Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) appeared today on Morning Joe, and said the Republican Party is big enough for both the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Colin Powell -- and upon further questioning by Scarborough, Price disagreed with the idea that Limbaugh or Dick Cheney are better Republicans than Powell:
Scarborough: Congressman, do you disagree with Rush Limbaugh that Colin Powell should leave the Republican Party?
Price: Look, it's not up to Rush Limbaugh to decide who ought to be in the Republican Party.
Scarborough: Congressman, do you believe that Rush Limbaugh or Dick Cheney are better, quote -- I'm just using terms that we hear every day on TV and radio -- that they are somehow better Republicans than Colin Powell?
Price: No. Goodness.
Scarborough: God bless you, Congressman. God bless you.
During his Meet The Press appearance yesterday, RNC Chairman Michael Steele appeared to say he could potentially support a Truth Commission to look into Bush-era torture -- and he made the rather interesting claim that a lot of Republicans have called for this:
MR. GREGORY: Should there be a wider--should there be a truth commission? Should there be an investigation?
MR. STEELE: I think, I think you've heard a lot of Republicans call for that. And if this is, if this is a door that the Democrats and, and their leadership, since they have the House and the Senate and the presidency and they want to expose all of this...
GOV. KAINE: Mm-hmm.
MR. STEELE: ...then let's put it all on the table and let's take a closer look at it.
Was this a genuine statement of policy on Steele's part -- or a gaffe as he stumbled his way through a subject he might not know that much about? For one thing, we can't think of any elected Republican who has called for a Truth Commission.
On Friday, McClatchy provided a big new addition -- which hasn't got the attention it deserves -- to the growing pile of evidence suggesting the Bush administration used torture to build a political case for the Iraq war.
The news service dug up comments made in 2004 by Dick Cheney to the-now defunct Rocky Mountain News. Said the then-veep:
The (al Qaida-Iraq) links go back. We know for example from interrogating detainees in Guantanamo that al Qaida sent individuals to Baghdad to be trained in C.W. and B.W. technology, chemical and biological weapons technology. These are all matters that are there for anybody who wants to look at it."
A new Rasmussen poll finds the public closely divided on Nancy Pelosi's claim that she was misled by the CIA on the use of waterboarding, with public opinion on this debate still pretty much up in the air.
The numbers: A 43% plurality of likely voters say it is very or somewhat likely that Pelosi was misled, compared to 41% who say it is not very likely or not at all likely. The margin of error is Â±3%.
The pollster's analysis points out that most people seem to be waiting for more information, with only 20% saying it's very likely she was misled and 22% saying it's not at all likely, and others respondents holding softer positions. But some other numbers suggest Pelosi starts out this fight at a disadvantage: "The CIA is viewed favorably by 63% and unfavorably by 24%. For Pelosi, the comparable numbers are 35% favorable and 55% unfavorable."
Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) has written an op-ed for the Austin American-Statesman, strongly denying that his stand in favor of states' rights meant he was in any way advocating secession:
I can't say I was surprised that critics recast my defense of federalism and fiscal discipline into advocacy for secession from the Union. I have never advocated for secession and never will.
Like the president, members of Congress and every other state governor, I have sworn oaths to our nation and Constitution. My sincere pledge to uphold and defend the Constitution has fueled my concern and my statements about the recent unprecedented expansion of our federal government.
It's worth looking back on what Perry said during the Tea Party rallies back in April that got people so worked up. "We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it," Perry said. "But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that."
Obama's Day Ahead: Meeting With Netanyahu
President Obama will meet one-on-one with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, at 10:30 ET in the Oval Office. He will hold an expanded meeting with Netanyahu at 11:30 a.m. ET, also in the Oval Office, and the two of them will attend a working lunch at 12:25 p.m. ET.
Bibi To Press Obama On Iran
Going into today's meeting, Netanyahu will press President Obama on the issue of confronting Iran's nuclear ambitions. "There is a sense of urgency on our side," said Israeli National Security Adviser Uzi Arad. There could also be some tension on the two-state solution, which is resisted by many on the Israeli right.
In an appearance on ABC's This Week today, Liz Cheney employed a classic non-denial denial when asked about a report her father's office pressured interrogators to use torture to find evidence of Iraq-Qaeda links.
George Stephanopolous asked Liz Cheney about a Daily Beastpiece reporting that the vice president's office in 2003 suggested interrogators waterboard an Iraqi detainee who was suspected of having knowledge of a link between Iraq and al Qaeda.
Asked specifically by Stephanopolous if she would deny "that the vice president's office did ask specifically to have information about Iraq-al Qaeda connections presented to this detainee," Cheney offered this muddled response:
I think that it's important for us to have all the facts out. And and, the first and most important fact is that the vice president has been absolutely clear that he supported this program, this was an important program, it saved American lives. Now, the way this policy worked internally was once the policy was determined and decided, the CIA, you know, made the judgments about how each individual detainee would be treated. And the Vice President would not substitute his own judgment for the professional judgment of the CIA.
Obama Delivering Notre Dame Commencement Address Today
President Obama is scheduled to deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary degree at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, at 2 p.m. ET. Pro-life protesters have already marched at the campus against Obama's pro-choice position. At 6:10 p.m. ET, he will headline a Democratic fundraiser in Indianapolis. He is scheduled to arrive back at the White House at 9 p.m. ET.
Steele: Notre Dame Honorary Degree For Obama 'Inappropriate'
Appearing today on Meet The Press, RNC chairman Michael Steele criticized the decision of Notre Dame to award President Obama an honorary degree. "Those institutions don't hand those degrees out that readily. So it is a very strong sticking point, and I think a lot of Catholics and a lot of pro-life Americans are very concerned about that, and I think it is inappropriate," said Steele. He added: "The president should speak, but the degree should not be conferred."
Obama Address: I'm Bringing People Together On Health Care And Energy
In this weekend's Presidential YouTube address, President Obama said he is bringing together different groups such as businesses and labor to deal with the issues of health care costs and clean energy:
"I have always believed that it is better to talk than not to talk; that it is far more productive to reach over a divide than to shake your fist across it," said Obama. "This has been an alien notion in Washington for far too long, but we are seeing that the ways of Washington are beginning to change."
GOP Address: Republicans Can Work With Obama On Health Care -- But No Public Option
In this weekend's RNC YouTube, Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) said Republicans can agree with President Obama on a lot of things regarding health care, and are prepared to work with him -- but he warned strongly against any pursuit of a public option:
"A government takeover of health care will put bureaucrats in charge of health care decisions that should be made by families and doctors," said Boustany. "It will limit treatment options and lead to rationed care. And to pay for government health care, your taxes will be raised."