GOP lands McNerney challenger


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Republicans have landed a serious candidate in their effort to unseat California Rep. Jerry McNerney.

On Thursday, Tony Amador, a retired U.S. Marshal, plans to announce his intention to run against McNerney, a second-term congressman who unseated Richard Pombo in a 2006 upset victory.

Amador’s entry into the contest is a victory for the National Republican Congressional Committee, which has struggled in previous cycles to recruit minority candidates. Amador is the son of undocumented Latino immigrants.

But Amador faces a few hurdles in his bid – including a crowded primary field featuring businessman Jon Del Arroz and winery owner Brad Goehring.

Amador will also have to contest in a district that is trending increasingly Democratic. Barack Obama won 54 percent of the vote in the district in 2008.

— Alex Isenstadt

DeLay nearly breaks his bootie


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Tom DeLay suffered a "pre-stress fracture" on his foot prepping for "Dancing with the Stars," but, true to form, The Hammer is waltzing through the pain.

"Old age is catching up with me," he says.

Huffington to produce Congress-focused sitcom


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Arianna Huffington, when not running a major online site, writing books, appearing on political chat shows, and jet-setting around the world, now has another project to keep her busy: producing a sitcom.

Huffington and "How I Met Your Mother" executive producer Greg Malins have a commitment with ABC for a half-hour show focused on three freshman members of Congress, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Malins jumped at the chance to develop his idea for the show with Huffington when executives at 20th TV, where he has an overall deal, mentioned to him that they were seeking to do project with her.

Malins met with Huffington and Huffington Post founding editor Roy Sekoff, who quickly started giving him ideas for the show.

Malins will write the script and exec produce with Huffington and Sekoff.

"There is no better time to do a show about Washington," Malins said. "It’s such a dynamic place right now, it’s the coolest place in the universe."

Still, it’s not Huffington’s online television project of the moment. She’ll be appearing on Fox’s upcoming "The Cleveland Show."

Henry Blodget: Obama’s Brilliant “Jackass” Remark Boosts Image And Plays ABC, et al


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Lost in the huge media fracas about how President Obama called Kanye West a “jackass” and whether ABC should have reported it and whether ABC’s groveling apology would restore its access to precious White House scoops is the observation that Obama played this brilliantly.

To wit:

  • Obama is way too smart not to know that calling Kanye West a jackass on a live feed monitored by several rabidly competitive reporters would not get reported by someone.

Obama is also smart enough to know that:

  • Kanye West was a jackass when he grabbed the microphone away from Taylor Swift, so few people would disagree with this characterization
  • The word “jackass” is colorful and startling, but harmless–and therefore very well chosen. Obama just looks like a regular guy telling it like it is.
  • The Glenn Beck fans who believe that Obama is a racist whose policies and actions are driven by a “deep-seated hatred” of half the country because of their skin color will have a hard time fitting this remark into their theory–given the respective skin colors of Kanye West and Taylor Swift.
  • Such a remark could never be made on the record in a normal setting, because it would be inappropriate for the President of The United States to share an opinion on such matters.
  • The “off the record” convention around these White House interviews would focus much of the ensuing media tumult on whether Obama had been wronged by the media–as opposed to whether he should have said what he said.
  • The news organization whose reporter reported the remark would be so terrified of being given less Obama access that it would issue a groveling apology, furthering the impression that Obama had been wronged (which ABC already has).

This isn’t to suggest that the remark was planned in advance. Only that Obama’s instincts were pitch-perfect here.

Well done, Mr. President!

See Also:
The Greatest Sucker’s Rally In History, Play By Play
Sorry, Glenn Beck’s Job Is Not Protected By The First Amendment


Obama Campaign Arm Drops Demand For Public Option


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Organizing for America has dropped the demand for the public option from their open letter to members of Congress. […]

This change confirms Obama’s position on the public option: he wants it, but is willing to drop it to pass legislation.


Krugman, Limbaugh top new Atlantic list


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New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is the most influential opinion-maker, with Rush Limbaugh right behind him. That’s according to The Atlantic 50, a new list that’s part of the magazine’s Atlantic Wire site, which officially debuted today.

The Atlantic Wire, according to a release, "goes beyond aggregating headlines to track and contextualize the most important opinion journalism and contentious debates" of hundreds of columnists, pundits, and cable hosts.

The rest of the Top Ten: George Will, Thomas Friedman, David Brooks, Charles Krauthammer, Glenn Beck, Frank Rich, Andrew Sullivan and Karl Rove.

The top spots stack up nicely with Mediaite’s power grid, with break things down a bit more over several lists.There, Krugman is number one among columnists with Limbaugh atop the radio host list.

While lists always attract attention, the full site offers a lot more at theatlanticwire.com.

Linda McMahon running against Dodd


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Linda McMahon, the chief executive officer of the World Wrestling Entertainment, is adding a brand new wrinkle into the Connecticut Senate race.  She announced her campaign today and is pledging to spend her fortune on the race.

“I have spent the past 30 years growing what began as a 13-employee small business into a publicly traded, global entertainment company that now provides over 500 jobs here in Connecticut,” McMahon said in a statement. "I understand what it takes to balance a budget, create jobs and grow the economy."

McMahon said she won’t be accepting PAC money or individual donations of more than $100, meaning her campaign will be predominantly self-financed. And she brings loads of baggage into the race – a quick perusal of YouTube shows that there’s quite a bit of video archival material for her Republican opponents to use against her.

She also donated
$10,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2006 – the same year that House Democrats ousted her leading Republican primary rival, former congressman Rob Simmons.

In Connecticut, Republicans have to win a critical 15 percent threshold at a Republican convention filled with GOP activists before they can move onto the primary ballot — and that could be challenging for an outsider like McMahon to accomplish.

But as Chris Cillizza notes in today’s Fix, McMahon has also brought on board an A-team of Republican consultants – with Scott Howell and Associates handling media and former NRSC political director Mike Slanker serving as the general consultant. Former NRCC press secretary Ed Patru will be handling the same role with her campaign.

If nothing else, McMahon will provide even more entertainment to a race that has seen no shortage of headlines.  Her campaign will be an interesting test on whether voters will be willing to support a political outsider — even, as Chuck Todd noted, when they come from a sport most associated with the worst of politics.

Rep. Lois Capps: The Truth About the Capps Amendment


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Enacting comprehensive health insurance reform is no easy task – if it was, we’d have done it decades ago. Making it more difficult is the blatant misinformation being spread by some opponents of reform as well as people who perhaps just don’t know better. A case in point is the House health reform bill’s provision continuing the policy of restricting the use of federal funds to pay for abortions. There is a lot of misinformation about this provision, some of it probably the result of honest mistakes and some of it based on outright fabrications.

In an attempt to try to find a compromise for dealing with abortion services in the legislation, I offered an amendment that would essentially continue this ban – even though I personally oppose the Hyde Amendment – that was supported by Energy and Commerce Committee Members whose records span the pro-life and pro-choice spectrum. Our hope was that we could continue the current ban on federal funding for abortion so the issue wouldn’t bog down the overall health reform legislation.

Unfortunately many — from politicians to pundits — misunderstand or intentionally misrepresent my amendment as a significant departure from current law. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, many independent fact checkers and even the non-partisan Congressional Research Service have found the amendment preserves the status quo in federal abortion policy.

As I mentioned earlier, under my amendment no federal funds may be used to pay for abortions that are not allowed by current law (the Hyde Amendment, which makes exceptions in the case of rape, incest, or to protect the life of the woman). The only funds that may be used to pay for other abortion services are from private funds generated by the policyholders’ premiums, whether the policyholder is covered by a private plan or the public option.

My amendment ensures that no doctor or hospital or even insurance plan can be required to participate in providing or covering abortion services. In fact, my amendment goes beyond current law in this regard. Currently, existing statute known as the “Weldon Amendment” prohibits the government from discriminating against health providers and insurance companies who refuse to perform or pay for abortions. My amendment extends that to ensure that no private insurance plan operating in the Exchange may discriminate against health providers who refuse to perform abortions.

My amendment also ensures that in each region of the country, there is at least one plan in the Health Exchange that offers abortions services but also one plan in the Health Exchange that does not offer abortion services. This actually gives consumers who object to participating in a plan that covers abortion and are getting coverage through the Exchange a choice of insurance coverage greater than what most Americans have in the current employer-based health insurance market. Today, nearly 90 percent of employer-sponsored private health insurance plans cover abortion services.

Some people have gone so far as to claim my amendment would mandate abortion coverage in all insurance plans. This is simply untrue. My amendment specifically prohibits abortion from being included as part of the essential benefits package. No one – not the Secretary of Health and Human Services nor the Health Benefits Advisory Committee – can make abortion a part of the essential benefits package.

Private plans participating in the Exchange can choose to provide coverage for abortion or they can choose not to. And while the Secretary may choose to allow the public plan to cover abortions not allowed by the Hyde Amendment, coverage for those services must be paid for with segregated private funds. No Federal funds may be used. Importantly, while opponents of the bill’s provision make much ado about the idea of segregating funds, it’s hardly a new concept: the 17 states that currently cover abortion in their Medicaid programs already do it by only paying for those services with state dollars, which are kept separate from federal funds.

Having worked on public health issues most of my life I understand the strong beliefs generated by choice issues. But having strongly held beliefs doesn’t give one license to distort the facts at hand. My amendment offers a common ground solution to a very challenging policy question – namely how do we deal with abortion services in health reform legislation. By adhering to current law which prohibits Federal funds from being used to cover abortions other than in the case of rape, incest or a threat to the life of the woman, we have found a way to move forward in our efforts to protect and provide health insurance for millions of Americans without being sidetracked by re-debating the issue of abortion.

Congresswoman Lois Capps represents California’s 23rd District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Prior to serving in Congress she worked for 20 years as a public school nurse and health advocate.


Obama Ohio Poll: President’s Numbers Rebound


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President Obama’s numbers are back on the rise in Ohio after falling rapidly in recent months, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.

In July, the president’s approval in the hard-hit state was measured at 49 percent, down 13 points down from May. In Quinnipiac’s latest survey, Obama is back up to 53 percent.

The poll also found a general uptick for Democrats in Ohio over the summer, evidencing itself in higher approval ratings and slightly stronger showings for the party’s candidates for the U.S. Senate.

“Perhaps it’s because the poll was taken immediately after the President’s nationally-televised prime-time speech to Congress, but Democratic fortunes in Ohio have improved slightly across-the-board,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Obama’s poll drop in Ohio was followed by a national downward trend in his numbers. Now, his national numbers are also creeping back up.

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George Mitchell To Press Netanyahu Yet Again On Settlements


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JERUSALEM — Washington’s special envoy to the Mideast on Wednesday wrapped up his second meeting this week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu without reaching an agreement on curtailing Israeli settlement construction.

U.S. official George Mitchell will sit down with Netanyahu for a third time on Friday, Netanyahu’s office said in a statement. Mitchell made no comment after Wednesday’s meeting.

The U.S. has a lot on the line, having reached out very publicly to the Arab and Muslim world and taken an uncharacteristically tough stand against Israeli construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Washington is also working against time: the Obama administration hopes to bring Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas together in New York next week as a prelude to renewed peacemaking. That could be difficult without some headway on the controversial settlements.

The Palestinians claim the West Bank and east Jerusalem – captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war – as part of a future state and have demanded a complete construction freeze. The Obama administration has echoed that demand.

Netanyahu has offered a temporary moratorium on construction in the West Bank that would last several months. But he says the moratorium won’t apply to some 3,000 apartments that already have been approved – some of them as late as last week. And he also has refused to halt building in east Jerusalem.

Israel annexed that sector of the disputed city after the 1967 war, and does not consider it a settlement. The annexation has not been internationally recognized, and the Palestinians seek east Jerusalem as the capital of their hoped-for state.

Netanyahu hopes his proposal for a limited freeze will be enough to please the U.S. without risking the stability of his coalition government, dominated by hardline settler patrons like himself.

But the Palestinians and the U.S. have dug in and rejected his proposals.

Failure to reach a compromise could scuttle any meeting between Netanyahu and Abbas next week on the sidelines of a U.N. General Assembly meeting. The two men have not met face-to-face since Netanyahu took office in March.

There has been speculation that President Barack Obama would attend such a meeting to give it added heft.


Allison Kilkenny: Joe Wilson And Our Misguided Anger


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Let me first state that I found Joe Wilson’s outburst during President Obama’s speech before a joint session of Congress totally unacceptable. It was rude, disruptive, and a number of other adjectives. But much like how Joe lost control, and permitted his fury to erupt at an inappropriate time, liberals are focusing their valuable energy at the wrong person, and the subsequent witchhunt is taking time and energy away from the examination of far guiltier parties.

The House has voted to admonish Joe for his “You lie!” outburst, and Jimmy Carter has called him racist, while Joe’s son claims the erruption had nothing to do the President’s race. And yet the media keeps harping on Joe. Of course, the media would claim they’re just giving the people what they want: All Joe, all the time. This is the same excuse the media used during the Joe the Plumber diversion, another critical time of our history when serious debate got turned on its head for a spontaneous personality contest.

Guantanamo, Afghanistan, health care, Iraq, listing these real stories feels almost pointless in the presence of Joe Wilson’s public flogging. The man shouted during our President’s speech, but it’s not as though he interupted a king. Certainly, he broke protocal (for which he’s been thoroughly admonished,) but now is the time to cut him loose. Too much time and energy is being wasted on these diversions when more serious crimes are being committed.

For example, around the time of Joe’s House censure commotion, Wendell Potter, the former Cigna executive-turned-whistleblower, told a small group of reporters Monday that the Baucus health care plan is an “absolute gift” to the industry. Perhaps Max deserves his own public undressing on par with Joe’s time in the spotlight. Robbing Americans at their chance of serious health care reform seems slightly worse than throwing a momentary hissyfit.

Cross-posted from Allison Kilkenny’s blog. Also available on Facebook and Twitter.


Two Canadian Doctors Discuss Their Ideal Health Care System: U.S.-Canada Hybrid


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DURHAM — Husband and wife physicians Ron Olson and Holly Muir left their native Canada 11 years ago frustrated with the limited resources of universal health care.

Since then, though, the couple has been just as frustrated with the U.S. system, though for different reasons.


Notable quotable


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“It’s both refreshingly honest and sad that somebody associated with pro wrestling could become a U.S. senator,”

— NBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd, on the news that World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon will be entering the Connecticut Senate race against Sen. Chris Dodd.

Mullen blasts Afghan regime’s “lack of legitmacy”


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The AFP’s Olivier Knox, one of the sharpest reporters on the Hill, picked up on a little-noticed message Mike Mullen sent to the Karzai government on Tuesday:

Corruption is as great a risk to Afghanistan’s stability as the Taliban.

The headline news was Mullen’s call for increased troops — but, for the first time, he bluntly articulated his frustration with a bumbling, corrupt regime whose legitimacy is under attack in the wake of the irregularity-plagued national elections.

Knox:

"I consider the threat from lack of governance to be equal to the threat from the Taliban," Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"The lack of legitimacy in the government at every level" has been a key factor in the return of the Taliban after US-led forces drove them from power after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, he said.

Mullen also told the sharply divided US Congress that Washington and its NATO allies will likely need to send thousands more troops and trainers of Afghan security forces to defeat the resurgent Islamist militia.

Mullen is clearly pushing for a two-pronged strategy, similar to that undertaken in Iraq, a military surge coupled with a political one. But he’s also providing Democrats in Congress with a potential rationale for an exit strategy, one they desperately want.

Wilson’s son: “Not a racist bone in my dad’s body”


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The AP catches up with Joe Wilson’s eldest son, Alan Wilson, an Iraq vet running for SC attorney general, who hits back at Jimmy Carter, who said Wilson’s "You lie!" was motivated by racism:

There is not a racist bone in my dad’s body," said… Wilson. "He doesn’t even laugh at distasteful jokes. I won’t comment on former President Carter, because I don’t know President Carter. But I know my dad, and it’s just not in him."

"It’s unfortunate people make that jump. People can disagree — and appropriately disagree — on issues of substance, but when they make the jump to race it’s absolutely ludicrous. My brothers and I were raised by our parents to respect everyone regardless of background or race."

"I think it’s based on racism," Carter said, of Wilson, who cites longtime segregationist Strom Thurmond as a hero. "There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president."

Health Care Bill: Baucus Senate Legislation Finally Unveiled


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WASHINGTON — Sen. Max Baucus’ decision to release his long-awaited health care overhaul bill with no Republicans on board dims the chances for a bipartisan compromise on President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority.

The Senate Finance Committee chairman insisted Tuesday that he’ll keep negotiating with the three Republicans and two fellow Democrats who’ve been in closed-door talks with him for months on the bill he was to reveal Wednesday. Baucus, D-Mont., said he hopes that by the time the committee votes on the bill, as early as next week, Republicans will be there.

But for now, despite numerous gestures to Republicans, Baucus has fallen short in his quest to assemble a coalition of senators from both parties behind his proposal. Obama also hoped for bipartisan support behind plans for reshaping the nation’s $2.5 trillion health care system to hold down costs and cover the uninsured.

“The door’s always open – always hoping that somebody, all six, will be on the bill,” Baucus told reporters Tuesday evening after the latest meeting of his so-called Gang of Six senators. “We’re just going to keep the door open, keep working, keep discussing.”

Many of the details in the Baucus’ bill were already known. Unlike more liberal versions passed by three committees in the House and by the Senate’s Health Committee, it shunned liberals’ call for the government to sell insurance and relied instead on co-ops to offer coverage in competition with private industry.

Baucus’ approach includes a requirement for individuals to buy insurance, with financial penalties for those who don’t. Rather than a mandate for larger businesses to provide coverage for employees, they would be required to defray the cost of any government subsidies for which their employees would qualify.

The bill is expected to cost about $880 billion over 10 years, and it tracks closely with the goals Obama laid out in his speech to Congress last week.

Baucus has been working for months with his committee’s top Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, along with GOP Sens. Mike Enzi of Wyoming and Olympia Snowe of Maine. In the end, Democrats believe Snowe may be the only one to support the bill, though she wasn’t committing to that Tuesday night.

“Hopefully at some point through the committee process we can reach an agreement,” she said.

Enzi said he was not yet ready to declare his position. Grassley applauded Baucus’ effort at bipartisanship, but contended that Senate Democratic leaders and the White House had imposed an “artificial deadline” on the negotiators and that Democratic leaders “haven’t made a commitment to back a broad bipartisan bill through the entire process.”

“It looks like we’re being pushed aside by the Democratic leadership so the Senate can move forward on a bill that, up to this point, does not meet the shared goals for affordable, accessible health coverage that we set forth when this process began,” Grassley said in a statement.

He cited Republican concerns over cost, taxpayer funding for abortion services, medical malpractice lawsuits and subsidies for illegal immigrants in any health care bill.

“We’ve been clear from the start that we’re willing to stay at the table,” Grassley added. “There’s no reason not to keep working until we get it right.”

Even as he’s failed to win over Republicans, Baucus also faces opposition from liberals on his committee. Some of them want a public plan in place of co-ops, and several have also expressed concerns about whether Baucus, in his effort to keep his bill’s price tag down, has done enough to make health coverage affordable for working-class and low-income Americans.

“The way it is now there is no way I can vote for the package,” Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said Tuesday on a conference call with reporters, becoming the first Finance Committee Democrat to voice outright opposition.

Release of Baucus’ bill sets the stage for what could be a lengthy and contentious drafting and voting session to begin next week, with numerous amendments expected both from the right and from the left. Following that, Democratic leaders in the House and the Senate are aiming for floor action in the fall.

___

Associated Press writers David Espo, Charles Babington and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar contributed to this report.


Joe Wilson’s Son Alan: Dad Isn’t Racist


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ATLANTA — U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson’s oldest son defended his father against a claim by former President Jimmy Carter that the congressman’s outburst during a speech by President Barack Obama was “based on racism.”

Responding to an audience question at a town hall at his presidential center in Atlanta, Carter said Tuesday that Wilson’s outburst was also rooted in fears of a black president.

“I think it’s based on racism,” Carter said. “There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president.”

But Wilson’s son disputed that.

“There is not a racist bone in my dad’s body,” said Alan Wilson, an Iraq veteran who is running for state attorney general in South Carolina. “He doesn’t even laugh at distasteful jokes. I won’t comment on former President Carter, because I don’t know President Carter. But I know my dad, and it’s just not in him.”

“It’s unfortunate people make that jump. People can disagree – and appropriately disagree – on issues of substance, but when they make the jump to race it’s absolutely ludicrous. My brothers and I were raised by our parents to respect everyone regardless of background or race.”

Carter, a Democrat, said Joe Wilson’s outburst was a part of a disturbing trend directed at the president that has included demonstrators equating Obama to Nazi leaders.

“Those kind of things are not just casual outcomes of a sincere debate on whether we should have a national program on health care,” he said. “It’s deeper than that.”

Wilson’s spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Wilson, a South Carolina Republican, was formally rebuked Tuesday in a House vote for shouting “You lie!” during Obama’s speech to Congress last Wednesday.

The shout came after the president commented that illegal aliens would be ineligible for federal subsidies to buy health insurance. Republicans expressed their disbelief with sounds of disapproval, punctuated by Wilson’s outburst.

Tuesday’s rebuke was a rare resolution of disapproval pushed through by Democrats who insisted that Wilson had violated basic rules of decorum and civility. Republicans characterized the measure as a witch hunt and Wilson, who had already apologized to Obama, insisted he owed the House no apology.

South Carolina’s former Democratic Party chairman also said he doesn’t believe Wilson was motivated by racism, but said the outburst encouraged racist views.

“I think Joe’s conduct was asinine, but I think it would be asinine no matter what the color of the president,” said Dick Harpootlian, who has known Wilson for decades. “I don’t think Joe’s outburst was caused by President Obama being African-American. I think it was caused by no filter being between his brain and his mouth.”

Harpootlian said he received scores of racial e-mails from outside South Carolina after he talked about the vote on Fox News.

“You have a bunch of folks out there looking for some comfort in their racial issues. They have a problem with an African-American president,” he said. “But was he motivated by that? I don’t think so. I respectfully disagree with President Carter, though it gives validity to racism.”

Carter called Wilson’s comment “dastardly” and an aftershock of racist views that have permeated American politics for decades.

“The president is not only the head of government, he is the head of state,” he said. “And no matter who he is or how much we disagree with his policies, the president should be treated with respect.”

___

Associated Press writer Seanna Adcox in Columbia, S.C., contributed to this report.


White House Debates Counterpunching Strategy


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Facing a near-daily barrage of attacks from conservative opponents, White House officials are engaged in an internal debate over how hard to hit back, even as they have grown increasingly aggressive in countering allegations they deem to be absurd.


Bennet’s embarrassing e-mail


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Always check the contents of an e-mail before you click send.

The staff of recently-appointed Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) is learning that lesson the hard way, after the senator’s deputy press secretary accidentally sent out revealing private correspondence in an e-mail blasted to the entire press list.

At the top of the e-mail was a broad statement that Bennet was keeping track of an ongoing FBI investigation of a Denver man suspected of Al Qaeda ties. But under the statement is a chain of e-mails showing that the senator’s communication director is concerned that Bennet has been lackadaisical with his press outreach.

“I’ve been pushing for press since this broke — we just needed him to talk to the FBI, which I know has been tough. I think he still needs to call these reporters – or we need to get a statement out – as soon as he talks to the FBI,” said Deirdre Murphy, Bennet’s communication director.

Murphy also suggested that there’s a perception out there that Colorado’s senior senator, Mark Udall, is more on top of things than Bennet on a major issue of concern to the state’s voters.

“I don’t think it’s too late – people are carefully watching this and Udall just put something out. Jeff, correct me if I’m wrong but right now the [Denver Post] thinks that mfb hasn’t received a briefing and I think we need to make clear that we are as much in the loop on this as Udall.”

This episode, at the least, is certainly an embarrassment for Bennet and could fuel the perception that he’s not ready for prime time. The timing also couldn’t have come at a worse time: former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff is announcing that he’s running against Bennet in the Democratic primary later today.

(h/t Chris Frates, Denver Post alum)

The full e-mail chain is below the jump:

Continue reading post…

Green Diary Rescue & Open Thread: ‘Dirty Business’


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At Grist, Joshua Kahn Russell writes:

Activists drape Niagara Falls with banner to protest tar-sands oil

There’s a 70-foot banner and activists dangling over the observation tower at Niagara Falls. Before dawn this morning, a small team of climate advocates with the Rainforest Action Network rappelled hundreds of feet above the ground, to offer special welcome message to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper ahead of his first official visit to the White House to push dirty Tar Sands oil.

Not that he’s feeling so welcome anyway. Obama limited the meeting to just one hour. While some have called it a slap in the face, aides say Harper will turn the other cheek. “The economy, and the clean-energy dialogue will dominate the discussions,” one aid told the Globe and Mail. Obama needed to dodge controversy over oil imports from Canada’s tar sands in the midst of the climate legislation debate. Harper needed a story to go with his photo-op.

During Harper’s first official trip to meet Obama in the U.S., the two leaders are expected to discuss climate change and energy policy ahead of the upcoming G-20 Summit. Canada supplies 19 percent of U.S. oil imports, more than half of which now come from the tar sands, making the region the largest single source of U.S. oil imports. The expansion of the tar sands will strip mine an area the size of Florida. Complete with skyrocketing rates of cancer (by 400%!) for First Nations communities living downstream, broken treaties, toxic belching lakes so large you can see them from outer space, churning up ancient boreal forest, destroyed air and water quality, the tar sands have been called the most destructive project on Earth.

= = =

The diary rescue begins below and continues in the jump. Inclusion of a particular diary does not necessarily indicate my agreement with it.

= = =

geodemographics had something to say about tar sands, too, in the diaryThe Dirtiest Business in the World: “The production of crude oil from Canada’s tar sands is arguably the dirtiest business in the world.  … Once raw bitumen is recovered, it is necessary to ‘upgrade’ it to create synthetic crude oil.  Simply put, bitumen is a very low grade hydrocarbon.  It has a high proportion of carbon atoms to hydrogen atoms.  It is therefore necessary to “add” hydrogen atoms through various chemical processes to the extracted bitumen in order to make it a viable fuel stock that can be transported to refineries.  The source for this extra hydrogen is… you guessed it, natural gas (CH4). So the natural gas will either be burned to create steam or used to upgrade the dirty bitumen crude.  Fossil fuels are therefore being used to manufacture more fossil fuels.”
Part of the DK GreenRoots Eco-Series

RLMiller pondered what’s happening to the climate bill in Senators seek to delay ACES, but Inhofe keeps hope alive: “The bad climate news of the day comes from Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Harry Reid (D-NV): they want to delay climate change legislation until 2010. The good news comes from a most unlikely source: James Inhofe (R-OK). In June, the Energy & Natural Resources committee passed the American Clean Energy Leadership Act (ACELA) … ACELA is perceived by environmentalists as being  weak, toothless, and ineffectual.  ACELA does not have a cap & trade provision at all, and its renewable electricity standard is lower than that of the Waxman-Markey bill.  Byron “Coal is our most abundant resource!” Dorgan is second in seniority at E&NR.  It seems that he likes his weak, toothless, and ineffectual bill better than ACES — imagine that!”

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wader has posted the Overnight News Digest.