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1. On Meet the Press and Face The Nation, Nat'l Sec. Adviser Gen. Jim Jones refused label the situation in Afghanistan as a "crisis." But he said that the U.S. did not have "an articulated strategy" in the region until March, so it's a little to expect to see too much progress. Patience, he counsels. We'll know "within a year" whether the current strategy is working. Jones would not rule out sending more U.S. troops in the near term.
There's going to be a little bit more fighting. Unfortunately, we're taking more casualties, but if we're able to marry up the other two legs of this three-legged stool that I mentioned, put things that will change the economic forecast for the Afghan people on the ground, put Afghan troops, Afghan police in the villages languages and towns, I think that's the -- that's the future
2. Senate Armed Services Cmte. Chairman Carl Levin and Sen. Lindsey Graham seem to be on the same page, re: Afghanistan. Graham had this colorful soundbite: "My message to my Democratic colleagues is that we made mistakes in Iraq. Let's not Rumsfeld Afghanistan. Let's don't do this thing on the cheap. Let's have enough combat power and engagement across the board to make sure we're successful. And quite frankly, we all have got a lot of ground to make up."
3. On This Week, Newt Gingrich found a way to defend Sarah Palin's fear that a "death panel" would decide the fate of a baby like Trig. "Communal standards historically is a very dangerous concept," Gingrich told George Stephanopoulos Howard Dean seemed to say that a bill without a public plan wasn't worth signing. He tried to distance himself from the organization he founded, Democracy for America, which is running ads against Ben Nelson (though he did say he called Nelson yesterday.) Both Gingrich and Dean lamented the lack of cost containment in the health care bills, although for different reasons. Gingrich referenced his think tank several times
4. On "State of the Union" with John King, Sen. Dick Durbin said he was open to voting for a bill that did not include the public plan, and Amb. Susan Rice said U.S. policymakers would review policy toward Iran in September.
5. CFR President Richard Haass called Bill Clinton's North Korea trip "irrelevant." More: "Until the Chinese use their leverage in North Korea, we are going to be living with the North Korean threat."
6. On Fox News Sunday, Gen. Jones said that K.J. Ill was 100% in control of North Korea.
7. Extra: Sunday background reading: Walter Pincus on the costs of Afghanistan, Maureen Dowd on driving Sarah Palin crazy, Matthew Mosk on Barack Obama's small victories, and Elizabeth Rubin on how Americans caused Hamid Karzai's problems.
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