POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 5/9
“As nervous as I was about this whole process, the one thing I didn’t lose sleep over was the possibility of taking bin Laden out. Justice was done. And I think that anyone who would question that the perpetrator of mass murder on American soil didn’t deserve what he got needs to have their head examined.”
— President Obama, in an interview on 60 Minutes, about the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
A new Washington Post poll in Virginia finds George Allen (R) and Tim Kaine (D) are locked in a dead heat, 46% to 46%, “suggesting that the U.S. Senate race between the Virginia titans may live up to its billing as one of the most competitive contests in the nation.”
“Kaine and Allen begin the Senate matchup — which experts say could easily top $30 million — with similarly deep statewide experience, proven fundraising ability and broad name recognition. Both men’s tenure in office is remembered fondly by a majority of Virginians — 58% of voters approve of the way Kaine handled his job as governor, while 55% approve of Allen’s performance as senator.”
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, tells the Atlanta Journal Constitution that he was “one of perhaps 16 people in Washington” who knew about the secret CIA stakeout of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan “that stretched month after month.”
Said Chambliss: “I’ve had briefings before, but nothing at this level. Obviously, it’s interesting and fascinating, but also pretty scary. It’s pretty heady stuff.”
Peter Bergen dispels the top five myths about Osama bin Laden, including the common assertion that bin Laden’s death is symbolically important but irrelevant to the war on terror.
“There is some truth to that, but balanced against this are the facts that al-Qaeda was bin Laden’s creation and he was the ultimate author of the 9/11 attacks. When new recruits joined al-Qaeda, they pledged a personal oath of religious allegiance to bin Laden, rather than to the organization. Similarly, when affiliated jihadist groups have attached themselves to al-Qaeda central, as al-Qaeda in Iraq did in 2004, their leaders pledge their fealty to bin Laden personally. Bin Laden is one of the few men in recent decades who truly changed the history of the world. With him gone from the scene, there is no one of his stature and charisma to become not only the leader and strategic guide of al-Qaeda, but to inspire the group’s affiliates across the Middle East and North Africa and the wider jihadi movement around the globe. For that, we can all be grateful.”
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports the U.S. government “released five videos of Osama bin Laden that were seized during the raid on his compound in Pakistan and which help show, a senior intelligence official said, that his hideout was an ‘active command-and-control center’ for al Qaeda.”
If he does enter the race, Jon Huntsman told Bloomberg that he doesn’t intend to use his family’s fortune to finance a presidential campaign.
Said Huntsman: “If we were to get in the race, no self-financing. Unless you can raise it legitimately, you don’t win. I learned that running for governor.”
However, as we noted earlier, Huntsman probably does not have enough money to self-finance his campaign anyway.
The Wall Street Journal notes that Pakistan’s leaders, “already battling to control the diplomatic, political and military fallout from the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden inside their country, face one particularly divisive question: What should they do with the house where al Qaeda’s leader lived?”
“The dilemma over the compound where U.S. Navy SEALs shot bin Laden dead is whether to demolish it to prevent the site becoming a shrine to a man widely admired in Pakistan, or to turn it into a tourist attraction akin to Hitler’s bunker.”
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), “knowing that his own status will certainly be examined in the event he ends up on a presidential ticket,” released his birth certificate Friday, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.
“The document, which includes the basic information found on Obama’s long-form version, reveals that the governor was born at 12:27 p.m. on June 10, 1971; that his parents, who were living in student housing, listed their address as ‘Physics Department LSU;’ that the attending physician was a Dr. Rabalais; and that Piyush Jindal — who as a young boy asked to be called Bobby — has no middle name.”
“U.S. companies added more jobs than expected in April, but the unemployment rate rose for the first time in five months and the economy’s recent slowdown is likely to keep a lid on gains,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
The job growth was well above expectations and while the unemployment rate ticked up from 8.8% to 9.0%, it’s not surprising since it appears more are looking for work.
Didn’t watch Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate? Neither did the highest-ranking Republican in the country, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).
CBS News spotted Boehner at a steakhouse in Washington enjoying a bottle of Cabernet and a couple of cigarettes. He said he would “read about it tomorrow, adding, “There’s more time for people to get in.”