TPM News

In an interview Friday with The National Law Journal, White House Counsel Gregory B. Craig insisted that he's not resigning over his role in White House plans to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay -- which may have trouble meeting a deadline of closure within President Obama's first year in office.

I have no plans to leave whatsoever. The rumors that I'm about to leave are false. The reports that I'm about to leave are wrong. I have no plans to leave.


Doesn't get much stronger or clearer than that.

As we've reported, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has repeatedly denied rumors in recent weeks that Craig is on his way out. Now Craig's denying those rumors too.

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On Face the Nation this morning, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that he and his Republican colleagues in the Senate would support a request from President Obama for 40,000 additional U.S. troops for Afghanistan.

If that is the recommendation of Gen. Petraeus and Gen. McChrystal, who got it right in Iraq, I think Republicans, almost overwhelmingly, will support the President if that is his request.


"This is about protecting the United States of America," McConnell said a moment earlier. "We know that we can't have a haven over there for a reconstitution of al Qaeda."

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Liz Cheney: Obama Given Nobel Prize For Opposing American Dominance Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Liz Cheney attacked President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize. "Well, I think what the committee believes is they'd like to live in a world in which America is not dominant. And I think if you look at the language of the citation, you can see that they talk about, you know, President Obama ruling in a way that makes sense to the majority of the people of the world," said Cheney. "You know, Americans don't elect a president to do that. We elect a president to defend our national interests. And so I think that, you know, they may believe that President Obama also doesn't agree with American dominance, and they may have been trying to affirm that belief with the prize. I think, unfortunately, they may be right, and I think it's a concern."

McCain: Palin 'Energized Our Party' Appearing on State of the Union, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) defended his former running mate Sarah Palin, against the criticism of his former campaign manager Steve Schmidt. "There are fundamental facts ... that cannot be denied," McCain adds. "When we selected or asked Sarah Palin to be my running mate, it energized our party. We were ahead in the polls, until the stock market crashed. And she still is a formidable force in the Republican Party, and I have great affection for her."

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White House Communications Director Anita Dunn slammed Fox News in an interview on CNN with Howie Kurtz this morning, saying that Fox News "is more a wing of the Republican Party" than an objective news organization.

"The reality of it is that Fox News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party," Dunn said.

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In what amounts to something of a surprise move, the largest newspaper in New Jersey -- the Star-Ledger -- has endorsed independent Chris Daggett in the New Jersey gubernatorial race. The editorial endorsing Daggett explains:

The newspaper's decision is less a rejection of Gov. Jon Corzine and Republican Chris Christie than a repudiation of the parties they represent, both of which have forfeited any claim to the trust and confidence of the people of New Jersey. They share responsibility for the state's current plight.

Only by breaking the hold of the Democratic and Republican mandarins on the governor's office and putting a rein on their power will the state have any hope for the kind of change needed to halt its downward economic, political and ethical spiral.

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said on ABC's This Week today that the Afghanistan "mission is in serious jeopardy."

Part of the problem, she said, is the corrupt government of President Hamid Karzai. "How do you strengthen Karzai's spine?" Feinstein asked, adding, "If you can."

Referencing a brazen Taliban attack on Pakistani army headquarters, the California Senator said that a Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan "will have a dramatic impact on Pakistan one day."

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Gen. Jack Keane (Ret.) said on ABC's This Week this morning that if he were Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal -- the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan who's asked for 40,000 additional troops for the war there -- and President Obama did not agree to his request, he'd resign.

If you're a general on the ground, and you believe the recommendation you've made is the winning recommendation in terms of strategy, that'll accomplish the goals that you've been assigned, and then you're told that you cannot execute that and ask the troops to go out and do something else that you don't believe will accomplish those goals -- that gets very difficult in terms of a moral dilemma, asking the troops to do something that you believe is going to fail.


George Stephanopoulos asked Keane if he'd resign under those circumstances.

"Probably, yes," Keane said. "Under those circumstances, yes."

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said on CNN's State of the Union this morning that he thinks his former running mate Sarah Palin is still "a formidable force" in his party.

"She still is a formidable force in the Republican Party and I have great affection for her," McCain said.

While McCain acknowledged tensions in his campaign -- "Did we always agree on everything in the past, will we in the future? No." -- he said that picking Palin as his vice presidential nominee "energized our party," and, responding to a question from John King, implied that she's a contender for president in 2012.

"We have some great people out there and Sarah is one of them," McCain said.

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Among Florida voters who know both men, Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL) leads Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL) in a head-to-head matchup for the state's open Senate seat, according to a new poll commissioned my Meek's campaign and set for public release this weekend. Crist's once-vaunted levels of public support have softened considerably, making him appear more vulnerable than most observers had predicted heading into the 2010 race. Crist's personal and job approval ratings are now below those of President Obama's in Florida, and a majority of voters claim Crist is putting his "personal ambitions ahead of the people" by running for Senate during his first term as governor.

The poll, conducted Sept. 23-28, will be the centerpiece of a national press blitz by Meek in the coming week. TPMDC got an exclusive first look at the surprising results.

"These numbers are eye-opening," Meek said in an interview yesterday. "People will start looking at this race in a different way."

Late Update: Neither the Crist campaign or the NRSC have responded to requests for comment on this story. When they do, we'll post.

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President Obama said Saturday night in a speech to thousands of gay rights supporters at a Human Rights Campaign event in Washington D.C. that he will end the military ban on gays.

"I will end 'don't ask, don't tell,'" the President said. "That's my commitment to you."

We should not be punishing patriotic Americans who have stepped forward to serve this country. We should be celebrating their willingness to show such courage and selflessness on behalf of their fellow citizens, especially when we're fighting two wars.


The President did not, however, give a timetable for when such a change to the military's ban on gays might be overturned.

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