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Tags: Mike Huckabee

No Rudy Run for Albany in 2010? (UPDATE: Not So Fast, New York Times!)



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Rudy Giuliani is not running for governor, the New York Times reports.

UPDATE: One more reason not to trust the New York Times; I am told by a reliable source close to Giuliani that this report about his decision comes as news to him. He is characterized by this reliable source as having not yet made his decision.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

PPP: 52 Percent Oppose Obama’s Health Care Plan, 40 Percent Support



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Public Policy Polling:

Overall 49 percent of voters express approval of Obama’s work with 46 percent disapproving. He has the support of 83 percent of Democrats, 47 percent of independents, and 10 percent of Republicans.

Other results from PPP:

Hurting Obama’s overall reviews is that for the first time in our polling we find a majority of Americans opposed to his health care plan. 40% say they support it with 52% opposed, including 58% of independents.

“This is the first time President Obama’s approval rating has dropped below 50% in our polling,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “It does seem that the health care issue is hurting him some with independents who voted for him last year.”

The poll also found that 26% of Americans think ACORN stole the election for Obama last year, including 52% of Republicans. Overall 11% view the organization favorably while 53% have a negative opinion of it.

I would note that if you really sat down and asked Republicans about their views, less than 52 percent would say that ACORN is responsible for the 6-percentage-point, 9 million-or-so-vote margin in Obama’s election. I suspect that answer is akin to, “they’re all a bunch of crooks, and I wouldn’t put anything past them.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Fort Hood, First Mass-Casualty Attack by a Jihadist on U.S. Soil Since 9/11



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During the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing this morning, the RAND Corporation’s Brian Jenkins offered a statement as to why the Fort Hood shooting, and the analysis of just what motivated Malik Hasan, weighs so heavily on Washington: “We’ve had eight attempted attacks [in U.S.], plus two successful ones in Arkansas and Fort Hood. Many more than previous years.”

You may be shaking your head upon hearing Fort Hood would be the second jihadist or terrorist attack of the year; Jenkins was including Abdulhakim Muhammad, who is accused of killing Pvt. William Long of and injuring Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula in a shooting outside the Army/Navy recruiting center in Little Rock, Arkansas.  He faces 17 felony charges, including capital murder.

The Little Rock recruitment center shooter’s philosophy is, in retrospect, a chilling match to the alleged views of Hasan: “A battlefield is anywhere we see you at.  And those people in the Army and those families of the people in the Army and the military and personnel all over the country, if you don’t want to die or get shot for this so called war on terrorism, war on Islam, then get out of the Army.  Get out of the Army and don’t walk, run.”

When people hear the word “terrorism,” they usually think of 9/11 or bombs going off like in London or Madrid. A shooting rampage is, fairly or not, considered garden-variety crime or mayhem by the homicidally maniacal. While the aim of the Columbine shooters was to inspire terror, few think of them as terrorists.

So perhaps we should shift to discussing jihadist terrorism, and recognize that it increasingly looks like Hasan was the biggest act of jihadist terrorism on American soil since 9/11, the first mass-casualty event within our borders scored by their side in this war in more than eight years.

I say biggest, but not first. Daniel Pipes coined the term “Sudden Jihad Syndrome,” whereby normal-appearing Muslims abruptly become violent, and describes other incidents that, due to thankfully low or no fatalities, barely registered in the public consciousness: At UNC-Chapel Hill, an Iranian immigrant drove a sport-utility vehicle into a crowded pedestrian zone; on July 4, 2002 somebody shot up the El Al counter at LAX in an event the FBI helpfully insisted was not terrorism. In January of 2002, some troubled teen crashed a small plane into a Tampa skyscraper, in another event we were reassured wasn’t terrorism, even though the teen said he sympathized with Osama bin Laden.

But these events were largely one-day or two-day stories; they generally didn’t inspire a widespread sense of “we’ve been hit again.”

Fort Hood may be different. Retired general John M. Keane, former vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army, casually remarked during the hearing that the “preliminary evidence” was that the motivation was jihadism, not mental illness.

And if the public concludes that Hasan was motivated by the same radical ideology as Mohammed Atta, it means the jihadist threat to Americans at home is still out there, and that our government is not achieving job one: protecting the American people. Health care, stimulus funds, cap-and-trade – none of that means a darn thing if you’re worried that some guy is going to shoot up your workplace, or a shopping mall, or God forbid, some school because he secretly thinks he’s at war with you.

If American had been enduring a “24” scenario of bombs going off in the streets on a regular basis in 2008, Barack Obama would not have become president. He did not campaign as a wartime president. Now that he is in office, we are told by his cabinet that we are in an era of “man-caused disasters” and “overseas contingency operations.”

President Obama may have wanted to turn the page on the old era of the war on terror. Too bad the jihadists didn’t agree.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

2007 Texas Report: Don’t Dismiss Jihad-Style Attackers as Having Mental-Health Issues



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Wow. An eerily prescient report, dated from Dec. 6, 2007, from the Texas Public Safety Department’s Bureau of Information Analysis:

“Oftentimes, these attackers are dismissed as suffering from mental health issues, but their own words and writings reveal an affiliation with Islamic supremacy or an affinity for Islamic extremism,” said the report, which was distributed to federal, state and local law enforcement in Texas. “As a result, law enforcement should not be too quick to judge their attacks as having no nexus to terrorism.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Jerry Brown 41, Meg Whitman 41



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I did not expect this result, or at least not this soon:

State Attorney General Jerry Brown is the only major Democrat still running for governor of California next year, and now he’s tied with Republican hopeful Meg Whitman at 41% each in the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the state.

Rasmussen found that in hypothetical match-ups, state insurance commissioner Steve Poizner trails Brown by 11 and Tom Campbell, an ex-congressman and former state finance director, trails by 9.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

‘The threat is now increasingly from within.’



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Mitchell Silber, director of intelligence analysis for the New York City police department, before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs a moment ago: “The threat is now increasingly from within,” regarding home-grown, self-radicalized terrorists.

He concludes:

The al-Qaeda threat to the homeland is no longer confined to al-Qaeda core
. . . most recently, the home-grown, self-radicalized operatives who have no operational relationship with al-Qaeda’s core, who utilize al-Qaeda’s ideology
for action.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Lamest Spin Ever?



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The White House spin on all those jobs going to non-existent congressional districts, as quoted by Politico: “In the end, the data debate is frustrating, but a side show: the American people care a lot more about our success in creating jobs than our precision in counting them.”

Hey, pal, right now the score on both fronts is pretty lousy. Or has the 10.2 percent unemployment rate, and 3 million jobs lost since the stimulus passed, completely escaped your attention?

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

The Answer is 43, 42, 41. Now See the Question.



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Percentage of independents who approve of Pres. Barack Obama, who made history, is “sort of God” according to one Newsweek editor, won the Nobel Peace Prize, and is continuing his efforts to heal the sick and prevent the oceans from rising: 43 percent, according to Quinnipiac.

Percentage of independents who approve of Vice Pres. Joe Biden, who the cover of Newsweek assures us is not a joke: 42 percent, according to Gallup.

Percentage of independents who approve of laughable joke of a former governor who must be depicted in running shorts on the cover of Newsweek, and declared a “problem” that must be “solved,” even though this technically makes her Maria in The Sound of Music and thus one of the good guys: 41 percent, according to Gallup.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

New Jersey Republicans Not Worried About Torricelli Maneuver Sequel



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For what it’s worth, New Jersey Republicans tell me they’re not too worried about the rumor that Democrats might try to force Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D., Bygone Era) to retire and have outgoing governor Jon Corzine fill his seat. No countermoves are on the drawing board, I’m told.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

The Endorsement Race in California’s GOP Primary



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With great trepidation, I tread again into the California GOP Senate primary, knowing that every post on the subject will inevitably trigger back-and-forth volleys . . .

The Chuck DeVore camp is determined to set its primary-race storyline as a classic “genuine conservative vs. mushy moderate” matchup, with their guy in the Pat Toomey/Marco Rubio role. When a batch of senators endorsed Fiorina, they chuckled at the support from a murderer’s row of some of conservatives’ least favorite senators: Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and others who have irked the conservative grassroots from time to time: Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, John McCain of Arizona, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

But Fiorina’s picking up support from some pretty darn conservative senators, too: Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Jon Kyl of Arizona, and now, Oklahoma’s other senator, James W. Inhofe.

DeVore has fewer endorsements, but perhaps ones that might carry more weight: Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Rep. Tom McClintock, and, they contend, almost 60 percent of California’s elected Republican leadership.

UPDATE: Team DeVore notes Fred Davis, who heads Fiorina’s online presence, is Senator Inhofe’s nephew.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Is the Floor for GOP House Gains Next Year at 20?



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One of my readers dined last night with a high-level Republican tracking the 2010 races closely. This high-level Republican, asked about the outlook for next year’s House races, said that he believes if nothing changes, the Republicans will gain 20 to 22 seats in the House; with money and candidates, 35 to 40 seats.

With the House currently consisting of 258 Democrats and 177 Republicans, the GOP would need to gain 41 seats to control the chamber. (Having said that, if the GOP gained 30-something seats, it would not be surprising to see whatever conservative or Blue Dog Democrats remain contemplate changing parties, as a few Democratic lawmakers did in 1994.)

(Note that earlier in the week, the head of the NRCC said the GOP had 65 top-tier challengers, with a few of those competing against each other, so the number of incumbent Democrats or open seats with “top-tier” GOP candidates is in the high 50s or 60.)

Interesting that this high-level Republican mentioned money, as news is breaking that the RNC just “raised $8.79 million in October, in what party officials say sets a new one-month record for the party in an off-cycle year.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

The Not-So-Easy Odds for KSM Getting the Death Penalty



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Today the personal opponent of the death penalty who serves as attorney general pledged that he will seek the death penalty for KSM.

Oh, by the way:

In the feds’ few past tries at the death penalty for foreign terrorists, they lost. And New York juries are seen as among the least likely to agree – unanimously, as the law requires – on execution . . . The last time a Manhattan federal jury faced such a choice was July 2001. It spared two men convicted in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa, which killed 224 people. Seven of 12 jurors decided that, if executed, one defendant “will be seen as a martyr and his death may be exploited by others to justify future terrorist acts.”

Well, good to see that effort helped ensure no further terrorist attacks in Manhattan in 2001.

UPDATE: If you felt strongly that KSM should not be executed, but didn’t want to take the heat for not seeking the death penalty, wouldn’t your best option be to try him in federal court in Manhattan?

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Wait, Who’s Done This Sort of Thing Before?



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Just to clarify, today before the Senate Judiciary Committee, a man who pushed for reduced sentences for 16 terrorists and prosecuted none dismissed the assessment of a man who has prosecuted at least 14 and pushed for a pardon of none as “polemics” and “fodder for the talk shows.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Expiration Date Achieved, Executive Order Edition



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Boy, even President Obama’s executive orders come with expiration dates. In January, Obama wrote, “The detention facilities at Guantánamo for individuals covered by this order shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than one year from the date of this order.”

Today he tells NBC, “Guantánamo, we had a specific deadline that was missed.”

Just think, last night I was telling Larry Kudlow that the American people might grow tired of eloquent but unfulfilled promises.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Missouri Voters to Obama: Show Me Something Better



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I still like Blunt’s chances:

When Public Policy Polling first looked at the open Senate seat in Missouri in January Robin Carnahan led Roy Blunt 45-44. Fast forward ten months and the race has hardly changed at all, with Carnahan now up 43-42.

Blunt has a 44-32 lead among independent voters.

PPP finds that 58 percent of Missouri voters have a negative opinion of Democrats in Congress.

Last year, President Obama came very close to winning Missouri; today, PPP finds his approval rating at 43 percent, his disapproval rating at 52 percent. They find 34 percent like his health-care plan, 55 percent oppose it.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

War: It’s Not Just for Nation-States Anymore!



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Matt Yglesias writes:

In political terms, the right likes the war idea because it involves taking terrorism more “seriously.” But in doing so, you partake of way too much of the terrorists’ narrative about themselves. It’s their conceit, after all, that blowing up a bomb in a train station and killing a few hundred random commuters is an act of war.

A letter to the editor in today’s Washington Post says:

The Sept. 11 atrocities were monstrous, unforgivable, evil, and warlike. But to insist they were literally “acts of war” is linguistically to confer statehood or national sovereignty on al-Qaeda. It’s right to respond to such acts, but the perpetrators are an enormous criminal conspiracy, not a nation, no more than drug cartels and organized crime are.

(The letter is not online, as a far as I can tell.)

Let’s put aside, for a moment, that folks who most likely applauded the “War on Poverty” are now arguing that we have to be careful not to misapply the term “war” when referring to the use of hijacked airliners, box-cutters, guns, explosives, and the like to kill many many people. It is undoubtedly tempting to decide that a QED manner of sorting out these issues is to conclude war is solely the tool of nation-states, and that anybody else is just a great big criminal gang. While Eric Holder said today that he knows this nation is at war, he apparently believes it is best to treat KSM and others as criminals, and their acts as crimes, not an act of war.

But if war can only be fought by nations, who did Great Britain fight in the Revolutionary War? Any war of seccession begins with one side whose sovereignty and statehood is in doubt or disputed.

Beyond that, some of these folks should take a look at the world outside their windows once in a while. Nation-on-nation war is thankfully rarer, but that doesn’t mean war has stopped. The line between terror group and government is awfully blurry some days. Hamas runs the West Bank. Somali pirates aren’t a government in most senses of the word, but they’re claiming the horn of Africa and have lots of weapons and now a revenue stream. The Taliban isn’t a government any more, but they control territory. Who runs the territory immediately south of our border, the Mexican government  or the cartels? (Who’s got more firepower?) Why would Iran send, say, its own commandos to do some dirty deed when they’ve got Hezbollah and Hamas as proxies? When Russia invaded Georgia, that country’s cyber-infrastructure was attacked – with some indication that Russian citizens, not directed by their government, were behind the hack attacks.

Clausewitz wrote that “war is a continuation of politics by other means.” Now war is war by other means. (And it’s not just the bad guys; we’ve got military contractors all over the world, a semi-quasi-extension of U.S. military force. They’re assigned tasks by the United States government and paid to achieve them, but they’re not part of the government.)

I realize I’m largely echoing Mark Steyn:

As it happens, Somali piracy is not a distraction, but a glimpse of the world the day after tomorrow. . . . Half a century back, Somaliland was a couple of sleepy colonies, British and Italian, poor but functioning. Then it became a state, and then a failed state, and now the husk of a nation is a convenient squat from which to make mischief. . . . It’s also a low-risk one. Once upon a time we killed and captured pirates. Today, it’s all more complicated. The attorney general, Eric Holder, has declined to say whether the kidnappers of the American captain will be “brought to justice” by the U.S. “I’m not sure exactly what would happen next,” declares the chief law-enforcement official of the world’s superpower. . . . Meanwhile, the Royal Navy, which over the centuries did more than anyone to rid the civilized world of the menace of piracy, now declines even to risk capturing their Somali successors, having been advised by Her Majesty’s Government that, under the European Human Rights Act, any pirate taken into custody would be entitled to claim refugee status in the United Kingdom and live on welfare for the rest of his life.

The idea that only a nation can fight a war is a lovely, quaint notion that stopped being relevant a while ago. For better or worse – eh, who are we kidding, it’s worse – the world of the near future is one where proxy groups, with their delightful veneer of plausible deniability, are the primary tool of conflict, asymmetrical warfare is standard operating procedure, and civilians are targeted more than military personnel (much easier to hit, and rarely shoot back).

Nation-states are increasingly paralyzed by bureaucratic inertia and pressures of public opinion, while small militias, transnational groups, and other non–nation-state actors are increasingly empowered to pursue their goals with ruthless manners and wild abandon.

We’re going to see a lot more individuals and groups pursuing their goals through bombs, bullets, and hijackings and expressing no interest in wearing uniforms. The rallying cry “Legally, it’s not an act of war, it’s just a crime” is not going to do much to console the wounded and the victims’ families.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Kyl: KSM Already Pled Guilty and Asked for Death Penalty. What’s a Better Venue Than That?



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Sen. Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.) unloads on the attorney general: “How could you be more likely to get a conviction in a civilian court than in a military court when Khalid Sheik Mohammad has already pled guilty and asked for the death penalty before a military commission?”

There is applause, and Chairman Leahy calls for order. Kyl concurs.

Eric Holder: The best place to try these cases is not subject to the whims of Khalid Sheik Mohammad.

Kyl reiterates, and asks, you would think this played into your decision, right?

Holder says he does not know if Khalid Sheik Mohammad still has that position, and posits that Kyl does not know if that is still his position. “He will not select the prosecution venue; I will.”

Holder: “It’s not a question of where I think we can get the easiest conviction, it’s a question of the protocol that exists.”

Kyl cites an article by NRO’s Andy McCarthy; Holder dismisses it as “polemics” and “fodder for the talk shows.”

UPDATE: Andy McCarthy offers his compelling and detailed reaction, here.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Holder: ‘I Have Thought About’ Detainees Not Being Convicted



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Sen. Charles Grassley (R., Iowa): “I don’t think you can say that failure to convict is not an option, when we have juries in this country.”

Attorney General Eric Holder: I have thought about that possibility. Congress has passed legislation that would not allow the release of these individuals in this country. If there is not a successful conclusion to this trial, that would not mean that this person would be released into this country . . . 

Grassley: My understanding is that if for some reason he’s not convicted, or a judge lets him off on a technicality, he’ll be an enemy combatant, so you’re right back where you started.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Will This Eagle Take Off?



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Good news, if you’re hoping former Philadelphia Eagles all-pro tackle Jon Runyan runs against Rep. John Adler in New Jersey’s 3rd congressional district: A potential primary rival, State Sen. Christopher J. Connors (R., Ocean), said he is “not likely” to run for Congress.

A local GOP official says he thinks Runyan will decide in the next three or four weeks.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Eric Holder: Critics Don’t Know What I Know



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Attorney General Eric Holder, before the Senate Judiciary Committee, right now: “The decision was based on information I know, that frankly, some of the people criticizing the decision don’t have access to.”

He adds, “There was not a poltical component to my decision.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

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