President Bush got in a little swipe at Congress during his swing through Australia yesterday, and Rep. Rahm Emmanuel, the influential Chicago Democrat, quickly fired off a nasty letter to the White House. In the letter, published on The Tribune Co.’s The Swamp, Emmanuel calls the president’s remark a “false and gratuitous shot” and writes:
It has long been the custom that members of Congress do not go overseas and criticize the president that partisanship ends at the water’s edge. But reading today’s accounts of the President’s remarks in Australia, it is clear he has a different view. Asked about the lack of political progress in Iraq, the President said Iraq’s Parliament had passed 60 laws, and added, “It’s more than our legislature passed.”
But Emmanuel must not have been following the doings of his colleague and presidential candidate, Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, who is currently visiting Syria: In the Jerusalem Post, Kucinich is quoted as saying, “I feel the United States is engaging in an illegal occupation … I don’t want to bless that occupation with my presence … I will not do it.” The Post reports, “Kucinich, who accused the Bush administration of policies that have destabilized the Mideast, met with Syrian President Bashar Assad during his visit to Damascus. He said Assad was receptive to his ideas of ‘strength through peace.’ ”
The conservative Don Surber, writing on his blog at The Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail, has some advice for Emmanuel. He writes:
We shall see how serious Emanuel is about this water’s edge business. Emanuel heads the Democratic congressional efforts.
Unless he is an insincere, cheapshot-taking charlatan, Emanuel will withdraw all party help for Kucinich’s re-election bid to Congress and run a candidate against Kucinich in the Ohio Democratic Primary.
That is how Republicans handle their problems — right under the bus they go. Just ask Larry Craig.
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So who made the biggest impression at the big Fox News Republican presidential debate? The guy who didn’t show up, of course.
Jennifer Rubin at The American Spectator online feels that Fred Thompson’s team had a bumpy start:
Some days are just bad days. Todd Harris, Communications Director for Thompson, will have better ones than today … it was raining on Thompson over at NRO earlier. Now they dump more cold water, pointing to comments from Rush and more Fox coverage. Far be it for me to be the voice of restraint (or maybe I’m a contrarian at heart) but it’s all either wiped away in a week by a fabulous start or everyone shakes their heads and says: “Wes Clark.” It will have much more to do with what he says, the crowds he gets, and the energy he shows than anything that happened today. (Unless of course, this is not the end of the departures or all these disgruntled ex-Fredheads keep talking.)
John Podhoretz at The Corner sees a similar frosty welcome. “The Fox News debate began with a message from Fergus Cullen, the chairman of the New Hampshire Republican party, ‘Campaigns should be about more than 30 second ads,’ he said. Then he said something about how the candidates have worked hard over the past months to meet voters. Has the New Hampshire Republican party declared war on Fred Thompson?”
Meanwhile, Eric Kleefeld at TPM election central is gleefully checking up on the new candidate’s other problems: “Jim Mills, who only weeks ago left his position as a high-ranking Fox News producer in order to join Thompson’s communications team, has left the campaign. After about a month in the Thompson camp, Mills has been replaced by former Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Karen Hanretty and Bush 2004 communications staffer Jeff Sadowsky.”
It’s enough to warm the heart of any liberal loyalist, or at least of Jeralyn Merritt, writing at Talkleft:
“The other candidates have an 8 month lead on him and more money. I don’t think any Republican candidate has warmed the hearts and minds of voters. Not that I’m complaining.”
No, Jeralyn, the complaints seem to be coming from the right this morning.