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The Russert Watch: Will Tim Be a No-Show or a No-Good-Questions-In-An-Entire Show?


A bold prediction: Tim Russert will do a much, much better job on this Sunday's show than he did last week. How can I be so sure? Well, Tim didn't show up for last week's show -- fobbing off his hosting duties, unannounced, on Andrea Mitchell -- so the bar is set pretty low for surpassing a DNP in the Russert Watch Box score. This week, Russert will be interviewing Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, Admiral James Loy, the former #2 at Homeland Security, and author and homeland Security expert Steve Flynn. Here are a few of the questions I'd like to hear Russert ask them:

"Secretary Chertoff, a $1.1 billion bill sponsored by John McCain that would have safeguarded railroads running through major urban centers passed the Senate but stalled in the House. A different bill that would have allocated $3.5 billion for rail and bus security also failed to pass. Why hasn't the president pushed this legislation through the Republican-controlled Congress?"

And a follow-up:

"The Senate appropriations committee recently proposed slashing Transportation Security Administration grants for rail security from $150 million in 2005 to $100 million in fiscal 2006. In addition, the Bush administration is now planning to eliminate designated federal grant programs so that transit and rail systems will be forced to compete with ports, chemical facilities and other vital sectors for scarce government assistance. Are our leaders merely paying lip service to fighting the war on terror?"

"Admiral Loy, the President has repeatedly stated that we are "winning the war on terror," while a recent Gallup poll shows that only 1 in 3 Americans hold this view. In the wake of the London bombings, is it your opinion that we're winning this war? And if so, how do you explain the disconnect between the views of the administration and those of the American people?"

"Mr. Flynn, you have previously said: "For the cost of two F-22 fighter jets and three days of combat in Iraq, the nation's ports could be secured against terror." Are you suggesting that the over $200 billion we've spent fighting the war in Iraq could have been better spent fighting the war on terror?"

And now we turn it over to you, Russertwatchers! Post the questions you'd like to hear Tim ask in the comments section and we'll publish the best of them before Sunday's show.