"Does not stray" might be a wonderful attribute in a husband -- or a dog -- but history has clearly shown that it says nothing about what kind of leader a person will be.
Tim Russert is interviewing John Edwards on Meet the Press this Sunday. Here's a moment that would definitely make for Must See Sunday Morning TV...
Big winner of the week: Al Gore, officially nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for being the Cassandra of global warming (has anyone ever won an Oscar and a Nobel Prize in the same year?). Less of a winner: Rush Limbaugh, also nominated for the Peace Prize, but by a right wing fringe group, not by any of the thousands of groups or individuals officially sanctioned to do so (has anyone ever won a Nobel Prize and been detained at an airport for three hours for carrying a vial of Viagra prescribed under a different name in the same year?) Of course the week's biggest loser was Joe Biden. You know things aren't going well when your campaign kick-off comments necessitate a conversation with Al Sharpton in which you apologize and he assures you that he bathes every day.
After 6 years of Bush's all-hat-no-cattle leadership, the American public seems ready to abandon the John Wayne fantasy. The question is: to be replaced by what?
There were many great journalists who had the courage to stand up against the pro-war fever that swept the country in the run-up to the war. They deserve our praise and our gratitude. But Joe Klein is not among them, no matter how hard he insists that he is. READ MORE
Casting: the One Word that Explains Hollywood's Embrace of Obama The reason why Hollywood has gone ga-ga for Obama can be summed up in one word: "Casting." After 6 years of Bush's all-hat-no-cattle leadership, Obama may help the country leave behind the John Wayne fantasy and embrace an Atticus Finch-style moralist. READ MORE
If John Edwards' appearance on Meet the Press was a preview of what's to come, we are facing the grim prospect of Edwards and Joe Biden and Chris Dodd and especially Hillary Clinton back on their heels, trying to explain their pro-war votes instead of hammering the president for the war. Hillary has taken so many positions on the war, her rationalizations are already making "I actually voted for it before I voted against it" sound downright unequivocal. By contrast, here is the pre-war soundbyte they can roll on Obama, from October 2002: "I know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors... I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars." READ MORE
In his seven-point response to my post on him, Joe Klein delivers this gem of sophistry: "I had my doubts about my skepticism about the war..." I know English is my second language, Joe, but let me get this straight: you weren't actually, as you have claimed, "opposed to the war" since 2002 -- you were "skeptical" of the war? And, what's more, you had "doubts" about your "skepticism." Wow, talk about taking a bold stand. Could you possibly cover all your bases any more thoroughly? This isn't about what you dismiss as "a moment of stupid weakness on the brink of war." This is about a willful, ongoing attempt to claim credit for insight you didn't have and courage you didn't exhibit. Give it up.
I'm on a break from the Libby courtroom where we've been listening to the final hours of Scooter Libby's grand jury testimony. And I'm more convinced than ever that there is a God. And that there is indeed an Intelligent Design. Let me explain: Seven months ago I agreed to come to Washington to speak at a women's symposium being held here today. Five weeks ago, when HuffPost got a press pass to the trial, I made plans to be in court today, since I would already be in DC. So, you atheists, what were the chances that my one day in the Libby courtroom would turn out to be the very same day that Tim Russert would be testifying -- giving a whole new spin to the concept of RussertWatch? READ MORE
Tim Russert hobbled into the courtroom Tuesday afternoon on crutches. When he left the stand at the end of the day, his credibility had been so hobbled it needed a pair of crutches of its own. READ MORE
Russert on the Stand: How Will He Explain His Pompous Double-Speak to Big Russ? During his cross, Libby's attorney turned the tables on Russert and put up on the screen, Meet the Press-style, portions of NBC's motion to quash the May 2004 subpoena compelling Russert to testify. It was a portrait of pomposity, and a bracing reminder of the way things work in Club Washington. (Jane has more, here.) READ MORE
As well as tossing a dart into Tim Russert's credibility, Libby attorney Theodore Wells's cross-examination helped expose the all-too-chummy nature of insider Washington.
There are two trials going on. One is about Libby's role in Plamegate and will be decided by a jury, The other is about the media's role in Plamegate -- and, by extension, the war in Iraq -- and will be decided by the court of public opinion. READ MORE
TiVo Alert: I'll be discussing the Libby trial and other things with Howard Kurtz and Glenn Reynolds on CNN's Reliable Sources tomorrow morning at 10:30 ET.
So another 24/7 news cycle has blown by. Whipsawed by so many different stories -- and non-stories -- trotted out by the media for our consumption, I must admit that the particulars have started to blur together. Am I confused or did Mitch McConnell block Senate debate on Iraq by using a steel mallet, rubber tubing, and pepper spray? Did Nancy Pelosi wear a diaper so her plane wouldn't have to stop for refueling? Or was that Denny Hastert? Did Rudy Giuliani move a step closer to running for president by entering rehab at Delancey Street? And did John Edwards' new blog mistress marry an octogenarian billionaire, get her own reality show, then lose nearly 70 pounds as the Catholic-bashing spokesperson for TrimSpa?
Now that Barack Obama has officially announced his candidacy for the White House, we can officially announce the kickoff of the most hackneyed take on his campaign from the Washington punditry.
So why did Hillary vote for the war when other Senators didn't? According to James Carville, "they weren't from New York. Their state wasn't hit." As if the war in Iraq had anything to do with 9/11.
I'm worried that I could possibly have a negative impact on Al Franken's campaign. You see, back in the mid-90s, Al and I shared a bed. Repeatedly. READ MORE
Team Hillary's Latest Excuse for Iraq Vote: 9/11 Made Her Do It! Team Hillary's attempt to out-weasel John Kerry's legendary "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it" continues in earnest. READ MORE
'Where's the Beef?' II: The Conventional Wisdumb on Barack Obama When it comes to presidential politics, specifics on the issues are not really the issue. Campaigns for the White House -- especially this one -- are about leadership. READ MORE
Any time President Bush holds a press conference, odds are high that a strong contender for the week's most ludicrous quote will crop up. This week's strangely light-hearted presidential presser was no exception. First there was his utter disbelief over questions about the accuracy of his administration's intelligence on Iran providing explosives to Iraq: "The idea that somehow we're manufacturing the idea that Iranians are providing IEDs is preposterous." Preposterous indeed -- where would anyone ever get an idea like that from? Then came Bush's claim that he can't judge whether Iraq is a civil war while "living in this beautiful White House." His lovely surroundings didn't keep him from judging that he needed to order up another 21,500 troops did they? It would be downright comical, if it wasn't so bloody tragic.
Unable to win the fight against Murtha's ideas, the GOP hit squad is now making the desperate play of raising the notion that the 17-term congressman may not be playing with a full deck. Call it the Senility Surge. Classy.
I keep running into people who find themselves torn between their newfound passion for Obama and their longstanding commitment to Hillary.
Barack Obama spoke to 10,000 people at a rally in Los Angeles Tuesday afternoon -- but all the press wanted to ask him about was the glittering fundraiser later that night. Of course, the fundraiser, and the stars who contributed, and the dinner hosted by David Geffen wouldn't have meant anything without the thousands of people who showed up at the rally -- and who are turning out to see Obama all across the country. READ MORE
A Town Torn Between Two Lovers: Obama and Hillary Come to Hollywood Everywhere I go people are talking about Obama and Hillary -- many deeply torn between their newfound passion for Obama and their longstanding commitment to Hillary. It's a bit like having kids with someone; you don't just walk away from that without some torment -- no matter how passionless the relationship has become. READ MORE
In his interview with Maureen Dowd, which is filling up e-mail inboxes all around DC and Hollywood, David Geffen made this prediction about the Hillary Clinton campaign: "That machine is going to be very unpleasant and unattractive and effective." It didn't take long for Team Hillary to prove him right. Not long after Dowd's column hit the streets, "that machine" whirred into high gear, condemning Geffen and urging Obama to "remove Mr. Geffen" as his "campaign's finance chair." The thing is, Geffen is not Obama's "finance chair" nor his "principal fundraiser" as the Clinton campaign also claimed. Indeed, as Geffen told me this morning: "I have no official role in the campaign. None whatsoever." Which makes it kind of hard for Obama to "remove" him. READ MORE
Why would Hillary Clinton's communications director once again refer to David Geffen as Barack Obama's "campaign finance chair" -- a full six hours after Geffen had made it clear he had "no official role in the campaign"?
In a new interview, Schwarzenegger says Democrats should stop criticizing Hillary about Iraq: "You've got to judge people not by this one little thing." 'One little thing', Governor? The article says you are "no longer on painkillers" but perhaps there is some residual dulling.
Oscar Week is Hollywood's version of Mardi Gras -- only with Harry Winston diamonds instead of beads. And no one yells "Show us your tits" to Helen Mirren (although, given her cinematic history, she probably would oblige). So it's hard to believe that anything could distract the denizens of Tinseltown from the wall-to-wall "Who's going to win?" speculation and, more importantly, the "What am I going to wear?" party preparation. But all that took a back seat this week to the political firestorm unleashed by David Geffen's barbed wire chat with the anti-Little Miss Sunshine, Maureen Dowd. Catch my takes on the dustup here and here. Not exactly Notes on a Scandal, but it did reveal An Inconvenient Truth.
Those Democrats in the House determined to gut Jack Murtha's plan to tie Iraq funding to strict troop-readiness standards have found a great ally in the Washington Post.