Cheney Responds

Former Vice President Dick Cheney issued a statement in the wake of a Timemagazine story on his last ditch efforts to push for a presidential pardon for his chief of staff:

“Scooter Libby is an innocent man who was the victim of a severe miscarriage of justice. He was not the source of the leak of Valerie Plame’s name. Former Deputy Secretary of State, Rich Armitage, leaked the name and hid that fact from most of his colleagues, including the President. Mr. Libby is an honorable man and a faithful public servant who served the President, the Vice President and the nation with distinction for many years. He deserved a presidential pardon.”

Reid Says Health Care Vote Will Come in September

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said the full Senate “will debate and vote on health care overhaul legislation after it returns in September from a month long recess,” Reuters reports.

Reid also said he expected the Senate Finance Committee would approve its version of the legislation before the Senate starts its recess August 7.

Meanwhile, Roll Call reports House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) “made clear” that she “is willing to keep the House in session into August” to have the full House vote on its proposal.

The Hill has a different take, saying Pelosi “backed off” her insistence on a pre-recess vote.

Study Links Health Care Costs to Job Losses

Business Week: “In a first-of-its-kind study, the non-profit Rand Corp linked the rapid growth in U.S. health care costs to job losses and lower output. The study, published online by the journal Health Services Research, gives weight to President Barack Obama’s dire warnings about the impact of rising costs if Congress does not enact health care reform.”

America’s Image Improves

A new Pew Research poll finds the image of the United States “has improved markedly in most parts of the world reflecting global confidence in Barack Obama. In many countries, opinions of the U.S. are now about as positive as they were at the beginning of the decade before George W. Bush took office.”

However, America’s ratings “are driven more by personal confidence in Obama than by opinions of specific policy decisions.”

Americans Concerned About Federal Spending

A new USA Today/Gallup poll shows that 59% of Americans say President Obama’s proposals to address the major problems facing the country call for too much government spending, and 52% say Obama’s proposals call for too much expansion of government power.

Driving this sentiment is the finding that clear majorities of 66% and 60% of independents, respectively, say Obama’s proposals involve too much spending and too much government expansion.

Daily Show Takes on Dobbs

As apparently only Jon Stewart can do, the Daily Show tears apart Lou Dobbs over his continued challenges of President Obama’s citizenship. 

Read more…

Speaking to the World

With Google’s release of expanded metrics for YouTube videos, Micah Sifry notes that President Obama has been successful in using the service to speak directly to people of other nations.

For instance, Obama’s video message to the people of Iran in March was viewed by the most people in Iran. 

As Ben Smith notes, that’s “a remarkable success for public diplomacy, and an end-run around state-controlled media.”

Quote of the Day

“I’ve been trying to do the best I can on all fronts. This time carved out for Jenny and the boys is awfully important in a family situation to put the genie back in the bottle.”

— South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R), in reponse to a television reporter whocaught him in the airport before leaving on vacation

GOP 12 says it was “maybe a bad choice of words.”

Read more…

Ensign Loses Top Aide

Sen. John Ensign’s (R-NV) chief of staff, John Lopez, “is leaving the senator’s employ” in the wake of the senator’s admission of having an affair with another staffer, the Las Vegas Sun reports.

“Republican sources say the loss of Lopez is a bad sign for Ensign as he tries to save his political career.”

Clinton Asked if She’ll Run for President Again

In an interview on Thai television, questioners pressed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “on her run for the presidency and whether she still entertained the notion of running again,” the Washington Post reports.

Said Clinton: “That’s not anything I’m at all thinking about… I don’t know, but I doubt very much that anything like that will ever be part of my life.”

When one questioner pressed, Clinton shut the door saying, “Well, I am saying no because I have a very committed attitude to the job I have and so that’s not at all on my radar screen.”

The Last Hours of the Bush Administration

In a must-read piece, Time looks at the final days of the Bush administration when Vice President Dick Cheney “had been pleading, cajoling, even pestering” President Bush to pardon his former chief of staff, Scooter Libby. 

“These last hours represent a climactic chapter in the mysterious and mostly opaque relationship at the center of a tumultuous period in American history. It reveals how one question — whether to grant a presidential pardon to a top vice-presidential aide — strained the bonds between Bush and his deputy and closest counselor. It reveals a gap in the two men’s views of crime and punishment. And in a broader way, it uncovers a fundamental difference in how the two men regarded the legacy of the Bush years. As a Cheney confidant puts it, the Vice President believed he and the President could claim the war on terrorism as his greatest legacy only if they defended at all costs the men and women who fought in the trenches. When it came to Libby, Bush felt he had done enough.”

Big Corruption Sting in New Jersey

“A New Jersey assemblyman and the mayors of Hoboken and Secaucus were among public officials arrested this morning by FBI agents in a international money laundering and corruption probe,” the Newark Star Ledger reports.

Dodd Faces Uphill Re-Election Fight

A new Quinnipiac poll in Connecticut finds Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) trails former Rep. Rob Simmons (R-CT) by nine points, 48% to 39%.

Said pollster Douglas Schwartz: “Dodd’s most glaring weakness continues to be that a majority of voters say he is not honest and trustworthy. This is not something that will be easy for Dodd to reverse. Another problem for Dodd is that the bad economy has put voters in a grumpy mood. Consequently, voters have little patience for politician’s missteps.”

Simmons is way ahead in the Republican primary race with 42%, while no other Republican tops 5% and 45% are still undecided.

Reactions to Obama’s News Conference

President Obama’s hour-long news conference began with a nine-minute “mini-speech” on the need for health care reform and was then followed by 10 questions from reporters, nearly all of them on the topic of the night. 

On health care, the president seemed a little defensive as he tried to stick to a tight script. It wasn’t until the last question that a more animated president offered his views about the controversy surrounding the arrest of Harvard African-American studies professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Tom Shales: “As usual, Obama turned in an admirably effective performance at the news conference, even if it did seem a little too tidy — and even rehearsed — for nearly all the reporters to fall in line and stick with the matter at hand rather than pursue their own little butterflies as in many administrations past.”

The Fix: “Obama’s great gift is the ability to rise above — or at least to give that impression — the partisan warfare that dominates Washington to appeal to the common sense of the American public. But, from his opening statement on, it was clear that part of Obama’s goal in the press conference was to directly rebut charges leveled against him and his health care plan by Republicans.”

Ben Smith: “The appearance was striking by its absence of a move that’s long characterized Obama’s political career: When in trouble, go big. Faced with a crisis of confidence or with a political furor, he’s repeatedly shown an ability to rise above the storm, and to broaden the playing field, as when he turned a flap over his pastor into a meditation on race in America. Now, facing his hardest test as President, Obama chose to go small.”

Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics

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