and the polished stagecraft
> included candidate videos played on jumbo screens.
> The nation's political news media were focused on the
> event, despite the high-profile no-shows. More than
> 400 members of at least 150 news organizations were on
> hand covering the event.Dozens of satellite news
> trucks crowded the parking area just south of the
> Giuliani said in June that he would not participate in
> the straw poll, suggesting his campaign could more
> wisely spend the estimated $3million it would take to
> prepare for Ames by investing in his early-state
> McCain said his reason for giving up his straw poll
> plan was that Giuliani's absence diminished the
> contest's significance. Later, McCain slashed his Iowa
> and national campaign organizations in light of
> financial trouble.
> "I think anybody who is not in the straw poll made a
> mistake," U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa
> Republican, told reporters. "They are losing an
> opportunity to refortify their national position. And
> particularly Giuliani, that's for sure."
> Lorna Burnside, a rare undecided Republican attending
> the event, said she doesn't begrudge Giuliani or
> McCain for skipping the event, but thinks they did
> their Iowa campaigns a disservice.
> "You can't get this many people together and not make
> an impact by staying away. You just can't do it," she
> said. "There's just too many people here."
> Staff writers Jennifer Jacobs and Jason Clayworth
> contributed to this article.
Italy probe unearths huge Iraq arms deal
By CHARLES J. HANLEY and ARIEL DAVID, Associated Press
Writers 1 hour, 21 minutes ago
PERUGIA, Italy - In a hidden corner of Rome's busy
Fiumicino Airport, police dug quietly through a
traveler's checked baggage, looking for smuggled
drugs. What they found instead was a catalog of
weapons, a clue to something bigger.
Their discovery led anti-Mafia investigators down a
monthslong trail of telephone and e-mail intercepts,
into the midst of a huge black-market transaction, as
Iraqi and Italian partners haggled over shipping more
than 100,000 Russian-made automatic weapons into the
bloodbath of Iraq.
As the secretive, $40 million deal neared completion,
Italian authorities moved in, making arrests and
breaking it up. But key questions remain unanswered.
For one thing, The Associated Press has learned that
Iraqi government officials were involved in the deal,
apparently without the knowledge of the U.S. Baghdad
command — a departure from the usual pattern of
U.S.-overseen arms purchases.
Why these officials resorted to "black" channels and
where the weapons were headed is unclear.
The purchase would merely have been the most
spectacular example of how Iraq has become a magnet
for arms traffickers and a place of vanishing weapons
stockpiles and uncontrolled gun markets since the 2003
U.S. invasion and the onset of civil war.
Some guns the U.S. bought for Iraq's police and army
are unaccounted for, possibly fallen into the hands of
insurgents or sectarian militias. Meanwhile, the
planned replacement of the army's AK-47s with
U.S.-made M-16s may throw more assault rifles onto the
black market. And the weapons free-for-all apparently
is spilling over borders: Turkey and Iran complain
U.S.-supplied guns are flowing from Iraq to
anti-government militants on their soil.
Iraqi middlemen in the Italian deal, in intercepted
e-mails, claimed the arrangement had official American
approval. A U.S. spokesman in Baghdad denied that.
"Iraqi officials did not make MNSTC-I aware that they
were making purchases," Lt. Col. Daniel Williams of
the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq
(MNSTC-I), which oversees arming and training of the
Iraqi police and army, told the AP.
Operation Parabellum, the investigation led by Dario
Razzi, anti-Mafia prosecutor in this central Italian
city, began in 2005 as a routine investigation into
drug trafficking by organized-crime figures, branched
out into an inquiry into arms dealing with Libya, and
then widened to Iraq.
Court documents obtained by the AP show that Razzi's
break came early last year when police monitoring one
of the drug suspects covertly opened his luggage as he
left on a flight to Libya. Instead of the expected
drugs, they found helmets, bulletproof vests and the
Tapping telephones, monitoring e-mails, Razzi's
investigators followed the trail to a group of Italian
businessmen, otherwise unrelated to the drug probe,
who were working to sell arms to Libya and, by late
2006, to Iraq as well, through offshore companies they
set up in Malta and Cyprus.
Four Italians have been arrested and are awaiting
court indictment for allegedly creating a criminal
association and alleged arms trafficking — trading in
weapons without a government license. A fifth Italian
is being sought in Africa. In addition, 13 other
Italians were arrested on drug charges.
In the documents, Razzi describes it as "strange" that
the U.S.-supported Iraqi government would seek such
weapons via the black market.
Investigators say the prospect of an Iraq deal was
raised last November, when an Iraqi-owned trading firm
e-mailed Massimo Bettinotti, 39, owner of the
Malta-based MIR Ltd., about whether MIR could supply
100,000 AK-47 assault rifles and 10,000 machine guns
"to the Iraqi Interior Ministry," adding that "this
deal is approved by America and Iraq."
The go-between — the Al-Handal General Trading Co. in
Dubai — apparently had communicated with Bettinotti
earlier about buying night visors and had been told
MIR could also procure weapons.
Al-Handal has figured in questionable dealings before,
having been identified by U.S. investigators three
years ago as a "front company" in Iraq's Oil-for-Food
The Interior Ministry's need at that point for such a
massive weapons shipment is unclear. The U.S. training
command had already reported it would arm all Interior
Ministry police by the end of 2006 through its own
three-year-old program, which as of July 26 has bought
701,000 weapons for the Iraqi army and police with
$237 million in U.S. government funds.
Negotiations on the deal progressed quickly in e-mail
exchanges between the Italians and Iraqi middlemen of
the al-Handal company and its parent al-Thuraya Group.
But at times the discussion turned murky and nervous.
The Iraqis alternately indicated the Interior Ministry
or "security ministries" would be the end users. At
one point, a worried Bettinotti e-mailed, "We prefer
to speak about this deal face to face and not by
The Italians sent several offers of various types and
quantities of rifles, with photos included. The
negotiating focused on the source of the weapons: The
Iraqi middlemen said their buyer insisted they be
Russian-made, but the Italians wanted to sell AK-47s
made in China, where they had better contacts.
"We are in a hurry with this deal," an impatient
Waleed Noori al-Handal, Jordan-based general manager
of the Iraqi firm, wrote the Italians on Nov. 13 in
one of the e-mails seen by AP.
He added, in apparent allusion to the shipment's
clandestine nature, "You mustn't worry if it's a
problem to import these goods directly into Iraq. We
can bring the product to another country and then
transfer it to Iraq."
By December, the Italians, having found a Bulgarian
broker, were offering Russian-made goods: 50,000 AKM
rifles, an improved version of the AK-47; 50,000 AKMS
rifles, the same gun with folding stock; and 5,000 PKM
The Iraqis quibbled over the asking price, $39.7
million, but seemed satisfied. The Italians were set
for a $6.6 million profit, the court documents show,
and were already discussing air transport for the
weapons. At this point prosecutor Razzi acted, seeking
an arrest warrant from a Perugia court.
"The negotiation with Iraq is developing very
quickly," he wrote the judge.
On Feb. 12, in seven locations across Italy, police
arrested the 17 men, including the four alleged arms
traffickers: Bettinotti; Gianluca Squarzolo, 39, the
man whose luggage had yielded the original clue;
Ermete Moretti, 55, and Serafino Rossi, 64. If
convicted, they could be sentenced to up to 12 years
The at-large fifth man, Vittorio Dordi, 42, was
believed to be in the Democratic Republic of Congo,
where he apparently is involved in the diamond trade.
Italian authorities were seeking information on him
from the African country.
In the parallel Libya case, the Italians allegedly
paid two Libyan Defense Ministry officials about
$500,000 in kickbacks to speed that transaction for
Chinese-made assault rifles. It isn't known whether
such bribes were a factor in the Iraq deal. No Libyans
or Iraqis are known to have been detained in
connection with the cases.
Al-Handal's operations have caught investigators'
notice before. In 1996-2003, the company was involved
as a broker in the kickback scandal known as Oil for
Food, the CIA says.
In that program, Iraq under U.N. economic sanctions
bought food and other necessities with U.N.-supervised
oil revenues. Foreign companies, often through
intermediaries, surreptitiously kicked back payments
to officials of Saddam Hussein's Iraqi government in
exchange for such supply contracts.
Those Iraqi middlemen also engaged in "misrepresenting
the origin or final destination of goods," said the
2004 report of the CIA's Iraq Survey Group, which
investigated both Iraq's defunct advanced weapons
programs and Oil for Food.
That report also alleged that during this period
Al-Handal General Trading, from its bases in Dubai and
Jordan, secretly moved unspecified "equipment" into
Iraq that was forbidden by the U.N. sanctions.
Reached at his office in Amman, Jordan, Waleed Noori
al-Handal denied the family firm had done anything
wrong in the Italian arms case.
"We don't have anything to hide," he told the AP.
Citing the names of "friends" in top U.S. military
ranks in Iraq, al-Handal said his company has
fulfilled scores of supply and service contracts for
the U.S. occupation. Asked why he claimed U.S.
approval for the abortive Italian weapons purchase, he
said he had a document from the U.S. Army "that says,
'We allow al-Thuraya Group to do all kinds of
In Baghdad, the Interior Ministry wouldn't discuss the
AK-47 transaction on the record. But a senior ministry
official, speaking on condition of anonymity because
of the matter's sensitivity, acknowledged it had
sought the weapons through al-Handal.
Asked about the irregular channels used, he said the
ministry "doesn't ask the supplier how these weapons
Although this official refused to discuss details, he
said "most" of the 105,000 weapons were meant for
police in Iraq's western province of Anbar. That
statement raised questions, however, since Pentagon
reports list only 161,000 trained police across all 18
of Iraq's provinces, and say the ministry has been
issued 169,280 AK-47s, 167,789 pistols and 16,398
machine guns for them and 28,000 border police.
A July 26 Pentagon report said 20,847 other AK-47s
purchased for the Interior Ministry have not yet been
delivered. Iraqi officials complain that the U.S.
supply of equipment, from bullets to uniforms, has
A Pentagon report in June may have touched on another
possible destination for weapons obtained via
secretive channels, noting that "militia infiltration
of local police remains a significant problem." Shiite
Muslim militias in Iraq's civil war have long been
known to find cover and weapons within the Interior
In fact, in a further sign of poor controls on the
flow of arms into Iraq, a July 31 audit report by the
U.S. Government Accountability Office said the U.S.
command's books don't contain records on 190,000
AK-47s and other weapons, more than half those issued
in 2004-2005 to Iraqi forces. This makes it difficult
to trace weapons that may be passed on to militias or
The Pentagon, meanwhile, has described the Interior
Ministry's accounting of police equipment as
Here in Italy, Razzi expressed puzzlement at the Iraqi
officials' circumvention of U.S. supply routes.
"It seems strange that a pro-Western government,
supported by the U.S. Army and other NATO countries on
its own territory, would seek Russian or Chinese
weapons through questionable channels," the anti-Mafia
prosecutor wrote in seeking the arrest warrant that
short-circuited the complex deal.
Thompson dropping out of presidential race
Campaign releases statement; ex-governor finishes 6th
in Iowa straw poll
MILWAUKEE - Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson is
dropping out of the race for the Republican
presidential nomination, a campaign official said
His campaign released a statement saying the
Republican is leaving the campaign trail several hours
after WITI-TV in Milwaukee reported that Thompson told
one of its reporters he was withdrawing.
The campaign statement said Thompson intends to take
sometime off before returning to the private sector
and his nonprofit work.
It said the 65-year-old says he’s comforted by the
fact that he thinks he made a difference for people
during his campaign.
He finished sixth among eleven candidates in this
weekend’s GOP straw poll in Iowa. He had said before
the Iowa event that he would drop out of the race
unless he finished first or second.
The statement didn’t say whether he would endorse
A veteran of four successful campaigns for governor of
Wisconsin, had a good track record of winning
He quit during his fourth term as governor to serve as
President Bush’s secretary of Health and Human
Services from 2001 to the end of 2004.
He was first elected in 1966 at age 24 to the
Wisconsin State Assembly, not long after he graduated
from the University of Wisconsin. Twenty years later,
he won his first term as governor.
As governor, he earned a national reputation for
policies that moved many Wisconsin families from
welfare to work, gave minority families more options
on where they could send children to school by giving
religious and private schools up to $5,000 per student
and expanded health care to include thousands of the
working poor who had not previously qualified for
current government programs. He pushed for changes in
welfare laws before President Clinton and Congress
took up the issue on the national level.
Critics, however, charged the primary aim of
Thompson’s welfare reforms was merely to get people
off Wisconsin’s rolls and not necessarily to lift
families out of poverty
Born in Elroy, Wis., Thompson boasted about his
small-town background. His father ran a gas station
and a country grocery store.
Thompson’s time heading the Department of Health and
Human Services was marked by anthrax attacks, a flu
vaccine shortage and passage of the Medicare
prescription law. Thompson was a key player in Bush’s
AIDS initiative, a commitment of $15 billion over five
years for treatment and prevention of the disease that
was rapidly spreading overseas. Thompson traveled
frequently to Africa during his Cabinet service.
A fan of Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson, Thompson has
long taken an annual motorcycle trip with lawmakers,
motorcycle enthusiasts and campaign supporters.
He touted his background as a Midwest governor and
former HHS secretary as valuable credentials for a
Karl Rove to resign at end of August
By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent 16 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - Karl Rove, President Bush's close friend and chief
political strategist, plans to leave the White House at the end of
August, joining a lengthening line of senior officials heading for the
exits in the final 1 1/2 years of the administration.
On board with Bush since the beginning of his political career in
Texas, Rove was nicknamed "the architect" and "boy genius" by the
president for designing the strategy that twice won him the White
House. Critics call Rove "Bush's brain."
A criminal investigation put Rove under scrutiny for months during the
investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's name but he was never
charged with any crime. In a more recent controversy, Rove, citing
executive privilege, has refused to testify before Congress about the
firing of U.S. attorneys.
Bush was expected to make a statement Monday with Rove. Later Monday,
Rove, his wife and their son were to accompany Bush on Air Force One
when the president flies to Texas for his vacation.
"Obviously it's a big loss to us," White House deputy press secretary
Dana Perino said. "He's a great colleague, a good friend, and a
brilliant mind. He will be greatly missed, but we know he wouldn't be
going if he wasn't sure this was the right time to be giving more to
his family, his wife Darby and their son. He will continue to be one
of the president's greatest friends."
Since Democrats won control of Congress in November, some top
administration officials have announced their resignations. Among
those who have left are White House counselor Dan Bartlett, budget
director Rob Portman, chief White House attorney Harriet Miers,
political director Sara Taylor, deputy national security adviser J.D.
Crouch and Meghan O'Sullivan, another deputy national security adviser
who worked on Iraq. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was forced out
immediately after the election as the unpopular war in Iraq dragged on.
Rove became one of Washington's most influential figures during Bush's
presidency. He is known as a ruthless political warrior who has an
encyclopedic command of political minutiae and a wonkish love of
policy. Rove met Bush in the early 1970s, when both men were in their 20s.
Once inside the White House, Rove grew into a right-hand man.
Rove is expected to write a book after he leaves. He disclosed his
departure in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
He said he decided to leave after White House Chief of Staff Joshua
Bolten told senior aides that if they stayed past Labor Day they would
be obliged to remain through the end of the president's term in
"I just think it's time," Rove said in an interview at this home on
Saturday. He first floated the idea of leaving to Bush a year ago, the
newspaper said, and friends confirmed he'd been talking about it even
earlier. However, he said he didn't want to depart right after the
Democrats regained control of Congress and then got drawn into policy
battles over the Iraq war and immigration.
"There's always something that can keep you here, and as much as I'd
like to be here, I've got to do this for the sake of my family," said
Rove, who has been in the White House since Bush took office in 2001.
Rove's son attends college in San Antonio and he said he and his wife
plan to spend much of their time at their nearby home in Ingram.
Rove, currently the deputy White House chief of staff, has been the
president's political guru for years and worked with Bush since he
first ran for governor of Texas in 1993.
Even as he discussed his departure, Rove remained characteristically
sunny. This quality of unrelenting optimism about the president, which
matches Bush's own upbeat, never-admit-disappointment nature, has at
times gotten Rove into trouble. Up to the end of the 2006 midterm
elections, the political guru predicted a Republican win. That of
course was not to be, and there was grumbling that Rove wasn't on his
game during those elections as much as he had been before.
In the interview, Rove predicted Bush will regain his popularity,
which has sunk to record lows because of the war in Iraq.
Rove also predicted conditions in Iraq would improve and that the
Democrats would nominate Hillary Rodham Clinton for president, calling
her "a tough, tenacious, fatally flawed candidate."
Rove testified before a federal grand jury in the investigation into
the leak of the name of Valerie Plame, a CIA officer whose husband was
a critic of the war in Iraq. That investigation led to the conviction
of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby on charges of lying and obstructing
justice. Plame contends the White House was trying to discredit her
Attorneys for Libby told jurors at the onset of his trial that Libby
was the victim of a conspiracy to protect Rove. Details of any
save-Rove conspiracy were promised but never materialized.
The most explicit testimony on Rove came from columnist Robert Novak,
who outed Plame in a July 2003 column. He testified that Rove, a
frequent source, was one of two officials who told him about Plame.
Libby, with whom he seldom spoke, was not a source.
Rove, though, was not indicted after testifying five times before the
grand jury, occasionally correcting misstatements he made in his
The jury in Libby's trial did not hear that testimony, nor did it hear
that Rove is credited as an architect of Republican political
victories and has been accused by opponents of playing dirty tricks.
All that jurors heard is that Rove leaked Plame's identity and, from
the outset, got political cover from the White House. He was never
charged with a crime.
Padilla convicted on terrorism-support charges
One-time dirty bomb suspect, 2 others found guilty of
Updated: 1 minute ago
MIAMI - Jose Padilla was convicted of federal
terrorism support charges Thursday after being held
for 3 1/2 years as an enemy combatant in a case that
came to symbolize the Bush administration's zeal to
stop homegrown terror.
Padilla, a U.S. citizen, was once accused of being
part of an al-Qaida plot to detonate a radioactive
"dirty bomb" in the U.S., but those allegations were
not part of his trial.
Padilla and his foreign-born co-defendants, Adham Amin
Hassoun and Kifah Wael Jayyousi, were convicted by a
jury of conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim people
overseas, which carries a penalty of life in prison.
All three were also convicted of two terrorism
material support counts, which carry potential 15-year
U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke set a Dec. 5
sentencing date for all three defendants.
The three were accused of being part of a North
American support cell that provided supplies, money
and recruits to groups of Islamic extremists. The
defense contended they were trying to help persecuted
Muslims in war zones with relief and humanitarian aid.
Padilla was first detained in 2002 because of much
more sensational accusations. The Bush administration
portrayed Padilla, a U.S. citizen and Muslim convert,
as a committed terrorist who was part of an al-Qaida
plot to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in the
U.S. The administration called his detention an
important victory in the war against terrorism, not
long after the Sept. 11 attacks.
The charges brought in civilian court in Miami,
however, were a pale shadow of those initial claims in
part because Padilla, 36, was interrogated about the
plot when he was held as an enemy combatant for 3 1/2
years in military custody with no lawyer present and
was not read his Miranda rights.
'He provided himself to al-Qaida'
Padilla's attorneys fought for years to get his case
into federal court, and he was finally added to the
Miami terrorism support indictment in late 2005 just
as the U.S. Supreme Court was poised to consider
President Bush's authority to continue detaining him.
Padilla had lived in South Florida in the 1990s and
was supposedly recruited by Hassoun at a mosque to
become a mujahedeen fighter.
The key piece of physical evidence was a five-page
form Padilla supposedly filled out in July 2000 to
attend an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan, which
would link the other two defendants as well to Osama
bin Laden's terrorist organization.
The form, recovered by the CIA in 2001 in Afghanistan,
contains seven of Padilla's fingerprints and several
other personal identifiers, such as his birthdate and
his ability to speak Spanish, English and Arabic.
"He provided himself to al-Qaida for training to learn
to murder, kidnap and maim," said Assistant U.S.
Attorney Brian Frazier in closing arguments.
Defense lawyer: Student, not terrorist
Padilla's lawyers insisted the form was far from
conclusive and denied that he was a "star recruit," as
prosecutors claimed, of the North American support
cell intending to become a terrorist. Padilla's
attorneys said he traveled to Egypt in September 1998
to learn Islam more deeply and become fluent in
"His intent was to study, not to murder," said Padilla
attorney Michael Caruso.
Central to the investigation were some 300,000 FBI
wiretap intercepts collected from 1993 to 2001, mainly
involving Padilla's co-defendants Hassoun and Jayyousi
and others. Most of the conversations were in Arabic
and purportedly used code such as "tourism" and
"football" for violent jihad or "zucchini" and
"eggplant" instead of military weapons or ammunition.
The bulk of these conversations and other evidence
concerned efforts in the 1990s by Hassoun and
Jayyousi, both 45, to assist Muslims in conflict zones
such as Chechnya, Bosnia, Somalia, Afghanistan and
Hassoun is a computer programmer of Palestinian
descent who was born in Lebanon. Jayyousi is a civil
engineer and public schools administrator who is a
naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Jordan.
Jayyousi also ran an organization called American
Worldwide Relief and published a newsletter called the
Islam Report that provided details of battles and
political issues in the Muslim world.
"It wasn't a terrorist operation. It was a relief
operation," said Jayyousi attorney William Swor.
Feds pay $80,000 over anti-Bush T-shirts
Thu Aug 16, 9:31 PM ET
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A couple arrested at a rally after
refusing to cover T-shirts that bore anti-President
Bush slogans settled their lawsuit against the federal
government for $80,000, the American Civil Liberties
Union announced Thursday.
Nicole and Jeffery Rank of Corpus Christi, Texas, were
handcuffed and removed from the July 4, 2004, rally at
the state Capitol, where Bush gave a speech. A judge
dismissed trespassing charges against them, and an
order closing the case was filed Thursday in U.S.
District Court in Charleston.
"This settlement is a real victory not only for our
clients but for the First Amendment," said Andrew
Schneider, executive director of the ACLU of West
Virginia. "As a result of the Ranks' courageous stand,
public officials will think twice before they eject
peaceful protesters from public events for exercising
their right to dissent."
White House spokesman Blair Jones said the settlement
was not an admission of wrongdoing.
"The parties understand that this settlement is a
compromise of disputed claims to avoid the expenses
and risks of litigation and is not an admission of
fault, liability, or wrongful conduct," Jones said.
The front of the Ranks' homemade T-shirts bore the
international symbol for "no" superimposed over the
word "Bush." The back of Nicole Rank's T-shirt said
"Love America, Hate Bush." On the back of Jeffery
Rank's T-shirt was the message "Regime Change Starts
The ACLU said in a statement that a presidential
advance manual makes it clear that the government
tries to exclude dissenters from the president's
appearances. "As a last resort," the manual says,
"security should remove the demonstrators from the event."
My wife is from Holland and wants to learn about
American history, so we watched the movie "All the
President's Men" last night and, and as I was
explaining the significance of Watergate, I was struck
by how mundane the incident seems in the context of
the last 6 years. I think we are living through an
incomparable time in US history, where we have stories
like this one on almost a daily basis.
--- Greg Cannon <gregcannon1@...> wrote:
> Feds pay $80,000 over anti-Bush T-shirts
> Thu Aug 16, 9:31 PM ET
> CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A couple arrested at a rally
> refusing to cover T-shirts that bore anti-President
> Bush slogans settled their lawsuit against the
> government for $80,000, the American Civil Liberties
> Union announced Thursday.
> Nicole and Jeffery Rank of Corpus Christi, Texas,
> handcuffed and removed from the July 4, 2004, rally
> the state Capitol, where Bush gave a speech. A judge
> dismissed trespassing charges against them, and an
> order closing the case was filed Thursday in U.S.
> District Court in Charleston.
> "This settlement is a real victory not only for our
> clients but for the First Amendment," said Andrew
> Schneider, executive director of the ACLU of West
> Virginia. "As a result of the Ranks' courageous
> public officials will think twice before they eject
> peaceful protesters from public events for
> their right to dissent."
> White House spokesman Blair Jones said the
> was not an admission of wrongdoing.
> "The parties understand that this settlement is a
> compromise of disputed claims to avoid the expenses
> and risks of litigation and is not an admission of
> fault, liability, or wrongful conduct," Jones said.
> The front of the Ranks' homemade T-shirts bore the
> international symbol for "no" superimposed over the
> word "Bush." The back of Nicole Rank's T-shirt said
> "Love America, Hate Bush." On the back of Jeffery
> Rank's T-shirt was the message "Regime Change Starts
> at Home."
> The ACLU said in a statement that a presidential
> advance manual makes it clear that the government
> tries to exclude dissenters from the president's
> appearances. "As a last resort," the manual says,
> "security should remove the demonstrators from the
How Rove Directed Federal Assets for GOP Gains
Bush Adviser's Effort to Promote the President and His
Allies Was Unprecedented in Its Reach
By John Solomon, Alec MacGillis and Sarah Cohen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, August 19, 2007; A01
Thirteen months before President Bush was reelected,
chief strategist Karl Rove summoned political
appointees from around the government to the Old
Executive Office Building. The subject of the Oct. 1,
2003, meeting was "asset deployment," and the message
The staging of official announcements, high-visibility
trips and declarations of federal grants had to be
carefully coordinated with the White House political
affairs office to ensure the maximum promotion of
Bush's reelection agenda and the Republicans in
Congress who supported him, according to documents and
some of those involved in the effort.
"The White House determines which members need
visits," said an internal e-mail about the previously
undisclosed Rove "deployment" team, "and where we need
to be strategically placing our assets."
Many administrations have sought to maximize their
control of the machinery of government for political
gain, dispatching Cabinet secretaries bearing
government largess to battleground states in the days
before elections. The Clinton White House routinely
rewarded big donors with stays in the Lincoln Bedroom
and private coffees with senior federal officials, and
held some political briefings for top Cabinet
officials during the 1996 election.
But Rove, who announced last week that he is resigning
from the White House at the end of August, pursued the
goal far more systematically than his predecessors,
according to interviews and documents reviewed by The
Washington Post, enlisting political appointees at
every level of government in a permanent campaign that
was an integral part of his strategy to establish
Republican electoral dominance.
Under Rove's direction, this highly coordinated effort
to leverage the government for political marketing
started as soon as Bush took office in 2001 and
continued through last year's congressional elections,
when it played out in its most quintessential form in
the coastal Connecticut district of Rep. Christopher
Shays, an endangered Republican incumbent. Seven
times, senior administration officials visited Shays's
district in the six months before the election -- once
for an announcement as minor as a single $23
government weather alert radio presented to an
elementary school. On Election Day, Shays was the only
Republican House member in New England to survive the
"He didn't do these things half-baked. It was total
commitment," said Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (Va.), who
in 2002 ran the House Republicans' successful
reelection campaign in close coordination with Rove.
"We knew history was against us, and he helped
coordinate all of the accoutrements of the executive
branch to help with the campaign, within the legal
In the past few months, revelations about a few dozen
political briefings that Rove's team conducted at
federal agencies and several election-related slides
from those briefings have touched off investigations
into whether the White House improperly politicized
federal workers or misused government assets to win
Investigators, however, said the scale of Rove's
effort is far broader than previously revealed; they
say that Rove's team gave more than 100 such briefings
during the seven years of the Bush administration. The
political sessions touched nearly all of the Cabinet
departments and a handful of smaller agencies that
often had major roles in providing grants, such as the
White House office of drug policy and the State
Department's Agency for International Development.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel and the House
Government Reform and Oversight Committee are
investigating whether any of the meetings violated the
Hatch Act, which prohibits government employees from
using federal resources for election activities. They
also want to know whether any Bush appointees
pressured government for favorable actions such as
grants to help GOP electoral chances.
"What we are seeing is the tip of a whole effort to
make the federal government a subsidiary of the
Republican Party. It was all politics, all the time,"
Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the
oversight committee, said last week.
The White House has repeatedly said that Rove's team
stayed within the confines of federal law and that the
meetings were an effort to ensure the president's
agenda and those who supported it were fully promoted.
But the Office of the Special Counsel, which protects
whistleblowers, has concluded that the Hatch Act was
violated during one such briefing, conducted for
General Services Administration political appointees
by J. Scott Jennings, the White House's deputy
director of political affairs. Special Counsel Scott
J. Bloch said he hopes his investigation of political
briefings will have "an educational benefit and a
deterrent effect" in reminding federal employees about
their legal obligations. "Yes, people have their
political parties, and that is good. But they have to
check those affiliations at the door when you do the
people's business," he said in an interview last week.
'How We Can Work Together'
An invitation to a March 12, 2001, political briefing
for federal officials -- one of the Rove team's
earliest -- framed the mission this way: "How we can
In practical terms, that meant Cabinet officials
concentrated their official government travel on the
media markets Rove's team chose, rolling out grant
decisions made by agencies with red-carpet fanfare in
GOP congressional districts, and carefully crafted
announcements highlighting the release of federal
money in battleground states.
"We did that from Day One of the administration,
strategically utilizing the president's appointees to
sell his agenda," Drew DeBerry, the Agriculture
Department's liaison to the White House between 2001
and 2005, recalled in an interview last week.
The scope of Rove's ambitions was unprecedented.
"Karl's ability to see the chessboard and deploy all
of the various pieces to the maximum effect is
flat-out unrivaled," said Mark Corallo, a longtime GOP
operative who worked with Rove as a top Justice
Department communications official and later as a
private consultant. "At the same time, he was always
thoroughly aware of the limits and of the boundaries."
To lead the charge, Rove had his "asset deployment
team." It comprised the chief White House liaison
official at each Cabinet agency. The team members met
-- sometimes as often as once a month -- to coordinate
the travel of Cabinet secretaries and senior agency
officials, the announcement of grant money, and
personnel and policy decisions. Occasionally, the
attendees got updates on election strategies.
White House officials say Rove had two basic rules:
the first was to avoid meddling with grant and
contract decisions made by career government
employees; the second was to make sure they complied
with the Hatch Act. "What was surprising was how
adamant Karl and his whole team was that we involve
the lawyers in our discussions to make sure we didn't
come up with things that ran afoul of the law,"
DeBerry said. In March 2002, then-White House lawyer
Brett Kavanaugh gave such a briefing on the "do's and
don'ts regarding your participation in politically
related activities," according to the invitation.
Most of the political briefings, officials said, were
held at the White House or Old Executive Office
Building for the liaisons or the agency chiefs of
staff. But once or twice a year, Rove's team sought to
spread the message beyond this core team. Attendees
were presented a slide show with the latest polling
data, election talking points and maps identifying
competitive media markets, congressional races and
presidential battleground states.
The subjects for such meetings -- which involved at
least 18 agencies -- ranged from "a political update"
and "mid-term election trends" to "outreach" and
"coalition activities/organization," according to
invitations gathered by congressional investigators.
DeBerry requested one such meeting at the Agriculture
Department about five months before the 2004 election.
"We would like to hold a briefing for our political
appointees on the strategy we should focus on over the
next several months," he wrote on June 15, 2004, to
Barry Jackson, the White House chief of strategic
initiatives. "The briefing you gave the Asset
Deployment team about a year ago would be perfect."
DeBerry's e-mail captures what administration
officials said was the essence of Rove's approach:
making sure that political appointees at every level
of government pushed a uniform agenda in key media
markets and on behalf of White House-backed
candidates. That meant resisting the natural
tendencies of the federal bureaucracy to cater just to
congressional purse-string holders, officials said.
"I feel like people need to hear the message about
resisting the urge to travel to the districts of the
key committee chairmen and members for the sake of
building relationships . . . that the White House
determines which members need visits and where we need
to be strategically placing our assets," DeBerry
Some briefings targeted political appointees because
of their race or ethnicity. On Aug. 11, 2006, for
instance, Hispanic political appointees were summoned
to a meeting with Rove's team to discuss the
administration's accomplishments for Hispanic
Even agencies traditionally considered to be above the
elections fray sent representatives to such briefings.
A White House-arranged meeting that year for Justice
Department appointees at the Old Executive Office
Building included "a presentation about what the
Department of Justice is doing for Hispanic American
citizens," the department recently told Waxman's
During the Clinton administration, White House
officials made their own attempt to harness the
federal bureaucracy's grant announcements and travel,
but they were far less systematic. The White House
political office held two or three meetings in the 18
months before the 1996 election with each Cabinet
secretary and one or two top aides, deeming some
agencies such as Justice and State as off limits to
politics, former Clinton officials said.
"It was not a full-scale agency briefing. There were
no targets; we were not calling them in and giving
them lists of who to take care of and punish," said
Douglas Sosnik, White House political director in 1995
and 1996. "It was an overview of where we were headed
with the campaign."
Helping Endangered Republicans
Politically embattled Republicans such as Shays were
Between April 2006 and Election Day, Shays was able to
announce at least 25 new federal grants or projects
totaling more than $46 million, including a new
veterans medical facility and a long-awaited
installment of federal money for ferry service,
according to a Post analysis of his news releases.
Seven different Bush administration officials,
including two Cabinet secretaries and the chief of the
highway administration, visited his district during
In contrast, Shays announced just $39 million in
grants and got just one visit by a federal official in
the prior 15 months, the analysis shows.
No federal generosity was too small to tout. A top
official of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration was on hand with Shays when the NOAA
awarded a single severe-weather alert radio, valued at
$23, to an elementary school in Norwalk, Conn., two
months before Election Day.
Shays wrote Bush on Sept. 8, 2006, to seek the early
release -- before the election -- of heating
assistance money for low-income residents in his
state. Just four days later, the White House released
$6 million. Asked to comment on the administration's
help, Shays's campaign manager Michael Sohn said,
"Chris was grateful to be returned to office based on
his record of hard work and accomplishment."
Similar efforts to promote grants in key states took
place across the government. When the Department of
Health and Human Services, for example, released 22
grants totaling $35.7 million for community health and
disease-prevention programs in late September 2004,
The Post analysis found, half the awards went to
targeted election states or congressional districts,
the rest to noncompetitive areas that included
Democratic strongholds such as Boston and New Orleans.
The agency's news release about those grants, however,
detailed at the top just four recipients -- in
Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and an Oklahoma
congressional district -- that Rove's team identified
in earlier 2004 briefings as key to the GOP's
The White House briefings also frequently identified
key media markets where Republicans most wanted their
message out. A Post review of trips announced by
several Bush Cabinet members during the 2004 election
showed that their travel fell neatly into the markets
listed on a slide included in briefings that year.
Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao made 13 official visits
in the last two months of the election, never straying
more than 50 miles from the media markets on Rove's
office list, the analysis showed. That August, she
attended three local Fraternal Order of Police
meetings in the battleground states of Pennsylvania,
Ohio and Michigan to tout new overtime rules that
would soon go into effect. Likewise, she traveled to
Tampa -- another targeted media market -- to announce
grants for recipients who actually lived in
Jacksonville, Fla., a less competitive area.
Aside from her home town of Denver, Interior Secretary
Gale A. Norton visited just five cities in the first
two months of 2004, according to the public
announcements. But that pace changed between June and
November, when -- in visits to 37 cities -- she hit
the target election markets 32 times, the
Those visits occurred after Interior liaison William
Kloiber wrote to White House political affairs aide
Matt Schlapp to thank him for a briefing about the
political landscape. In an e-mail obtained by
congressional investigators, Kloiber wrote, "Sometimes
these folks need to be reminded who they work for and
how their geographic travel can benefit the President."
--- Julie Keller <julieannkeller@...> wrote:
> To: <email@example.com>
> From: "Julie Keller" <julieannkeller@...>
> Date: Sun, 19 Aug 2007 15:40:29 -0600
> Subject: [utepprogressives] The War as We Saw It
> Seven members of the 82nd Airborne wrote this Op-Ed
> piece in today's NY
> Times, coming home from a 15-month deployment.
> VIEWED from Iraq at the tail end of a 15-month
> deployment, the political
> debate in Washington is indeed surreal.
> Counterinsurgency is, by definition,
> a competition between insurgents and
> counterinsurgents for the control and
> support of a population. To believe that Americans,
> with an occupying force
> that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can
> win over a recalcitrant
> local population and win this counterinsurgency is
> far-fetched. As
> responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers
> with the 82nd Airborne
> Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of
> recent press coverage
> portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable
> and feel it has neglected
> the mounting civil, political and social unrest we
> see every day.
> (Obviously, these are our personal views and should
> not be seen as official
> within our chain of command.)
> The claim that we are increasingly in control of the
> battlefields in Iraq is
> an assessment arrived at through a flawed,
> American-centered framework. Yes,
> we are militarily superior, but our successes are
> offset by failures
> elsewhere. What soldiers call the "battle space"
> remains the same, with
> changes only at the margins. It is crowded with
> actors who do not fit neatly
> into boxes: Sunni extremists, Al Qaeda terrorists,
> Shiite militiamen,
> criminals and armed tribes. This situation is made
> more complex by the
> questionable loyalties and Janus-faced role of the
> Iraqi police and Iraqi
> Army, which have been trained and armed at United
> States taxpayers' expense.
> A few nights ago, for example, we witnessed the
> death of one American
> soldier and the critical wounding of two others when
> a lethal armor-piercing
> explosive was detonated between an Iraqi Army
> checkpoint and a police one.
> Local Iraqis readily testified to American
> investigators that Iraqi police
> and Army officers escorted the triggermen and helped
> plant the bomb. These
> civilians highlighted their own predicament: had
> they informed the Americans
> of the bomb before the incident, the Iraqi Army, the
> police or the local
> Shiite militia would have killed their families.
> As many grunts will tell you, this is a near-routine
> event. Reports that a
> majority of Iraqi Army commanders are now reliable
> partners can be
> considered only misleading rhetoric. The truth is
> that battalion commanders,
> even if well meaning, have little to no influence
> over the thousands of
> obstinate men under them, in an incoherent chain of
> command, who are really
> loyal only to their militias.
> Similarly, Sunnis, who have been underrepresented in
> the new Iraqi armed
> forces, now find themselves forming militias,
> sometimes with our tacit
> support. Sunnis recognize that the best guarantee
> they may have against
> Shiite militias and the Shiite-dominated government
> is to form their own
> armed bands. We arm them to aid in our fight against
> Al Qaeda.
> However, while creating proxies is essential in
> winning a counterinsurgency,
> it requires that the proxies are loyal to the center
> that we claim to
> support. Armed Sunni tribes have indeed become
> effective surrogates, but the
> enduring question is where their loyalties would lie
> in our absence. The
> Iraqi government finds itself working at cross
> purposes with us on this
> issue because it is justifiably fearful that Sunni
> militias will turn on it
> should the Americans leave.
> In short, we operate in a bewildering context of
> determined enemies and
> questionable allies, one where the balance of forces
> on the ground remains
> entirely unclear. (In the course of writing this
> article, this fact became
> all too clear: one of us, Staff Sergeant Murphy, an
> Army Ranger and
> reconnaissance team leader, was shot in the head
> during a "time-sensitive
> target acquisition mission" on Aug. 12; he is
> expected to survive and is
> being flown to a military hospital in the United
> States.) While we have the
> will and the resources to fight in this context, we
> are effectively
> hamstrung because realities on the ground require
> measures we will always
> refuse - namely, the widespread use of lethal and
> brutal force.
> More at the link:
Just address an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Jump to a particular message