Friday, July 07, 2006
Political Hot Topics
BUSH WANTS NATIONS TO ADDRESS NORTH KOREA WITH "ONE VOICE": President Bush pressed the leaders of China and Russia yesterday to join the United States in sending a tough message to North Korea for this week's missile launches, and said the world needs to speak with "one voice" to force the communist nation to adhere to international rules. But a U.S. drive for tough sanctions against North Korea encountered immediate obstacles. In his first comments about the controversy, Russian President Vladimir Putin said concern about the missile tests should not trigger an emotional response that would "drown out common sense." Washington Post: After Missiles, Calls Go Out

W ON LKL: President Bush isn't troubled by some of the weakest approval ratings of his presidency, he said Thursday in a wide-ranging birthday interview with CNN's "Larry King Live." "When history looks back, I'd rather be judged as solving problems and being correct, rather than being popular," Bush said. "The president that chases the opinion poll is the president that will have failed policy," Bush said in an exclusive joint interview along with his wife, Laura, at the White House. CNN: Bush: I'd rather be right than popular

Full transcript available here.

HARPER'S SURPRISE SPOILED BY REPORTER: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, visiting the White House, also brought birthday greetings and a surprise gift. But Bush found out about it during a joint press conference in the East Room. A Canadian reporter blew the secret. "Before I ask you a question, I'm just curious, what do you think of that belt buckle the prime minister gave you as a birthday gift, and are you wearing it?" the reporter asked Bush "I hadn't seen it yet," the president replied, laughing. "You gave it away." The reporter continued on with another question but Bush kept talking about the present. "Anyway, thanks for the belt buckle in advance," Bush told Harper. "No problem at all," the prime minister responded. AP via Yahoo! News: President Bush says turning 60 not so bad

PLOT TO BOMB HOLLAND TUNNEL, FLOOD LOWER NYC: The FBI has uncovered what officials consider a serious plot by jihadists to bomb the Holland Tunnel in hopes of causing a torrent of water to deluge lower Manhattan, the Daily News has learned. The terrorists sought to drown the Financial District as New Orleans was by Hurricane Katrina, sources said. They also wanted to attack subways and other tunnels. Counterterrorism officials are alarmed by the "lone wolf" terror plot because they allegedly got a pledge of financial and tactical support from Jordanian associates of top terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi before he was killed in Iraq, a counterterrorism source told The News. It's not clear, however, if any cash or assistance was delivered. New York Daily News: Bomb tunnel, flood city

NY COURT RULES AGAINST GAY MARRIAGE: New York's highest court rejected yesterday a broad attempt by gay and lesbian couples across the state to win the right to marry under state law, saying that denying marriage to same-sex couples does not violate the State Constitution. By a 4-2 majority, the Court of Appeals found that the State Legislature, in laws dating back nearly 100 years, intended to limit marriage to a union between a man and a woman, and that the Legislature had a rational basis for doing so. The court said it would be up to lawmakers to decide whether same-sex marriage should be permitted, and the ruling had politicians and others mobilizing immediately for a fight in Albany. New York Times: New York Judges Reject Any Right to Gay Marriage

DeLAY WILL STAY ON TX BALLOT: U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks ruled Thursday that former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, cannot be replaced on the November ballot simply because he moved to the Virginia condominium he has owned for a dozen years. Sparks barred Texas Republican Party Chairwoman Tina Benkiser from allowing party chiefs to replace DeLay, who quit his public office in June after winning the Republican nomination despite having been indicted on money-laundering charges and facing a tough re-election battle because of those legal woes. That leaves DeLay, a lightning rod for Democrats both in Texas and nationally, on the ballot and a line of possible GOP successors in limbo. The Republican Party has promised to appeal, but if it loses, Sparks' decision sets up the odd prospect of DeLay, now a self-proclaimed Virginian, possibly being re-elected and returning to Congress if he moves back to Texas by Election Day. Austin American-Statesman: Judge's ruling keeps DeLay on Texas ballot

BUDGET WAR IS OVER IN NJ: Gov. Jon Corzine and Assembly Democrats settled their weeklong budget dispute yesterday, signaling an end to the government shutdown that put tens of thousands of New Jerseyans out of work, paralyzed the courts, closed parks and halted gambling in Atlantic City casinos for the first time in history. With the agreement, Corzine won his battle to raise the state's sales tax to 7 percent, which he called the first step in overcoming "years of failed fiscal policy and one-shot gimmicks" that left state finances in distress. Newark Star-Ledger: State Budget War is Over

CASINOS COULD OPEN TONIGHT: Slot machines could be ringing and dealers could be shuffling again in New Jersey's casinos as soon as Friday evening after lawmakers and Gov. John S. Corzine reached a state budget deal that could end a six-day government shutdown. Committees in the Senate and Assembly were set to consider the legislation Friday, clearing the way for a budget vote. Corzine would have to sign an executive order to formally end the shutdown, which also closed state agencies, parks, lottery sales and threw more than 80,000 people out of work. AP via Yahoo! News: N.J. casinos await word to reopen

A "RESOUNDING BLOW" AGAINST CHICAGO'S NEW POLITICAL "MACHINE": Striking a resounding blow against what prosecutors called "a new machine" in Chicago politics, a federal jury Thursday convicted Mayor Richard Daley's longtime patronage chief of scheming to reward political workers with city jobs. The prosecution of Robert Sorich and three other former city officials has reached more deeply into Daley's administration than any previous federal case, and prosecutors quickly promised that they are not done at City Hall. "I really can't say anything more than 'stay tuned,'" said First Assistant U.S. Atty. Gary Shapiro. Chicago Tribune: Daley jobs chief guilty

JEFFERSON HIRES "CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANT": U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, the target of a high-profile public corruption probe, has hired a crisis communications consultant whose past clients have included Monica Lewinsky and the family of murdered Washington intern Chandra Levy. Judy Smith, a lawyer who did media relations for former President Bush, will be speaking for Jefferson's legal team, headed by Washington lawyer Robert Trout, said Melanie Roussell, the spokeswoman for his congressional office. Roussell said she will continue to be the spokeswoman for Jefferson's congressional activities. Jefferson, an eight-term Democrat, is listed in FBI documents as the major target of a nearly 16-month federal corruption probe that has produced guilty pleas by a former Jefferson aide and the CEO of a Kentucky company. New Orleans Times-Picayune: Jefferson hires crisis-seasoned PR aide
Posted By Stephen Bach, CNN Washington Bureau: 7/07/2006 09:36:00 AM ET | Permalink
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