The DC Morning 2/19

AJ Contributor
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White House fails to seduce Sestak — Iraq War gets nice new name — Obama goes rogue on health care — White House adviser joins lobbying group — CPAC speakers unveil stinging new one-liners — Did five Muslim soldiers plot to poison food at South Carolina base?

1.) Democrats give up on electing Democrats to higher office — The White House is “angry” with Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak for admitting on Larry Kane’s radio show that Obama’s team “offered him a federal job in an effort to dissuade him from challenging Sen. Arlen Specter in the state’s Democratic primary.” According to, Sestak “recalled the White House offer coming in July, as he was preparing to formally announce his Senate candidacy in August.” In addition to White House pressure, Democratic leaders in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Washington have told Sestak to hang up his campaign buttons, toss his hand sanitizer, and forget those talking points, lest he ruin Specter’s chances at another six years of sexist waffling. Apparently, the Democratic Party is no longer in the business of supporting actual Democrats.

2.) George Lucas renames Iraq War — Borrowing liberally from iconic films “Star Wars: A New Hope” and “Red Dawn,” Pres. Barack Obama has renamed “Operation Iraqi Freedom”–which no one really liked anyway–“Operation New Dawn,” the only name of the several thousand considered that was determined to be categorically worse than its predecessor. According to a memo from Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the new name sends “a strong signal that Operation IRAQI FREEDOM has ended and our forces are operating under a new mission.” Close followers of the Iraq war do not expect the change will be met with enthusiasm from Iraqis. “After all,” points out ABC’s Jake Tapper, “Operation New Dawn was the name for the bloody and grueling 2004 battle for Fallujah.”

3.) Obama will soon post something on Internet — The White House plans to avoid a Republican filibuster of the Democrats’ health care bill by reconciling the Senate and House versions over the weekend, according to FOX News and the New York Times. “By piggybacking the legislation onto a budget bill, Democrats would be able to advance the bill with a simple majority of just 51 votes, averting a Republican filibuster in the Senate.” The president’s version of the bill will be posted on the Internet several days in advance of the Feb. 25 health care summit, which has some people wondering what exactly Pres. Obama meant when he said of the summit, “I want to come back and have a large meeting, Republicans and Democrats, to go through, systematically, all the best ideas that are out there and move it forward.”

4.) Obama health care adviser leaves White House for lobbying group — Health care reform adviser Neera Tanden is leaving the White House for the Center for American Progress, a liberal lobbying group, The New Republic reports. “A source close to Tanden says the move has been in the works for months–and that she’s leaving now only because she couldn’t postpone the departure any longer. Her advocacy for health care reform, a cause she has long championed, will continue.” The question to ask now is, will Tanden’s advocacy continue at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW?

5.) Dick and Mitt pile on Barack — Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Vice President Dick Cheney took turns lighting into Pres. Barack Obama yesterday at CPAC, the annual conservative convention that is equal parts Philadelphia circa 1776 and Cancun circa 2009. Romney, who admitted that he and his perfect mane are “regarded somewhat suspiciously at gatherings like this,” went on to accuse Obama of promoting “the most anti-growth, anti-investment, anti-jobs measures we’ve seen in our lifetimes.” Cheney, ever the showman, outdid the chatty Romney with a single phrase: “I think Barack Obama is a one-term president.”

6.) Army looking into poisoned food plot at South Carolina base — FOX News reports this morning that “[f]ive suspects, detained in December, [who] were part of an Arabic translation program…and use Arabic as their first language” were detained in December after Army investigators got wind of a plot to poison the food supply at Fort Jackson in South Carolina. The Army refused to confirm or deny the allegations, which FOX attributes to three different anonymous Army sources. The AP, which credits FOX with breaking the story, was told by Army spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Garver that Army investigators in South Carolina “have not found any credible information to substantiate the allegations.”

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