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Updated: 1 hour 33 min ago

Beck: ‘Nobody cares’ about Gonzales resignation.

Tue, 2007-08-28 12:54

Yesterday on his CNN Headline News show, Glenn Beck mentioned the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, stating that he was “surprised” the “media jumped all over this story”:

Well, after weathering the storm of congressional calls for his resignation, Alberto Gonzales has finally done just that, he has resigned. But the thing is, I don’t think anybody cares. I don’t think how he — anybody cares how he was connected to the firing of those nine U.S. attorneys.

Watch it:

Despite Beck’s claim that no one cared about Gonzales’s role in the U.S. attorney scandal, the Attorney General’s approval rating was at just 28 percent in a recent poll.

(HT: My Two Sense)

Transcript: (more…)

Hannity Ignores Stories On Gonzales’ Resignation, Sen. Craig’s Arrest

Tue, 2007-08-28 12:09

The resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the arrest of Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) dominated yesterday’s news cycle. All three network evening news shows — ABC, CBS, and NBC — covered the stories. Both The New York Times and Washington Post put the Gonzales resignation on the front page, and covered the Craig story.

Yet both reports were largely ignored yesterday by Sean Hannity. On the top of his Fox News show last night, Hannity promised his audience a discussion on Gonzales’s resignation. He began the show by playing the clip of Gonzales’s press conference, adding, “The attorney general resigns. Will this quiet the administration’s critics? All of that, plus the controversy over the new Katie Couric book.”

Nevertheless, Hannity never actually talked about Gonzales during his entire hour-long show. (He did have time, however, for the Katie Couric book.) During one segment with Republican strategist Margaret Hoover, co-host Alan Colmes managed to get in a few questions about Gonzales. But during those two minutes of questioning, Hannity never once said the word “Gonzales,” and quipped in only to say that Gonzales was “no Janet Reno.”

The show also completely ignored the June arrest of Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID), which was revealed yesterday by Roll Call. Craig pleaded guilty on Aug. 8 to “misdemeanor disorderly conduct” for his “lewd” behavior in a men’s public restroom at a Minnesota airport.

The show’s silence contrasts with the eight segments (on 3/31, 4/3, 4/4, 4/5, 4/6, 4/7, 4/10, 4/19) it did in a one-month period in 2006 on the arrest of former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who punched a Capitol police officer when he “mistakenly pursued her for failing to pass through a metal detector.” In the March 31 segment, Hannity called her a “little self-important congresswoman.”

Fox News likes to pretend it’s “fair and balanced,” but as Hannity proved last night, it’s really opinion media with a partisan agenda.

(HT: News Hounds)

Gannon: I’m ‘the most honest’ White House reporter.

Tue, 2007-08-28 11:25

Jeff Gannon, the infamous former male escort who for two years gained a White House press pass using a pseudonym, is releasing a book next week, in which he chronicles what he sees as liberal bias in the White House press corps. “In my mind, I was the most honest reporter [in the White House press corps] because I was absolutely transparent with regards to my [conservative] perspective,” Gannon told the Washington Examiner. “My work has never been discredited.”

Brownback on Craig: It’s ‘not good,’ ‘very odd.’

Tue, 2007-08-28 10:49

Today, on MSNBC, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) was asked to respond to the news that his colleague, Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID), had pled guilty to a misdemeanor involving ‘lewd conduct’ in a public restroom. “It is not good,” said Brownback. “There is a guilty plea involved in this. But I think we ought to look and see what the facts actually are.” “This seems like a very odd thing that takes place. And so what is actually going on here?” Watch it:

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Transcript: (more…)

Conservatives Begin Calling For Craig To Resign Over ‘Lewd Conduct’ And Guilty Plea

Tue, 2007-08-28 09:50

Yesterday, Roll Call revealed that Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) was arrested in June for “lewd conduct” in a public restroom at a Minnesota airport. On Aug. 8, he pleaded guilty to “misdemeanor disorderly conduct.”

While Craig says the police misconstrued his actions and that he “should not have pled guilty,” pressure for him to resign is already beginning to mount in conservative circles.

On NBC’s Today Show this morning, former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer called Craig’s police report “creepy,” adding that “I don’t think Larry Craig can survive this.” Watch it:

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Though Craig resigned yesterday from his position as Senate co-chairman of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, his spokesman, Sidney Smith, told the Associated Press yesterday that “it’s too early to talk” about his Senate future.

Smith’s comments have gone unheeded by prominent conservative bloggers, however, who have started shouting from their digital rooftops that Craig should resign immediately:

“Craig’s behavior is so reckless and repulsive that an immediate exit is required…He has to go.” -">Hugh Hewitt

“I’m inclined to agree with Hugh Hewitt. The Senator did, after all, choose to plead guilty.” - Mark Steyn of National Review Online

“Hugh Hewitt calls for his resignation. At the least, he should confirm that he will not run again.” - Captain’s Quarters

“He’s a lying crapweasel. Should he resign? Well, yeah. If he cared about the dignity of his office, he would. But he obviously doesn’t, does he?” - Michelle Malkin

“He’s pled guilty. And we’re just finding out about it today. I can only say he must resign.” - Erick Erickson of Redstate

The GOP Senate leadership has refused to comment on Craig’s future thus far, only saying that they “just found out about this incident.”

“If they think this is going to be something that’s the same as (Rep.) Mark Foley — the sort of ‘drip, drip, drip, there’s more information that’s going to come out,’ Idaho-based political scientist Jasper LiCalzi told the AP. “They may try to push him out.”

UPDATE: First Read has more conservative blogs distancing themselves from Craig.

UPDATE II: Glenn Greenwald has much more conservative reaction.

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Baird ‘verbally flogged’ over pro-escalation stance.

Tue, 2007-08-28 09:29

For three hours during a townhall meeting last night, Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) “was verbally flogged by hundreds of his constituents for no longer supporting the quick withdrawal of troops from Iraq.” “There is only one way to end an illegal and immoral war, and that’s to end it,” said Zamme Joi. “You have screwed up, my friend. You have screwed up and you have to change course,” another constituent said. “We don’t care what your convictions are,” said Jan Lustig of Vancouver, “you are here to represent us.” See the video below:

VoteVets’ Jon Soltz also attended. “Speaking calmly and to raucous applause,” Soltz said Baird “was fooled ‘by a dog and pony show’ and is unfortunately ‘providing cover for President Bush.‘” (HT: FDL)

Despite Announcing His ‘Retirement,’ General Who Oversaw Walter Reed Scandal Still Serving In Army

Tue, 2007-08-28 08:30

On March 12, the Pentagon announced that Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, who oversaw neglect at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, was resigning, effective immediately. NBC News Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski reported that it was “very likely” Kiley “would be reduced in retirement, at least one rank” and “be forced to retire at that two-star level.”

In order to retire as a three-star general, Kiley would have had to do at least three years of active-duty service in that grade. The higher the grade, the greater the retirement pay and benefits a general receives.

Kiley was appointed Army Surgeon General on Sept. 30, 2004. Therefore, as Miklaszewski noted, he retired before serving out his three-year term at the three-star level.

But ThinkProgress has learned that Kiley is still serving at the Pentagon, despite announcing his “retirement” in March. An official in the Department of the Army Public Affairs told ThinkProgress:

He [Kiley] is no longer serving as the Army Surgeon General but is in a transition status pending his retirement. … Currently Maj. Gen Kiley does not have a specific retirement date. He is no longer performing any duties related to The Surgeon General and is pending retirement.

When asked why the Army didn’t immediately ask for Kiley’s retirement in March, we were told that such information was “protected under the Privacy Act which restrict disclosure of information pertaining to administrative actions or personal communication.”

The law states that if an officer does not serve at that grade for three years, “the Secretary of Defense may authorize the Secretary of a military department to reduce such period to a period not less than two years.” Therefore, the Army may still be holding open the door to the possibility that Kiley may serve through September and retire with the pay and benefits of a three-star general.

During his time overseeing Walter Reed and serving as Army Surgeon General, Kiley ignored the neglect at Walter Reed. As far back as 2003, Kiley was told “that soldiers who were wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan were languishing and lost on the grounds.” He also ignored Beverly Young, the wife of Rep. Don Young (R-AK), when she told him about a soldier at Walter Reed “lying in urine on his mattress pad.” Even after the Washington Post investigation, Kiley claimed that the problems at Building 18 “weren’t serious.”

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Invite: blogger event on FISA.

Tue, 2007-08-28 08:24

Tomorrow, beginning at 10:30 am, the Center for American Progress will host a two-part event examining the recent amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The first panel will feature prominent bloggers and activists who have led the campaign to rein in the administration’s quest for expansive powers. If you’re in the D.C. area and would like to attend, RSVP here. The panelists on the first panel are listed below:

Featured Panelists:
Spencer Ackerman, Reporter/Blogger,
Nita Chaudhary, Political Action
Caroline Fredrickson, Director, Washington Legislative Office of the American Civil Liberties Union
Julian Sanchez, Contributing Editor, Reason magazine

Moderated by:
Faiz Shakir, Research Director, Center for American Progress

Former H.W. Bush justice appointee ‘looking very good.’

Tue, 2007-08-28 08:08

NBC reports the latest speculation on Gonzales’ successor: “Per a source close to the White House, ex-Deputy Attorney General George J. Terwilliger III is ‘looking very good’ to replace Alberto Gonzales. Former Solicitor General Ted Olson and former appellate judge Laurence Silberman are ‘also in the running.’ And Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and former deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson ‘are unlikely.’” Terwilliger was a leader of President Bush’s legal team during the Florida election recount, and served in the DoJ during the George H.W. Bush administration.

Pilgrims flee Iraqi city amidst violence.

Tue, 2007-08-28 08:07

Police ordered a curfew and told “hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to leave the Iraqi city of Kerbala on Tuesday as a battle raged between Iraqi security forces and gunmen near two of Shi’ite Islam’s holiest shrines. A senior security source in Baghdad said 25 people had been killed, mostly policemen.”

Petraeus ‘Softened’ Intelligence Community’s Judgments About State Of Iraq Violence

Tue, 2007-08-28 07:17

The Washington Post reports that Gen. David Petraeus, after reviewing an early draft of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, succeeded in altering the document’s judgments about the violence in Iraq:

The NIE, requested by the White House Iraq coordinator, Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, in preparation for the testimony, met with resistance from U.S. military officials in Baghdad, according to a senior U.S. military intelligence officer there. Presented with a draft of the conclusions, Petraeus succeeded in having the security judgments softened to reflect improvements in recent months, the official said.

The first line of the key judgments of the NIE reported that there had been “measurable but uneven improvements in Iraq’s security situation,” but cautioned that violence will remain high over the next six to 12 months. The Washington Post’s report today suggests that the intelligence community’s initial judgment about the security situation was harsher.

Petraeus and other military officials have repeatedly suggested that sectarian killings in Iraq are down, touting the decline as proof of security progress in Iraq. Media reports, however, dispute the military claims, and the military has thus far refused to provide its statistics to resolve the matter:

U.S. officials say the number of civilian casualties in the Iraqi capital is down 50 percent. But U.S. officials declined to provide specific numbers, and statistics gathered by McClatchy Newspapers don’t support the claim. [McClatchy, 8/15/07]

[T]he death toll from sectarian attacks around the country is running nearly double the pace from a year ago. … Brig. Gen. Richard Sherlock, deputy director for operational planning for the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said violence in Iraq “has continued to decline and is at the lowest level since June 2006.” He offered no statistics to back his claim. [AP, 8/25/07]

Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) suggested recently that the White House would “tweak” the upcoming “Petraeus report.” But if Petraeus is so willing to alter intelligence findings, it appears the White House may not have much tweaking to do.

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Spitzer threatens to sue federal govt over SCHIP.

Tue, 2007-08-28 06:57

Today in the New York Daily News, Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) sharply criticizes the Bush administration’s cuts, which block the state’s plan to expand coverage “to children whose parents earn up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, from 250 percent currently.” From his op-ed:

There are 400,000 uninsured children in New York. To put this in perspective, if they were to gather in one place, they would form the second-largest city in the state - larger than Rochester, Albany and Binghamton combined.

To deny coverage to these children is not only morally wrong, it is profoundly bad public policy. […]

But then - last Friday - the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, at the behest of President Bush, slammed the door in the face of children and families across our nation.

Not only would CMS prevent states from increasing their income limits to bring more children into the program, CMS has actually proposed reducing the income limits many states already have, forcing children out of the program and into the ranks of the uninsured.

Yesterday, Spitzer also threatened to sue the federal government “on charges that new regulations on children’s health insurance violate an existing program that covers children from lower-income families.”

Gonzales’ grammatically incorrect farewell.

Tue, 2007-08-28 06:41

The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank looks at the fitting departure of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales:

From “good morning” to “God bless America,” he spoke for all of one minute and 41 seconds — during which he managed to consult his written statement 26 times and to avoid saying a single word about the roiling scandals that finally forced him to quit. He entered the Justice Department conference room with a grin and departed without taking any of the questions shouted at his back:

“Why are you leaving?”

“Why now?”

“Why did you deny the resignation?”

Neither were the questions answered by Gonzales’s resignation letter, which the White House released later — complete with a grammatical error in the second sentence.

ThinkFast: August 28, 2007

Tue, 2007-08-28 06:00

In what officials call “the largest ring of fraud and kickbacks uncovered in” Iraq yet, federal agents are investigating “the purchase and delivery of billions of dollars of weapons, supplies and other matériel to Iraqi and American forces.” One investigation involves a senior American officer who worked closely with Gen. David Petraeus in training and equipping Iraqi forces in 2004 and 2005.

Karl Rove was one of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s few defenders at the White House, notes the New York Times. “He was being protected, in large measure by Karl,” said a Republican close to the White House. When Rove left, it “further exposed that the only thing that was standing with him was the president of the United States.”

Michael Moore’s documentary SiCKO has helped start a national discussion on health care reform. A new poll finds that 43 percent of respondents familiar with the movie “said they were more likely to think [there] is a need for health care reform.” Another “45 percent said they discussed the U.S. health system with friends, co-workers, or family as a result of the movie.”

In an editorial, The Idaho Statesman writes that “Sen. Craig owes Idahoans an explanation.” “This is a painful time made worse by the fact that Craig so far has been less than forthcoming. … [V]oters now deserve the full story from their senior senator.” The paper has a longer profile of Craig here.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) suggested CIA leak investigator Patrick Fitzgerald and former Deputy Attorney General James Comey as possible replacements for Alberto Gonzales. Durbin acknowledged Fitzgerald would be a ”long shot” for the job. (more…)

Craig resigns from position on Romney campaign.

Mon, 2007-08-27 19:04

Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) “resigned tonight as Senate co-chairman for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, within hours after news broke of Craig’s guilty plea to disorderly conduct after an incident in a men’s bathroom.” Conservative blogger and radio host Hugh Hewitt called on Craig to resign from the Senate. “Craig’s behavior is so reckless and repulsive that an immediate exit is required,” Hewitt wrote.

UPDATE: The Romney campaign had earlier redacted a video clip of Craig praising Romney. See it here.

Conservative blogs ‘not sorry’ Gonzales resigned.

Mon, 2007-08-27 16:30

Raw Story does a review of the conservative blogosphere’s reaction to the Gonzales resignation and finds “there is precious little love lost for the departing AG.” RedState writes, “I am not sorry to see AGAG go.” Andy McCarthy at the National Review writes the “resignation was overdue,” and Captain’s Quarters adds that Gonzales’ attorney scandal “has been a royal embarrassment.”

Rep. Porter points out the ‘danger of blogs.’

Mon, 2007-08-27 15:40

Rep. Jon Porter (R-NV) on his distaste for blogs:

Asked if he supports a federal shield law for the press, he said he did. However, the problem is how to protect legitimate reporters when there are web logs, “blogs,” whose authors can defame and lie with impunity because they can be anonymous and don’t have to worry about the facts.

“I would like to strengthen the legitimate news sources. I’m very concerned about blogs and even some radio. They can hide behind a shield law but they are not legitimate news sources,” the congressman said.

During his first of eight stops in town he spoke to the Laughlin Rotary Club and pointed out the danger of blogs.

Porter said during the course of a day he reads an average of four newspapers.

Sen. Larry Craig arrested, pleads guilty.

Mon, 2007-08-27 14:39

Roll Call reports today that Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) was arrested in June at a Minnesota airport for “lewd conduct” in a men’s public restroom. On Aug. 8, he pleaded guilty to “misdemeanor disorderly conduct. He “paid more than $500 in fines and fees, and a 10-day jail sentence was stayed. He also was given one year of probation.” The arresting officer’s report explains:

My experience has shown that individuals engaging in lewd conduct use their bags to block the view from the front of their stall. From my seated position, I could observe the shoes and ankles of Craig seated to the left of me. […]

At 1216 hours, Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. Craig tapped his toes several times and moves his foot closer to my foot. I moved my foot up and down slowly. While this was occurring, the male in the stall to my right was still present. I could hear several unknown persons in the restroom that appeared to use the restroom for its intended use. The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot which was within my stall area.

UPDATE: Larry Craig called Bill Clinton “a bad boy, a naughty boy” in 1999.

Hume: Gonzales was ’simply a crony.’

Mon, 2007-08-27 14:29

Fox News’s Brit Hume today on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales:

Gonzales was a man almost without fans in Washington at the end, because he was never much appreciated or accepted by the conservative base of the Republican party and the conservative activists in Washington. And he certainly wasn’t popular among the Democrats. He was simply a crony. And I don’t mean that word to sound any worse than it is, but that was the case here.

Watch it:

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The last supper.

Mon, 2007-08-27 14:01

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales submitted his resignation to Presdient Bush on Friday, at which time the President invited him and his wife, Rebecca, to lunch at Crawford over the weekend to talk about the matter further. A picture from the Sunday lunch:

(Title HT: TPM)