Is Salazar Really On The Hot Seat?
DADT Repeal Update
The National Security Strategy is revealed tomorrow
A very rare event: the nation's top spy, Michael Sulick, will make a public appearance at an event in Farmingdale, New York, at the American Air Power Museum, next Monday. The museum is hosting a tribute to the seven CIA employees killed in Afghanistan. Sulick is the director of the CIA's National Clandestine Service and one of the most powerful persons in government.
Reports that Interior Sec. Ken Salazar is falling out of favor with President Obama are "absurd," a senior administration official says. Officials note that Salazar's first statement after news of his nomination was a frank recognition of the major problems faced by his department. (Those problems, particularly at the Mineral Management Service, were worse that administration officials knew about from their transition memos, it is clear.). Salazar's nomination wasn't greeted by open arms by the environmental movement, which viewed him as too close to industry. But he has strong defenders at the White House, who are cognizant of the difficulties that cabinet secretaries face in dealing with their own entrenched bureaucracies. ... The White House is frustrated with Congress, just as Congress is frustrated with the White House. The time of administration officials, the White House believes, would be better spent trying to fix the problem than by testifying on Capitol Hill. As the White House admits it had trouble instantly mastering the complicated scope of the oil regulation bureaucracy, it wishes Congress would, frankly, stop pretending that there is some potential solution that hasn't been considered.
White House deputy chief of staff and problem solver Jim Messina is now on the ground in the Gulf, coordinating efforts.
President Obama's 12:45 pm ET news conference follows a private lunch with Clinton. Obama expects a question or two about Rep. Joe Sestak's allegations tomorrow; he will have an answer ready. Did Rep. Darrell Issa overreach by suggesting that the Sestak affair somehow amounts to Obama's Watergate? Probably. Is it in the White House's interest to clear the decks on this issue before Republicans take over Congress and thus get themselves subpoena power? Absolutely.
Though it would seem that the fact that oil prices haven't risen is keeping the White House politically inoculated (somewhat) -- most Americans don't have a direct connection to the tragedy -- it's actually a sign of the fragility of the world economy. Oil prices SHOULD be higher, but the turmoil in Greece and the potential for bank runs in Europe are helping to keep prices down.
Satirist/commentator Harry Shearer makes a point that Obama failed to inoculate himself from criticism by not "showing up while the evidence is fresh," he says, and by not following through more aggressively on reforming the Army Corps of Engineers post-Katrina.
Tomorrow, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and National Security Adviser James Jones will formally unveil the President's National Security Strategy. The document is 51 pages long, and is the product of months of collaboration between Obama and deputy national security adviser for strategic communication, Ben Rhodes. A few elements of the strategy were previewed by counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan today, including its emphasis on developing America's non-military capacities in order to project power without always relying on the military, and the inclusion of homeland security.
The House vote on a Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal amendment may slip until Friday, although House leaders are confident that it has the votes to pass. Here is a different way to look at one element of the issue: Students who are outed, or come out while in ROTC are often asked to reimburse the military for ALL of the scholarship money paid to their school as a part of their contract. Reps. David Price, Anthony Weiner and Tammy Baldwin wrote a letter today to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates: "It is our feeling that the practice of billing cadets expelled from the ROTC program solely because of their sexual orientation adds insult to injury." ... Late word from the Senate: Sen. Robert Byrd (D-VA) is on board with a DADT repeal provided that DoD gets to determine when the repeal takes effect.
The administration continues to insist that it will veto any defense appropriations bill that includes money for a second Joint Strike Fighter engine. The Army today launched a 120 day study of its acquisition policies.
Not helpful: former CT Senate candidate Rob Simmons says that he does not believe Linda McMahon will win the race even after Democrat Dick Blumenthal's Vietnam record. Simmons later apologized, calling his comments "harsh.". ... Former President Clinton campaigns for Blanche Lincoln on Friday.
Transparency watch: a state representative from Michigan, Justin Amash, is posting explanation of every single vote he takes on his Facebook page. Amash is running for Congress in MI 3 as a Republican.
The POLITICO's Ben Smith tries to figure out whether political support from the founder of the Minuteman movement comes with a price tag attached. Sure seems like it.
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