Archive for the ‘Meet the Press’ Category

Spending Priority on Infrastructure Needed: Schwarzenegger, Rendell, Bloomberg Tell Obama

March 22, 2009

President Obama is pressing ahead on his budget priorities of health care, education, energy and the environment. 

But three top civic leaders are reminging him not to neglect infrastructure.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” with David Gregory on Sunday to urge a higher priority for national spending on infrastructure….

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) (L) speaks as New York ... 
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) (L) speaks as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg listens during a pre-taping of “Meet the Press” at NBC studios on March 20, 2009 in Washington. The program aired on March 22, 2009. The governor of America’s largest state and the mayor of its largest city called on the federal government during the show to dramatically boost its spending on bridges, sewers, high-speed rail and other infrastructure. Picture taken March 20, 2009. REUTERS/Brendan Smialowski-Meet the Press/Handout

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By Rob Hotakainen, McClatchy

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger went to the White House on Friday with Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to press President Barack Obama for more federal aid for infrastructure projects.

Noting that California’s unemployment rate had risen to 10.5 percent, Schwarzenegger said a good response would be to increase government spending on roads and bridges and other projects.

“This creates jobs,” he said. “We had a terrific meeting.”

Schwarzenegger and Obama appear to be developing a close relationship. There was no mention Friday of the moment in October when, in the heat of the presidential election, Schwarzenegger compared Obama’s policies to European socialism.

Schwarzenegger said at the time that Obama “says he wants to pursue the same spread-the-wealth ideas that Europe had decades ago.”

On Thursday, when the two appeared together in Los Angeles, the governor praised Obama for his “courageous leadership and the great commitment he has displayed.” And he said California is “benefiting tremendously” from the economic stimulus package Obama has put together.

Obama reciprocated, calling Schwarzenegger “one of the great innovators of state government” who has turned out to be “just an outstanding partner” for his administration.

“I’m grateful for him,” Obama said.

http://sacbee.com/arnold/story/1
717546.html

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Obama’s TV Talking Heads: Sunday Surrogate Disaster

March 15, 2009

President Obama should have the “best and brightest” in the nation working for him, especially now during the economic crisis, he so aptly named a “catastrophe.”

But today, if these guys are the best and brightest; prepare for more disaster.

Obama economic adviser Christina Romer was asked during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” if the fundamentals of the economy were sound. “Of course they are sound,” she replied. 

She even elaborated: using about the same language John McCain used last autumn which brought a fire storm from Barack Obama.

The only thing worse than blindly reciting the talking points is forgetting to read them all together….

Unless Team Obama has just not settled on the true talking points.

Is it a disaster or is it getting better?

Christina Romer
Romer.  Clueless?

On “Fox News Sunday,” Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee appeared.  It wasn’t pretty.

And many of the shows discussed the possibility that Obama would tax health benefits.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was in London and he may have been in Siberia for all we know.

He spoke at the G20 yesterday but made no impression on anybody, apparently.

Question for President Obama: If Geither is so good, after he urged the G20 to “strong action” yesterday, in London mind you, why couln’t we find a report of that speech on page one of the London Times or the Telegraph?

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) said, “Even Barack Obama’s ardent supporters now say his spending, borrowing and taxing makes Republicans look like amateurs.”

Obama’s surrogate talking heads on Sunday were the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.

These are the folks taking care of the economy…..

The AP said:
The seesaw message from the new administration drew sharp criticism from Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who said Obama’s team was exploiting the economic situation for political gain.

“They’re taking advantage of a crisis in order to do things that had nothing to do with getting us into the crisis in the first place,” McConnell said.

Rosy Talk From Obama and Gang is BS

Obama: Fire Geithner

Sun Setting On American Superpower?

Obama using recession to justify largest expansion of federal authority ever; U.S. less safe

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Associated Press

WASHINGTON — One of President Obama’s economic advisers said Sunday that the economy is fundamentally sound, a striking reversal from the Democrat’s campaign rhetoric as his administration now guides the nation’s financial health amid dire conditions. 

Obama’s Democratic allies pleaded for patience for an administration hitting the two-month mark this week, while Republicans said the White House’s plans ignore small business and the immediate need to fix what ails the economy. 

During the fall campaign, Obama mercilessly mocked his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, for declaring, “The fundamentals of our economy are strong.” Obama’s team painted the veteran senator as out of touch and failing to grasp the challenges facing the country. 

On Sunday, economic adviser Christina Romer was asked during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” if the fundamentals of the economy were sound. “Of course they are sound,” she replied. 

“The fundamentals are sound in the sense that the American workers are sound, we have a good capital stock, we have good technology,” she said. “We know that — that temporarily we’re in a mess, right? We’ve seen huge job loss, we’ve seen very large falls in GDP. So certainly in the short run we’re in a — in a bad situation.” 

Just a week ago, White House Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag declared that “fundamentally, the economy is weak.” 

Read the rest:
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/first100day
s/2009/03/15/obama-adviser-says-econom
y-fundamentals-strong-despite-campaign-rhetoric/

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03
/15/huge-thousands-converge-for-c
incinnati-tea-party/

Obama adviser: Auto industry must restructure

February 15, 2009

President Barack Obama‘s senior adviser said Sunday that any plan to shore up the auto industry will need to require sacrifice by all involved, from auto workers and industry executives to shareholders and creditors.

By DOUGLASS K. DANIEL, Associated Press Writer

General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC are expected to submit plans to the government by a Tuesday deadline to show how they can repay billions in loans and become viable in spite of a drop in auto sales not seen for a generation.

“We need an auto industry in this country. There are millions of lives, livelihoods that depend on it,” White House adviser David Axelrod said on “Meet the Press” on NBC. “We have a real interest in seeing the auto industry survive, but it’s going to require a major restructuring of the auto industry.”

Asked if the U.S. economy could withstand a bankruptcy at GM, Axelrod didn’t respond directly. Executives at the two automakers have said bankruptcy would not benefit their companies because consumers would be reluctant to buy cars from an automaker that might go out of business.

“How that restructuring comes is something that has to be determined,” he said. “But it’s going to be something that’s going to require sacrifice not just from the auto workers but also from creditors, from shareholders and the executives who run the company. And everyone’s going to have to get together here to build companies that can compete in the future.”

Axelrod wouldn’t say whether the administration would offer the auto industry more bailout money. GM already has borrowed $9.4 billion to stay in business, and it would receive an addition $4 billion if the Treasury Department approves its viability plan. Chrysler wants $3 billion more on top of the $4 billion it has already borrowed.

“We need to see what it is that they come up with this week,” he said.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090215/ap_o
n_go_pr_wh/obama_autos

Forbes Pleads For Bank Bailout, “Banks Are the Heart of the Financial System”

February 1, 2009

Steve Forbes said on Sunday that getting American banks lending is much more important than the current economic stimulus bill.

Forbes appeared on “Meet the Press” on NBC with David Gregory.

Forbes said that Japan used eight different stimulus packages in the 1990s and couldn’t solve their economic problems without solving the bank lending dilemma.

“And that’s why they have a high debt and still a stagnant economy,” Forbes said.

“The banks are like the heart of the financial system,” Forbes said.  “You can have a strong head and strong muscles but without the heart you have nothing.”

Erin Burnett of CNBC said the “New American Economy” will provide a lower standard of living to most Americans.

“And that means likely a lower standard of living.  So you may return to vigorous growth, but likely that debt-fueled expansion, you’re not going to have that.  And that’s a tough message to tell people, your standard of living is going to be lower for a long time.”

David Gregory pointed out a Heritage Foundation release this week that said:  “The combination of current law programs plus the stimulus–and without any additional borrowings for additional financial market interventions or other new spending–suggests at least another $1.6 trillion of new government debt, bringing the total of publicly traded federal debt to $9.9 trillion by the end of 2010…[and] the debt-to-GDP ratio will have reached 67.9 percent for a two-year increase of 23 percentage” points.

Forbes said, “You’ve got to ….  and I hope the Senate will do this, is work more on the tax side; like, say, having the payroll tax for two years.  That lowers the price of hiring people, also….  Payroll tax holiday.  That way people get more money and it’s cheaper to hire labor.  Reduce the capital gains levee for a couple of years, positive things like that.  And then get back–again, the banking system, Japan did not fix their banking system, which is why they stagnated.  We have to fix ours, starting by one of the most boring subjects in the world but devastating banks today, get rid of this mark-to-market accounting, which is destroying banks.”

Read the Meet The Press transcript:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28964188/

Steve Forbes, Chairman and CEO of Forbes Media, participates ... 
Steve Forbes, Chairman and CEO of Forbes Media, participates in a plenary session the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009.(AP Photo/Keystone, Alessandro Della Bella)

http://www.bigbook.eu/senators-q
uestion-daschles-late-tax-filing

China May Have Mafia View of Obama Stimulus: “Someday We Break Your Legs”

January 18, 2009

We can learn simple truths from the way the mob or Mafia view things.

That is probably why Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman proposed a $60 million mob museum be included in the Obama stimulus plan.

School economics is one thing.  Street economics is sometimes the same and sometimes different.

The New President and the Congress are now talking about the biggest “rescue” or “stimulus” or “bailout” of the economy in the history of the world.  The deal is financed by “government spending” which is really borrowed money which is debt.

Or we just print more money which means inflation and the money is worthless.

A bank employee counts US dollar bank notes. The euro fell sharply ...

When America borrows, who pays?  First, I guess, and correct me if I’m wrong, China lends the money to the U.S.

China already “owns” as of October, 652.9 billion dollars in US Treasury bonds.

Now President-elect Barack Obama has proposed a stimulus bill expected to total at least 775 billion dollars that he has acknowledged would drive the US deficit significantly higher — and require financing from overseas.

Actually, as  David Gregory said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, the total “bailout” is going to be $2 Trillion from late 2008 until the end of 2009.

And China has already signaled that is may slow the rate of funding U.S. debt, stimulus, rescue and other shenanigans by any name.

Why?  China wants to solve its own economic problems first and China is starting to doubt that American can repay.

Why?  To repay the debt, the average U.S. worker, at some time in the future, will have to earn a lot more and pay a lot more in taxes.  The tax debt per family will exceed $20,000.

But what will Americans DO to earn more?  Make cars at GM?  Hardly. About 70% of our American economy is consumer spending.  So we tax store clerks more?

So, to put this in the most basic terms: the U.S. is borrowing huge amounts of dough from the mafia.  There is some doubt that it can be paid back.  If it doesn’t get paid back the pay-back price will increase.  Finally, if it doesn’t get paid back, “they own you” or “they break your legs.”

So China will own the U.S.

Or break our legs.  Or balls.

Someday, maybe, America will have to make a concession.  Give up some oil?  A chunk of land?  Taiwan?  Guam? Something we really think is important….

Read the rest:
Obama, Congress, Stimulus Mix Overlooks: China’s Slowing US Bond Appetite
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 U.S. “Bailout” Results Uncertain; But China Says Its Stimulus is Working Already
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Can The U.S. Pay Back This Huge Debt?
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 Europeans Deplore Huge Debts, Spending to Solve Current Economic Crisis
.
 Obama Offered Republicans ‘Input’ On Stimulus: But “Oh My God” Is Response To Pelosi Bill
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Obama’s Stimulus: Routine Repairs; Lacks “Power to stir men’s souls”

China’s “Grand Strategy”: U.S. Out Of Asia?

 Will China Play By Global Rules? Maybe Not….

Don’t forget the “toxic bank assets.”

Addressing these assets was the original purpose of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the formal name of the $700 billion bailout plan the Bush administration unveiled as the credit crunch spun out of control. It was later abandoned in favor of taking equity stakes in banks, which was seen as a more direct and rapid way to help.

But as the economy worsens and banks continue to rack up multi-billion dollar losses, the incoming Obama administration will face tough choices in deciding what to do with the $350 billion remaining in the bailout plan. There are many who want a piece of the pie, and there may not be enough money to go around.

From CNN:
http://money.cnn.com/2009/01/16/news/econo
my/Tarp_take2/index.htm?postversion=2009011716

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One critic of the stimulus is Rep. Jerry Lewis from California.
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“We have serious concerns about its size, scope, and astronomical cost,” said Representative Jerry Lewis, the top Republican on the Appropriations Committee. “This legislation appears to blanket government programs in spending with little thought toward real economic results, job creation, or respect for the taxpayer.”

The spending plan would add to the $1.2 trillion deficit the government was already projected to run this year.

See:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/bloomberg/2009
0115/pl_bloomberg/atvv00bkoyg

Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone, the Godfather.

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From the Associated Press

Barack Obama and his congressional allies are gambling that the largest public spending program since World War II and a new round of tax cuts will pry the economy from the recession’s iron grip and avert another Depression.

But what if they’re wrong?

Some conservative economists say the additional stimulus might only prolong the grief at best, triggering runaway inflation down the road and resulting in an even more bloated bureaucracy.

“I think the economy will recover regardless of what Washington does. But the long-term effect here will be to reduce the standard of living of the next generation because they will be saddled with all this debt,” said Chris Edwards of the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute.

Even without the new spending proposed by Mr. Obama, the U.S. has a $1.2 trillion budget deficit this year, he noted. “If that isn’t already enough of a Keynesian stimulus, what is?”

Early 20th-century British economist John Maynard Keynes argued that government should intervene to avoid depressions by increasing its spending and controlling interest rates. President Franklin D. Roosevelt based many of his New Deal spending initiatives on Keynesian theory.

The skeptics offer this as Exhibit A: The trillions hurled at the problem last year by Congress, the Bush administration and the Federal Reserve have yet to yield many tangible results.

In short order last week, Congress cleared the way for a new $350 billion installment of bailout cash for the financial industry while House Democrats rolled out details of a $825 billion two-year stimulus package.

Allen Sinai, the president of Decision Economics, a financial consulting firm, said even with Mr. Obama’s aggressive spending program, the economy seems unlikely to show a true recovery this year in terms of sustainable gains by consumers and businesses.

“There are forces going on that are 1930s-like,” he said. “There is incredible asset deflation, a huge loss in wealth by households. In the ’30s, even when funds became available from the financial system to borrow, the pessimism by consumers and businesses was so great that no one wanted to spend.” He wouldn’t rule out a repeat of that mind-set.

Some economists who are not fans of Keynesian economics or stimulus packages argue that FDR’s New Deal, highly touted today as a model for job creation, did little to spur a U.S. recovery.

“It was finally World War II that finally ended the Great Depression,” said Bruce Bartlett, a White House economist in the Reagan administration and a top Treasury official in the first Bush administration. He is the author of a study that says nearly all postwar stimulus packages passed by Congress came too late to be of much help, and just increased the deficit and fueled inflation

Mr. Obama shrugs off the skepticism and casts his stimulus package as the right formula for creating long-lasting, well-paying jobs, despite its big cost.

Bill Cosby: We Need To Educate; Do the Math

January 11, 2009

Bill Cosby appeared on “Meet the Press” on NBC this morning. He made a simple yet forceful statement about the importance of education:

“I, I think we need to do some work with numbers.  For instance, if in a city the–to educate a kid in public school it would cost $8,000 per child, let’s use that figure; to incarcerate, keep that person, is $41,000.”

“All right.  So if, if we know that the lack of education leads to a person’s chances of committing crimes because they are not skilled at anything in particular, perhaps even illiterate or functionally illiterate, then why not try to educate all of our children, try to educate all of our children?  So eight from 41,000 leaves you 33,000 left.  I think we need to do the math on that and put more children in a position who are not doing well…”

…to help them do well, because these children are not–you–some of them may be different, they learn differently.  So instead of just moving little Alvin along, let’s educate Alvin to move along so he can catch up with Bill.”

Author and comedian Bill Cosby speaks during a live taping of ...
Author and comedian Bill Cosby speaks during a live taping of “Meet the Press” at the NBC studios in Washington January 11, 2009. The panel discussion was focused on the incoming President-elect Barack Obama and his administration. REUTERS/Brendan Smialowski/Meet The Press/Handout

Cosby said on “Meet the Press” what we have been saying here: it’s time to think about education, especially during discussions of a stimulus…

Related:
Meet the Press
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28605356/page/4/

Economic Stimulus? Math, Science, Schools Must Create High Tech Jobs, Not More Shovel Jobs

Cosby on NBC:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032608

NBC Banning Conservatives?

January 6, 2009

NBC TV, widely criticized for its left-leaning and Pro-Obama agenda during the election campaign, has apparently continued its biased ways.

The Drudge Report is saying the the leading conservative writer Ann Coulter has been “banned from NBC.”

Coulter has a new book that is widely critical of the liberal media including NBC….

Related:
The Woman Unafraid to Rip Into Other Women (Like Caroline Kennedy, Sarah Palin….)

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter watches play at the U.S. ... 
Conservative commentator Ann Coulter watches play at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York September 4, 2006.(Jeff Zelevansky/Reuters)

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From The Drudge Report
http://www.drudgereport.com/
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The nation’s top selling conservative author has been banned from appearing on NBC, insiders tell the DRUDGE REPORT.
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“We are just not going to have her on any more, it’s over,” a top network source explains.
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But a second top suit strongly denies there is any “Coulter ban”.
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“Look for a re-invite, as soon as Wednesday,” said the news executive, who asked not to be named.

NBC’s TODAY show abruptly cut Ann Coulter from its planned Tuesday broadcast, claiming the schedule was overbooked.
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Executives at NBC TODAY replaced Coulter with showbiz reporter Perez Hilton, who recently offered $1,000 to anyone who would throw a pie at Ann Coulter.
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Hilton is also launching a new book this week, RED CARPET SUICIDE.


Above: Perez Hilton….


Paris Hilton

Coulter was set to unveil her new book, GUILTY. One network insider claims it was the book’s theme — a brutal examination of liberal bias in the new era — that got executives to dis-invite the controversialist.
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“We are just not interested in anyone so highly critical of President-elect Obama, right now,” a TODAY insider reveals. “It’s such a downer. It’s just not the time, and it’s not what our audience wants, either.” Others inside the peacock network strongly deny the book’s theme is at issue.
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For the book, Coulter reportedly received the most-lucrative advance ever paid to a conservative author. The TODAY show eagerly invited the author months ago, for her first network interview on GUILTY. The exclusive was to air during the show’s 7 AM hour. The cut came Monday afternoon.
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Coulter was also to appear on the TODAY’s fourth hour. A host even teased the segment saying the ‘conservative pit bull and bestselling author’ would be a guest.
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NBC’s cable outlet, MSNBC, will also become a Coulter-free zone, insiders explain.
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Morning host Joe Scarborough is said to be concerned with the new ban. “He’s working to overrule it,” tips a source.

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By Paul J. Gough, Reuters

NBC News denied Monday that conservative author Ann Coulter has been banned from the network after “Today” dropped her from Tuesday’s program because of breaking-news events.

The Coulter incident garnered huge headlines on the Drudge Report, which reported that network sources said NBC was not going to allow the frequent guest to appear any more.

That’s not true, NBC News said Monday. Coulter’s segment was dropped from the schedule because of news that the show was expecting to cover in the Gaza Strip with the Israeli military action there and in Washington with the Obama transition. “Today” had booked former British prime minister Tony Blair. Coulter was to promote her new book, “Guilty: Liberal ‘Victims’ and Their Assault on America.”

“We’ve had Ann Coulter on ‘Today’ many times, but because of the news in Washington and the Middle East, we decided to cancel her appearance tomorrow,” NBC News said in a statement Monday. “Understanding the media as well as she does, we are sure she knows this happens from time to time. We look forward to welcoming her back in the future.”

Instead, Coulter will appear on CBS’ “The Early Show” to promote her book, according to an announcement on Coulter’s Web site. It wasn’t confirmed immediately by CBS.

“I guess this ends the ‘they just want to get ratings’ argument about liberal media bias,” Coulter wrote on her site of NBC. She was scheduled to appear January 9 on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity & Colmes.”

Coulter has a history with NBC, particularly “Today.” She went toe-to-toe with former co-host Katie Couric in 2002, whom she called “the affable Eva Braun” in her book “Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right.” Couric protested Coulter’s portrayal of the “Today” interview with Ronald Reagan biographer Edmund Morris that called the former president “an apparent airhead.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090106/tv_nm/us_coulter_1

Lasting Legacy 2008 Part II

December 24, 2008

Another of those that passed away this year reminded me to question all things and all people.

Tim Russert made me think and for that I am very grateful.

Russert, the long time host of “Meet the Press” on NBC each Sunday, died this last June 13.

He probably died from working too hard to make us all think and not taking enough care of himself.

We are all diminished by his loss.

Tim Russert

Alex Wong / Getty Images file

Russert caused me to rething, delve into and research hundreds of issues and topics.  But one interview with Vice President Dick Cheney stands out for me.

I was heavily involved with couter-terror activities in the tribal areas of Pakistan.  The Taliban and al-Qaeda, had, in my opinion, taken the upper hand and President Musharraf and his army had allowed terrorists to retain their valuable refuge.

On Sunday, September 10, 2006, Tim hosted Vice President Cheny who made an extremely long supporting speech on the importance of General Musharraf to the United States.

I heard about this while in Pakistan working near my friend Muhammad.

Muhammad is now dead, killed by the Taliban, and Musharraf is no longer the kingpin in Pakistan.

But it was Tim Russert’s careful, probing inquiry with Cheney that opened my eyes to the growing troubles between the U.S. and Pakistan.

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Part of Vice President Cheney’s Remarks on “Meet the Press” with Tim Russert on Sunday, September 10, 2006:

“President Musharraf has been a great ally. There was, prior to 9/11, a close relationship between the Pakistan intelligence services and the Taliban. Pakistan was one of only three nations that recognized, diplomatically recognized the government of Afghanistan at that particular time. But the fact is Musharraf has put his neck on the line in order to be effective in going after the extremist elements including al-Qaeda and including the Taliban in Pakistan. There have been three attempts on his life, two of those by al-Qaeda over the course of the last three years. This is a man who has demonstrated great courage under very difficult political circumstances and has been a great ally for the United States”.

“So there’s no question in that area along the Afghan/Pakistan border is something of a no man’s land, it has been for centuries. It’s extraordinarily rough territory. People there who move back and forth across the border, they were smuggling goods before there was concern about, about terrorism. But we need to continue to work the problem. Musharraf just visited Karzai in, in Kabul this past week, they’re both going to be here during the course of the U.N. General Assembly meetings over the course of the next few weeks. We worked that area very hard, and the Paks have been great allies in that effort.”

“Pakistan, we’ve gone in and worked closely with Musharraf to take down al-Qaeda. Saudi Arabia, same thing. In all of those cases, it’s been a matter of getting the locals into the fight to prevail over al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda-related tyrants.”

“Think of Musharraf who puts his neck on the line every day he goes to work, when there’ve been attempts on his life because of his support for our position. And they look over here and they see the United States that’s made a commitment to the Iraqis, that’s gone in and taken down the old regime, worked to set up a democracy, worked to set up security forces, and all of a sudden we say it’s too tough, we’re going home. What’s Karzai going to think up in Kabul? Is he going to have any confidence at all that he can trust the United States, that in fact we’re there to get the job done? What about Musharraf? Or is Musharraf and those people you’re talking about who are on the fence in Afghanistan and elsewhere going to say, ‘My gosh, the United States hasn’t got the stomach for the fight. Bin Laden’s right, al-Qaeda’s right, the United States has lost its will and will not complete the mission,’ and it will damage our capabilities and all of those other war fronts, if you will, in the global war on terror.”

Obama And The Press: What’s The Future?

December 17, 2008

Robert Gibbs’ heady Washington rise was certified on a humid day in June when a procession of media and political fancies gathered in tribute to Tim Russert, the “Meet the Press” host who died of a heart attack several days earlier. The memorial service was a sweet, solemn and star-struck occasion that, as these events often do, yielded a neat snapshot of the Celebrity Washington food chain — who was up, who was down, who was winning the week.

By Mark Leibovich
The New York Times

In a smiling stampede of congratulations, mourners were wearing out the red-carpeted aisles of the Kennedy Center to get to Gibbs, a journeyman campaign flack who had latched onto Barack Obama’s Senate race four years earlier and has been his chief spokesman ever since. By now a senior adviser to Obama, Gibbs was here, along with Obama’s chief strategist and message guru, David Axelrod, to represent the soon-to-be Democratic nominee.

“The new It guys,” declared Anne Schroeder Mullins, a gossip columnist for Politico.com, noting the shameless run on Gibbs and Axelrod. “I bet they’re being inundated with people trying to book Barack on their shows.”

Between Obama and the Press
 

Above: Barack Obama with Robert Gibbs, left, and David Axelrod during a flight to Florida in May. The leakproof campaign team has given way to a transition process that is much harder to control.  Photo: Doug Mills; New York Times

The paradox of this scene was that the Obama campaign’s communications strategy was predicated in part on an aggressive indifference to this insider set. Staff members were encouraged to ignore new Web sites like The Page, written by Time’s Mark Halperin, and Politico, both of which had gained instant cachet among the Washington smarty-pants set. “If Politico and Halperin say we’re winning, we’re losing,” Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, would repeat mantralike around headquarters. He said his least favorite words in the English language were, “I saw someone on cable say this. . . .”

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/21/magazine/21Gibbs-t.html?_r=1&hp

Blagojevich: “No Resignation”

December 14, 2008

Scandal-plagued Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich will not resign Monday, his spokesman said Sunday, but pressure to do so continued to grow on the governor to step aside before he is impeached.

Blagojevich was arrested last week on charges of conspiracy to swap political favors for cash, including an attempt to sell the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Barack Obama following his November presidential election victory.

“We have heard that there is a possibility that tomorrow he will make an announcement where he will step aside,” Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

But Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero Sunday denied the governor planned to resign on Monday: “I can confirm the no resignation.”

By Peter Bohan
Reuters

Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich talks with Northern Illinois ... 
Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich talks with Northern Illinois University President John Peters (not in the picture), in DeKalb, Illinois in this February 15, 2008 file photo.(Kamil Krzaczynski/Files/Reuters)

The controversy over Blagojevich has been a distraction for Obama and his team as the president-elect announced Cabinet nominations and tried to lay out plans for dealing with the recession and other crises after his January 20 inauguration.

The charges against Blagojevich come after years of investigation detailed by court-approved wiretaps.

But the governor has not been indicted and remains governor with full powers including being the only person who can name a replacement for Obama in the Senate. Through his lawyer, Blagojevich has denied doing anything wrong.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/us_blagojevich_madigan