Thursday, August 10, 2006
Political Hot Topics
TRANSATLANTIC AIRCRAFT TERROR PLOT FOILED: British authorities said Thursday they had thwarted a terrorist plot to simultaneously blow up several aircraft heading to the U.S. using explosives smuggled in carry-on luggage. Heathrow was closed to most flights from Europe, and British Airways canceled all its flights Thursday between the airport and points in Britain, Europe and Libya. Britain's Home Secretary John Reid said 21 people had been arrested in London, its suburbs and in Birmingham following a lengthy investigation, including the alleged "main players" in the plot. AP on Yahoo! News: British police thwart aircraft bomb plot

PLAN AIMED FOR 'UNPRECEDENTED' CIVILIAN CASUALTIES: An alleged plot to kill thousands of people by detonating explosions in a "wave" of attacks on up to 10 transatlantic flights from UK airports was disrupted overnight. The home secretary, John Reid, said today that the alleged terror plot could have caused civilian casualties on an "unprecedented scale". The alleged plot was to cause near simultaneous blasts on multiple flights --with US-bound planes a particular target -- using explosives smuggled into passenger cabins inside hand luggage. London Guardian: 'Mass Murder Terror Plot' Uncovered

TOP DEMS EMBRACE UPSTART LAMONT: Democratic leaders embraced their new antiwar Senate nominee Ned Lamont on Wednesday, but his defeated rival, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) vowed to wage an independent crusade to save his seat and prevent the party from being captured by forces he said are out of the political mainstream. At a unity breakfast in Hartford, state party officials, who had lined up almost solidly behind Lieberman in Tuesday's primary, including Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), pledged their support to Lamont in the general election campaign. In Washington, Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said in a statement that Lamont would have the national party's support. Also laying on hands for Lamont were such powerful party figures as former president Bill Clinton, Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.). Washington Post: Democratic Leadership Welcomes Lamont

WILL CONNECTICUT PRIMARY UPSET MATTER NATIONALLY?: Liberal anti-war voters and bloggers angry about Iraq widely claimed victory yesterday after the defeat of Sen. Joe Lieberman in Connecticut's Democratic primary, but the state is unpredictable and not indicative of the rest of the country. "Connecticut is far from a bellwether state," said Donald Green, a Yale political science professor. "And a Democratic primary in Connecticut is far from representing Connecticut." Polls done before and after Tuesday showed that nearly 80 percent of the primary election voters oppose the war. That sentiment allowed Ned Lamont to transform from no-name candidate to national darling of the anti-war crowd and beat the hawkish three-term incumbent. Washington Times: Connecticut results mean little for national direction

WATCH OUT, INCUMBENTS: So much for the benefits of incumbency. This week's Connecticut, Georgia and Michigan primaries provided hard evidence of what polls have been signaling for months: Voters are in the mood for change. The defeats of Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga., and Rep. Joe Schwarz, R-Mich., came two months after Pennsylvanians ousted 17 state legislators in primaries. "Voters are not showing a reticence to vote against entrenched incumbents," says Charles Cook, editor of the non-partisan Cook Political Report. USA Today: Primary losses show incumbents can be vulnerable

HILLARY DISTANCES HERSELF FROM OLD FRIEND JOE: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton embarked on her first major day of campaigning in her re-election bid yesterday, but wound up facing a flurry of questions about Senator Joseph I. Lieberman's defeat by an antiwar candidate in the Connecticut Democratic primary. In turn, Mrs. Clinton, a potential 2008 presidential candidate who has come under attack herself because of her refusal to apologize for voting to authorize the use of military force in Iraq, sought to distance herself from Mr. Lieberman. New York Times: In Clinton's New York Run, Much Talk of Connecticut

ISRAEL ON THE MOVE INTO LEBANON: Israel decided Wednesday to move thousands more troops into Lebanon in a major expansion of its ground operation aimed at pushing Hezbollah and its rocket launchers farther away from Israeli cities. Near Lebanon, an Israeli paratrooper commander, wounded by shrapnel in fighting with Hezbollah, was helped to an ambulance on Wednesday. The decision, made at a six-hour security cabinet meeting, approved a plan drawn up by the military and Defense Minister Amir Peretz to move farther and faster into Lebanon. New York Times: Israel, Seeking Rocket Buffer, Sets Expansion

SUICIDE BOMBER KILLS DOZENS IN IRAQ: A suicide bomber detonated a belt of explosives Thursday near a highly revered Shiite shrine in southern Iraq, killing at least 35 people and injuring 122, an official said. The bomber blew himself up while being patted down by police near the Imam Ali mosque in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, said Dr. Munthir al-Ithari, the head of the city's health directorate. Shiite religious leaders in Najaf accused Sunni loyalists of former dictator Saddam Hussein of carrying out the attack. AP on Yahoo! News: Bombing near Iraqi shrine leaves 35 dead

RECOUNT UNDERWAY IN MEXICO: Mexico's power struggle returned to the ballot boxes Wednesday and spread to a new front at three major banks. Guarded by soldiers and under the watchful eye of rival party representatives, federal elections officials began recounting ballots cast in 11,839 of the country's 130,000 precincts. The officials have five days to finish the task and tally the results. However, it remained unclear whether the unprecedented recount will resolve a 5-week standoff that has divided the nation and put its young democracy to the test. Houston Chronicle: Partial recount begins in Mexico

W.H. HOPEFULS HAVE FUN AT THE FAIR: Fairgoers won't be able to turn around in the pork chop line without bumping into someone thinking about running for president, from the looks of politicos planning to be around Des Moines in the next few days. A half-dozen Republicans and Democrats have made plans to stop by the Iowa State Fair. The granddaddy of Middle American cliches has never been about politics, as much as it's been about political stagecraft. The curtain will rise Friday, when New York Gov. George Pataki and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, both Republicans, stop by the fair. Pataki is expected to be there in the late morning, with Gingrich planning to spend most of the afternoon there. Des Moines Register: Presidential prospects flock to State Fair

SUGAR LAND MAYOR JUMPS INTO DeLAY FRAY: Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace said Wednesday he will be a write-in candidate for the seat former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay abandoned, jumping the gun on the state GOP in hopes of becoming the party standard-bearer. DeLay announced Tuesday he was withdrawing his name from the November ballot, after the state Republican Party lost its legal battle to replace him with a candidate of its choosing. Mounting a successful write-in candidacy will be difficult, Republicans acknowledge, and some say it amounts to ceding the race to Democratic nominee Nick Lampson. Houston Chronicle: DeLay's ex-Mayor jumps into race

GOV. NOMINEE SEEKS VOTE, HAWKS BOOK: Republican gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann said yesterday that he wants to have a conversation with the people of Pennsylvania -- but that conversation may cost some voters $10 a pop. Standing in front of one of the Capitol's annex buildings, Swann said yesterday that, although he has spoken to hundreds of Pennsylvanians since announcing his candidacy, he wanted to take his campaign a step further. The result: a 143-page book, called "A New Direction: My Plan for a Better Pennsylvania," which Swann said is meant to give voters a better grasp of who he is and where he stands on major policy issues. Philadelphia Inquirer: Swann puts his message, policy ideas in a book

INTERNAL PROBE FAULTS CONGRESS FOR CUNNINGHAM FIASCO: An internal congressional investigation has found that "major breakdowns" in legislative controls enabled former Republican Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham to use his position on the House Intelligence Committee to steer classified government contracts to political cronies, according to a memo distributed this week to Democrats on the panel. The memo accuses Republicans of backing out of an agreement to subpoena Cunningham, and calls for the public release of a 20-page unclassified report documenting the findings of the investigation. The memo was written by Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice), ranking Democrat on the committee, and circulated to Democrats on Tuesday. Los Angeles Times: 'Duke' Inquiry Cites Breakdowns
Posted By Julie Hofler, CNN Washington Bureau: 8/10/2006 10:42:00 AM ET | Permalink
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