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ThinkFast: September 13, 2007

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"ThinkFast: September 13, 2007"

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At a White House meeting this week, President Bush told Democratic leaders said he planned to “start doing some redeployment.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) immediately interjected: “No you’re not, Mr. President. … You’re just going back to the presurge level.”

Citing remarks about troop withdrawals by Gen. David Petraeus, “Democrats began a fresh campaign Wednesday to woo centrist Republicans on Iraq.” “Petraeus assured me that he favors continuing reductions beyond the pre-surge levels,” Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) said.

Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) blasted Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell yesterday for taking political orders from the White House. Harman ended her comments by saying, “Jane to Mike: please stop. You’re undermining the authority of your office.”

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is poised to reexamine “the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal in coming weeks.” Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) “issued letters to a range of Abramoff associates seeking information about his contacts with the White House.”

78 years: The life expectancy for Americans, according to new government figures from 2005. While the span is the longest in U.S. history, it is still “lower than the life span in more than three dozen other countries.”

16,306: Number of species “near extinction” according to the World Conservation Union, up from 16,118 last year. Experts attributed the jump in endangered species to habitat loss, climate change, and infectious diseases.

At a Senate hearing yesterday, lawmakers investigated the influx of toys from China with lead paint and other defects. The Washington Post writes that instead of showing contrition, Nancy Nord — the chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission — “treated lawmakers as if they were impertinent children.”

“A carefully constructed compromise on a draft law governing Iraq’s rich oil fields, agreed to in February after months of arduous talks among Iraqi political groups, appears to have collapsed. The apparent breakdown comes just as Congress and the White House are struggling to find evidence that there is progress toward reconciliation and a functioning government.”

“A bomb ripped through a crowd of civilians at a public square in eastern Baghdad on Thursday,” shattering the calm on the first day of Ramadan — the Muslim month of fasting — and killing at least four people, Iraqi officials said.

And finally: On Monday, House members held candles to commemorate the 9/11 anniversary. All was “well and good” until House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) candle-card “caught on fire in the middle of her remarks. Ever the cool customer, the speaker threw it to the ground and stomped it out with her foot, never once breaking stride in her speech.” Rep. Steve Cohen’s (D-TN) candle-card also caught on fire. See pictures HERE.

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