The Spectacle Blog

Clinton Transcript

By on 1.13.06 | 9:45AM

On this morning's "Morning Edition" on NPR, Steve Inskeep interviewed Bill Clinton about worldwide health issues. In the course of discussing his efforts arould the world, Inskeep raised the 1993-94 HillaryCare fight:

Inskeep: Mr. President, we're talking about health care. I want to move to a question about health care in the United States. President Bush has been talking about making improvement of health care in the U.S. a top priority. I wonder if you have any advice for him.

Clinton: Well, I don't know if I have any advice for him, but I think that what we tried to do back in '93 and '94, still has some relevance. The real problem was that we didn't have any money 'cause we had a big deficit so we couldn't provide universal coverage without some sort of employer mandate.

Inskeep: Also couldn't build enough political support for a specific solution in '93 and '94.

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Bremer Backs Down

By on 1.13.06 | 8:18AM

There was a bit of consternation among Pentagon leaders when L. Paul Bremer's book about his Iraq consulship came out. Bremer seemed to be saying that way back in 2003, he was telling Condi Rice that we didn't have enough troops in Iraq to settle the country after the war. One Pentagon senior official I spoke to said Bremer had never mentioned it to DoD which, at least supposedly, he worked for. In today's NYT, Bremer backs off. The money quotes:

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History According to Bill Clinton

By on 1.13.06 | 7:37AM

I just heard Bill Clinton on NPR's Morning Edition, waxing reminiscent about his administration's spectacularly failed health care plan. When he claimed that it bombed because of high deficits, the commentator (a quick one) quickly countered by referencing the political opposition. Roughly quoting: "Oh, well that was just because the health insurance companies didn't want it. But there's enough support today for it." Perhaps they didn't want socialist health care.

I'll check back later this morning with a more accurate transcript.

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Maryland and Business

By on 1.13.06 | 7:33AM

The Maryland General Assembly extended open arms to business growth yesterday, overriding Gov. Ehrlich's veto of their anti-Wal-Mart health care bill:

"We don't want to kill this giant. We want this giant to behave itself," said Del. Anne Healey (D-Prince George's County), the lead sponsor in the House. "We want this giant not to be a bully."

That bully employs 17,000 citizens in your state. Maryland makes me proud to be a citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

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Alito Strategy

By on 1.13.06 | 6:43AM

Look for some clarity on the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito by mid-afternoon. By then, the Senate Republican leadership will have completed a strategy conference call, Sen. Bill Frist will have taken the lay of the land on the Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Harry Reid will have decided just how badly he wants to destroy the United States Senate.

Sources tell us that Sen. Harry Reid is being heavily pressured by Sens. Ted Kennedy and Patrick Leahy to do everything in his power to help them delay the final vote on Judge Alito to the Supreme Court into early February. Reid and Frist discussed such an option yesterday, or should we say that Reid mentioned the idea and Frist told him to go pound sand.

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Shadegg Shifting

By on 1.13.06 | 6:37AM

If this is the way Rep. John Shadegg makes a decision, perhaps he isn't the right man for the House GOP leadership slot.

Mid-afternoon yesterday, Shadegg supporters were emailing associates around town that their man had decided not to seek the Republican leader position. A few hours later, upon further consultation with advisers and members of the Republican caucus, he indicated that should Reps. Roy Blunt or John Boehner not move closer to wrapping up a win, he will enter the race.

At this point, his "I'm out, but I'm in" approach to political gamesmanship is making him look indecisive and rather small.

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Crossing the Line?

By on 1.13.06 | 5:41AM

Jed, last night John Batchelor pressed an analyst from on Iran's actual intentions. The analyst said that as long as Iran "didn't cross the line," there would be something Iran could settle for as a nuclear power in the Middle East, something, he implied, that could be acceptable to the United States, too.

How can this be? President Bush memorably said, at West Point, that you can't wait for Chicago to be in smoke before reacting to a threat, and surely that's right -- especially in the case of a mad theocracy with nuclear weapons.

I don't see Iran being happy to "settle" for anything. And I don't see any way out than some kind of military action, probably within the year.

How do you see it? Generals always consider logistics first, and the logistics are awful.

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Cantor Survived Abramoff, Reed, Norquist

By on 1.13.06 | 1:36AM

Spoke to Eric Cantor of 7th Virginia tonight with regard to the revolting facts about a 2000 anti-Semitic smear campaign run against him during the Republican primary in his district. The facts from the investigation by both the Washington Post and Hotline point to Jack Abramoff and Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist as the major figures behind the scenes manipulating a shadow 527 named the Faith and Family Alliance of Virginia Beach, Virginia. Faith and Family Values used up to $100,000 to distribute pamphlets and make robo-calls to constituents to say that Eric Cantor did not represent "Virginia values" and that his opponent was the "only Christian in the contest."

Cantor won by a few hundred votes in June 2000.

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Kremlin is Caesar

By on 1.12.06 | 3:31PM

Russia returns. And this time it is an empire in control of the landmass from Normandy to the Japan Sea. The short summary of the collapse of the Ukraine Orange Revolution in a food throwing confusion the last days is that the Russian cabinet under the nimble, tsarist Putin has cowed the EU and reestablished Russian supremacy. Ukraine will now be handed back to Moscow in a red ribbon come the new elections. The most important man every morning in London, Brussels, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Athens, is not George Bush but Vladimir Putin. The few hours of natural gas choke off through the pipelines in Ukraine has left the EU in surrender. The battle of Europe is over. Kremlin is Caesar.

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