Monday, May 15, 2006
Political Hot Topics
BUSH TO SEND NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS TO MEXICAN BORDER: President Bush tried to ease the worries of his Mexican counterpart yesterday as he prepared for a nationally televised address tonight unveiling a plan to send thousands of National Guard troops to help seal the nation's southern border against illegal immigrants. Mexican President Vicente Fox called to express concern over the prospect of militarization of the border, and Bush reassured him that it would be only a temporary measure to bolster overwhelmed Border Patrol agents, the White House said… A number of Democrats and even a few key Republicans voiced skepticism or outright opposition to the reported plan yesterday, calling it a politically motivated move that will only further strain units already stretched by duty in Iraq without solving the underlying problem of illegal immigration. USA Today: Poll: 51% oppose NSA database

53 PERCENT THINK THE PROGAM "GOES TOO FAR": According to the latest NEWSWEEK poll, 53 percent of Americans think the NSA's surveillance program "goes too far in invading people's privacy," while 41 percent see it as a necessary tool to combat terrorism... Americans think the White House has overstepped its bounds: 57 percent said that in light of the NSA data-mining news and other executive actions, the Bush-Cheney Administration has "gone too far in expanding presidential power." That compares to 38 percent who think the Administration's actions are appropriate. NEWSWEEK: Poll: Americans Wary of NSA Spying

HADLEY MAKES THE ROUNDS ON SUNDAY SHOWS: As senior Republican and Democratic lawmakers vowed to strongly question the former head of the National Security Agency this week about its surveillance programs, a top adviser to President Bush said Sunday that the programs were lawful and had not invaded the privacy rights of millions of Americans. The adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, the assistant to the president for national security affairs, declined to confirm the details of a telephone surveillance program operated by the N.S.A. that was publicly disclosed on Thursday in an article in USA Today. But Mr. Hadley said that surveillance efforts had been "narrowly designed" and pointed out that the USA Today article had emphasized in its description of the program that it did not involve listening to individual calls. New York Times: Bush Aide Defends Acts by N.S.A.

"LOT OF QUESTIONS WHICH GEN. HAYDEN HAS TO ANSWER": Key Senate Republicans yesterday said confirmation hearings for the man nominated to head the CIA will center on questions about the Bush administration's post-September 11 domestic eavesdropping program, which some lawmakers say is illegal. Hearings are scheduled to begin Thursday for Air Force Gen. Michael V. Hayden, who oversaw the domestic surveillance program until last year as director of the National Security Agency. "There's no question that his confirmation is going to depend upon the answers he gives regarding activities of NSA," said Sen. Chuck Hagel, Nebraska Republican and a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican and head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said, "There are a lot of questions which General Hayden has to answer." Washington Times: Hayden hearings to be battleground

HOUSE GOP LEADERS BREAKING WITH SENATE: From immigration policy to energy to emergency spending, House Republican leaders are publicly breaking rank with their counterparts in the Senate, fearing that Senate efforts at compromise are jeopardizing the party's standing with conservative voters. The breach in congressional leadership has been especially stark in the past two weeks. As the Senate returns to the immigration issue this week, House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said House Republicans will not agree to any plan granting illegal immigrants a path to citizenship that does not require them first to return to their home countries. House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) dismissed Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's proposed $100 rebate for gasoline as "insulting" and "stupid." And House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) declared a Senate-passed, $109 billion bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, hurricane relief and a bevy of home-state pet projects "dead on arrival." San Francisco Chronicle: GOP in Congress must produce to avoid defeat

VEEP ACTUALLY A "BIG, WARM, FUZZY GUY": Mary Cheney is here to tell you that her father, Vice President Dick Cheney, is not the Darth Vader of the Bush administration but a "big, warm, fuzzy guy." He was the father who said he loved her and wanted her to be happy when she broke the news in high school that she was gay, she said. Years later, he was the adviser she turned to when she nearly quit the 2004 Bush campaign over the president's support for an amendment banning gay marriage. New York Times: Cheney's Daughter Finally Has Her Say

WHAT'S IN A NAME? With the 2008 race for president now wide open, [Jeb] Bush has what every potential Republican candidate covets: national name recognition, access to his family's powerful fundraising machinery and, as the gathering of Christian supporters illustrated, a sterling reputation among the core of the GOP base. One recent poll reported his approval rating across Florida at 63% -- a strong position in what is the nation's most populous battleground state. And yet the very factor that fosters many of these advantages -- the Bush family name -- is holding this Bush back. With his older brother, President George W. Bush, showing approval ratings that are among the lowest of any modern president, many GOP activists and strategists believe the nation would not elect another Bush, at least not now. Even so, some players in the 2008 campaign appear to find Jeb Bush's political capital too tantalizing to ignore. Los Angeles Times: Benefit of a Name Is Relative

A FRONTRUNNER McCAIN WOULD STILL BE A "MAVERICK": John McCain once asked whether he could stay true to his maverick political persona "if by some unexpected turn of events" he was transformed from a presidential long shot into a front-runner. McCain concluded in a 2002 book that, "I was unlikely to get close enough to the prize where such temptations would become a concern." Today, with the Arizona senator leading the Republican pack in polls that also show him ahead of Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, the Democratic front-runner, in the 2008 general election, the issue is no longer academic. So does McCain worry that, as he prepares for a new presidential run, he will betray his positions to achieve victory? "No, no, that would be a hollow victory," he said in an interview. "My strength is my credibility. It is as simple as that." Bloomberg: McCain, Eying White House Bid, Seeks More Than 'Hollow Victory'
Posted By Stephen Bach, CNN Washington Bureau: 5/15/2006 03:53:00 PM ET | Permalink
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