Newt's Handicapping

Granted, Newt has a vested interest in dumping on the current crop of GOP presidential candidates. But I think the critique of the Republican field that he gave to National Journal is pretty smart: Q: Let's talk about the Republicans who are in the race, starting with former Governor Mitt Romney. Is he the kind of visionary you think the country needs? Gingrich: Look, I think there are three or four possible Republican nominees -- [Rudy] Giuliani, Romney, [Fred] Thompson, [Mike] Huckabee, and, based on his recent re-energizing, [John] McCain. All of them are smart people.

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Obama's Iraq Week

Obama's swing through Iowa was all about Iraq. After delivering his initial address in Clinton, he held four town hall-style forums in the eastern part of the state. Before taking questions he opened each event with a 15-minute condensation of his Wednesday Iraq speech. His campaign also distributed Iraq-specific campaign brochures to supporters. One of them is headlined, "BARACK OBAMA: Opposed to the Iraq War from the Very Start." Printed on one side are the particulars of Obama's plans for a US withdrawal from the country.

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An Old Ruling On A New Case

In Sweatt v. Painter, the Supreme Court noted that a new law school could never, whatever its material endowment, acquire those qualities which are incapable of objective measurement but which make for greatness in a law school.

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From an email I just received promoting Digger Phelps's new book, Undertaker's Son: Life Lessons from a Coach: Head basketball coach of Notre Dame at age 29, a position he held for more than two decades with a 100 percent graduation rate, Richard "Digger" Phelps was an attention-getting figure in The White House's anti-drug program, part-time ambassador, is an adored ESPN commentator, and a possible Presidential candidate. [Emphasis added.] Nooooooo! --Jason Zengerle

Obama V Clinton In Clinton

Obama in Clinton, Iowa, just now: We do hope that the headline after we leave is, "Clinton Endorses Obama." An Obama aide assures me the location for today's Iraq speech was not chosen to make a pun-y point. Update: Here's the key Hillary-smacking portion of the speech: George Bush was wrong. The people who attacked us on 9/11 were in Afghanistan, not Iraq....

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Michael Crowley has written about Barack Obama's big Clinton, Iowa, Iraq-policy speech here and here. The full text of Obama's address is below. A few months ago, I met a woman who told me her nephew was leaving for Iraq. As she started to tell me about how much she'd miss him and how worried she was about him, she began to cry. "I can't breathe," she said. "I want to know when I am going to be able to breathe again." I have her on my mind when I think about what we've gone through as a country and where we need to go. Because we've been holding our breath over Iraq for five years.

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Primary Source

The full text of Joe Biden's opening statement at today's Petraeus-Crocker Senate hearing, after the jump: Six years ago this morning, agents of Al Qaeda attacked the United States of America and murdered 2,998 people. Please join me in a moment of silence for the victims of 9-11. [Moment of silence] Ambassador Crocker, General Petraeus: welcome.

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Empty Rhetoric

In its editorial today on yesterday's Iraq hearing, strangely titled "Empty Calories," the New York Times ended with a typically highfalutin condemnation: The American people deserve more than what the general and the diplomat offered them yesterday. For that matter, they deserve more than what was offered by Representative Ike Skelton, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. When protesters interrupted the hearing, Mr. Skelton ordered them removed from the room, which is understandable. But then he said that they would be prosecuted.

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Moving On

Mike's piece on pro-withdrawal efforts in yesterday's Times Magazine had a smart quote about Petraeus's Congressional testimony from MoveOn's Washington director Tom Matzzie: "Most of what we have to do will be done before he lands in Washington," Matzzie told me in late August. "We have to frame his statements before he makes them. He's not Saint Petraeus--he's General Petraeus." Matzzie's right. As a general--much less as the general who came up with the surge strategy--it's virtually inconceivable that Petraeus would go before Congress and say that he can't get the job done.

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Change of Heartland

What's not the matter with Kansas.

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