Cut & run Democrats
Washington Post covers the simultaneous debate on a non-binding
resolution that affirms Congress’ support for the War on Terrorism in Iraq.
A vote against the resolution will be sure to be shown as those who would
cut and run in Iraq:
Nearly four years after it authorized the use of force in Iraq, the House
today will embark on its first extended debate on the war, with Republican
leaders daring Democrats to vote against a nonbinding resolution to hold
firm on Iraq and the war on terrorism.
In the wake of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death and President Bush's surprise
trip to Baghdad, Republican leaders are moving quickly to capitalize on good
news and trying to force Democrats on the defensive. Bush continued his own
campaign with a morning news conference and a White House meeting with
congressional leaders from both parties, while House leaders strategized on
today's 10-hour debate.
A memo from House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) urged House
Republican members Tuesday to make the debate "a portrait of contrasts
between Republicans and Democrats." After Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.)
was booed this week by liberal activists for her failure to resolutely
oppose the war, Republicans hope to present a united front that highlights
the fractures in the Democratic Party.
"As a result of our efforts during this debate, Americans will recognize
that on the issue of national security, they have a clear choice between a
Republican Party aware of the stakes and dedicated to victory, versus a
Democratic Party without a coherent national security policy that sheepishly
dismisses the challenges America faces in a post-9/11 world," Boehner wrote.
Des Moines Register covers Governor Tom Vilsack’s travels to Washington,
Vilsack rebuffed skepticism that governors lack the background to offer
foreign policy expertise in a national race.
"I'm here to make the case the world has changed," he said, citing the need
for governors to deal with the consequences of federal decisions on homeland
security as well as states' dependence on international investments.
Vilsack, perhaps taking a swipe at some of his potential opponents, said
that Congress also had a responsibility when it came to going to war in
Iraq. "Clearly the checks and balances system of our government works best
when the other branch of government asks tough questions," he said. "There
ought to be a review of the War Powers Act to determine how we can bring
Congress back into this mix."
Associated Press reports Sen. Russ Feingold’s reception at the Take Back
America Conference was better than Hillary (who was booed):
"Run, Russ, run," some chanted as the Wisconsin senator stepped to the
podium. Others wore buttons and stickers with the same sentiment.
"They got it wrong in Iraq," Feingold said to applause. "Iraq was a
And he reiterated a theme he's made in recent speeches, exhorting Democrats
to show some backbone. Everywhere he goes, Feingold said, people ask him the
same question: "When are you guys going to stand up?"
Vilsack in New Hampshire
Des Moines Register covers Governor Tom Vilsack’s maiden voyage to New
Hampshire. Vilsack is one of two candidates for his party’s nomination who
hasn’t been to New Hampshire. With his visit, only Hillary Clinton has not
voyaged the state:
Vilsack's travel to key political states has accelerated in the past year,
especially since taking the chairmanship of the Democratic Leadership
Council, a centrist national policy group.
The travel also has put him in touch with prominent donors who have helped
him raise more than $2 million for his national fundraising organization,
Heartland PAC, which is paying for this week's trip. Last weekend, he
attended a conference of party bloggers in Las Vegas, a nod to the growing
influence of Internet activists, also called netroots.
And Tuesday he joined party figures who included U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton,
2004 presidential nominee John Kerry and U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy
Pelosi at a gathering of liberal activists in Washington, D.C.
Vilsack's two-day tour of New Hampshire originally was scheduled for
September 2005 but was scrubbed when people displaced by Hurricane Katrina
were expected to arrive in Iowa.
Governor Vilsack did not receive a friendly greeting during his visit to New
Hampshire when he brought up the doubtful nature of New Hampshire keeping
its first in the nation status next to Iowa.
Iowa’s Democrat representatives to the committee sold out the long-standing
agreement Iowa and New Hampshire made to support each other in being first.
Therefore, the Governor received a scorching review in the New Hampshire
Vilsack told a political breakfast forum in Bedford, "I sincerely hope that
as the Democratic National Committee continues its deliberations about the
(nominating calendar), it recognizes the unique responsibility New Hampshire
and Iowa have had for so long and preserves the ability of Iowa and New
Hampshire to do what they’ve done so well — start the process."
Sounded good — but the trouble is, Vilsack’s people on key national
Democratic panels have opposed retaining that one-two tandem. They’ve gone
along with the majority in early key votes that would dilute the traditional
impact of New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary by shoving it down the
nominating calendar to third or fourth place.
In key votes in December and March, Vilsack’s Iowans voted with the
majorities to place an additional caucus or two between the Iowa caucus and
The plan has yet to be made final by the rules committee and the full DNC,
but New Hampshire Democrats widely viewed the Iowa votes as a clear break
from the decades-long alliance between the two states to work together to
protect their early positions.
New Hampshire Democratic Chair Kathy Sullivan, herself a member of the DNC
rules committee, said:
"There are a number of New Hampshire Democrats who are disappointed that the
Iowa commissioners and member of the rules committee have not voted with New
Hampshire on these things."
NY Times reports on White House wordsmith leaving:
Michael Gerson, the White House speechwriter and policy adviser who shaped
nearly every major address of George W. Bush's presidency, said Wednesday
that he was leaving the administration to pursue new career options.
Mr. Gerson has been one of Mr. Bush's closest aides and is credited with
giving voice to both the "compassionate conservatism" that Mr. Bush espouses
and his more hawkish lines, like "axis of evil."
Murtha may testify
Washington Times reports that Rep. John Murtha may be compelled to
testify in Marine investigation:
A criminal defense attorney for a Marine under investigation in the Haditha
killings says he will call a senior Democratic congressman as a trial
witness, if his client is charged, to find out who told the lawmaker that
U.S. troops are guilty of cold-blooded murder.
Attorney Neal A. Puckett told The Washington Times that Gen. Michael Hagee,
the Marine commandant, briefed Rep. John P. Murtha, Pennsylvania Democrat,
on the Nov. 19 killings of 24 Iraqis in the town north of Baghdad. Mr.
Murtha later told reporters that the Marines were guilty of killing the
civilians in "cold blood." Mr. Murtha said he based his statement on Marine
commanders, whom he did not identify.
Huckabee lands Iowa operative
Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a potential 2008 presidential contender, has
hired former Waterloo Courier political writer Eric Woolson to coordinate
his political action committee’s activities in Iowa and other states.
Woolson was press secretary to former Governor Terry Branstad.
Woolson will work for Hope for America, which assist state and local GOP
"Keeping our majority is absolutely critical to our party's future,"
Huckabee said. "I am very pleased that we were able to draft such great
local talent as Eric Woolson to help us build our grassroots team in Iowa,
Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota."
Woolson said his top priority will be helping Huckabee's PAC maximize its
influence on races in the 2006 cycle.
Guiliani in the money
NY Post covers Rudy Guiliani’s fundraising clout:
Potential White House hopeful Rudy Giuliani raised an eye-popping $2 million
to spread to Republican campaigns last night at his first fund-raiser in
over a year.
The haul for Giuliani's political-action committee, Solutions America,
demonstrated "America's Mayor's" cash-raising prowess.
Gravel in Iowa
The little known former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-AL) is traveling through Iowa
campaigning for his party’s presidential nomination.
"The younger people, they might not know me, but they know the system is
broken," Gravel said. "And they want to bring the power back to the people."
Des Moines Register reports that Gravel is visiting: Des Moines, Ames,
Cedar Rapids and Davenport.
Pataki’s Iowa team
Governor George Pataki released his Iowa PAC team announcement. "State
Senator and Former Majority Leader Stew Iverson (District 5) will serve as
the PAC's Iowa Chairman. Ed Failor, Jr., Executive Vice President of Iowans
for Tax Relief will join as Senior Political Advisor to the PAC. Longtime
political activist Diane Crookham-Johnson will be the PAC's Iowa Executive
Director. Stew, Ed and Diane will be joined on the PAC's Iowa leadership
team by Benton County Republican Chairman Loras Schulte and JoEllen Hill,
Republican campaign manager and activist."