David Frum October 31st, 2010 at 9:01 pm 85 Comments
Politico reports that GOP leaders are seriously discussing how to do it. Is this the birth of the “Draft Jeb” movement?
Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader fighting to hold his seat in Nevada, said on a taped television appearance on Sunday he planned to bring legislation that would create a path for some illegal immigrants to gain legal status to a vote in the post-election session of Congress.
The move may thrust the issue of immigration into the heart of the political debate in the hours leading to Tuesday’s midterm elections.
Mr. Reid announced his intentions on Univision’s “Al Punto,” a Spanish-language political talk show. His appearance was a pitch to Nevada’s Hispanic voters as he fights for re-election against Sharron Angle, a Tea Party-backed Republican with whom he is essentially tied in polls. Immigration is a dominant issue in the Nevada Senate race. And Hispanics, who turned out in droves to help elect President Obama in 2008, could give an edge to Mr. Reid.
The legislation, called the Dream Act, would grant conditional permanent residency to illegal immigrant students and illegal immigrants who agree to serve in the military.
“I have the right to bring that up any time I want; that’s why I brought it up the first time. I am a believer in our needing to do something,” Mr. Reid said in the interview, which was taped Thursday in Las Vegas.
Mr. Reid said he would bring the measure to the floor in the lame-duck session regardless of the election’s outcomes.
More than 200,000 people showed up Saturday on the National Mall for the “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.”
The crowd reached about 215,000, according to an estimate commissioned by CBS News on Sunday.
The company AirPhotosLive.com based the rally attendance on photos taken from above the Mall, with a margin of error of plus or minus 10 percent, CBS reported today.
Rally participants such as Jon Stewart estimated the tally at about 150,000, although he joked that 10 million people were in attendance. His cohort in political-comedy crime, Stephen Colbert, jokingly made early predictions of 6 billion, roughly 700 million short of the world’s estimated population of 6.69 billion, according to World Bank figures.
Officials at Metro, Washington’s public transportation system, said by 3 p.m. Saturday about 369,900 people had used the system, well ahead of a typical Saturday that sees usage between 325,000 and 350,000. Final numbers are expected Monday.
Republican Sarah Palin predicted a “political earthquake” on Tuesday in which the GOP will win big in elections across the country.
“The message has been sent [to Democrats] that they blew it,” Mrs. Palin said on “Fox News Sunday.” “You blew it, President Obama. We gave you two years” to improve the economy.
Mrs. Palin, a former Alaska governor whose backing has helped several “tea party” candidates reach the November elections, said those candidate will not have to compromise their independent ideals if elected and dismissed the idea that extending Bush-era tax cuts will increase the deficit by $4 trillion.
“The money wasn’t even there to start with,” she said.
Staring down the prospect of big losses in both the House and Senate Tuesday, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden made one last impassioned appeal to the party’s base Sunday, warning supporters that if Democrats don’t turn out in big numbers Tuesday, the progress of the last two years will be lost.
Obama repeated a line he has employed in just about every stump speech he has given over the past month, acknowledging that Democrats face an uphill battle Tuesday. “Cleveland, there is no doubt that this is a difficult election,” Obama said.
But the president accused Republicans of feeling “cocky,” ahead of Election Day, highlighting recent comments from House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) who proclaimed “this is not a time for compromise.”
“The Republican leader of the Senate said that his main goal over the next two years is to beat me in the next election,” Obama told the crowd. “The only way to fight that kind of politics, to match the millions of dollars in negative ads that have been pouring down using these phony front groups; the only way to fight it is millions of voices that are ready to finish what we started in 2008.”
Investigators examining explosives found in packages intercepted in Britain and Dubai suspect the material, preliminarily identified as PETN, points not only to the role of an al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen but to a sophisticated bomb-maker who last year sent his brother to his death in an effort to kill a Saudi prince.
Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, a 28-year-old Saudi national who is on that country’s most-wanted list, secreted a PETN-based bomb in a body cavity of his younger brother, Abdullah, who pretended to be turning himself in. The bomb killed his brother and wounded Mohammed bin Nayef, a top counterterrorism official and Saudi royal.
Asiri, who is based in Yemen, is also believed to have built the underwear bomb that a Nigerian man trained in Yemen attempted to detonate last Christmas Day on a commercial aircraft approaching Detroit. That device also contained PETN, or pentaerythritol trinitrate.
“He is certainly someone we are focused on,” a U.S. official said of Asiri.
Both packages were shipped from Yemen, where officials said Saturday that they had arrested a woman suspected of mailing them. Her mother also was arrested.
One of the two bombs mailed from Yemen to Chicago-area synagogues traveled on two passenger flights within the Middle East, a Qatar Airways spokesman told the Associated Press Sunday.
The airline spokesman said a package containing explosives hidden in a printer cartridge arrived in Qatar Airways’ hub in the capital Doha on one of the carrier’s flights from Yemen, AP reported.
According to the Associated Press report, it was then shipped on a separate Qatar Airways plane to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, where it was discovered by authorities late Thursday or early Friday. A second, similar package turned up in England on Friday.
The airline spokesman disclosed the information on condition of anonymity in line with the company’s standing policies on conversations with the media, the AP said. He did not give any timeframe for the two flights in question – the airline operates daily passenger flights from Yemen.
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh told reporters in the capital, Sanaa, that the United States and the United Arab Emirates had provided information that helped identify the woman who was arrested. She was arrested at her home in Sanaa.
Reuters reported that the woman, who was not named, is a medical student in her 20s.
Yemeni police arrested the woman after tracing her through a telephone number she had left with a cargo company, Reuters reported Sunday.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin claimed on Sunday that she has video evidence proving that reporters for a CBS affiliate in Alaska conspired to show Joe Miller, the state’s Republican Senate nominee, in a negative light.
“CBS reporters are on tape saying, ‘Let’s find a child molester in the crowd that supports Miller,’” the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Those are corrupt bastards.”
Palin, who is a Fox News contributor, said she “can’t wait” to show the tape, which she says was recorded at a recent rally that she addressed in Alaska. The tape was posted Saturday night on Big Journalism.
The former Alaska governor blamed the media for Miller’s drop in polls after leading Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who’s waging a write-in campaign. Polls now show Miller trailing, but Palin still expressed confidence that her chosen candidate will win.
“The things this fella has had to put up with, it’s no wonder the numbers have been tightening,” she said.
A high-level GOP source tells me that party leaders have essentially given up on Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller and are now banking on a victory by write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski as the best bet for Republicans to keep the Alaska Senate seat.
Murkowski defied party leaders by running a write-in campaign after she lost the Republican primary last month. But with Miller’s campaign faltering, the source tells me that Republican leaders are now worried that Democrat Scott McAdams has a shot of winning and that Murkowski may be the only way to stop him.
It’s a remarkable turnaround for Murkowski. She was punished by party leaders last month — unceremoniously stripped of her post in the Senate leadership — when she refused to bow out of the Senate race and endorse Miller. But she has consistently said she is still a Republican and will caucus with the Republican party if she wins.
The nightmare scenario for Republicans is that McAdams comes in second on Election Day, trailing “write-in candidate.” Those write-in votes won’t be counted unless there are more write-in votes than there are votes for any candidate on the ballot. Once the write-in votes are counted, however, some of them will inevitably be disqualified (illegible writing, wrong name, etc.). And a small number will be for candidates other than Murkowski. If enough are tossed out, second place McAdams would be the winner.
National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (R-Texas) conceded Sunday that it will take two election cycles for his party to take control of the Senate.
Only two days shy of the midterm elections on Tuesday, Cornyn said Republicans will “make a lot of headway” but “I’m not predicting that we will get the majority this cycle.”
“I think it probably is going to take two cycles, but there is certainly a potential there, depending on just how high and how broad this wave election is,” Cornyn said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
He pushed back on reports that Republicans were pulling their support for Senate candidate Joe Miller, who is in a close race with incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), running as a write-in after he defeated her in the Republican primary, and Democratic candidate Scott McAdams.
“Well, that’s not the case,” Cornyn said. “We are supporting the nominee of our party, which is Mr. Miller, but we are concerned.”
With the tight race, Cornyn said that what Republicans “want to make sure of is that the Democrat doesn’t win.”
Dilma Rousseff has won the election for president in Brazil, according to the country’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal Minister, making her the nation’s first woman to hold the office.
TSE Minister Ricardo Lewandowski made the announcement to the local press around 8 p.m. local time (6 p.m. Eastern) stating on the tribunal’s website that she was “mathematically elected the president of Brasil.”
Rousseff — President Luiz Inacio da Silva’s right-hand woman — has served as his chief of staff. Previously, as energy minister, she claims to have helped turn Brazil into one of the world’s leading energy giants.
A left-wing guerrilla fighter during the military dictatorship rule in the 1960s, Rousseff said during a congressional hearing that she was “barbarically tortured” after she was charged with subversion by the military regime.
Her opponent, Jose Serra, also suffered persecution during Brazil’s military rule and was forced into exile during the 1960s.
A centrist politician, he served as health minister during Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s government. He recently left his job as governor of Brazil’s richest state, Sao Paulo, to run for presidency.
Millions of voters lined up across Brazil’s vast territory to vote in the heated runoff.