Tags: GOP | Leader | Confident

GOP Leader Confident About House Elections

By    |   Sunday, 13 April 2008 10:59 PM

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. GOP Leader Confident About House Elections
2. Airline Bomb Plotters on Trial
3. Lindsey Graham Called McCain's 'Lapdog'
4. Republican Convention Sparking Conflict in St. Paul
5. We Heard: Monica Crowley, James Carville

1. GOP Leader Confident About House Elections

House Minority Leader John Boehner says political observers are wrong in predicting Democratic gains in the House and believes Republicans will actually pick up seats in the November elections.

Boehner maintains that the GOP could even regain the House majority it lost in 2006.

"We will gain seats this year, period," the Ohio Republican said at gathering sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. "I am leading an effort for us to earn our way back, and I think it is possible."

Boehner said his optimism is based in large part on the ongoing presidential primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, which could leave Democrats scarred before the election.

"One side is going to be sorely disappointed when they have a nominee," Boehner said. "What isn't measured, and can't be measured, is the number of people who are disappointed, who just don't show up and vote . . .

"We are going to face either one of the most polarizing people in American politics or the most liberal senator in the United States Senate."

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report predicts that if elections were held today, Democrats would be poised to gain between five and 10 seats in the House, according to the Monitor.

"Most Republicans outside of the party's spin room view the prospect of regaining the majority as a longer-term proposition," the Cook Report observes.

But Boehner insists: "I understand the difficulty, but I am here to suggest to you that it is going to be a far better Republican year than most people realize."

Editor's Note:

2. Airline Bomb Plotters on Trial

American politicians squabbling over security issues should take heed of the ongoing trial of eight Muslims in Britain. They are charged with plotting to blow up seven aircraft bound for the United States and Canada.

That's the view of Daniel Henninger, deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page, who outlined the plot in a recent Journal article.

Eight Muslim men in their 20s, who lived in the London area, were arrested in August 2006 and charged with conspiring to board and blow up the aircraft. Most are Pakistanis.

The plan, according to prosecutors, was to board each of seven planes scheduled to take off from Terminal 3 at Heathrow Airport. Once on board, the plotters would use empty plastic bottles, a sugary drink powder, hydrogen peroxide and other materials to assemble bombs, which would be detonated with the flash on disposable cameras.

A memory stick found on one of the men at his arrest listed the targeted planes: three United Airlines flights, two American Airlines flights, and two Air Canada flights.

The first would take off at 2:15 p.m. and the last at 4:50 p.m., so that all seven would be aloft over the Atlantic Ocean when they blew up, prosecutors say. Each airplane had about 250 passengers.

One of the men made a video, intended to become public after his death, that promised "floods of martyr operations."

British authorities headed off the plot thanks to prolonged surveillance that included wiretapping. But the private intelligence-analysis agency Stratfor, commenting on the plot, said that "in spite of changes in security procedures since 9/11, aircraft remain vulnerable to attack."

Yet here in the U.S., Henninger observes: "our politics has spent much of the year unable to vote into law the wiretap bill, which is bogged down, incredibly, over giving retrospective legal immunity to telecom companies that helped the government monitor calls originating overseas.

"Even granting there are Fourth Amendment issues in play here, how is it that Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama cannot at least say that class-action lawsuits against these companies are simply wrong right now?"

It would be more than "nice to know," Henninger concludes, before one of the presidential candidates is elected in November, "what they will do — or more importantly, will never do — to stop what those eight jihadists sitting in the high-security Woolwich Crown Court in London planned for seven America-bound airliners over the Atlantic Ocean."

Editor's Note:

3. Lindsey Graham Called McCain's 'Lapdog'

They could be seen as an odd couple — the freshman senator from South Carolina and the Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting.

But Lindsey Graham and John McCain are the closest of colleagues, an "inseparable" pair, according to The Politico.

McCain, in fact, feels so close to Graham that he's comfortable referring to him as "little jerk."

"If John's not belittling you, you're in trouble. He calls me lots of other names, too, but they're not appropriate for the newspaper," Graham told Politico, which reported: "Some call Graham a lapdog. Others say he acts as though he's one of McCain's legislative aides. One Senate aide . . . said Graham 'fawns over McCain like there's no tomorrow.'"

Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida said the Graham-McCain connection is "almost a father-son relationship."

Graham had served four terms in the U.S. House before he was elected to succeed Strom Thurmond in South Carolina in 2002, and McCain immediately took him under his wing.

The two share a military background. McCain was a POW in Vietnam, while Graham is an Air Force veteran and served as a reservist on active duty in Iraq during short periods in 2007 — making him the only Iraq war veteran in the U.S. Senate.

But the pair had already become friends by the time Graham entered the Senate, thanks to Bill Clinton.

Graham was serving on the House Judiciary Committee when the panel began impeachment proceedings against President Clinton, and Graham was given the task of shipping the impeachment case to the Senate, where he met McCain.

Graham is a longtime supporter of McCain's presidential bid. He recently flew to Arizona to spend a weekend at McCain's home, Politico reported, then accompanied McCain and Joe Lieberman on an eight-day trip to Iraq, Jordan, Israel, England, and France.

Though he sometimes takes some good-natured ribbing over his close relationship with McCain, Graham says about his friend: "If I make his day better by being someone he can talk to, confide in, have a good laugh with, I am honored to play that role."

Editor's Note:

4. Republican Convention Sparking Conflict in St. Paul

The upcoming Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., is turning into a "barroom brawl" between Democrats and Republicans.

The Minnesota House, where Republicans hold a slight edge, has approved a proposal to allow bars within 10 miles of the convention site to remain open until 4 a.m. for an 11-day period spanning the September convention.

Bars are currently required to close at 1 a.m., although some are allowed to stay open an hour longer under a special license, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. But the St. Paul City Council, whose members are all Democrats, has voted to oppose the bar hours extension.

One council member, David Thune, said, "I got 8,000 people who live downtown who don't want a bunch of Republican lobbyists puking on the streets."

Another council member, Lee Helgen, said: "This is not Las Vegas. This is the city of St. Paul."

The council cited increased law enforcement expenses if the bar hours are extended.

Thune showed his partisan stripes when he stated on a local blog: "The particular lobbyists we'll have in town that week are the ones who have initiated this whole discussion. And of course these are the lobbyists who brought us an illegal and tragic war, a recession, polluted water, expensive drugs, and even the moralists who preach family values but play 'outside the box' themselves."

Editor's Note:

5. We Heard . . .

THAT conservative political commentator Monica Crowley has a new syndicated show on Talk Radio Network.

"The Monica Crowley Show" airs live on Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m. EST, and is now heard over more than 75 stations nationwide.

She is a panelist on "The McLaughlin Group" and a Fox News analyst. She began hosting a show on WABC Radio in New York in 2002.

Crowley holds a Ph.D. in International Affairs from Columbia University and worked as a foreign policy assistant to former President Richard Nixon from 1990 until his death in 1994.

"We couldn't be more pleased to have 'The Monica Crowley Show' as part of our all-star TRN weekend programming," said Mark Masters, CEO of Talk Radio Network Entertainment.

"We are honored to be working with Monica as she tackles the issues of the day with such a unique and upbeat attitude."

THAT Democratic political strategist James Carville is moving back to Louisiana — he and his Republican strategist wife Mary Matalin are buying a home in New Orleans.

"It is the best place on earth," Carville said of the hurricane-ravaged city.

Carville was born on a Georgia military base but grew up in Louisiana and graduated from Louisiana State University. Matalin is an Illinois native.

Editor's Note:

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. GOP Leader Confident About House Elections2. Airline Bomb Plotters on Trial3. Lindsey Graham Called McCain's 'Lapdog'4. Republican Convention Sparking Conflict in St. Paul5. We Heard: Monica Crowley, James Carville 1. GOP...
Sunday, 13 April 2008 10:59 PM
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