The Corner

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From last night’s Special Report with Brit Hume:

On the Dems’ Economic Plans

NINA EASTON: Well, I think the most interesting thing about these speeches was the extent to which both candidates borrowed from the No. 2 candidate we saw there, John Edwards. In the case of Hillary Clinton there was almost a “Two Americas” speech theme running throughout her remarks today. You know, the haves and the have-nots, the trickle-down hasn’t occurred and how can we address that. She even talks about unions. And she used almost the same language that John Edwards used with me in an interview about unions saving the middle class.

Then Obama borrowed from Edwards on the healthcare plan. You know, the details are different, yes. But both their healthcare plans are a large government role that would be subsidized by business taxes and increasing taxes on individuals at the wealthy end. So, it’s very — to me it’s like they’re all joined at the hip on domestic policy, in particular, and so the race starts to become who do you like better, who you trust better, who do you believe?

On the Captives in Iran

HUME: [T]hree Iranian-Americans . . . are charged with espionage or at least espionage-related crimes by the Iranian government as of today. This one day or so after the U.S. has engaged Iran in direct talks, subject was Iraq, of course, for the first time in decades. So, what does all of this say to us about . . . what chances there are these people ever getting out of there and secondly . . . what good did the talks do?

BARNES: They did no good. . . . Mrs. Esfandiari . . . works for the Woodrow Wilson Center for Lee Hamilton. Lee Hamilton is probably the foremost American advocate of engaging the Iranians. Remember, he and Jim Baker wrote the Iraq Study Group before, advocating that. She has been one who’s tried to have scholarly conferences with Iranian scholars and so on. . . .

She had a visa to go in — had an Iranian passport. She’d been there dozens of times to visit her 93-year-old mother. And suddenly they arrest her. Look, it shows you, for one, what the Iranians are like and it shows you two, how much they care about having engagement with those Americans who want to talk to them.

KONDRACKE: Look, I think there are two things going on here. One is that we’ve been squeezing them on various fronts, economically and so on and so they’re squeezing back using people with dual nationality. Secondly, I think that the regime over there is scared to death of individual contacts with Americans. It’s a deeply unpopular regime. The United States is very popular, in fact, among ordinary Iranians and these people represent contacts with them. And the Iranians were afraid of a so- called velvet revolution, the way there was in Eastern Europe, that somehow might topple them. There’re paranoid to begin with, so they’re taking it out on these people. I don’t know what we’re going to do to get them back.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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