Tag Archives: hillary clinton

Obama Cabinet Watch: Commerce/HomeSec

Couple of new developments in President-elect Obama’s new Cabinet search.

Obama is believed to have been vetting billionaire Penny Pritzker for the post of Secretary of Commerce. Pritzker was the Obama campaign’s finance chairman; the two of them have long-standing ties in Chicago. However, a wrinkle has already made itself evident: Pritzker’s years-long history in the subprime mortgage industry. Her experience in the business goes right to the heart of the housing and credit meltdown: she and the bank she helped run in the early 1990s made a great deal of money converting subprime mortgages to securities and selling them to investors. Amazingly, the McCain campaign never brought this up to any noticeable degree during the election season, but now that it is drawing attention, it’s finally causing Obama some embarrassment. So much so, in fact, that Pritzker has withdrawn her name from consideration for the Commerce post.

Status of appointment: Story confirmed; acceptance initially forthcoming but withdrawn. Obama transition team cites “vetting issues.”

Another appointment appears to be going a bit more smoothly: Governor Janet Napolitano (D-AZ) has been named for Secretary of Homeland Security. Napolitano has made a few headlines on the immigration enforcement front, but her performance is dubious. Miz Michelle notes:

She vetoed a bill cracking down on phony matricula consular cards for illegal aliens and rejected efforts allowing more cooperation between local law enforcement and the feds. She opposes assimilationist measures on English language and ID requirements to prevent voter fraud; she supports in-state tuition discounts for illegal aliens.

In short, her record implies that she’s not big on enforcing existing immigration law, and the purportedly tough laws she has approved on the immigration front were intended primarily to take the air out of even tougher ballot measures being pushed by voters.

Status of appointment: Story and acceptance confirmed; Senate approval likely.

Over at the Pentagon, Obama appears to be mulling an interesting choice that is sure to rile his supporters on the antiwar left. He appears to be considering keeping current Secretary of Defense Robert Gates where he is for a while. Obama did say he’d reach across the aisle to make his Cabinet bipartisan, but this is a hell of a place to start! Not that I’m necessarily complaining; Sec. Gates oversaw the revamping of our approach to the Iraq War to include the troop surge that completely turned the war around (is this Obama’s way of finally admitting that the surge worked?). However, Obama’s core supporters who voted for him as an antiwar statement will not be thrilled with Obama putting a Bush Administration veteran at the head of the Iraq effort.

Status of retention: Unconfirmed but signals lean toward retention. Senate approval unnecessary.

Meanwhile, in Foggy Bottom news, Bill Clinton has just made a major move toward facilitating the ascent of Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) to Secretary of State. (Earlier post on the subject here.) He has agreed to reveal information about donors to his charitable foundation on which previously he had kept a death-grip, even during Hillary’s presidential campaign. There is still no solid offer on Obama’s part, nor an explicit expression of interest on Hillary’s part, so we still don’t know for sure whether Hillary wants the job, but from this unexpected spasm of transparency on Bill’s part we sure can get a sense of how much he wants it for her.

Status of appointment: Still pending; interest unclear. Intensifying vetting process may signal that there’s more communication between the Obama and Clinton camps than meets the eye.

Whew! Will bring more news as it comes.

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Forced down? By whom? Hillary’s sniper?

Sen. Joe Biden’s helicopter was “forced down” in Afghanistan mountains crawling with al-Qaeda?  That’s what he told a National Guard audience in Maryland today.  From Jake Tapper (emphasis mine):

If you want to know where Al Qaeda lives, you want to know where Bin Laden is, come back to Afghanistan with me,” Biden said. “Come back to the area where my helicopter was forced down, with a three-star general and three senators at 10,500 feet in the middle of those mountains. I can tell you where they are.”

… [E]arlier this month at a fundraiser, he made a similar remark, when discussing how he doesn’t care about the Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s controversies like whether she sold a state plane on eBay, or when she went from supporting to opposing the Bridge to Nowhere.

“What I care about is: What in God’s name is she going to do — along with John McCain — about the thousands of people who don’t have health care?” Biden said according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Biden said he would ask Palin about “The superhighway of terror between Pakistan and Afghanistan where my helicopter was forced down…John McCain wants to know where Bin Laden and the gates of Hell are? I can tell him where. That’s where Al Qaeda is. That’s where Bin Laden is. It’s not in the country of Iraq.”

OK…when Joe Biden tells — actually, no, let’s say, when a normal person tells a National Guard audience that his helicopter was forced down in the middle of what he says is a hotbed of al Qaeda activity, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?  Yes, of course, you wonder how he managed to survive the rest of the attack.  In other words, you get the impression that his helicopter was forced down by enemy activity.

What Biden doesn’t mention is that his helicopter was grounded by weather, and he and his travel-mates were driven back to base without incident before they traveled elsewhere.  Tapper again:

In February 2008, Biden — along with Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. — was on a chopper that made an emergency landing in the mountains of Afghanistan.

A snowstorm had forced them down.

No one was injured, and the Associated Press reported at the time that “the senators and their delegation returned to Bagram Air Base in a motor convoy, and left for Turkey.

Sen. Kerry was not quite so traumatized by the ordeal as Sen. Biden evidently was:

[Kerry told the AP at the time] We sat up there and traded stories.” Kerry joked, “We were going to send Biden out to fight the Taliban with snowballs, but we didn’t have to do it…Other than getting a little cold, it was fine.”

Given Biden’s well-documented history of creative self-aggrandizement, I doubt he was unaware how his harrowing tale of being forced out of the air in the epicenter of al Qaeda activity might sound, especially in front of a military audience.  You would think that he might have learned something from Hillary Clinton’s “tall tale” about dodging nonexistent sniper fire in Bosnia. I know the prospect of Sinbad making me look stupid would definitely make me think twice about spinning yarns that transform me into a combat veteran.

With friends like Air America…

OK, somebody please clear something up for me: exactly whose side is Air America’s Randi Rhodes on? (Hat tip: Radio Equalizer, via Hot Air.)

“Friends with all the teenage boys?”  Are you kidding me?  Does Rhodes really think she’s helping Barack Obama by casting Sarah Palin as a closet child molester?

I’m wondering if the same air of “inevitability” that did in Hillary Clinton and her supporters during the primary may well be choking Barack Obama’s bid now.  Explanation below the break.

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