Sunday, February 27, 2011


FOX: Huckabee "very much considering" running for president

ABC: Moammar Gaddafi's son -- "We didn't use force" against protesters

NBC: McCain -- "We've really got to get tough" on Libya

CNN: Lieberman, McCain discuss military option in Libya

C-SPAN: Van Hollen "cautiously optimistic" shutdown will be averted

CBS: Christie -- Collective bargaining rights "didn't come down from tablets on top of the mountain"

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (R) said that he's "very much considering" running for president again but is "working through that process," noting that he's looking at whether he can raise the "obscene amount of money" necessary to compete in the GOP primary and against a president "who's going to have a billion dollars piled up just waiting on somebody to come after him." Huckabee criticized President Obama on the economy, charging that he "has created more debt in two years than George Bush did in eight." He also said that Obama has "alienated the African-American community" by directing the Department of Justice to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act, adding that Obama "better explain" why he changed his view. Asked about his previous criticism of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) on health care, Huckabee said that Romney's role in implementing health care reform in Massachusetts doesn't "disqualify" him from running for president but added that Romney should acknowledge that "it didn't really work like we thought. ... That's what leaders do."

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) rejected the idea of making a deal with Democrats who have fled to Illinois in order to block action in the state legislature, saying that "we will talk about what sort of changes or amendments they might want, but while they are subverting the democratic process, there is nothing to talk about." Asked how he would reform Social Security, Daniels said that he would "bifurcate" it so that those who are already in the program are "good to go" while younger people would have a "brand new compact;" he also advocated for raising the retirement age. Daniels sketched out a similar "bifurcated" approach to Medicare, noting that he would leave the program as is for older Americans and support a private voucher program for younger people. Asked about his tenure as budget director under President George W. Bush, Daniels said that voters should look at his six years as Indiana governor; "don't look at two-and-a-half years where I was in the supporting cast with no vote." On his call for a "truce" on social issues, Daniels said that "it's only a truce if both sides agree to stop fighting for a little while." He also declined to give a timeline on deciding on a presidential run and joked that "if it comes down to height and hair, I probably wouldn't do very well."


Moammar Gaddafi's son: "We didn't use force" against protesters

Saif Gaddafi, son of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, said that the crisis in Libya right now is not "American business" and that the government didn't use force against protesters. "Show me a single attack," Gaddafi said. "Show me a single bomb. Show me a single casualties. The Libyan air force destroyed just the ammunition sites." On the resignation of senior Libyan officials, Saif Gaddafi said that "the ship is sinking, they think, so it's better to jump." He dismissed the possibility that he or his father will leave the country. "We live here; we die here; this is our country," he said. He also charged that "there's a big gap between reality and the media reports," contending that much of the country is calm. Another of Gaddafi's sons, Saadi Gaddafi, warned that there would be "civil war" in Libya if Moammar Gaddafi were to leave the country. He also contended that Libyans have had normal freedoms. "Everybody wants more; there is no limit," Saadi Gaddafi said. "You give this, then you get asked for that, you know?"

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R), Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) discussed the ongoing standoff in Wisconsin. Patrick argued that states can make tough budget decisions "with labor at the table, instead of doing it to labor." Haley charged that Democratic lawmakers who left Wisconsin were "cowardly" and "irresponsible;" Brewer called it "despicable" that the Democratic legislators "would leave their job." Meanwhile, Patrick said that his predecessor, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R), "deserves a lot of credit" for co-authoring the state's health-care overhaul. And Haley declined to make an endorsement among the potential White House 2012 contenders, noting that "there is no one that I feel like I owe at this time."


McCain: "We've really got to get tough" on Libya

Arizona Sen. John McCain (R), speaking from Cairo, sais that he agreed with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice's statement that Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi "has lost the legitimacy to rule." Noting that the Libyan government is "using air power and helicopters to continue these massacres," McCain said that a no-fly zone could be imposed and that the U.S. should recognize a provisional government in eastern Libya. "We should make it clear that we will provide assistance to that provisional government, and finally, we should make it absolutely clear that anyone who continues or is engaged in these kinds of barbarous acts are going to find themselves on trial in a war crimes tribunal. We've really got to get tough," McCain said. He said "Gaddafi's days are numbered" and the question is "how many people are going to be massacred before he leaves, one way or the other."
McCain also projected that the types of uprisings happening in the Middle East could spread to other countries, pointing to recent calls for protest in China. Asked about the recent Rolling Stone report that he was among several senators targeted by alleged "psy-ops" by the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, McCain said he wasn't sure whether anything happened that went beyond the legitimate way that briefers are briefed, adding, "put me down as skeptical."

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) defended his position on curtailing collective bargaining rights for public employees. Asked about exemptions for police officers and firefighters, Walker argued that "this is not a value judgment about employees, but it is ultimately about preserving public safety." Walker stood by his remark that "this is our moment in Wisconsin's history," saying," I make no apology for the fact that this is an important moment in time."
 Asked about how the standoff may end, Walker described himself as "an eternal optimist" and predicted that "at least some" of the state senators who have fled the state will return. He cautioned, though, that if the bill fails to pass by Tuesday, the state will lose $155 million in savings, and "if we continue down that path, we start seeing layoffs." Walker also said he had rejected the idea of planting troublemakers into the crowd of protesters. "The bottom line is we rejected that because we have had a civil discourse," he said.


Lieberman, McCain discuss military option in Libya

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) joined in a pre-taped interview from Cairo to discuss the uprising in Libya. Asked if there was a military option for Libya, McCain said, "I think there possibly could be." Lieberman joined McCain in criticizing the Obama administration's response as being too slow and not clear enough, acknowledging that the White House had been cautious in its response due to safety concerns for Americans still in Libya. "Now is the time for action, not just statements," said Lieberman.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) discussed the fast-approaching threat of a government shutdown. Conrad said that House Republicans' most recent two-week proposal is "acceptable" but "not the way to go," urging passage of a longer-term funding measure. Asked whether he felt he could cut $57 billion out of the 2011 funding measure, Conrad said it was possible, but that the ramifications of such deep cuts could be unsustainable. Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) and Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy (D) discussed the states' budget crises and the ongoing union protests in Wisconsin. "Do I think the Democrats look great in this? No," said Malloy, calling the situation in Wisconsin a "travesty."


Van Hollen "cautiously optimistic" shutdown will be averted

Maryland Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen said he was "cautiously optimistic" that a government shutdown would be averted, at least for the next couple of weeks. He argued that "what Republicans are proposing right now is reckless," citing reports that immediate deep cuts could prove problematic.

"I think we can come together on some specific cuts based on the merits," he continued, calling it "wrong" to put forward a specific projection for total cuts. "Republicans should not be using the budget process to deal with hot-button social issues," Van Hollen added, referring to recent Republican amendments such as one that would block federal funding for Planned Parenthood.


Christie: Collective bargaining rights "didn't come down from tablets on top of the mountain"

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) discussed the situation in Wisconsin and the continuing protests by state government workers against a move by Gov. Scott Walker (R) to eliminate collective bargaining rights. Those rights "didn't come down from tablets on the top of the mountain," Christie said. He also had harsh words for the teachers' unions, charging that they "protect the worst of the worst...and it's ruining our education system." He praised President Obama's overall approach to education reform. "I think the president's been on the right track," Christie said, praising Obama's push for merit pay and the "Race to the Top" program. But Christie added: "Overall, I didn't vote for him, and I doubt I'll vote for him next time."

Christie reiterated that he will not run for president in 2012 and declined to say who he would support among the potential candidates, noting that "we don't have a field yet." He praised Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R), saying he was addressing real issues. "You cannot be blow-dried and poll-tested," he continued. Asked if he was referring to former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (R), Christie said his comment was aimed at all of the potential candidates, but that the first time he made the comment it was indeed directed at Palin. Christie also declined to say whether Palin was ready to run for president, saying that it was a decision for her to make. Christie also said that he thought criticism of First Lady Michelle Obama's attempts to push for better nutrition was "unnecessary," acknowledging his own struggles with his weight and his support for efforts that would help children avoid such struggles in adulthood.

Washington Post Felicia Sonmez & Emi Kolawole

LUNTZ'S 11 for '11: These sell people the same old stuffing!

Frank I. Luntz's "11 phrases for 2011: the phrases that you should or would be hearing if the political and business leaders really were listening to America" - excerpted from the 80 specific words and phrases in his new book, "Win: The Key Principles to Take Your Business From Ordinary to Extraordinary," to be unveiled Tuesday on the "Today" show. The book is the third (and last) installment in Luntz's best-selling series exploring the language of America.

--'Imagine' is still the most powerful word in the English language because it is inspiring, motivating, and has a unique definition for each person.

--'No excuses.' Of all the messages used by America's business and political elite, no phrase better conveys accountability, responsibility and transparency.

--'I get it.' This explains not only a complete understanding of the situation but also a willingness to solve or resolve the situation. It's short, sweet and effective.

--'If you remember only one thing...' is the surest way to guarantee that voters will remember the one point that matters most to you. This is essential in complicated situations like the upcoming debt ceiling vote.

--'Uncompromising integrity.' Of all the truthiness words, none is as powerful as 'integrity,' but in today's cynical environment, even that's not enough. People also need to feel that your integrity is absolute.

--'The simple truth' comes straight from billionaire businessman Steve Wynn, and it sets the context for a straightforward discussion that might otherwise be confusing or contentious.

--'Believe in better' comes from BSkyB, the satellite television provider owned in part by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. empire. Of all the corporate mission statements of the Fortune 100, 'believe in better' is the second-most popular -- and it applies to politics as well.

--'Real-time.' This is not a pitch for Bill Maher. Many Americans were furious that they couldn't get the details of the health-care legislation in a timely fashion. 'Real-time' communicates receiving information at the speed of life.

--'You decide.' No, this is not paying homage to Fox News. The lesson of 2010 is that Americans want control of their lives back and they don't want Washington or Wall Street making their decisions for them.

--'You deserve.' This comes from DNC Chairman Tim Kaine and it was first employed by him in his highly praised 2006 SOTU response. It tells voters exactly what they should expect from their politicians and their government.

-- 'Let's get to work' was employed by Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) in his successful campaign. No other end-of-speech rallying cry is more motivational to voters.

Lawmakers Debate Effect of Weapons on Campus (Can no believe people really think this is a real solution to a complex problem?!)

PHOENIX — Along with the meaning of life and the origin of the universe, college students across the country have another existential question to ponder: the wisdom of allowing guns in class.

In Arizona, known for its gun-friendly ways, state lawmakers are pushing three bills this year focused on arming professors and others over the age of 21 on Arizona campuses. Sponsors talk of how professors and students are now sitting ducks for the next deranged gunman to charge through the classroom door. Some gun rights advocates go so far as to say that grade school teachers ought to be armed as well, although even this state is not ready for that proposition.

About a dozen legislatures nationwide, concerned about the potential for campus shootings, are considering arming their academies. Gun control advocates say Texas is probably the most likely to pass such a measure, with Arizona also in the mix.

Arizona’s proposals to loosen restrictions on campus weaponry, coming so soon after the shooting rampage in Tucson that left six dead and 13 wounded, have prompted a fierce debate at the state’s public universities, with significant brain power focusing on the issue of firepower. Administrators and campus police chiefs at Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona have all expressed opposition to allowing guns. Faculty members are circulating petitions against guns as well. Most, but not all, students also appear opposed.

Still, the state’s powerful gun lobby, with allies galore in the Legislature, is pushing hard. The notion has been floated in previous legislative sessions, but this year proponents believe they may have the momentum to get it done.

“We can’t rest on our laurels,” said Todd Rathner, who runs the Rathner & Associates lobbying firm and is working to have Colt named the state’s official firearm. “We’re making inroads, but I’ve been in politics long enough to know that the pendulum swings and there is no way to know if the pendulum won’t swing in the other direction.”

Campus shootouts are a relative rarity, but they do occur. The most notorious shooting at an Arizona university took place in 2002 when a disgruntled nursing student shot three professors to death.
Anthony Daykin, the police chief at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where the shootings occurred, said his officers would be at a loss if they arrived at a shooting scene in a lecture hall holding hundreds of students and found scores of people pointing, and possibly shooting, weapons at one another.

One student who found himself in the midst of a campus shooting agreed. “I don’t think two people having guns and firing them in public is that good of an idea,” said Nate Hightower, who was at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix in 2008 when a former student opened fire in a dispute with another young man, injuring three people.

On Feb. 14, there could have been a shooting at a Phoenix-area high school. Officials say a student had intended to kill a teacher, but a classmate told the authorities that the student had a gun before he could carry out his plan.

Keeping guns out, not allowing more in, is the answer, critics of the bills say. Others contend that allowing guns on campus will help ensure that universities stay relatively tranquil.

State Representative Jack Harper, who introduced a bill allowing professors to carry guns, said an Arizona State University professor, whom he has refused to identify, first raised the issue with him. “When law-abiding, responsible adults are able to defend themselves, crime is deterred,” Mr. Harper said in a statement.
That is the philosophy in Arizona as a whole, where gun laws are among the least restrictive in the country. If law-abiding people can carry guns one step outside the campus to keep criminals at bay, supporters ask, why not allow them to enter a university with their firearms? That is already permitted in Utah, alone so far in allowing guns to be carried on all state campuses.

“I think that every person has the right to bear arms no matter what the circumstances,” said Ashlyn Lucero, a political science student at Arizona State University who has served in the Marine Corps, is the daughter of a sheriff and grew up hunting.

Ms. Lucero carries her Glock pistol whenever possible and would carry it on campus if she could. “If I’m going out to eat somewhere, I usually have a gun with me always,” she said. “It’s just one of those things that you never know what’s going to happen.”

Thor Mikesell, a senior majoring in music who grew up hunting, is also a backer of allowing guns on campus. “There’s no magic line, there’s no magic barrier that makes me more safe on the campus than it is when I’m being a real person in the real world outside of the school,” he said.
Mr. Mikesell said he does not carry his gun with him all the time because his girlfriend objects. But he does not consider gun carriers extreme.

“This is not the 1890s’ O.K. Corral shoot ’em up, bang ’em up,” he said. “These are not vigilante kind of people. Their interest is their personal security and the security of their family.”
The State Senate president, Russell Pearce, who recently said he would not prevent senators from taking guns into the Senate chamber despite rules against it, is an advocate for loosening as many gun restrictions as possible.

There are a bevy of other gun proposals this year, including measures that would allow guns in public buildings and make the Republican-dominated Legislature the sole arbiter of gun laws throughout the state. A Democratic proposal to restrict the sale of high-capacity magazines like those used in the Tucson shooting stands little chance of passing.

“Guns save lives, and it’s a constitutional right of our citizens,” Mr. Pearce said of the guns-on-campus proposal. Speaking of the Tucson shooting, which took place at a shopping center and not on a university campus, Mr. Pearce, a former sheriff’s deputy, said, “If somebody had been there prepared to take action, they could have saved lives.”

Carmen Themar, a program coordinator at the University of Arizona College of Nursing, was at the university on the morning nine years ago when a student began moving through the building and shooting professors. Despite the terror of the episode, she is not convinced that more guns would have prevented the attacks.

“Let’s say we had guns on the campus back then,” she said. “We might have had a shootout, more bullets in the air, and bullets don’t always go where they are aimed.”
Anne Mariucci, the chairwoman of the Arizona Board of Regents, the governing board for the state’s universities, said she would prefer that universities be places where disagreements are resolved by debating, not squeezing the trigger.

“Yes, the world is a dangerous place these days, but I don’t think you fight fire with fire,” she said. “I don’t think that bringing guns on campuses is the image of the peaceful, civil discourse that universities are supposed to be about.”

Have You Driven a Smartphone Lately? By MAUREEN DOWD

I’m barreling along a rural Michigan highway at 75 miles per hour in a gray Ford Taurus X when I glance down to check a number on a screen.
It can’t be more than two seconds, but when I look back up, I’m inches from plowing into a huge green truck. Panicked, I slam on the brakes.

Even though I’m in Virttex, the Ford simulator that uses virtual reality to give you the eerily real sensation that you’re flying down the highway past cars and barns, I still feel shaken.
I made the mistake of taking my eyes off the road for more than 1.5 seconds, which is the danger zone, according to technology experts at Ford headquarters
Ford, Chrysler, Chevy and other car companies are betting on the proposition that, as long as your eyes don’t stray from the road for more than a moment, your other senses can enjoy a cornucopia of diversions on your dashboard.

I worried in a prior column that Ford cars with the elaborate and popular new “in-car connectivity” sounded like death traps. Ford Sync lets you sync up to apps, reading your Twitter feeds to you. MyFord Touch plays your iPod on demand and reads your texts to you — including emoticons — and allows you to choose one of 10 prewritten responses (“I’m on my way,” “I’m outside,” “O.K.”). It also has voice-activated 3-D navigation that allows you to merely announce “I’m hungry” or “Find Chinese restaurant.”

Your car can even help you with a bad mood by giving you ambient lighting, vibrating your seat or heating your steering wheel.

Ford executives invited me to Detroit to experience their snazzy new technology firsthand.
They are on the cusp of a system featuring the futuristic avatar Eva, the vaguely creepy face and voice of a woman on your dashboard who can read you your e-mail, update your schedule, recite articles from newspapers, guide you to the restaurant where you’re having lunch and recommend a selection from your iPod. Ford’s working on a Web browser, which would be locked while driving.

Remember when your car used to be a haven of peace from the world? Now it’s just a bigger, noisier and much more dangerously distracting smartphone.
Over lunch at Ford, Sue Cischke, a dynamic company executive, argued that even before cellphones and iPods, drivers were in danger of distraction from reaching for a briefcase or shooing away a bee.
“Telling younger people not to use a cellphone is almost like saying, ‘Don’t breathe,’ ” she said.
Given that Americans are addicted to Web access and tech toys, she said, it will never work to simply ban them. “So we’ve got to figure out how we make people safer,” she said, “and the more people can just talk to their car like they’re talking to a passenger, the more useful it would be.”

Given that, however, we’re talking about human beings who live in an A.D.D. world, wouldn’t it be safer to try to curb the addiction, rather than indulging it? Nobody thought you could get young people to pay for music after downloading it for free, either, but they do.
David Teater, a former market research consultant to auto manufacturers, lost his 12-year-old son in a distracted driving accident in Grand Rapids, Mich., seven years ago. A 20-year-old nanny driving her charge in her employer’s Hummer was so immersed in a cellphone call that she ran a red light and smashed into Teater’s wife’s Chevy Suburban. Now he works at the National Safety Council.

He says he doesn’t expect car companies — which are trying to make cars more seductive — to be arbiters of safety. “They were slow to move toward seat belts and airbags until we, the customer, said we want it,” he said. He sees the overwrought dashboards as trouble. “We can chew gum and walk, but we can’t do two cognitively demanding tasks simultaneously.”

Ray LaHood, the secretary of transportation, is livid about the dashboard bells and whistles. When he saw a Ford ad with a bubbly young woman named Kelly using the new souped-up system to gab on the phone hands-free and not paying attention to the road, he called Alan Mulally, the president and C.E.O of Ford.
“I said to him, ‘That girl looks so distracted, it belies belief that this is what you want in terms of safety,’ ” LaHood told me. “Putting entertainment centers in automobiles does not contribute to safe driving. When you’re trying to update your Facebook or put out a tweet, it’s a distraction.”
He said he would compile his own statistics, meet with car executives and use the bully pulpit. “We’ll see what the auto companies can do voluntarily and what we need to do otherwise,” he said. “I don’t think drivers should be doing any of that.”

Security Council Calls for War Crimes Inquiry in Libya

The U.N. Security Council called for an international war crimes investigation into “widespread and systemic attacks” against Libyan citizens.

The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously on Saturday night to impose sanctions on Libya’s leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, and his inner circle of advisers, and called for an international war crimes investigation into “widespread and systemic attacks” against Libyan citizens who have protested against the government over the last two weeks.
The vote, only the second time the Security Council has referred a member state to the International Criminal Court, comes after a week of bloody crackdowns in Libya in which Colonel Qaddafi’s security forces have fired on protesters, killing hundreds.
Also on Saturday, President Obama said that Colonel Qaddafi had lost the legitimacy to rule and should step down. His statement, which the White House said was made during a telephone call with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, was the strongest yet from any American official against Colonel Qaddafi.
The Security Council resolution also imposes an arms embargo against Libya and an international travel ban on 16 Libyan leaders, and freezes the assets of Colonel Qaddafi and members of his family, including four sons and a daughter. Also included in the sanctions were measures against defense and intelligence officials who are believed to have played a role in the violence against civilians in Libya.
The sanctions did not include imposing a no-fly zone over Libya, a possibility that had been discussed by officials from the United States and its allies in recent days.

The resolution also prohibited all United Nations member nations from providing any kind of arms to Libya or allowing the transportation of mercenaries, who are believed to have played a part in the recent violence. Suspected shipments of arms should be halted and inspected, the resolution said.
While the sanctions are likely to take weeks to have an effect, they reflected widespread condemnation of Colonel Qaddafi’s tactics, by far the most brutal crackdown in the region since antigovernment demonstrations began.
Susan E. Rice, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, called the resolution “a clear warning to the Libyan government that it must stop the killing.”
But Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, warned Saturday that sanctions would do more harm to Libya’s people than to Colonel Qaddafi.

The attacks by Libya’s security forces on the protesters led the United States to close its embassy in Tripoli on Friday and Britain and France to close theirs on Saturday.
The United States on Friday imposed unilateral sanctions against Libya. It also froze billions of dollars of Libyan government assets and announced that it would do the same with the assets of high-ranking Libyan officials who took part in the violent crackdown.

At the United Nations, Security Council members initially disagreed during deliberations Saturday whether to approve the resolution, circulated by France, Germany, Britain and the United States, that would refer Colonel Qaddafi and his top aides to the International Criminal Court for prosecution, according to a senior United States official who observed the negotiations.

Libya’s own delegation to the United Nations had renounced Colonel Qaddafi on Monday, and later sent a letter to the Security Council president, Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil, supporting such a referral. That statement, the official said, went far to persuade reluctant Council members that they should go ahead with the referral.
After the resolution was approved, Libya’s ambassador to the United Nations, Abdurrahman Shalgam, who was once a close confidant of Colonel Qaddafi, said it would “help put an end to this fascist regime, which is still in existence in Tripoli.”

While some other details of the resolution were haggled over, the measure was remarkable for how quickly it came together, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preserve the confidentiality of the discussions. The official said the mood in the chamber was focused, with representatives of several countries expressing concern about the well-being of their citizens and generally exhibiting “a strong sense of urgency.”

Much uncertainty remained throughout the afternoon about how China, one of the Security Council’s five permanent members, would vote after having expressed doubt about the referral to the international court. After the Chinese delegation consulted with Beijing, it signaled it would vote to approve the measure.

The Security Council cast a similar vote before, in 2005 when it called for an investigation of violence and crimes against humanity in the Darfur region of Sudan, the American official said. The United States abstained from that vote, which the official attributed to “a different administration.” The court has indicted Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, on charges of genocide.

The United Nations resolution on Saturday also established a committee to consider whether additional, targeted sanctions should be imposed on other individuals and entities “who commit serious human rights abuses, including ordering attacks and aerial bombardments on civilian populations or facilities.”

In Washington, a White House account of Saturday’s telephone call between Mr. Obama and Chancellor Merkel of Germany said the president told Mrs. Merkel that “when a leader’s only means of staying in power is to use mass violence against his own people, he has lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now.”