ThinkFast: May 14, 2008

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"ThinkFast: May 14, 2008"

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By an eight-point margin, Democrat Travis Childers won a GOP-held House seat in northern Mississippi yesterday, “leaving the once-dominant House Republicans reeling from their third special-election defeat of the spring.” The seat had been held by Republicans since 1995; in 2004, Bush won the district with 62 percent of the vote.

In an interview yesterday, President Bush said he wasn’t “misled” into invading Iraq. “You know, ‘mislead’ is a strong word; it almost connotes some kind of intentional — I don’t think so. … Intelligence communities all across the world shared the same assessment. And so I was disappointed to see how flawed our intelligence was,” Bush said. “Do I think somebody lied to me? No, I don’t.”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is now reaching out to Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) “in the hope of finding a compromise on a GI Bill that would eliminate a potential embarrassment for the Arizona Republican’s presidential campaign.” Yesterday, there were also “discussions” between Webb and McCain ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), along with “a staff meeting that lasted more than an hour.”

On Tuesday, former White House Counsel Harriet Miers predicted that “her constitutional clash with Congress over executive privilege” may not be settled until after Bush leaves office. “It wouldn’t surprise me if it extended beyond this administration,” said Miers, who was cited for contempt by Congress after refusing to testify about her role in the U.S. attorney scandal.

President Bush said that when he leaves the White House, the first thing he’ll do is resume e-mailing his buddies. “I can remember as governor, I could stay in touch with all kinds of people around the country firing off e-mails at all times of the day to stay in touch with my pals,” he said.

“Nearly seven in 10 Americans are worried about maintaining their standard of living,” a Washington Post-ABC News poll found. “More than eight in 10 said the country has veered pretty seriously off-track, and a separate poll released yesterday by ABC showed economic anxiety at its highest level on record since 1981.”

U.S. foreclosure filings hit a record high last month, “rising almost 65% over the previous year and putting municipalities at risk by cutting into the value of taxed property.” Nearly one in every 519 households received a foreclosure filing in April.

The Senate “rejected a Republican energy plan that promised to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration, an option that was part of an overall package to increase domestic energy development.” Instead, the Senate “voted 97-1 to suspend oil deposits in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve” as gas prices continue to climb.

And finally: Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) may sport a “well-coifed ‘do” now, but when he was younger, the senator had “shaggy” hair. Roll Call reports that “it was apparently Coleman’s old flowing-locks look that led a local Minneapolis TV station to mix up a photo of the Senator with that of a former member of the Symbionese Liberation Army, who just happens to be a woman.” The woman, Sara Jane Olson, was “indicted for setting pipe bombs in a 1975 bank robbery with other SLA members.”

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