Four Senators talk to Steph

On ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, that selfsame former Clinton aide talked to four U.S. Senators at the same time: Nebraska's Chuck Hagel (R), Carl Levin (D) of Michigan, Kentucky's Mitch McConnell, and Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia. Now, skipping the Democrats as irrelevant… wait, it's never that easy.

It's never that easy covering four Senators speaking at the same time, especially when listening on radio. I know the voices.

McConnell said that the Intelligence reform bill which just failed in the House "may be on life support, but it's still breathing." (Steph framed the bill as a major part of the President's agenda, strongly implying that a defeat would be a humiliating legislative setback for President Bush.)

The main complain of the reluctant Republicans in the House was that the bill would take the tactical intelligence necessary for soldiers fighting wars on battlefields out of the hands of the D.O.D. Levin promised that the Senate had "made changes" in the legislation to fix that to the extent that they could while still creating a strong national intelligence figure.

Rockefeller said that the bill was dead: "Americans ought to remember the name Duncan Hunter, and also James Sensenbrenner." They were the two members of the House leadership who Rockefeller believes killed the bill, and he wants the American people to punish them for it.

In talking a Rockefeller, Steph suggested that the Goss memo – about which Rockefeller had complained bitterly – was actually an "appropriate admonition" to the agency not to treat intelligence politically. Rockefeller agreed and indicated that he had not read the entire memorandum when first he had complained.

Rockefeller borrowed the diatribe of Goss's old ranking member, Jane Harman (D-California) in criticizing Goss: he "moved to quick, brought in people… who do not work [well] with people." The staff Goss brought in was from the majority on the House Intelligence Committee, and Harman admitted that she didn't like them going back to when they worked for the committee. Prejudgment based on old gripes. Rockefeller described Goss as "partisan when he served on the House Intelligence Committee."

Levin said that if the Iraqi elections were not held in January, it would be a bad sign. He then went on to repeat the bogus list of "mistakes made by this Administration" which the erstwhile Kerry campaign had appropriated from Joe Biden. He said that in order to have the elections as scheduled, "we've got to give them a combination of carrots and sticks." I suppose them that they get a pellet, a tasty treat, if they make it through the maze and push the proper lever.

Rockefeller said that elections won't happen.

Hagel said that they have to happen.

McConnell said: "I don't think there's any chance these elections won't happen."

[For a complete review of the Sunday shows, see today's Rightsided Newsletter on the RSN site: HERE.]



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