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Monday, March 10, 2008

Irish blast Clinton's foreign policy claim

BELFAST, Northern Ireland, March 9 (UPI) -- David Trimble, who helped broker peace in Northern Ireland said Sen. Hillary Clinton's role in those negotiations was that of a cheerleader, not a participant.

Presidential contender Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., told CNN Wednesday that she "helped bring peace to Northern Ireland" as foreign policy experience becomes the latest issue in the Democratic presidential race.

"I don't know there was much she did apart from accompanying Bill (Clinton) going around," Trimble said, adding, "I don't want to rain on the thing for her but being a cheerleader for something is slightly different from being a principal player," The Sunday Telegraph reported.

Conall McDevitt, who served as the chief negotiator during the Good Friday Agreement talks that ended the conflict between England and Northern Ireland, said there was "no contact with her" during the negotiating processes.

McDevitt said Clinton played a supporting role following the signing of the agreement.

"So in a classic woman politicky sort of way I think she was active ... She was certainly investing some time, no doubt about it. Whether she was involved on the issue side I think probably not," McDevitt said.

The Clinton campaign responded to the statements saying they were "quite surprised that anyone would suggest that Hillary Clinton did not perform important foreign policy work as First Lady."

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Buh Bye Tucker! MSNBC Cancels Carlson’s Show

TV Newser:

Insiders tell TVNewser Tucker Carlson’s 6pmET show Tucker is getting the axe, but Carlson stays on as a political contributor to all MSNBC shows at least through the 2008 election. The official announcement, expected tomorrow, will include details about who will replace Tucker at 6pmET as well as other political programming additions. Sources say the network is going to beef up its schedule with more NBC News talent.

In recent days, Jossip, as well as other blogs, ratcheted up the talk that Tucker would be replaced “for a new project.” In its 33-month run, Carlson’s show has had two names, four time slots and multiple formats. At 6pmET, it builds on its Harbdall lead-in on some days, but loses audience on others.

Carlson is expected to host the show through next week, with his new role and title to take effect March 17. We’re told he’ll also be reporting from the campaign trail. Read on…

Finally! We have documented many of Tucker’s atrocities during his time at MSNBC and have been asking for this for years. Carlson will remain at MSNBC as a contributor for the time being, but at last, there’s a chance we’ll see a reality based, progressive show in that time slot. Rumor has it Air America Radio’s Rachel Maddow is working on a show for the network — we can only hope she gets her shot. She’s earned it.

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Rove: ‘I Fully Expect To Be Indicted By The End Of The Year’

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Karl Rove, former senior aide to President Bush, spoke to a hostile crowd at the University of Iowa yesterday evening. Students and local citizens protested his appearance at the university and “staged a mock trial” for Rove inside the student union before the speech.

During the lecture, Rove lashed out at hostile questioners, telling one man his comment showed “a simple, stupid mind” and chastised what he said were “stupid statements” from the audience. Rove also said that former Amb. Joseph Wilson “lied” about his 2002 trip to Niger and accused an audience member of “perpetuating libel” on the U.S. military for asking about the real number of deaths in the Iraq war:

After Rove said most Western intelligence agencies agreed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction prior to the war, Durham said, “When I had dinner with Joe Wilson, that’s not what he said.”

“With all do respect, Joe Wilson lied about his [intelligence gathering] trip to Africa,” Rove responded, drawing more boos. […]

When an audience member asked him about the “true” body count in Iraq, Rove accused the individual of “perpetuating libel on the military of the United States by accusing them of killing innocent Iraqis.”

Responding to a question about CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson’s outing, Rove, seemingly joking, added:

I haven’t been indicted yet, but I fully expect to be by the end of the year.

The University paid Rove $40,000 for the speech and had to agree to limit “recording equipment and flash photography” to “the first five minutes of the lecture.” At the end of the talk, an audience member shouted at Rove: “Can we have our $40,000 back?” Rove replied: “No, you can’t.

Perhaps Rove needs to keep the $40,000 in expectation of substantial legal fees.

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Spitzer Is Linked to Prostitution Ring

Gov. Eliot Spitzer leaving with his wife, Silda, after making a statement to the news media on Monday.

ALBANY - Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who gained national prominence relentlessly pursuing Wall Street wrongdoing, has been caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet with a high-priced prostitute at a Washington hotel last month, according to a law enforcement official and a person briefed on the investigation.

The wiretap captured a man identified as Client 9 on a telephone call confirming plans to have a woman travel from New York to Washington, where he had reserved a hotel room, according to an affidavit filed in federal court in Manhattan. The person briefed on the case and the law enforcement official identified Mr. Spitzer as Client 9.

Mr. Spitzer, a first term Democrat, today made a brief public appearance during which he apologized for his behavior, and described it as a “private matter.” He did not address his political future.

“I have acted in a way that violates my obligation to my family and violates my or any sense of right or wrong,” said Mr. Spitzer, who appeared with his wife Silda at his Manhattan office. “I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public to whom I promised better.”

“I have disappointed and failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself. I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family.”

Before speaking, Mr. Spitzer stood with his arm around his wife; the two nodded and then strode forward together to face more than 100 reporters. Both had glassy, tear-filled eyes, but they did not cry.

As he went to leave, three reporters called out, "Are you resigning? Are you resigning?", and Mr. Spitzer charged out of the room, slamming the door.

The governor learned that he had been implicated in the prostitution inquiry when a federal official contacted his staff Friday, according to the person briefed on the case.

The governor informed his top aides Sunday night and this morning of his involvement. He canceled his public events today and scheduled the announcement for this afternoon after inquiries from The Times. The governor’s aides appeared shaken before he spoke, and one of them began to weep as they waited for him to make his statement at his Manhattan office.

The Republican state party and a leading Republican legislator called for the governor to step down. James Tedisco, a Republican Assemblyman from Schenectady who has clashed loudly and publicly with Mr. Spitzer, called on the governor to step down if the allegations are true. “The governor who was going to bring ethics back to New York State, if he was involved insomething like this,” Mr. Tedisco said, “he’s got to leave. I don’t think there’s any question about that.”

As questions swirled about the Governor’s political future, a swarm of reporters gathered outside the office of Lt. Gov. David Paterson, who by law would become governor if Mr. Spitzer resigns. But his staffers provided no information.

The man described as Client 9 in the affidavit arranged to meet with a prostitute who was part of the ring, Emperors Club VIP, on the night of Feb. 13. Mr. Spitzer traveled to Washington that evening, according to a person told of his travel arrangements.

The affidavit says that Client 9 met with the woman in hotel room 871 but does not identify the hotel. Mr. Spitzer stayed at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington on Feb. 13, according to a source who was told of his travel arrangements. Room 871 at the Mayflower Hotel that evening was registered under the name George Fox.

The law enforcement official said that several people running the prostitution ring knew Mr. Spitzer by the name of George Fox, though a few of the prostitutes came to realize he was the governor of New York.

Mr. Fox is a friend and donor to Mr. Spitzer. Asked in a telephone interview Monday whether he accompanied Mr. Spitzer to Washington on Feb. 13 and Feb. 14, Mr. Fox responded: "Why would you think that? I did not.”

Told that the Room 871 at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel was registered in Mr. Fox’s name but with Mr. Spitzer’s Fifth Avenue address, Mr. Fox said, "That is the first I have heard of it. Until I speak to the governor further, I have no comment."

Federal prosecutors rarely charge clients in prostitution cases, which are generally seen as state crimes. But the Mann Act, passed by Congress in 1910 to address prostitution, human trafficking and what was viewed at the time as immorality in general, makes it a crime to transport someone between states for the purpose of prostitution. The four defendants charged in the case unsealed last week were all charged with that crime, along with several others.

Mr. Spitzer had a difficult first year in office, rocked by a mix of scandal and legislative setbacks. In recent weeks, however, Mr. Spitzer seemed to have rebounded, with his Democratic party poised to perhaps gain control of the state Senate for the first time in four decades.

Though his signature issue was pursuing Wall Street misdeeds, as attorney general Mr. Spitzer also had prosecuted at least two prostitution rings as head of the state’s organized crime task force.

In one such case in 2004, Mr. Spitzer spoke with revulsion and anger after announcing the arrest of 16 people for operating a high-end prostitution ring out of Staten Island.

“This was a sophisticated and lucrative operation with a multitiered management structure,” Mr. Spitzer said at the time. “It was, however, nothing more than a prostitution ring.”

Albany for months has been roiled by bitter fighting and accusations of dirty tricks. The Albany County district attorney is set to issue in the coming days the results of his investigation into Mr. Spitzer’s first scandal, his aides’ involvement in an effort to tarnish Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, the state’s top Republican.

On the second floor of the capitol, aides and staffers to Mr. Spitzer knew something was wrong Monday morning, as Mr. Spitzer’s schedule began to change and planned meetings and appearances were canceled. But Mr.
Paterson, the lieutenant governor who would succeed Mr. Spitzer in the event of a resignation, only learned of the allegations at midday, from an aide to the governor. The rest of the executive chamber was formally informed at a 6 P.M. general staff meeting, said one official who was present, where Richard Baum, the governor’s top aide, made no mention of a resignation and urged his colleagues to keep their heads down and continue as best they could with the day-to-day work of state government.

Under the state constitution, should Mr. Spitzer resign, Mr. Paterson, the lieutenant governor would serve the remainder of the Governor’s term.

Mr. Paterson’s current office would remain unfilled until the 2010 election, as the constitution makes no provision for filling a vacancy in the lieutenant governor’s office. Under those circumstances, Joseph L. Bruno, is the Republican majority leader and temporary president of the state senate, would "perform all the duties of the lieutenant-governor" until a new one is elected in 2010.

Those duties include acting as governor when the nominal office-holder is out of the state. Moreover, should Mr. Spitzer resign and if Mr. Paterson were unwilling or unable to take his place, Mr. Bruno would become acting governor—a possibility that would hold special irony, given the vicious and ongoing battles between Mr. Bruno and Mr. Spitzer over the last year.

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Oklahoma State Rep. Goes On Anti-Gay Tirade

Pam’s House Blend:

Mother of god, this is horrible. We nominate to the patheon of homo hate Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern (sallykern@okhouse.gov). She didn’t know that she was being recorded in a meeting, so we get the a nice insight about what she thinks of her gay and lesbian constituents. Perhaps she doesn’t think she has any.

About 30 seconds into this homobigoted, fact-free, BS screed, Rep. Kern actually says how she doesn’t hate gays (of course not!), then proceeds to continue on her tirade of filth.

I don’t think you need to guess which party Kern belongs to. This is a woman who sits on the Education Committee in the OK legislature. She’s also a member of Mother Schlafly’s Eagle Forum. Read on…

While there’s no profanity in this clip, this is some of the most offensive language you’ll ever hear.

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