ThinkFast: April 8, 2008


Aides say in today’s testimony, Gen. Petraeus will recommend keeping “troop levels steady” after July and will “also tell lawmakers that Iraq’s security situation has improved markedly in recent months but that the gains are fragile and could be easily reversed.”

$4 million: The cost of extending Vice President Cheney’s Secret Service protection for six months after the Bush administration ends. Because federal law grants protection only to the president and his family, “[e]xtending Cheney’s detail would require a directive from the president or a joint resolution of Congress.”

Lawmakers are charging that Attorney General Michael Mukasey has failed to live up to his pre-confirmation promise that there wouldn’t be “any stonewalling” over congressional requests. Despite “repeated congressional requests, some made as long as three years ago, key legal opinions and other department documents remain under wraps. That has prompted Democrats to accuse the Bush administration of trying to run out the clock.”

Elizabeth Edwards will be joining the Center for American Progress as a senior fellow. “In her new role, Edwards, who has gained a considerable following in the liberal blogosphere thanks to her willingness to vocally oppose conservative politicos from Sen. John McCain to commentator Ann Coulter, will also be contributing to CAP’s blog,” ThinkProgress.

In interviews with the Wall Street Journal, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan is defending himself against claims that “his management of the U.S. economy before he retired in 2006” sowed “the seeds of today’s financial crisis.” “I was praised for things I didn’t do,” said Greenspan. “I am now being blamed for things that I didn’t do.” He does admit, however, that “he was wrong about the improbability of a housing bubble.”

Since the late 1990s, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has served on the board of the Montana-based Project Vote Smart (PVS), which presses candidates to fill out a survey on where they stand on key issues. Despite the fact that he he has filled out the survey since 1992, McCain now refuses to do so (“after nine months, 17 phone calls, and 8 emails” from PVS). The PVS board has voted to remove McCain by April 9 unless he fills out the test.

Senate Republicans last night blocked a proposal to extend the FISA wiretapping law for another 30 days because Democrats oppose granting immunity for telecommunications companies. “It’s time for us to get serious and protect the companies that protect us,” Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said.

Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announced today that he is “indefinitely postponing mass anti-U.S. demonstrations planned for the following day because of fear his supporters would be attacked. The ‘million-strong march’ was scheduled to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad and had raised the prospect of mass action or unrest coinciding with testimony in Congress by the top U.S. officials in Iraq.”

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) may be called to testify on behalf of Deborah Palfrey, who was “accused of running an upscale Washington prostitution service.” Randall Tobias, a former senior State Department official, was also named a possible witness.

And finally: A new Fox 5/The Washington Times/Rasmussen poll finds that 71 percent of Americans believe politicians “embellish the truth” when discussing past accomplishments. The group most “leery” of politicians is men under the age of 40, “with 83 percent agreeing politicians exaggerated. The least suspicious were women younger than 40, at 64 percent.”

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