On Wednesday Iexpressed my hope that homophobic bigot would become embroiled in the burgeoning federal student loan scandal. Today I awake to find that I’m close to getting my wish. With scandal rattling the $85 billion student loan industry, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings argued at a House hearing on Thursday that she lacked legal authority to clamp down on many abuses. Ms. Spellings faced pointed questioning at the hearing from Congressional Democrats, who accused her department of mismanagement and complacency. [snip] Several Democrats, led by Representative George Miller, questioned her aggressively, asserting that she had regulatory power and moral influence … Continue reading Mis-Spellings
Peroxidce Peroxide (Damn!) held a gaggle this monring morning (Double-Damn!) primarily dealing with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe’s pending visit with Chimpy at Camp David. The most interesting tidbit I gleaned from that discussion was that neo-imperialist Abe’s grandfather once played golf with Chimpy’s Nazi-loving grandfather.
The discussion of Abe’s trip was followed by a conventional gaggle.
Q I’d like to ask you about the level of political discourse about Iraq. The Vice President and President are accusing the Democrats of being defeatist, they’re talking about surrender dates. Senator Reid comes back and calls the Vice President an attack dog. What happened to the thought that there was going to be an elevated debate; they were going to be more high minded, not as mean spirited?
MS. PERINO: Well, I think that what happens in Washington at times of high drama and passion on both sides of the aisle, and on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue, that there are times when you’re trying to make your substantive point, that the rhetoric can sometimes lead you to say things that you might not otherwise say in a one-on-one conversation.
I do think that when talking about a surrender date, it is very descriptive of what we believe is in the legislation. It says, you must leave on this day, and we think that that tells the enemy that they’ve won and that we’ve surrendered. And I think that’s a good way to explain it to the American people.
Q Well, and you say that you’re not questioning their patriotism, but by calling them defeatist and talking about surrender, you don’t think that that gets close to that line of not —
MS. PERINO: I think that what we have done is argued on the merits and on the substance of our arguments. And I don’t know if that’s always been the case on the other side. I grant you that I think that tension is high, because the stakes are high. And we feel very strongly that leaving before the job is done is turning over the victory to the enemy. And this is an enemy that, as the President has said many times, people need to understand is not only vying for control of Iraq, is a sworn enemy of the United States being helped by other sworn enemies of the United States, and that we ought to take this very seriously.
Q But don’t you think that words matter? I mean, doesn’t that suggest —
MS. PERINO: I certainly think —
Q — “helping the enemy” — doesn’t “helping the enemy” suggest some kind of lack of patriotism?
MS. PERINO: I think if you look at what the President has said, is that we are kidding ourselves if we think that the Qaeda is not trying to create a safe haven as they had in Afghanistan. And by us leaving too soon, before the Iraqis are able to take care of their country themselves, that that is what the President is trying to argue. And I would say that someone who calls the President a liar and a loser does not have very strong ground to stand on in talking about name-calling.
It’s Gonna Be The Bestest Veto Ceremony Evah!
Q When the President vetoes the war supplemental, as we think he’ll get it, what does he do then? Will he reach out to Congress and say, okay, here’s where we can move from here?
Q And when do you think — how quickly would he veto it after the Senate votes?
MS. PERINO: Let us try to — we don’t even know when we’re going to get the actual vote. We have some general idea, but not specifically. I think it’s safe to say soon after.
Q Well, “soon after” meaning — I mean, if the President is at Camp David for the day, would he do it without any ceremony?
MS. PERINO: Let me just say soon after. I don’t believe that we’re going to be getting it on Friday.
Q Do you envision, though, a formal — I don’t want to call it a ceremony, but for lack of a better word — event, at this point?
MS. PERINO: We’re talking about it, and what we would do, but we don’t have any plans yet to announce. We’re thinking about it.
Q But this would be only his second veto, and I recall that during the stem cell veto, there was an elaborate event in which he brought families. I’m wondering if you’re planning to bring military —
MS. PERINO: A little bit too early for us to preview, since we don’t even have the bill yet and we don’t know what day that it’s coming. It’s important.
Q Yes, but you can get it together.
MS. PERINO: We’re pretty good. (Laughter.)
Q Just call it a “no surrender” party. (Laughter.)
MS. PERINO: We’ll take that under consideration.
Q A great Bruce Springsteen, “No Retreat, No Surrender.”
MS. PERINO: I don’t think he’d come. (Laughter.)
Earlier today I obsessed over the morning gaggle, an event for which the White House does not routinely post a transcript.
Now the afternoon gaggletranscript is up.
Let’s Start With The “No Comments” Portion of Today’s Gaggle
Q The House Judiciary Committee took another step today in its investigation of the firing of the eight U.S. attorneys. They voted to grant immunity to Monica Goodling, the former aide to Attorney General Gonzales. Does the White House think that’s a good strategy?
MS. PERINO: That’s up to the committee; it’s not something we’re going to comment on.
Unka Karl’s In Trouble
Q A couple of points. Has the White House been notified in any way from the agency known as the Office of Special Counsel about its inquiries into the work of Karl Rove or the political operation here?
MS. PERINO: No. No, we have not. As I said yesterday, we have had cooperation with them in the past, and we’ve responded appropriately. But we have not heard from them on this issue.
Helen Upsets Dana To The Point Where Peroxide Starts To Speak Like Chimpy
Q Is the President still going to veto anything from the Hill that sets a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq, despite the belief of the public that we should pull out?
MS. PERINO: I think that — let me try to unpack that. The President has said that if the Democrats decide to insist on sending him a bill that includes a deadline for withdrawal, that he will veto the bill. And I understand that there are many people who are in this country that are frustrated with the war. I do think that you have to be a little bit careful in blanketing everybody that they want to pull out quickly from Iraq and with an arbitrary deadline or a rash decision, and leave that vacuum that we believe is going to be left there, if we leave that quickly.
Q Well, if the majority of people really wanted to pull out, would the President pull out? And what kind of a statistic do you have that they don’t want to?
MS. PERINO: As the President has said many times before, he does not make decisions based on polls. He understands as Commander —
Q Did he make decisions based on what the American people want?
MS. PERINO: He makes decisions based as the elected President of the United States and the Commander-in-Chief and his main priority is the protection of the American people, and that’s what he —
Q How do you protect the soldiers who are over there dying every day?
MS. PERINO: That is the President’s gravest concern, and he talks to the commanders on the ground to make sure that they are protected and that they are doing their jobs. He understands that he has asked them to do a very, very difficult mission. It’s very dangerous in Baghdad. We do have a new Baghdad security plan that’s underway, being led by General David Petraeus, who is up on the Hill today providing an update to the Congress on the status of that Baghdad security plan.
Q But a hundred people are dying in Iraq every day.
MS. PERINO: It’s a very tragic situation. I don’t know if that number is accurate, but obviously it’s not only our troops that are dying, but very many — too great of numbers of innocent men, women, and children in Iraq, as well.
Q Who is the enemy you speak of? Are these Iraqis?
MS. PERINO: We have different folks that we’re considering the enemy. Obviously, al Qaeda is in Iraq, and they say that this is the battle. And then there are insurgents —
Q Are there Iraqis that you speak of, when you speak of the enemy?
MS. PERINO: I think they are definitely — obviously, there are Iraqis who are engaging in criminal activity and in sectarian violence.
Q Criminal? To defend their own country?
MS. PERINO: I think when anyone is killing innocent men, women and children that they —
Q Against an invader and occupier?
MS. PERINO: Helen, we are there at the invitation of the Iraqi government, and we are there under the U.N. Security Council resolution. Mark, did I finish your question?
Yesterday, in Washington, after a feeble arm-twisting session with zenophobic xenophobic [dammit] Republikkkans on the topic of immigration. Git ‘Er Done! I would hope that the Senate Majority Leader has that same sense of desire to move the product that I do, or the bill that I do and these senators do, because now is the time to get it done. Continue reading Your President Speaks!
Saturday, at the US Embassy in Rome, Italy, with members of the Community of Sant’Egidio [Chimpy had to cancel his plans to actually visit the Community of Sant’Egidio at the Piazza S.Egidio in Rome because thousands of protestors wouldn’t let him get near the place.]. These International Army I want to thank you for being a part of these international army of compassion. Saturday, in Rome, during a presser with Prime Minister Romano Prodi. What’s Italian For “Darn”? As Romano said, the bilateral relations are pretty darn solid, and I appreciate that. There’s a lot of Italian Americans who have … Continue reading Your President Speaksapalooza: If It’s Saturday, It Must Be Italy
Ah, we get Pony Blow again today.
The Gaggleres Want To Know If Alberto Gonzales Is Going To The Hill To Help Lobby For Immigration Reform
Q Is Al Gonzales coming up today?
MR. SNOW: I don’t know. The way these lunches work is that obviously there will be some conversation about immigration. We’ve got an energy bill that’s coming up, a defense authorization bill that’s going to be debated before long. There’s a whole series of items that I’m sure members are going to want to talk about. I don’t — my guess is, will the Attorney General — probably not. I mean, we had — we had the symbolic vote yesterday. It didn’t have enough votes to get to the floor for a final vote, and I think that’s that. I think that’s over.
Oh, Right — Alberto’s Troubles Are Over [rolls eyes]
The President Is A Looser, Isn’t He?
Q What about the hard-nosed politics here? Isn’t the reality that, given Iraq and a litany of other issues that the President is unpopular with his own party on, that for Republicans who are already skeptical, at the very least, about this, it makes more sense for them to vote against the President then to vote with him?
MR. SNOW: I’m not sure. Are you telling — I don’t think so, because here you have a bill where the law enforcement provisions are significantly — border security is significantly tougher than the status quo. When it comes to tracking down who is here illegally, significantly tougher and more credible than the status quo. When it comes to punishing employers who knowingly hire illegals, by many orders of magnitude, tougher than the status quo.
So conservatives — I think again, for a lot of Republicans, the first thing is, what are you going to do on border security? And our view is, don’t trust us, verify. The way the bill is written says that you have to deploy on the border 370 miles of fence, more than 200 miles of vehicle barriers. The fact is, these numbers are changing in the course of debate, and I think they’ve been strengthened during the course of debate. So what you’re going to have is a certain demonstrated commitment on border security that is — that will be credible.
Furthermore, there’s a proposal by Senators Kyl and Graham that would take all the fees and collections made in the course of this legislation, set it aside basically into a fund that could be used only for border enforcement. There you have a mandatory spending program, where the money flows directly into enforcement, and you have a continuous commitment in terms of funding to keeping your vigilance on the border. So I think those are the kinds of things that members are going to want to hear.
From CBS… The poll finds American’s opinion of the country as a whole even more pessimistic. IF THE FOUNDERS CAME BACK THEY WOULD BE… Pleased 20% Disappointed 72% Many of those polled said the nation is on the wrong track – more so today than ever before. Only 19 percent of Americans believe the country is generally going in the right direction – the lowest number recorded in a CBS News Poll since the question was first asked in 1983. Continue reading If the Founding Fathers came back and saw what’s going on, they’d never stop throwing up
Sunday, in Kennebunkport, Maine. What We Got Tomorrow We got a press conference tomorrow, Mark. The Global War On Subjects Continues And appreciate the very strong response that the Gordon Brown government has given to the attempts by these people. Continue reading Your President Speaks!
Today the Supreme Court “struck down public school choice plans in Seattle, Washington, and Louisville, Kentucky, concluding they relied on an unconstitutional use of racial criteria…” CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin described the scene at the Supreme Court today… TOOBIN: Boy, Tony, 15 minutes ago the Supreme Court was at war with itself in a drama that is rarely seen inside that room. You had two justices basically shouting out, not literally, but talking about the very premises of what it means to be an American. That was what was at stake in the court today. And the drama and the anger … Continue reading Never in the history of the court…
The GAO released correspondance sent to Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. It is as update of briefings on Rebuilding Efforts in the Gulf Coast that were given to staff and meant to assist in the committee’s oversight responsibilities. (Yeah I’m still waiting for some of that from Joe) At any rate there is nothing really new here. They once again make this very important point… While the federal government has provided billions of dollars in assistance to the Gulf Coast, a substantial portion of this aid was directed to short-term needs, … Continue reading Scout’s Obsession with the GAO: Perspective
Can I get a “hell yeah!” for Eureka, Arkansas? Norbizness translates self-hating Democrats: An overwhelming majority of Americans, polls show, support the substitution of gross political pandering over the medical judgment of committed professionals made in consultation with a woman having a difficult pregnancy. A list of ways to help the Yankees out of their oh-so-tragic slump. Via Metaquotes. Oh, my God, he’s a reporter’s dream: “What we’re talking about is a cracked-out, machete-wielding moron who went on his own personal countywide crime spree.” — Schwartz on the one man crime wave that police dealt with on 6/13. And with … Continue reading Sunday Reading
Guys, I’m as shocked as you are, but I think I actually respect this Freeper: When I was in school a brief statement was made that stated many people believe the world was created by a creator. That’s about all that was said and that’s about all that was necessary. And if that’s all that the IDers were asking for, the conversation would be over. Most science classes have a couple-sentence disclaimer like that, and if they don’t, a single student question can elicit one. We also had a “moment of silence” after the pledge of allegiance. I don’t see … Continue reading Today on Athenae’s Obsession with the Freepi: Rare Praise Edition