ThinkFast: June 5, 2008


Today, the Senate Intelligence Committee will release “the last in a series of reports” on the Bush administration’s use of false intelligence ahead of the Iraq invasion. “The report reinvigorates a longstanding debate over whether the intelligence failures in the lead-up to the Iraq war were largely because of faulty intelligence or because of policy makers’ faulty use of intelligence.”

The Bush administration is bypassing the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee and is talking directly with Democrats about re-writing the nation’s surveillance laws. ““He’s not really in it,” Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) says of his colleague, Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO). “Bond, he’s just complicating things.” Bond said the White House has “assured him that it was not negotiating behind his back.”

While President Bush has been “on a crusade against lawmakers’ pet projects” known as earmarks, today “he plans to attend a groundbreaking ceremony for a $100 million whopper that was slipped into a spending bill almost four years ago.” The funds were earmarked for the new headquarters of the U.S. Institute of Peace.

In an attempt “to tie Democrats to high gas prices,” House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) is urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to bring global warming legislation to the floor “as soon as possible.” GOP leaders are calling the legislation a “cap-and-tax” plan.

We’re introducing a new feature in the morning ThinkFast called “on the trail.” We’ll be letting you know what the two major presidential candidates are up to each day.

On the trail today: Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) will campaign in Virginia, alongside Sen. Jim Webb, Senate candidate Mark Warner, and Gov. Tim Kaine. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) will hold fundraisers in Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale.

Sens. Barack Obama (D-IL) and John McCain (R-AZ) are quietly working together on a good-government bill” authored by Obama and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK). McCain’s Senate office contacted Obama’s on Monday, asking to sign on to the bill “opening federal government contracts to public scrutiny.” Obama’s staff was happy to comply because “they knew support from the two presumptive nominees” would help the measure pass.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) plans to “endorse Senator Barack Obama on Saturday, bringing a close to her 17-month campaign for the White House,” reports the New York Times. “Howard Wolfson, one of Mrs. Clinton’s chief strategists, and other aides said she would express support for Mr. Obama and party unity at an event in Washington that day.”

According to a new Pew Hispanic Center report, “[u]nemployment among Latinos — particularly immigrants — jumped in the last year, wiping out many of their economic gains.” The report also found that “aggressive new enforcement raids by immigration officials may be a contributing factor to the rising rate of joblessness.”

Yesterday, a pair of explosions in Baghdad killed at least 22 people as “insurgents launched attacks aimed at Iraqi police officers. It was the deadliest day in the capital in several months. Three U.S. soldiers were killed by small-arms fire in an attack in Hawija, near the northern oil city of Kirkuk.”

And finally: Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) was hospitalized Monday, “shortly after he released a strongly-worded statement condemning Vice President Dick Cheney for making an incest joke” at the expense of his state. Yesterday, Byrd was reportedly feeling “much better,” and “had just one burning question for his staff during a conference call with aides this morning: Did the vice president apologize yet to the people of West Virginia?” (He had.)

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments section.