'Draft Kudlow' Movement Picking Up Steam

Sunday, 31 Jan 2010 08:32 PM

By Special From Newsmax's Most Informed Sources

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. ‘Draft Kudlow’ Movement Picking Up Steam
2. Pentagon Tipped Pelosi on FOIA Request
3. Secret Report: Iran Could Have Bomb ‘This Year’
4. Democrats Face Retirement Woes in the House
5. Napolitano a No-Show at Homeland Security Hearing
6. We Heard: Siemens, Fundraising, Congress Poll

1. ‘Draft Kudlow’ Movement Picking Up Steam

A rising voice is calling for CNBC talk host and supply-side economist Larry Kudlow to challenge liberal New York Sen. Chuck Schumer in this year’s election.

And Kudlow said he is going to give a possible run “careful consideration.”

Newsmax first disclosed that Kudlow could have political aspirations back in March 2009, reporting that he was mulling a bid for Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd’s Senate seat from Connecticut. Kudlow announced several weeks later that he wasn’t running.

But on Jan. 20, Newsmax reported that “the New York political scene is buzzing with talk of a movement to draft Larry Kudlow” to run as a Republican challenger to Schumer.

Several media outlets cited and/or linked to the Newsmax story in the days that followed, including Politico and The Village Voice in New York.

Then on Sunday, Jan. 24, the Buffalo News reported that Michael Caputo, who served as a speechwriter for Rep. Jack Kemp, is leading an online movement to draft Kudlow for the race, and has set up a Web site at www.draftkudlow.com.

“No one in New York State deserves to stay home more than Chuck Schumer, and I really believe Larry Kudlow is the one person who can send him home,” he told the newspaper.

And Caputo told Newsmax: “It’s time for Chuck Schumer to be sent packing.”

Kudlow has served as chief economist for several Wall Street firms, and was an economics adviser to President Ronald Reagan. He now runs his own economics research firm, hosts CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report” and “The Call” programs, and hosts “The Larry Kudlow Show” on WABC Radio on Saturdays.

Caputo and his group aim to collect 100,000 signatures online to help convince Kudlow to enter the Senate race.

Nearly 1,000 people signed up on the first day the Web site was up, Newsmax has learned, and Kudlow’s office has been flooded with calls and e-mails, almost all of them urging him to run.

A “Draft Larry Kudlow” site is up and running on Facebook. A typical entry reads, “Finally, someone with conservative credentials and name recognition . . . Mr. Kudlow, please consider running.”

New York State Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long said he signed up on the Facebook site.

“I would be very pre-disposed to support Larry if he runs for Schumer’s seat,” Long told the Albany Times Union.

“He’s a pro-growth conservative. He understands how you can create jobs. He would fight for policies that would create job growth. If he was ever to go to the United States Senate, he would become the leading voice for a pro-growth economy that would cut spending, cut taxes, and create jobs.”

At one point, the prospect of unseating Schumer in blue state New York seemed a long shot. First elected in 1998, he serves as the vice chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus and is considered the third most powerful Democrat in the Senate. He won re-election in 2004 with more than 70 percent of the vote, and is said to have amassed a campaign war chest of more than $30 million for this year’s race.

But the stunning Jan. 19 election win by Republican Scott Brown in blue state Massachusetts has changed that thinking.

Before that election, “the idea of running Larry Kudlow for the Senate was a wish,” Caputo told Newsmax. “And thanks to Scott Brown, we now know that wishes can come true.”

Caputo told Politico’s Ben Smith: “With Scott Brown winning in Massachusetts, it’s clear that not even Sen. Chuck Schumer is safe.”

Asked for his reaction to the move to enlist him against Schumer, Kudlow told Newsmax early in the week only that he is “honored by the talk and the consideration.”

But on Thursday, he told New York radio-host Curtis Sliwa: “I’m going to give all this careful attention. And I do believe that retiring Sen. Schumer would be a noble cause, and at the present time that’s about all I can say.”

As Brown’s victory shows, anything can happen.

Editor's Note:



2. Pentagon Tipped Pelosi on FOIA Request

The Washington, D.C.-based newspaper Roll Call asked the Pentagon five months ago for documents related to travel on military aircraft by members of Congress.

The Defense Department hasn’t yet responded to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. But Roll Call discloses that a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has contacted the newspaper to ask about the “FOIA request on the Speaker” — apparently indicating that the Pentagon notified Pelosi that the travel records being sought involve her office.

FOIA experts say there is “probably nothing illegal” about the military tipping off members of Congress that “a reporter is snooping around, as long as it is clear that a [member] has no role in deciding what information the military is required to release,” Roll Call reported on Tuesday.

And Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill wrote: “The Speaker strongly supports the Freedom of Information Act. It is not unusual for agencies to provide such information, nor is it particularly newsworthy to be notified that an agency is following the law by responding to a request under FOIA.”

But Hammill did acknowledge that the Pentagon generally does not alert the speaker when a FOIA request is submitted for records involving her.

And Meredith Fuchs, general counsel at the National Security Archive — which focuses on government transparency — said it appears inappropriate that the Defense Department would provide information to a member about a FOIA request before providing information to the person who made the request.

Roll Call noted that its FOIA request was not limited to Pelosi, and the newspaper does not know if the Pentagon contacted other members about the request.

Editor's Note:



3. Secret Report: Iran Could Have Bomb ‘This Year’

A secret intelligence dossier based largely on Iranian sources reveals that the Islamic Republic could have a nuclear weapon as early as this year.

According to the German magazine Der Spiegel, information about Iran’s nuclear weapons development program was contained on a laptop computer obtained by Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, which was passed to American officials and then the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.

Other information came from Ali Reza Asgari, Iran’s former deputy defense minister who defected to the U.S. in 2007 and was given a new identity, and from Iranian nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri, who is thought to have defected during a pilgrimage to Mecca in June 2009.

The information has been compiled in an intelligence dossier currently being reviewed in Washington, Vienna, Berlin, and Tel Aviv, and obtained in part by Der Spiegel.

The Iranian government has repeatedly insisted that the only agency involved in uranium enrichment is the National Energy Council, and that its work is dedicated solely to the peaceful use of nuclear technology.

But the intelligence dossier discloses that “there is a secret military branch of Iran’s nuclear research program that answers to the Defense Ministry and has clandestine structures,” Der Spiegel reported.

Officials who have read the report conclude that Iran is “serious” about developing a bomb, and its development program is “well advanced,” according to the magazine, which also reported, “Experts believe that Iran’s scientists could produce a primitive, truck-sized version of the bomb this year,” and could reduce it in size to fit into a warhead in perhaps just two years.

Iranians have conducted tests of a detonating mechanism for a nuclear bomb, and the results were encouraging enough that the Iranian government has termed the technology “feasible.”

The Der Spiegel report was published on Monday, Jan. 25, two days before Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei predicted the destruction of Israel in comments posted on his Web site.

He said: "Definitely, the day will come when nations of the region will witness the destruction of the Zionist regime.”

Editor's Note:



4. Democrats Face Retirement Woes in the House

Republican Scott Brown’s victory in the Massachusetts special election bodes so poorly for Democrats in November that party insiders fear a growing number of House incumbents will retire rather than face difficult and possibly losing battles for re-election.

Rep. Marion Berry (Ark.) became the latest Democrat in the House to announce his retirement, saying on Jan. 25 that he would not seek an eighth term.

He joined Reps. Vic Snyder (Ark.), Bart Gordon (Tenn.), Brian Baird (Wash.), John Tanner (Tenn.), and Dennis Moore (Kan.) as Democrats who have said they won’t run for re-election in November, according to the CQ Politics Web site.

Departures are “not out of control yet,” according to Rep. Dennis Cardoza of California, a leader of the Blue Dog Coalition.

But other party stalwarts “are worried about a snowball effect,” Roll Call reported.

One party strategist told the newspaper, “Retirements drive retirements.”

Washington insiders identify several House Democrats as possible candidates for retirement, according to Roll Call. They include Leonard Boswell (Iowa), Rick Boucher (Va.), Lincoln Davis (Tenn.), Bob Etheridge (N.C.), Ike Skelton (Mo.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Paul Kanjorski (Pa.), and John Spratt (S.C.).

“All sit in districts that would be difficult for Democrats to defend if they become vacant — and if they run again, some of the incumbents may have to sweat re-election for the first time in a long time,” Roll Call observed.

Still, a Republican takeover of the House appears to be an uphill battle. Democrats would have to lose 40 seats for the GOP to take control.

And Democratic pollster David Beattie noted that a number of Republicans in the House have also decided to retire, and voters appear angry at both parties.

“It’s not a good year to be a Democrat,” he said. “But people don’t like the Republicans, either.”

Editor's Note:



5. Napolitano a No-Show at Homeland Security Hearing

One federal official was conspicuous by her absence at a recent House Homeland Security Committee hearing — the secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano.

The Jan. 27 hearing was called to examine the attempted Christmas Day bombing of Northwest Flight 253, but Napolitano sent Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Jane Holl Lute to testify in her place.

Democrats on the committee openly expressed their displeasure with Napolitano as the hearing proceeded, CNSNews reported.

Rep. Chris Carney of Pennsylvania said during his question period: “I am very dismayed that the secretary herself wasn’t here. I mean, it's probably fair to ask, ‘Where the hell is Secretary Napolitano?’”

Rep. Jane Harman of California declared: “This is the committee with primary jurisdiction over the Department of Homeland Security. She is the Secretary of Homeland Security. She is in Washington, D.C. She was invited to testify at this very important hearing, and she should have been here.”

Two days after the Christmas Day bombing attempt, Napolitano had told CNN that “the system worked,” referring to security measures. According to CNSNews, Republicans on the committee believe Napolitano did not appear at the hearing because she did not want to field questions about that comment.

Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi said the committee had first been told that Napolitano could not attend the hearing because she would be out of the country, then discovered that she was in fact in Washington but would not attend anyway.

Editor's Note:



6. We Heard . . .

THAT German industrial giant Siemens has announced it will quit doing business with Iran.

“The board has decided not to conclude new contracts with commercial partners in Iran,” company spokesman Alexander Becker told Agence France-Presse.

Siemens sold about $700 million worth of goods to Iranian companies each year, according to Reuters.

In December, German customs officers reportedly found turbo compressors bound for Iran from a Siemens branch in Sweden. Investigators said they could have been used in Iran’s missile program.

THAT the National Republican Senatorial Committee raised more funds than its Democratic counterpart for the third month in a row in December.

The NRSC brought in $4.1 million, while the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $3.4 million, CQ Politics reports.

The DSCC outraised the NRSC for the year, however, bringing in about $43.6 million in 2009 to the Republican Committee’s $41.2 million.

THAT 45 percent of likely voters now agree that a group of people chosen at random from a telephone book would do a better job of dealing with the nation’s problems than the current Congress, a Rasmussen Reports poll reveals.

Only 36 percent disagree, and 19 percent are not sure.

Back in October 2008, just before the last congressional elections, 33 percent said a random group would be better than Congress.

Rasmussen also found that 60 percent of voters think members of Congress are paid too much, while just 3 percent say they are paid too little.

Most members of the House and Senate are paid $174,000 a year. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is the highest paid member of Congress, earning $223,500.

Editor's Note:



Editor's Notes:

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