Thursday, September 13, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
From ABC News' "Political Punch" Blog
By Jake Tapper
August 20, 2007
Shockingly, former President Bill Clinton channeled John Kerry last week.
Around the world, the former President said in Nevada Friday night, "every single political leader I talk to says, 'I hope your wife wins. We want the world to like America again.' This is the first election in my lifetime where a substantial number of Americans will actually cast their vote based on what they think the rest of the world will think about America." ...
You might remember during Campaign 2004 when Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., alluded to the coterie of international prime ministers and presidents rooting for him to defeat President Bush. ...
The claim was quite controversial at the time.
At a town meeting in Pennsylvania, one Bush supporter asked Kerry to identify the world leaders ...
Kerry refused to say. "I can't violate any conversation because no one would share something with me again," he said. Kerry also backtracked on what he'd claimed. ...
[D]uring a primary election, I do wonder why the former President would say that "every single political leader" he talks to prefers his wife over, say, Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., Chris Dodd, D-Conn., Joe Biden, D-Del., or former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C.?
And if you're going to make such a claim, why the secrecy? ...
I called former President Clinton's office today -- they declined to specify which political leaders he was talking about. No comment from his wife's office, either.
To View Entire Article, Please Visit: http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2007/08/paging-john-ker.html
Hillary Admits That New Strategy In Iraq "Is Working," But Continues To Support Old Liberal Tactic Of Retreat
Yesterday, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) Admitted That The New Iraq Strategy "Is Working":
Hillary: "We have begun to change tactics and in some areas, it is working." (Sen. Hillary Clinton, Remarks At The Veterans Of Foreign Wars Convention, Kansas City, MO, 8/20/07)
But When The New Strategy Was First Announced In January, Hillary Said It Would "Continue To Take Us Down The Wrong Road":
Hillary: "The President simply has not gotten the message sent loudly and clearly by the American people, that we desperately need a new course. The President has not offered a new direction, instead he will continue to take us down the wrong road - only faster." (Sen. Hillary Clinton, "Statement Of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton On The President's Speech On Iraq," Press Release, 1/10/07)
Hillary: "As I have said, as the American people have demanded, and as the facts on the ground require, we need a new course and an end to the current failed policy." (Sen. Hillary Clinton, "Statement Of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton On The President's Speech On Iraq," Press Release, 1/10/07)
Hillary Twice Voted To Advance Legislation Opposing The New Strategy In Iraq. (S. 470, CQ Vote #44: Rejected 49-47: R 2-45; D 46-1; I 1-1, 2/5/07, Clinton Voted Yea; S. 574, CQ Vote #51: Rejected 56-34: R 7-33; D 48-0; I 1-1, 2/17/07, Clinton Voted Yea)
And Hillary Has Been Calling For A Withdrawal From Iraq Since 2005:
Hillary Voted For An Amendment To The FY 2006 Defense Authorization Bill "That Would State That U.S. Military Forces Should Not Stay In Iraq 'Indefinitely,' And Require The President To Report To Congress Within 30 Days Of The Bill's Enactment With A Timetable For Withdrawal And A Campaign Plan, Including Dates, Outlining Phased Redeployment Of U.S. Troops From Iraq." (S. 1042, CQ Vote #322: Rejected 40-58: R 1-53; D 38-5; I 1-0, 11/15/05, Clinton Voted Yea)
- Hillary: "[W]e have to tell the new government we are not going to be there forever; we are going to be withdrawing our young men and women, and we expect you to start moving toward stability." (Noreen O'Donnell, "Clinton Supports Call For Eventual, Scheduled Withdrawal Plan," The [Westchester, NY] Journal News, 11/22/05)
Despite Signs Of Progress, Hillary Still Insists The "Right Strategy" Is To "Start Bringing Our Troops Home":
Hillary: "The right strategy before the surge and the right strategy now -- post-escalation -- is the same. Start bringing our troops home." (Sen. Hillary Clinton, Remarks At The Temple For The Performing Arts, Des Moines, IA, 7/10/07)
Hillary: "I think the best way of honoring [U.S. troops'] service is by beginning to bring them home." (Sen. Hillary Clinton, Remarks At The Veterans Of Foreign Wars Convention, Kansas City, MO, 8/20/07)
From The Washington Times
By S.A. Miller
August 21, 2007
Top Senate Democrats have started to acknowledge progress in Iraq, with the chairman of the Armed Services Committee yesterday saying the U.S. troop surge is producing "measurable results."
Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan highlighted improved security in Baghdad and al Qaeda losses in Anbar province as examples of success -- a shift for Democrats who have mainly discounted or ignored advances on the battlefield for weeks.
"The military aspects of President Bush's new strategy in Iraq ... appear to have produced some credible and positive results," Mr. Levin said in a joint statement with Sen. John W. Warner, Virginia Republican, after a two-day visit last week to Iraq.
Mr. Levin joins a growing chorus of Democrats -- including 2008 presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois -- who say the troop surge has produced benefits ...
"It's working," Mrs. Clinton said of the troop surge yesterday in a speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention in Kansas City, Mo., a group at odds with her votes for a pullout and against emergency troop funding. ...
The Bush administration said Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other Iraqi leaders are meeting -- despite the parliament's recess -- in pursuit of political accommodations acceptable to the Kurds, the ruling Shi'ites, the majority population and the Sunnis who were displaced from power in the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
"We believe that Prime Minister Maliki and the Presidency Council will be able to get this important work done, work that is being done on the local level where we see bottom-up reconciliation taking hold," said National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe.
The White House since July has highlighted gains ahead of a Sept. 15 progress report to Congress from Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, U.S. commander in Iraq. In his weekly radio address Saturday, Mr. Bush predicted political progress at the local level in Iraq will help end the stalemate at the national level. ...
Mr. Levin said the troop surge succeeded in giving the Iraqi government "breathing room" to broker national reconciliation, including deals to disarm militias and adopt laws to share oil revenue among Iraqi sects. ...
To View Entire Article, Please Visit: http://www.washingtontimes.com/article/20070821/NATION/108210076/1002
Just 18% approve of job Congress is doing
by Jeffrey M. Jones&textcolor=#8a1e04&hovercolor=#ff0000&linkcolor=#8a1e04&w=118&h=23" quality="best" src="http://www.cagop.org/webart/MinionProMediumCondensed.swf" height="23" width="118">
by Jeffrey M. Jones
PRINCETON, NJ -- A new Gallup Poll finds Congress' approval rating the lowest it has been since Gallup first tracked public opinion of Congress with this measure in 1974. Just 18% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, while 76% disapprove, according to the August 13-16, 2007, Gallup Poll.
That 18% job approval rating matches the low recorded in March 1992, when a check-bouncing scandal was one of several scandals besetting Congress, leading many states to pass term limits measures for U.S. representatives (which the Supreme Court later declared unconstitutional). Congress had a similarly low 19% approval rating during the energy crisis in the summer of 1979.
Americans' evaluations of the job Congress is doing are usually not that positive -- the vast majority of historical approval ratings have been below 50%. The high point was 84% approval one month after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, when Americans rallied behind the federal government. Since then, Congress' approval ratings have generally exhibited the same downward trajectory seen in those for President George W. Bush. Currently, 32% of Americans approve of the job Bush is doing as president, a far cry from the record-high 90% he received in September 2001. Bush's current job approval rating is just three percentage points above his lowest.
There was a slight interruption in the downward trend in congressional approval ratings at the beginning of this year when party control changed hands from the Republicans to the Democrats following last fall's midterm elections. In January 2007, 35% of Americans approved of Congress, a significant increase from the 21% who approved of Congress in December 2006. That December rating tied the lowest in the 12 years the Republicans controlled Congress from 1995 to 2006.
But that "honeymoon" period for the new Democratically controlled Congress was brief, as its job ratings dropped below 30% in March 2007 and have now fallen below where they were just before the Democrats took over.
Frustration with Congress spans the political spectrum. There are only minor (but not statistically meaningful) differences in the approval ratings Democrats (21%), Republicans (18%), and independents (17%) give to Congress. Typically, partisans view Congress much more positively when their party is in control of the institution, so the fact that Democrats' ratings are not materially better than Republicans' is notable.
The nine-point drop in Congress' job approval rating from last month to this month has come exclusively from Democrats and independents, with Democrats' ratings dropping 11 points (from 32% to 21%) and independents' ratings dropping 13 points (from 30% to 17%). Republicans' 18% approval rating is unchanged from last month.
The decline in congressional job approval could merely reflect the cessation of any public good will it engendered when the new leadership arrived in January, since the current 18% rating is similar to what it was in December 2006 (21%).
But, it could also reflect disappointment with the new Congress' performance (especially among Democrats) and economic unease.
Americans elected the Democrats as the majority party in Congress in November 2006's midterm election in large part due to frustration with the Iraq war and an ineffective and scandal-plagued Republican-led Congress. But any hopes that the elections would lead to change have not been realized as Democrats' repeated attempts to force a change in Iraq war policy have been largely unsuccessful due to presidential vetoes, disagreements within their own party, and the inability to attract Republican support for their policy proposals. Also, many of the Democratic leadership's domestic agenda items have not become law even though some have passed one or both houses of Congress.
As the trend in congressional approval makes clear, ratings of Congress usually suffer during times of economic uncertainty, as during the late 1970s and early 1990s. While Americans' ratings of current economic conditions are not near historical lows, there is a great deal of concern about the direction in which the economy is headed. The latest poll finds a record 72% of Americans saying the economy is "getting worse."
These results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,019 adults, aged 18 and older, conducted August 13-16, 2007. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is ±3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
Monday, August 20, 2007
According to the WJLA report:
[T]he Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority have charged Representative Robert Filner of California with assault and battery following an incident at Dulles International Airport Sunday night.
Police say they were called to the baggage claim area around 6 p.m. when a passenger attempted to enter an area authorized for airline employees only.
ABC 7 spoke with several witnesses who say they saw Filner push aside an United Airlines employee and refused to leave the office.
When officers arrived on scene, they found Filner waiting outside the office and informed him the airline employee would be pursuing charges.
Phillips read most of the WJLA report on air. But neither she nor the WJLA report mentioned that Filner is a Democrat.
WASHINGTON — After a brief trip to Iraq, Sen. Carl Levin said Monday that the Iraqi Parliament should vote no confidence in the government of Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki because of its sectarian nature and leadership.
"The Maliki government is non-functional," Levin, D-Mich., said in a conference call with reporters.
Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Sen. John Warner of Virginia, the panel's top Republican, just returned from a fact-finding mission to the country. The two reported that they are encouraged by the effects of the recent U.S. military surge there, but their enthusiasm is tempered by concerns about Iraq's political climate.
"We have seen indications that the surge of additional brigades to Baghdad and its immediate vicinity and the revitalized counter-insurgency strategy being employed have produced tangible results in making several areas of the capital more secure. We are also encouraged by continuing positive results — in al-Anbar Province, from the recent decisions of some of the Sunni tribes to turn against Al Qaeda and cooperate with coalition force efforts to kill or capture its adherents," the two said in a statement issued after leaving the country.
"We remain concerned, however, that in the absence of overall national political reconciliation, we may be inadvertently helping to create another militia which will have to be dealt with in the future," the two said.
Speaking with reporters, Levin said he hopes when the Parliament reconvenes in the next few weeks, it will dissolve the government, which he said "cannot produce a political settlement because it is too beholden to sectarian leaders."
Levin said "broad frustration" exists across Iraq and within the Bush administration with al-Maliki, and he noted that the Iraqi constitution provides that 25 members of Parliament can sign a petition to hold this vote.
In a separate event, Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, an on-again, off-again supporter of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told a British newspaper on Monday that the Iraqi government is on the brink of collapse.
"Al-Maliki's government will not survive because he has proven that he will not work with important elements of the Iraqi people," the cleric was quoted by The Independent as saying.
"The prime minister is a tool for the Americans, and people see that clearly. It will probably be the Americans who decide to change him when they realize he has failed. We don't have a democracy here, we have a foreign occupation."
The trip, which included an excursion to Jordan, gave the lawmakers a chance to see progress on the ground. The two met with a host of American and Iraqi officials, including Gen. David Petraeus, commander of Multi-National Forces-Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno, the commander of Multi-National Corps-Iraq, U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Stuart Bowen, special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.
The senators also met with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Deputy Presidents Adil Abd Al-Mahdi and Tariq Al-Hashimi and Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih.
The visit comes ahead of an expected September report from Petraeus that is to outline the 18 benchmarks laid out by Congress to measure progress in Iraq. The White House said Monday that report should be provided in open hearings on Capitol Hill on Sept. 11 or 12.
Levin and Warner said that during their meetings they had few reassurances that the Iraqi government will be able to cooperate in any meaningful way.
"In many meetings with Iraqi political leaders, of all different backgrounds, we told them of the deep impatience of the American people and the Congress with the lack of political progress, impressed upon them that time has run out in that regard, and told them of the urgent need to make the essential compromises," the lawmakers said. "In all of our meetings we witnessed a great deal of apprehension regarding the capabilities of the current Iraqi government to shed its sectarian biases and act in a unifying manner."
Levin said the Iraqi government is "stronger and more capable" than 10 months ago when Levin was last in Iraq. The Iraqis have trained 10 of 12 divisions — 163,000 troops. But he said that until U.S. troops pull out of Iraq, the country's army won't take the lead. Levin is still pushing for the U.S. to begin drawing down to well below pre-surge levels in the next four months.
Despite progress being made on the military side of the surge, Sen Levin said that without political progress the military successes won't add up to much
"There is consensus: there is no military solution to the conflict," Levin said.
While many of the military goals have been met, opponents of the Iraq war are using the failure for reconciliation on several key political goals as ammunition to call for a withdrawal.
Without a political compromise, a lasting calm seems unlikely. However, an additional 20,000 troops are expected to rotate in by December. This is not associated with the surge but would briefly increase the numbers of U.S. soldiers in the country.