David Kurtz

David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.

Articles by David

Karl Rove is still wondering what happened to his votes, according to this account from incoming freshman Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN):

On Monday, he attended a new-members reception at the White House, where he met President Bush and political adviser Karl Rove, who was convinced Walz would lose. "He said, 'we had the numbers on you, we thought we had enough, but where did you find the voters?'" Walz said.

(h/t A Bluestem Prairie)

Big news out of Georgia, where both Democratic congressmen in tight races have now prevailed (pending any recount challenges).

That also makes it official: The GOP did not pick up a single governorship or House or Senate seat in the midterms.

Dems unanimously nominate Nancy Pelosi for Speaker, according to Roll Call.

Update: Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) was unanimously elected Democratic Caucus chair, Roll Call reports.

Late update: Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) also a unanimous choice, for Majority Whip, according to Roll Call.

Now comes the contested race between Murtha and Hoyer. Stay tuned.

Let's lighten the mood this morning. We should know soon whether Jack Murtha or Steny Hoyer is the next majority leader, but let's not forget how far we've come just to get to this point. Check out this reminder.

Here's really the key part of The Guardian story:

"You've got to remember, whatever the Democrats say, it's Bush still calling the shots. He believes it's a matter of political will. That's what [Henry] Kissinger told him. And he's going to stick with it," a former senior administration official said. "He [Bush] is in a state of denial about Iraq. Nobody else is any more. But he is. But he knows he's got less than a year, maybe six months, to make it work. If it fails, I expect the withdrawal process to begin next fall."

The "last push" strategy is also intended to give Mr Bush and the Republicans "political time and space" to recover from their election drubbing and prepare for the 2008 presidential campaign, the official said. "The Iraq Study Group buys time for the president to have one last go. If the Democrats are smart, they'll play along, and I think they will. But forget about bipartisanship. It's all about who's going to be in best shape to win the White House.

The official added: "Bush has said 'no' to withdrawal, so what else do you have? The Baker report will be a set of ideas, more realistic than in the past, that can be used as political tools. What they're going to say is: lower the goals, forget about the democracy crap, put more resources in, do it."

The President is still in denial, with Kissinger whispering in his ear. Are we really going through this again, three decades later?

Here are the four points of the President's "victory strategy," according to The Guardian:

· Increase US troop levels by up to 20,000 to secure Baghdad and allow redeployments elsewhere in Iraq

· Focus on regional cooperation with international conference and/or direct diplomatic involvement of countries such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia

· Revive reconciliation process between Sunni, Shia and others

· Increased resources from Congress to fund training and equipment of Iraqi security forces

You might call it a four-word strategy: More of the same.

The Guardian:

President George Bush has told senior advisers that the US and its allies must make "a last big push" to win the war in Iraq and that instead of beginning a troop withdrawal next year, he may increase US forces by up to 20,000 soldiers, according to sources familiar with the administration's internal deliberations.

Mr Bush's refusal to give ground, coming in the teeth of growing calls in the US and Britain for a radical rethink or a swift exit, is having a decisive impact on the policy review being conducted by the Iraq Study Group chaired by Bush family loyalist James Baker, the sources said.

Although the panel's work is not complete, its recommendations are expected to be built around a four-point "victory strategy" developed by Pentagon officials advising the group. The strategy, along with other related proposals, is being circulated in draft form and has been discussed in separate closed sessions with Mr Baker and the vice-president Dick Cheney, an Iraq war hawk.

A last big push. Just what the electorate ordered.

Rep. John Murtha was on Hardball tonight and said his comment to Blue Dog Democrats that ethics reform is "total crap" was misconstrued in press reports. More here.