Monday, February 26, 2007
CNN Political Ticker AM
For the latest, breaking political news, check for updates throughout the day on the CNN Political Ticker. All politics, all the time.
Compiled by Stephen Bach
CNN Washington Bureau
Making news today...
The visit comes just as "President Bush has decided to send an unusually tough message to one of his most important allies, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the president of Pakistan, warning him that the newly Democratic Congress could cut aid to his country unless his forces become far more aggressive in hunting down operatives with Al Qaeda." (New York Times)
"I couldn't describe the emotions that I've had over the last two or three days thinking about this... Everything from anger and outrage to reflection, and to some pride and glory." (Los Angeles Times)
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT... NYDN front page Sunday: "SHOCK OF MY LIFE! Experts tell Al: Ancestors were slaves of Thurmond relatives."
STORY: Slavery links families
At 2:30 pm ET in the East Room, Bush presents the Medal of Honor to Bruce Crandall, a Vietnam War helicopter pilot who landed under heavy fire to evacuate wounded U.S. soldiers.
Afterwards, Bush participates in the presentation of the annual report to the nation by the Boy Scouts of America, 3:10 pm ET in the Oval Office.
Tonight, Bush makes remarks at the 2007 Republican Governors Association Gala at the National Building Museum, 6:50 pm ET.
Also on the Political Radar:
Giuliani also headlines a VA GOP "Spring Fling" fundraiser at the Tysons Corner Marriott at 6 pm ET.
Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
RICE KNOCKS DEMS' "MICROMANAGEMENT" OF WAR: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday denounced the Iraq war resolutions being planned by congressional Democrats as "the worst of micromanagement" that would intrude on the president's power as commander in chief to manage the war... Miss Rice strongly criticized the Democrats' plans, some of which would also restrict what actions U.S. troops may take or put impossible conditions on their funding. "I think policies that diminish the flexibility of the commanders, the commander in chief, but especially the commanders in the field, that disrupt the normal process of allowing the executive branch to determine things like training times and so forth, this would be a problem," she said on ABC's "This Week." Washington Times: Rice decries Democrats' war tactics
CHENEY MAKES SURPRISE STOPS IN PAKISTAN, AFGHANISTAN: Vice President Dick Cheney made unannounced stops in Pakistan and Afghanistan to press the two U.S. allies for stepped up security along their border to thwart a resurgence of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Cheney spent about four hours in Islamabad for talks with Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf following a weeklong trip to Japan and Australia and a stop in Oman last night. He then flew to Afghanistan for a meeting with President Hamid Karzai. The vice president made no statement after emerging from his meeting with Musharraf or upon arrival at 4:30 p.m. local time at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. The Bush administration is trying to blunt a fresh challenge from the Taliban, a fundamentalist Muslim group that governed Afghanistan under a harsh code of Islamic law until the U.S. drove it from power after the Sept. 11 attacks. Bloomberg: Cheney Stops in Afghanistan Amid Taliban Resurgence
"UNUSUALLY TOUGH MESSAGE" THREATENS TO CUT PAKISTAN AID: President Bush has decided to send an unusually tough message to one of his most important allies, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the president of Pakistan, warning him that the newly Democratic Congress could cut aid to his country unless his forces become far more aggressive in hunting down operatives with Al Qaeda, senior administration officials say. The decision came after the White House concluded that General Musharraf is failing to live up to commitments he made to Mr. Bush during a visit here in September. General Musharraf insisted then, both in private and public, that a peace deal he struck with tribal leaders in one of the country's most lawless border areas would not diminish the hunt for the leaders of Al Qaeda and the Taliban or their training camps. Now, American intelligence officials have concluded that the terrorist infrastructure is being rebuilt, and that while Pakistan has attacked some camps, its overall effort has flagged. New York Times: Bush to Warn Pakistan to Act on Terror
MEMBERS TRYING TO SEE WHAT THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH, SAYS "CREW" CHIEF: Lawmakers have continued to take trips paid for by outside groups since the House voted last month to restrict who can pay for such travel. House travel records show that 19 members since Jan. 5 have accepted airfare, meals and lodging from special interests, including groups that employ lobbyists. The records were compiled by the non-partisan PoliticalMoneyLine. The trips demonstrate that lawmakers "are trying to see what they are going to get away with," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of the liberal-leaning watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. In its first official act as it took control Jan. 4, the Democratic majority in the House pushed through rules on the way lawmakers do business with lobbyists... The House also created exemptions to the rules, including allowing lawmakers to take overnight trips paid for by lobbyists and the companies that hire them and to accept travel expenses from organizations that don't hire lobbyists. USA Today: House's travel rules limited
FARRAKHAN GIVES FAREWELL ADDRESS IN DETROIT: Mixing Scripture from the Koran and the Bible with foreign policy, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan issued a call for worldwide religious unity Sunday during his farewell address, urging Christians, Muslims and Jews to work toward peace. Thousands of followers of the Nation of Islam as well as African-Americans of all faiths gathered for the event, possibly the last chance to see and hear Farrakhan, considered one of the most charismatic and controversial religious figures of modern times. The two-hour speech marked the first time the ailing Farrakhan, 73, had addressed the public in nearly seven months since ceding control to the group's executive board. Chicago Tribune: In farewell, Farrakhan urges unity of faiths
MANY GOVS "RESERVING JUDGMENT" ON '08 CANDIDATES: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is the front-runner and will probably win the Democratic presidential nomination. Rudolph W. Giuliani could do well in Mississippi. And the length of the presidential campaign is insane.Those were the views expressed Sunday by some of the foremost experts on American politics: governors gathered here for the winter meeting of the National Governors Association. A few governors have endorsed presidential candidates, but many said they were reserving judgment. Democratic governors pleaded with their presidential candidates to ignore the fringes of the party and focus instead on the "middle 20 percent" of the electorate with a pragmatic, problem-solving agenda. New York Times: Surveying '08 Field, Governors Urge Moderation
OBAMA "UNBURDENED BY EXPRESSIONS OF REGRET" ON IRAQ WAR: Senator Barack Obama is running for president as one of the few candidates who opposed the Iraq war from the beginning, a simple position unburdened by expressions of regret or decisions over whether to apologize for initially supporting the invasion. Iraq remains a defining topic in the opening stages of the 2008 presidential race, but it may prove easier for Mr. Obama, Democrat of Illinois, to revisit the past than to distinguish his views in the future... Though Mr. Obama is framing his candidacy to appeal to Democrats who have long opposed the war, until recently he was not among his party's most outspoken voices against it. He campaigned strongly against the war in his bid for the Senate in 2004, but when he arrived in Washington he waited 11 months to deliver a major speech on Iraq. New York Times: As Candidate, Obama Carves Antiwar Stance
RICE "GUSHES" OVER OBAMA: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gushed yesterday that Sen. Barack Obama is an "extraordinary person" and said it won't be long before the nation gets its first black president. Sounding like she had come down with a severe case of Obama-mania, Rice affectionately referred to the Democratic senator - a Foreign Relations Committee member - as a member of "my committee," since she frequently testifies there. "I think he's very appealing and a great person," she enthused. "He's on my committee. And we've always had good exchanges. I think he's an extraordinary person." New York Post: OBAMA FAN CONDI
DROPPING "RODHAM"? What's in a name? Plenty, if you're running for president. Just ask George W. Bush, who had to distinguish himself from his father of nearly the same name, and Senator Barack Hussein Obama, whose staff worries about confusion with similar-sounding US enemies. But when it comes to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, the name game can be an asset and a liability at the same time. Clinton, an early leader in the race for the 2008 Democratic nomination, apparently has dropped - or at least deemphasized - "Rodham," her maiden name. Though her family name remains on her official Senate website, it's not on her campaign website and shows up only occasionally in her news releases. And the T-shirts and buttons promoting Clinton's presidential run boldly declare "Hillary," placing her with Brad and Angelina in the pantheon of first-name-only celebrities. Clinton's aides deny that anything has changed and suggested that asking about it was a waste of time. Boston Globe: Name changes define Clinton's various career stages
HAGEL "FLIRTING" WITH UNITY TICKET IDEA: Hagel has not only emerged as a leading critic of the administration's foreign policy, he's also flirting with running for president next year - possibly on a hybrid ticket that would include a Democrat. "If I decide to get into this, I would run not just to make a statement," Hagel, 60, said in an interview last week. He said that if he ran he would seek the Republican nomination. Yet he's also talking up Unity08. That's a plan by a bipartisan group of political operatives to draft a bipartisan presidential ticket on the Internet and offer voters an alternative to the Democratic and Republican candidates next year. "I think it's a very intriguing enterprise," Hagel said. He said most Americans are disenchanted with the major political parties. USA Today: War critic speaks from heart of Bush country
"MOST SHOCKING" NEWS OF HIS LIFE: The Rev. Al Sharpton said Sunday it was the "most shocking" news of his life when the civil rights leader learned he was a descendant of a slave owned by relatives of Strom Thurmond, the late senator who once led the segregationist South. "I couldn't describe the emotions that I've had over the last two or three days thinking about this," he said at a news conference. "Everything from anger and outrage to reflection, and to some pride and glory." Sharpton found out about the connection to Thurmond last week after the New York Daily News obtained his approval to work with genealogists to trace his ancestry. Researchers from Ancestry.com traced Sharpton's roots using a database with access to 5 billion records including birth and death certificates, slave narratives, census and bank records, and United States Colored Troops documents. Los Angeles Times: Family histories of Sharpton, Thurmond collide
"IDOL" STAR HAS HILL ROOTS: The Hill can claim as one of its very own a contestant on the hit TV talent show: Antonella Barba, the cocktail waitress from popular Senate-side watering hole Lounge 201 who made it through last week's whittling-down to the top 10 women. She will perform again Wednesday in the hopes of making it through another round. The folks back home at 201 have been pulling for their gal, holding "Idol"-watching parties for friends and fans and offering special "Idol-tinis" for the occasion. But, in truth, even her most ardent admirers thought she was toast last week. "It wasn't her best performance," Lounge 201 owner Matt Weiss tells HOH of Barba's nervous rendition of Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing," which drew some sniping from the judges. "Idol" chatters have speculated that Barba's looks, if not her pipes, may have kept her in the running. Roll Call: Idol Chatter
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