Iowa Presidential Watch
Holding the Democrats accountable


June 13, 2006  


J U S T   P O L I T I C S


Bush’s surprise trip

Drudge has a good account of Bush’s surprise trip to Baghdad:

Presidential counselor Dan Bartlett told reporters aboard Air Force One that the trip was planned over the past month by a small group of six White House he described as a "very, very close circle of people." He said that Mr. Bush had wanted to come to Iraq as soon as the final positions in Mr. Maliki's government - the ministers of Defense and Interior – were chosen. Had those posts been filled sooner, Mr. Bush would have made the trip several months earlier, Mr. Bartlett said.

Apart from Vice President Cheney, the only cabinet members notified in advance that the president would be visiting Baghdad were Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, both of whom remained at Camp David after Mr. Bush left for Iraq, Mr. Bartlett said. The rest of the Bush cabinet members assembled at Camp David – including Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman and Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns – weren't told that Mr. Bush had left Camp David until Tuesday morning, Mr. Bartlett said.

Mr. Bartlett said that the president left Camp David Monday evening after excusing himself from an after-dinner discussion about Iraq that included Mr. Cheney; Messrs. Gonzalez, Bodman, and Johanns; National Intelligence Director John Negroponte; Gen. Michael Hayden, the Director of Central Intelligence; and Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Rove lets loose

Just before Senior White House advisor Karl Rove gave a speech to the New Hampshire Republican Party he learned that he was exonerated by the special prosecutor investigating him. Rove then went on to give a classic speech to the New Hampshire Republican fund-raiser, according to the Washington Post:

Karl Rove, apparently, still has his copy of the old playbook.

In a speech to New Hampshire Republican officials here Monday night, the White House deputy chief of staff attacked Democrats who have criticized the U.S. war effort in Iraq, such as Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.) and Rep. John P. Murtha (Pa.), who he said advocate "cutting and running."

"They may be with you for the first shots," Rove said of such opponents. "But they're not going . . . to be with you for the tough battles."

Kerry supports Webb

The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza reports on Sen. John Kerry's (D-MA) support of Jim Webb in a Virginia primary for the right to challenge Republican Senator George Allen:

The Webb campaign has effectively used surrogates like Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) to vouch for Webb, but Miller's ads have highlighted Webb's criticism of President Bill Clinton, his service in President Reagan's Pentagon and his endorsement of Allen in 2000 to effectively raise questions in voters' minds.

Vilsack to New Hampshire

Governor Tom Vilsack (D-IA) will headline the Manchester City Democratic committee's Flag Day fund-raiser. Previous guests at the fund-raiser have included presidential nominees Al Gore and John Kerry.

Vilsack will also speak to the "Take Back America" conference in Washington today.

McCain takes on entitlements

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) took on the issues of out-of-control entitlement spending. "A tsunami of entitlement spending is threatening our economy while providing no real security for retirees," McCain said. "We have made promises that we cannot keep." (Read the text of McCain's speech.)


Hillary’s choice

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) received the National Family Planning Reproductive Health Association's "Outstanding Public Service Award" today in Washington, D.C.

Clinton also spoke at the "Take Back America" liberal gathering where her middle of the road stance on the war in Iraq was both booed and cheered by the crowd, according to an AP report: [LINK]

At a speech before a liberal gathering dubbed "Take Back America," the New York senator took grief from those in the audience critical of her vote for the Iraq war and her opposition to an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops.

"I do not think it is a smart strategy, either, for the president to continue with his open-ended commitment, which I think does not put enough pressure on the new Iraqi government," said Clinton, before turning to the anti-war liberals' core beef with her.

"Nor do I think it is smart strategy to set a date certain. I do not agree that that is in the best interests," said Clinton, prompting loud booing from some at the gathering.

Clinton has been seen as the early favorite among potential Democratic candidates for president in 2008, but she is increasingly at odds with anti-war liberals over her past vote and current position on Iraq.

"Sometimes this is a difficult conversation, in part because this administration has made our world more dangerous than it should be," she said.



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