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ThinkFast: January 17, 2008

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"ThinkFast: January 17, 2008"

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After hearing testimony from CIA Acting General Counsel John A. Rizzo, Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) indicated yesterday that CIA official Jose A. Rodriguez Jr. “ordered the destruction of videotapes depicting agency interrogation sessions even though he was directed not to do so.” Rodriguez was previously said to never have been “instructed to preserve them.”

The Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee, a group dedicated to fighting illegal immigration, launched an effort to draft CNN’s Lou Dobbs into the presidential race as an independent.

In recognition of the difficulty in passing timelines for withdrawal from Iraq, anti-war groups will instead “push for legislation to prevent President Bush from entering into a long-term agreement with the Iraqi government that could keep significant numbers of troops in Iraq for years to come.”

Americans are “revved up — and ready to vote.” According to a new USA Today/Gallup poll, 62 percent of voters “say they’re more enthusiastic about voting than usual. That’s 17 percentage points higher than at this point in 2000 and 6 points higher than in 2004 — a year in which November turnout was the highest in a generation.”

Asked about an incident this month involving Iranian speedboats and U.S. warships in the Strait of Hormuz, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said “he did not know who was responsible for a threat made over the radio that brought the United States and Iran close to confrontation.”

The number of abortions has “plunged to 1.2 million a year, down 25% since peaking in 1990,” according to a new report by the Guttmacher Institute. Pro-choice advocates noted that women “may be avoiding unwanted pregnancies, thanks in part to the morning-after pill, emergency contraception that is sold without a prescription to women 18 and older.”

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke “told lawmakers that he can support tax cuts or spending measures to stimulate the economy” that are “quick and temporary,” even “if they increase the budget deficit.” Bernanke refused to comment on linking “a stimulus package with a permanent extension of President Bush’s tax cuts,” which may disappoint conservatives.

At an event in South Carolina yesterday, a questioner angrily confronted John McCain about his support for removal of the Confederate flag from the state Capitol. “My answer to that is I can’t be more proud of the overwhelming majority of the people of this state who came together in taking that flag off the top of the Capitol,” said McCain to a standing ovation.

68 percent: Americans who “say individuals should be required to have medical insurance, with government help for those who cannot afford it,” according to a new poll by The Commonwealth Fund. In the survey, even 52 percent of Republicans said they support health care mandates.

And finally: Yesterday, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) “tried another career on for size: flight attendant.” Playing flight attendant on a chartered 737 carrying her staff and members of the media, Clinton said over the loud speaker, “Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, and welcome aboard the maiden flight of Hill Force One.” She joked that the FAA prohibits the use of electronic devices “that may be used to transmit a negative story about me” and added that the “in-flight entertainment” would be her “stump speech.” (Video here.)

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