On the Defense Department report on Iranian military power:
Well, it looks like we’re back to an estimate of 2015, which is roughly what the Bush administration had said, that Iran would go intercontinental by 2012 to 2015.
Now, what’s remarkable is that eleven months ago the Obama administration issued a National Intelligence Estimate in which, all of a sudden, it revised the assessment and said: Oh, the old one in the Bush administration was too alarmist. This is not going to happen until the second half of the decade, 2015 to 2020.
And it was that rationale the administration then used, the president then used, when he unilaterally and abruptly canceled the agreement that we had with the Poles and the Czechs to build a missile-defense system that would precisely be designed to shoot down an intercontinental rocket from Iran headed over to the United States.
So that rationale now collapses. It looks as if the Iranians are on a faster track. And the rocket test you showed, the one in February where Iran put up a rocket and a satellite into space that had a mouse on it. You remember, at the time I pointed out that Iran is not exactly a leader in rodent research. It was showing its reach in being able to hit any country on earth. . . .
Why the administration would cancel a system in Europe that would help us, why it’s reducing the number of ground-based launchers in Alaska that would shoot down a Korean rocket, and why it canceled the airborne laser – which is the single most prominent technology for shooting a rocket on its way up, which is much better than shooting it on the way down where it can deploy chaff and a lot of multiple warheads — is incomprehensible to me.
On the financial-regulation bill:
I think what is so ironic about this is it doesn’t really matter in the end what is in the bill. You can structure it anyway you want — even if you have a fund of $50 billion. That won’t make any difference. What we saw in October 2008 [was] that you needed hundreds of billions, trillions from the Fed to bail out the system. So that I think [the $50 billion] is only a symbol.
The point is everybody understands if the financial system is at risk, if a major institution is about to drag the rest down, the feds will intervene no matter what is in the bill or no matter what anybody says today. The text of the bill is irrelevant. It happened in ‘08 and no government will allow the collapse of the banking system.
So it’s because of our recent history that everybody understands a bailout will happen one way or the other. So I think all of this arguing over the details is really a matter of positioning. . . .
This is all about the elections, upcoming elections. Obama wants a narrative where he says: Yes, I haven’t attacked unemployment, but I gave you health care and I’m attacking Wall Street. It’s a winning hand. The Republicans ought to settle, get it over with, and put it behind them.
On the hiring of former White House Counsel Greg Craig by Goldman Sachs: