TPMDC Morning Roundup

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DeMint: Obama ‘Has Downplayed Terrorism Since He Took Office’
Appearing on CBS’ Early Show, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) defended the hold he placed on President Obama’s nominee to head up the Transportation Security Administration, and said that the Obama administration hasn’t taken terrorism seriously: “The president has downplayed terrorism since he took office. He doesn’t use the word anymore,” said DeMint. “He waited eight months to nominate someone as head of [the Transportation Security Administration] and then they wanted to rush it through without any debate or roll call vote. So the focus on terror as a threat is real important and I’m glad to see that the president has stated the goal of finding out what went wrong so we can fix it.”

U.S. Prepares Targeted Sanctions Against Iran
The Washington Post reports that the Obama administration is preparing new sanctions against the Iranian government, with the goal of carefully targeting discrete sections of the government. “We have never been attracted to the idea of trying to get the whole world to cordon off their economy,” said an anonymous senior U.S. official. “We have to be deft at this, because it matters how the Iranian people interpret their isolation — whether they fault the regime or are fooled into thinking we are to blame.”Republicans See Political Opportunity In Obama’s Response To Flight 253
The Washington Post reports on the Republicans finding a political opportunity in the failed Flight 253 bombing, to attack President Obama on terrorism issues. “There’s a certain fragility to his numbers on the perception of how he’s handling national security issues,” said Republican pollster Neil Newhouse. “They certainly can move and move quickly based on a specific incident such as this.”

Afghan Probe Says NATO Fighting Killed Schoolchildren
Asadullah Wafa, a senior adviser to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, told the Associated Press that 10 civilians, including schoolchildren, were killed in an attack involving foreign troops – disputing NATO’s contention that the dead were insurgents. “I have talked to the principal of the school in the village and he gave us details about the killed children,” said Wafa. “The schoolchildren cannot be al-Qaida. I confirm they are innocent people killed by mistake. I talked to Karzai about the findings.”

U.S. Pledges $16 Billion To Train, Equip Afghan Army
Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Zaher Azimy said the United States has promised money to equip and train and equip his country’s army — though he still needs to raise more from other NATO allies. “For the expansion process of the army, the United States has pledged $16 billion,” said Azimy, who also added: “This is not enough by any means and we are hopeful to receive more assistance in London conference.”

Radanovich’s Retirement Shrinks The Ranks Of The Class Of 1994
Roll Call points out that the retirement of Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA) further shrinks the House Republican class of 1994. Radanovich is one of only 14 remaining House Republicans who were first elected in that landslide year for the party. AFter 2010, the number will at most 11, due to Radanovich stepping step, Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN) running for governor, and Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) running for Senate.

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