In it, but not of it. TPM DC
Vice President Biden presided over this morning's Senate vote on passage of the health care bill. He willÂ join President Obama for his remarks on the Senate's vote. Afterwards, Biden will return to Wilmington, Delaware, to celebrate Christmas with his family.
Gates Proposes Overhaul Of Foreign Aid
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is proposing an overhaul of how the United States handles aid to unstable countries, the Washington Post reports: "The proposal would concentrate existing and new money in three long-term funds totaling as much as $2 billion. They would be dedicated to training security forces, preventing conflicts and stabilizing violence-torn societies around the world. The funds would exist separately from the war budgets, and allow for quicker and better-coordinated response to looming or actual conflicts, officials said."
Kerry Floats Plan To Visit Iran
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) is considering visiting Iran, the Wall Street Journal reports, which would make him the first high-level U.S. emissary to make a public visit to the country since the 1979 Islamic revolution: "It's unclear whether Iran would welcome the visit, and it would be controversial within both countries. The Iranian government has rebuffed other recent White House efforts to establish a direct dialogue."
Jimmy Carter Apologizes To The Jews
Former President Jimmy Carter is offering a public apology to Jews, for any occasions in which his criticisms of Israel were offensive. "We must not permit criticisms for improvement to stigmatize Israel," Carter said in a letter to JTA, a wire service for Jewish newspapers. "As I would have noted at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but which is appropriate at any time of the year, I offer an Al Het for any words or deeds of mine that may have done so."
George Allen: 'Perhaps' I'll Pursue A Rematch With Jim Webb In 2012
Former Sen. George Allen (R-VA), who narrowly lost his seat in 2006 to Democrat Jim Webb after a gaffe in which he called a Webb staffer "macaca" -- widely interpreted to be an obscure racial slur -- is not ruling out a rematch with Webb in 2012. "Many people have encouraged me to run," Allen told the Washington Post. "Susan and I have heard that from many people. And the answer is: perhaps."