Tags: Panetta | Caroline | Kennedy

Panetta Picks Pleases Some GOPers, Caroline Kennedy Undermined

By    |   Sunday, 11 January 2009 06:42 PM

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Report: Cuomo Aide Undermined Caroline Kennedy for Senate
2. Some in D.C. Pleased With Panetta Pick
3. Opposition to Gupta Linked to Michael Moore
4. ‘Gaza Bombing’ Video Is Bogus
5. Inaugural Rental Market Has ‘Gone Bust’
6. Bush Makes Plans for Cushy Retirement
7. We Heard: John McCain, HBO, Jay Leno


1. Report: Cuomo Aide Undermined Caroline Kennedy for Senate

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo — who is thought to want Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat — reportedly worked behind the scenes in an effort to torpedo Caroline Kennedy’s chance of landing the post, according to a Cuomo aide.

New York Gov. David Paterson is not expected to designate a replacement for Clinton until she is confirmed as Barack Obama’s secretary of state.

But shortly before Kennedy began a tour of upstate New York cities on Dec. 17, Cuomo aide Joseph Percoco urged labor leaders and upstate officials to give Kennedy a cold reception, several sources told The New York Times.

“He said, ‘Don’t you think it should be someone who understands upstate? Don’t you think it should be someone with experience?’” disclosed one of the sources, who spoke anonymously.

Cuomo has said publicly that he is not promoting himself for the Senate seat and has spoken well of Kennedy, the cousin of his ex-wife Kerry Kennedy.

But in a conversation with a leading union official, Percoco indicated that Cuomo was interested in the seat, according to the Times.

“It wasn’t a specific Caroline Kennedy conversation,” the official said. “It was, ‘I can’t say he wants you to tell people he wants it, but you should, wink-wink, nudge-nudge, know that he kind of wants it.’”

Cuomo spokesman John Milgrim denied any effort to undermine Kennedy’s chances. But he acknowledged that Percoco had spoken with labor leaders and upstate officials in recent weeks, including the mayors of several large cities.

Cuomo’s father, former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, has also been mentioned as a possible replacement for Clinton.

Editor's Note:

2. Some in D.C. Pleased With Panetta Pick

Critics have voiced dismay and even anger over President-elect Barack Obama’s choice of Leon Panetta as the new CIA director — but not everyone in Washington is distressed with the decision.

“I actually think Panetta is a good choice,” a source in the U.S. intelligence community told Newsmax about the selection of President Clinton’s former chief of staff, who has no experience with the intelligence community.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the new chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was reportedly fuming that Obama picked Panetta without consulting with her. She issued a statement making it clear she preferred a career intelligence professional.

And veterans in the intelligence community are not going to be happy with Panetta’s selection either, the source disclosed.

“Intel careerists hate the idea. So does Senator Feinstein. This makes me think it could be a good appointment.

“The reason may be that Panetta may actually try to clean up the intel bureaucracy or at least hold it accountable.

“Panetta might be among the least objectionable Clintonites. It would be interesting to review his thoughts about the Lewinski affair. Did he back Obama or Hillary Clinton? If not Clinton, why not?”

The source added, “CIA careerists have been sticking it to the Bush administration for eight years. Maybe they will get what’s coming to them.

“One former CIA officer is so angry at this appointment, he told me his reaction in ‘unprintable.’”

Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., an outspoken critic of the CIA, expressed cautious optimism over Panetta’s selection.

The ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee had urged Obama to select a civilian for the post to signal a sharp break with the agency’s troubled past.

“Mr. Hoekstra has called for a new direction and change in the culture at the CIA for some time,” said spokesman Jamal Ware.

“Whether it’s Mr. Panetta or someone else, it is important that the agency move in a new direction.”

Editor's Note:

3. Opposition to Gupta Linked to Michael Moore

Barack Obama’s choice of CNN chief medical correspondent, Sanjay Gupta, to be the next surgeon general has run into opposition from Rep. John Conyers, who cites Gupta’s lack of “the requisite experience.”

But there are suggestions that Conyers’ opposition is also tied to a clash between Gupta and filmmaker Michael Moore.

Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, is friends with Michigan native Moore, and both are proponents of universal heathcare, The Hill newspaper reported.

Moore’s quarrel with Gupta came on CNN’s “Larry King Live,” after Gupta had delivered a CNN report criticizing Moore’s “Sicko,” a 2007 documentary on the U.S. heathcare system.

Regarding that widely viewed on-air disagreement, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman recently wrote, “You don’t have to like Moore or his film, but Gupta specifically claimed that Moore ‘fudged his facts,’ when the truth was that on every one of the allegedly fudged facts, Moore was actually right and CNN was wrong.”

At one point in Gupta and Moore’s heated discussion, Moore declared, “He said the facts are fudged and that’s a lie.”

Gupta, a neurosurgeon, joined CNN in 2001. He is a lead reporter on breaking medical news, provides regular health and medical updates for "American Morning," anchors the half-hour weekend medical affairs program "House Call with Dr. Sanjay Gupta," and reports for CNN documentaries.

Obama hasn’t yet officially appointed Gupta, although the CNN correspondent reportedly has been offered the surgeon general’s job and wants to accept it.

But Conyers contends that Gupta is against universal healthcare coverage, according to The Hill.

He has written a “Dear Colleague” letter denouncing Gupta and asking members of the Senate, who would vote on his appointment, to urge Obama not to nominate Gupta.

Conyers wrote, “It is not in the best interests of the nation to have someone like this who lacks the requisite experience needed to oversee the federal agency that provides crucial healthcare assistance to some of the poorest and most underserved communities in America.”

The surgeon general is the federal government’s leading spokesperson on matters of public health.

Editor's Note:

4. ‘Gaza Bombing’ Video Is Bogus

Several left-wing Web sites have displayed a graphic video purporting to show Palestinians killed or wounded by a recent Israeli airstrike in Gaza.

In fact, the video shows the aftermath of an accidental explosion of a truck full of rockets at a Hamas rally nearly 3.5 years ago.

One of the Web sites that posted the video on Jan. 5, The Raw Story, quoted a Palestinian source as saying the video was shot “immediately after a terrorist Israeli airstrike hit a busy market where kids with their mothers and fathers were searching for food to eat from one of the local markets early on Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009.”

The Web site Question Everything reported: “Saturday, before Israel launched a full-scale invasion of Gaza, a Palestinian with a camera witnessed a devastating bombing. His video shows the brutal, bloody results of an airstrike on what appears to be a civilian area . . . 

“In the footage, scores of bodies — men, women, and children — lay strewn about a Gaza market as abject chaos spirals around them.”

But a poster to the site reddit.com, which also displayed the video, disclosed: “This video is from September 23, 2005, and was taken in the Jabalya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip.

"A Hamas pickup truck carrying Qassam rockets detonated by mistake during a Hamas rally, leaving at least 15 killed and dozens more injured.

“The pickup truck in question is visible for a split-second at the start of the video. The section of the video showing the pickup exploding has been edited out.”

The BBC reported at the time: “At least 15 Palestinians have been killed and scores injured in a blast during a parade by the militant Hamas group in the Gaza Strip. A truck carrying gunmen and homemade weapons blew up during the rally in the Jabalya refugee camp.”

The Web site Little Green Footballs confirmed that the video is “a fraud — it actually shows the results of an accidental explosion of a truck full of Hamas rockets.”

The Raw Story issued a correction and removed the video.

But Noel Sheppard of NewsBusters observed, “I guess that’s all it takes to get anti-Israeli propaganda spread throughout the liberal blogosphere these days.”

Editor's Note:

5. Inaugural Rental Market Has ‘Gone Bust’

Immediately following Barack Obama’s victory on Election Day, word spread that visitors to Washington for inauguration week were shelling out top dollar for lodgings in the area, and home and apartment owners flooded the market with pricey rentals.

But supply has now far outpaced demand, and the inaugural housing market “has gone bust in record time,” according to The Washington Post.

“I’m blown away by how little demand there is,” Tania Odabashian, vice president at Corporate Apartment Specialists in Northern Virginia, told the paper.

“Initially we were flooded with calls from people looking for housing. For about four or five days, the phone would not stop ringing.”

Rentals in those early days were going for as much as $10,000 a week, but Odabashian said, “Now we have apartments as low as $150 a night that we can’t get rid of.”

Real estate brokers pointed to several reasons for the rental market collapse:

  • Early estimates of the number of people traveling to Washington for inauguration week, 4 million, were far too high, and scared off many potential visitors.
  • Other potential visitors may have opted to stay away due to the difficulty of getting tickets to official events.
  • Many property owners priced their units far too high.

“People are revising their listings,” Deana Bass, founder of the housing Web site obamadcbound.com, told The Post. “But they’re still asking much more than people are willing to pay.”

Editor's Note:

6. Bush Makes Plans for a Cushy Retirement

George W. Bush will devote much of his post-White House time to developing his presidential library — while enjoying plenty of perks for the rest of his life.

On Jan. 20, Bush and his wife Laura will move into their new $2 million, 8,500-square-foot home in Dallas, close to the site of his planned presidential library at Southern Methodist University.

“We’re working on a conceptual design for the building,” Mark Langdale, president of the George W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation, told McClatchy newspapers.

He said Bush will be involved in planning the structure, which is expected to cost $300 million and will include a library and policy institute.

Construction will be paid for with private funds, and Bush will likely take part in fundraising efforts.

But the foundation will not reveal the names of past or future donors, the Dallas Morning News reports.

"It's our decision not to disclose who the donors are," Langdale said, citing the preference of some donors to remain anonymous.

Once the library is completed in 2013, the National Archives and Records Administration will assume operation of the facility at taxpayers’ expense.

Bush will maintain an office close to the site, in space acquired by the General Services Administration, which will also pay for a staff to assist him for the remainder of his life.

Bush’s pension will be about $200,000 a year, with federal cost-of-living adjustments in the future.

He will also receive transition expenses, travel expenses for any official activities attended by a former president, medical coverage, Secret Service protection for 10 years — and as a former commander in chief, a state funeral upon his death, with full military honors.

Editor's Note:

7. We Heard . . .

THAT HBO has landed exclusive rights to televise the opening ceremony of Inauguration Week and will make it available to non-subscribers of the cable network.

The ceremony takes place on Sunday, Jan. 18, two days before the inauguration, and both Barack Obama and Joe Biden are scheduled to attend.

In 1993, HBO paid $1.5 million to the Presidential Inaugural Committee to televise Bill Clinton’s kickoff from the Lincoln Memorial, irking non-HBO subscribers who couldn’t view the festivities, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

This year, HBO will offer the event free to cable and satellite subscribers even if they do not pay for HBO.

THAT John McCain has launched a new grass-roots organization called Country First to further Republican causes.

In an e-mail to potential supporters, McCain said, “Today, I'm asking you as a friend and supporter to renew your commitment to our common goals by becoming a Charter Member of Country First with an online contribution.

“Country First will allow us to strengthen our Party, better define our Republican ideals and message, recruit and back strong, dedicated candidates and continue our efforts to bring real reform to government by always putting our country and the noble ideals she stands for first.

“Together, we can make government more responsive to today's problems and more answerable to the people.”

THAT some NBC affiliates are balking at carrying Jay Leno’s new 10 p.m. talk show and are considering moving their local news to that hour.

Leno’s last “Tonight Show” will air in May, and NBC has announced that Leno’s
10 p.m. show will begin airing in the fall.

But a broadcasting industry source tells Newsmax that affiliates may bail on
the new show, move up their news broadcast, and then air a syndicated show
at 11:00.

Said the source, “This does make some financial sense unless Leno’s new show is a runaway blockbuster. They could make much more local revenue.”

Editor's Note:

Editor's Notes:

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Report: Cuomo Aide Undermined Caroline Kennedy for Senate2. Some in D.C. Pleased With Panetta Pick3. Opposition to Gupta Linked to Michael Moore4. Gaza Bombing Video Is Bogus5. Inaugural Rental Market Has Gone Bust 6. Bush...
Sunday, 11 January 2009 06:42 PM
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