ThinkFast: November 16, 2006

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"ThinkFast: November 16, 2006"

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Conservative senators say they are “eager” to have Trent Lott (R-MS) return to leadership as Minority Whip. “He’s the most effective leader I know,” said John McCain (R-AZ), “who has won Lott’s support for his likely presidential bid.”

President Bush has told senior advisers that the United States needs to make “a last big push” to win the war in Iraq and “that instead of beginning a troop withdrawal next year, he may increase U.S. forces by up to 20,000 soldiers.”

At a Senate hearing yesterday, CentCom commander Gen. John Abizaid publicly said for the first time “that the American position in Iraq had been undermined by the Bush administration’s decision not to deploy a larger force to stabilize the country in 2003.”

U.S. funds intended to promote democracy in Cuba have been used to buy crab meat, cashmere sweaters, computer games and chocolates,” a government audit found. President Bush has planned to boost spending by $80 million on the program, which critics “have long charged…[is] aimed more at winning votes in Miami than triggering political change on the communist island.”

President Bush yesterday renominated six controversial judicial nominees that the Senate had previously blocked for being unqualified or too partisan.

Yesterday, the House once again approved a stopgap spending bill “to keep the federal government running through Dec. 8.” An earlier stopgap from September will expire on Friday, which Congress implemented because it “left most of the work on regular spending bills unfinished when it adjourned in early October to allow members to campaign for re-election.”

Former Wisconsin Gov. and Bush Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson (R) said yesterday that he plans to run for president. Asked about his reason for running, Thompson said, “Why not?

The Bush administration’s plan to build a high-tech “virtual fence” along U.S. borders “is likely to cost far more than the $2 billion that industry analysts initially estimated, possibly up to $30 billion, a government watchdog agency warned yesterday.”

And finally: John Abizaid’s milkshake is better than yours. During a long day of testimony yesterday, Gen. John Abizaid and Amb. David Satterfield told Rep. Vic Snyder (D-AR) they had no time for lunch. Snyder told them “it was too bad they didn’t even have a chance for a milkshake. ‘They have good ones here, you know,’ Snyder said.” A little after 4 pm, “Snyder quietly sat next to Satterfield and Abizaid as they testified. He held in his hands two chocolate milkshakes.

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