Sen. John Cornyn's office has apologized for his statement last week that America needs the F-22 fighter plane in order to deal with the national security threat from India -- which is an ally of the United States -- saying he misspoke.
"Senator Cornyn misspoke saying 'India' when he meant to say 'China,'" Cornyn's spokesman said in a statement to the Times of India. "As Founder and Co-chairman of the Senate India Caucus, no Senator has greater respect or admiration for India or values our relationship with them more. Sen. Cornyn regrets the mistake and apologizes for any misunderstanding this may have caused."
The YouTube in which Cornyn made the statement has been taken down from his account.
Palin To Media: Honor Our Troops -- Stop Making Things Up About Me
In her farewell address yesterday, former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) gave this memorable statement about the media -- essentially declaring that her critics don't respect our troops. "Democracy depends on you. That is why our troops are willing to die for you," said Palin. "So how about in honor of the American soldier, ya' quit makin' things up?"
Obama's Day Ahead
President Obama will attend the U.S./China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, at 9:30 a.m. ET. At 2 p.m. ET, he will meet with FIFA President Joseph Blatter. At 2:45 p.m. ET, he will welcome the WNBA Champions Detroit Shock to the White House. At 7 p.m. ET, the President and First Lady will host a reception for ambassadors.
Sarah Palin Resigning Governorship Today
Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) will officially resign today, at the governor's picnic in Fairbanks. The big question now: What's next for her in politics? "I cannot express enough there is no plan after July 26. There is absolutely no plan," she told the Associated Press. "The decision (to quit) was made in the vacuum of what was best for Alaska, and now I'm accepting all the options, but there is nothing planned."
Axelrod: Obama Saw Gates Discussion "Veering Off In The Wrong Direction"
Appearing on Face The Nation, White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod explained President Obama's decision Friday to clarify his comments on the Henry Louis Gates arrest. "I think he understood that the debate was veering off in the wrong direction and as he said, that his words may have contributed to that," said Axelrod, "so he felt a responsibility to step forward and kind of cool the situation down and acknowledge the fact that he had, as he said, calibrated his words poorly and had contributed to that. So that is what he did and I think it has had the desired effect."
Obama Takes On Health Care Detractors
In this weekend's YouTube address, President Obama said that the current health care proposals would help small businesses that are currently being crushed by the rising costs of health insurance. And he went beyond that, taking on his critics as being politically motivated:
"Some have even suggested that, regardless of its merits, health care reform should be stopped as a way to inflict political damage on my Administration.," said Obama, an apparent reference to Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC). "I'll leave it to them to explain that to the American people. What I'm concerned about is the damage that's being done right now to the health of our families, the success of our businesses, and the long-term fiscal stability of our government."
GOP Address: Dem Plan Will Force People Off Their Current Health Coverage
In this week's Republican YouTube, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) attacked the Democrats' health care proposals, using the recent Congressional Budget Office reports as a main weapon:
"According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the Democrats' proposal will drive health care costs higher than ever," said McMorris Rodgers. "The agency also warns that millions will be forced off their current coverage under the Democrats' plan, even though they continue making the discredited claim that if you like your plan, you can keep it."
Check out this new Web video from Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), in which he he says we need to keep the F-22 fighter plane in order to deal with emerging international threats -- including India, which is an ally of the United States:
"It's important to our national security because we're not just fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq," Cornyn says. "We're fighting -- we have graver threats and greater threats than that: From a rising India, with increased exercise of their military power; Russia; Iran, that's threatening to build a nuclear weapon; with North Korea, shooting intercontinental ballistic missiles, capable of hitting American soil."
The stuff about North Korea and Iran should be expected as a talking point about national security. But why is he including a country that is not in any way an enemy, with a military that does not pose a credible threat to the US in the first place?
TPMDC's update on the biggest initiatives on Capitol Hill.
Health Care: After a tumultuous day (and week) it seems as if the Energy and Commerce Committee will continue marking up health care legislation next week. Latest word is that chairman Henry Waxman says he expects to proceed Monday or Tuesday at the latest.
Appropriations: The House passed appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services. It will lift the ban on federal funding of needle exchange programs.
Defense Spending: By a vote of 87-7 the Senate passed the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act. Sens. Russel Feingold (D-WI) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) voted with five conservatives against passage.
It's often been observed that the essence of politics in the Bush-Cheney-Rove era was to attack your opponent over your own weaknesses, and to campaign on the opponent's own strengths -- for example, the 2004 Republican campaign attacked Vietnam War veteran John Kerry as a military coward, while campaigning on the bravery of an incumbent who got out of combat duty.
In that spirit, take a look at this new Web video from Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), attacking his potential opponent Charlie Melancon, a Blue Dog Democratic Congressman, for raising money in Massachusetts. It's entitled "Liberal LuvFest":
And speaking of love-fests and people doling out cash...David Vitter was identified in 2007 as having slept with prostitutes, and admitted to an unspecified "serious sin."
Here's the latest--though not to say final--word on the status of health care negotiations in the House. If you were wondering why the Energy and Commerce Committee would go live with a district-by-district analysis of the impact health care reform will have on its members, that's because it now looks like Waxman will not be fast-tracking the legislation by bypassing the panel altogether.
After several hours of chaos, it seems as if there's been something of a rapprochement between leaders and Blue Dogs and the mark-up process will continue next week. But as today's developments should make abundantly clear, with tensions this high anything can change.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee has just released a district by district analysis for its members of the impacts of Democratic health care reform legislation. Here's what it says about the constituents of Mike Ross, the Blue Dog on the panel who's taken the lead in attacking the legislation.
Under the legislation, small businesses with 25 employees or less and average wages of less than $40,000 qualify for tax credits of up to 50% of the costs of providing health insurance. There are up to 12,500 small businesses in the district that could qualify for these credits....
Each year, 6,700 seniors in the district hit the donut hole and are forced to pay their full drug costs, despite having Part D drug coverage. The legislation would provide them with immediate relief, cutting brand name drug costs in the donut hole by 50%, and ultimately eliminate the donut hole.
There are 144,000 uninsured individuals in the district, 22% of the district. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that nationwide, 97% of all Americans will have insurance coverage when the bill takes effect. If this benchmark is reached in the district, 124,000 people who currently do not have health insurance will receive coverage.
You can read the report on Ross' district here, and the rest of the reports here.
Let's take a moment to examine a now-notorious arrest that occurred at a private home, and made headlines around the country -- no, not Henry Louis Gates, but the fundraiser for Democratic House candidate Francine Busby (CA-50), which was raided by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department several weeks ago.
You may recall that attendees at this house party said a heckler shouted anti-gay slurs over a fence, and about an hour later a deputy paid a less than friendly visit to the event, saying that a noise complaint had been made about a Democratic rally. One thing led to another, and a bunch of middle-aged Dems got pepper-sprayed, and a full back-up of officers came -- including dogs and a helicopter.
I checked in with Busby today for the latest news, and she walked me through how the county district attorney's office had taken over the investigation. "They've been very diligent about contacting all of the guests who attended, not just those who were there later," Busby told me. "And the feeling I'm getting back from people is that they're handling it very professionally, and people have been very comfortable with the procedures."