Isaac Chotiner

Mitt Speaks!

Romney just quoted John Adams saying, "Freedom requires religion." This is a pretty radical statement, and something the candidate should be asked about later. Correction: Apparently that was not a John Adams quote; Romney said it on his own.   --Isaac Chotiner 

I don't quite understand Hendrik Hertzberg's argument is this week's New Yorker Comment. Hertzberg wants to tally up all the costs of the Iraq war, which he thinks include a lost chance for peace in the Middle East and lost respect for America around the world.

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Q Thank you. Another issue--on another issue of credibility in the Mideast, at the Annapolis summit, you used your influence to get Saudi Arabia to the table. But I wonder whether now you will use your influence to do something about the Saudi rape case that's gotten so much international attention. What goes through your mind when you hear about a 19-year-old Saudi women getting gang-raped by seven men and basically a Saudi court blames the victim and sentenced her to 200 lashes? You spoke to King Abdullah by telephone in the last couple of weeks. Did you press him on this case?

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The recent news about Iran's nuclear program has elicited amusing responses from our friends over at The Corner. Cliff May predictably smashes the NIE for being politically slanted against Bush. Even better, Victor Davis Hanson says that the disclosures present political trouble for liberal Democrats! Are they now to suggest that Republicans have been warmongering over a nonexistent threat for partisan purposes?

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Fund Fun

Bloomberg has a good story on Robert Rubin's speech at a Washington conference, where he called on Congress to "double tax rates for many hedge fund managers and private equity partners who classify their pay as capital gains." As TNR noted in a recent editorial, fund managers are now frequently able to classify earnings as capital gains because of a tax loophole. In addition to Rubin, Larry Summers also spoke out on the subject recently. Let's see if this becomes an issue in the presidential campaign as we move towards the first primaries. --Isaac Chotiner

Snub-Continent

MUMBAI, INDIA LAST YEAR, a 25-year-old Mumbai native named Savita went out with her boyfriend to celebrate Valentine’s Day. (The names of characters in this piece have been changed to protect their identities.) The couple chose an expensive Middle Eastern restaurant in Mumbai where, a few minutes into the meal, a group of men burst in and began to verbally harass them. “Why are you celebrating this American holiday?” they demanded before leaving. After Savita and her date finished their meal, they found the same group waiting for them outside. The men beat Savita’s companion badly.

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Charles Barkley's round face and massive body may be ubiquitous on television, but, in person, the former All-Star power forward is even more physically imposing. At the Atlanta studio that anchors TNT's NBA playoff coverage, Barkley greets me warmly with a strong handshake. Throughout the day, he greets guests in his green room--staffers, a reporter's father--by teasing them affectionately. When a young man, the son of a former TNT employee, enters and informs Barkley about his straight-A grades, Barkley tells him that he can have, as promised, $100 from his money clip.

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Charles Barkley's round face and massive body may be ubiquitous on television, but, in person, the former All-Star power forward is even more physically imposing. At the Atlanta studio that anchors TNT's NBA playoff coverage, Barkley greets me warmly with a strong handshake. Throughout the day, he greets guests in his green room--staffers, a reporter's father--by teasing them affectionately. When a young man, the son of a former TNT employee, enters and informs Barkley about his straight-A grades, Barkley tells him that he can have, as promised, $100 from his money clip.

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In addition to editing The New York Times Book Review, Sam Tanenhaus is an an expert on American conservatism. I talked with him last week--after his long essay about William F. Buckley went to press--about Buckley's particular style of conservatism, the future of the Republican Party, and whether the recent election actually presents a chance for the right to regroup. Hi, I'm Isaac Chotiner of The New Republic and I'm talking to Sam Tanenhaus who is the editor of The New York Times Book Review. Sam, Welcome. Hi, Isaac. Happy to be here. shi Sam has a piece in our new issue about William F.

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Saddam's Final Moments

The New York Times's Marc Santora has a riveting account of Saddam Hussein's final minutes, including this exchange between the late dictator and two guards:   The room was quiet as everyone began to pray, including Mr. Hussein. "Peace be upon Mohammed and his holy family." Two guards added, "Supporting his son Moktada, Moktada, Moktada.? Mr.

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