TheDC Morning: No press allowed
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1.) No press allowed — Journalists aren’t liking the lack of transparency from the president who claimed he runs “the most transparent administration in history.” TheDC’s Neil Munro reports:
“White House reporters squirmed with frustration this weekend when President Barack Obama’s aides repeatedly stiff-armed their attempts to follow him on his three-day Florida vacation and his golf outing with Tiger Woods. The media’s frustration prompted a protest by the White House Correspondents Association, and a rapid slap-down by the White House’s press shop. ‘A broad cross section of our members from print, radio, online and TV have today expressed extreme frustration to me about having absolutely no access to the President of the United States this entire weekend,’ said a Feb. 17 statement from Ed Henry, a Fox News correspondent who is also the elected head of the WHCA.”
It’s hard to tell if journalists were genuinely outraged by their lack of access or whether they just wanted a chance to get Tiger Woods’ autograph. It would go well with their signed Obama 2012 yard signs. TheDC imagines, though, that the first lady probably wasn’t thrilled to hear the president tell her, “I’m going on a guys weekend … with Tiger Woods.” Fortunately for her, her husband isn’t Bill Clinton.”
“Just last week, Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu argued during a Capitol Hill hearing that the government needs more tax revenue. But in a twist of hypocrisy, the Louisiana senator and her husband appear to have not yet paid $1,206.95 in tax penalties to the District of Columbia government on their Capitol Hill home, The Daily Caller has learned. According to public records available online in the District of Columbia’s ‘Real Property Assessment Database,’ the D.C. government has penalized Landrieu $1,003.33, plus $202.62 in interest, for 2012 taxes on her mansion on East Capitol Street. It is unclear what the penalty is for.”
3.) The right to mediocrity — If President Obama wants a bad secretary of defense, it’s his prerogative, says George Will. TheDC’s Jeff Poor reports:
“On Sunday’s broadcast of ABC’s ‘This Week,’ Washington Post columnist George Will said Republicans should stop stalling the nominations of Chuck Hagel and John Brennan, who are respectively President Barack Obama’s selections to be secretary of state and CIA director. ‘Most sensible Republicans believe that a president is owed vast deference in picking his Cabinet, because the Cabinet leaves when he leaves and the Cabinet exists to implement his policies,’ Will said, drawing a distinction between lifetime judicial appointments and Cabinet posts. ‘If the president wants a terrible secretary of defense, he’s got a right to him, and I think he’ll get him.”
Theoretically, yes. But as more comes out on Hagel, it may get to the point where it would be irresponsible to confirm him. This week could be decisive, though it is still more likely than not Hagel will be the next Pentagon chief.
4.) Could this speech prevent Hagel’s confirmation? — More information is coming out about Chuck Hagel’s 2007 speech at Rutgers University. Charles Johnson reports for TheDC:
“A pro-Hezbollah, pro-Hamas candidate for the Iranian presidency, a man linked to Iranian-controlled front groups, brought former Republican Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel to speak at Rutgers University in 2007, according to another professor on campus. Hooshang Amirahmadi, who led Rutgers’ Center for Middle Eastern Studies when Hagel came to campus, is the founder and president of the American-Iranian Council. He arranged for Hagel’s speech on March 2, 2007, according to the faculty source. Iran’s Guardian Council cleared Amirahmadi to run for the presidency in 2013. Approval of the regime is required before candidates’ names can appear on the ballot. To be approved, candidates must be Shia, male, and committed to the Islamic revolution.”
But the real kicker is what Hagel reportedly said during the speech. According to an online report written at the time by a friendly writer, Hagel said the U.S. State Department “has become adjunct to the Israeli Foreign Minister’s office.” If this can be confirmed with video from the event, it might be the type of thing that could get pro-Israel Democrats to reconsider their support for Hagel.
5.) Poll of the Day: Republicans aren’t popular — A CBS News poll asked adults nationwide about their opinion of the Republican Party: 31% said they had a favorable view, 60% said they had an unfavorable view, while 9% said they were unsure. The same poll found that 47% of Americans had a favorable opinion of Democrats, while 45% had an unfavorable opinion.