Curious George

by Richard Stern A bit too much beef on George Tenet. A bit too much of everything, gestures, words, passion, too many professions of devotion to the wonderful men and women of CIA, to his own unremitting labor, his day-and-night brooding about al Qaeda. How this beefy, expressive gentleman has worried about what more he could have done, how prevented 9/11, how capture bin Laden and Zawahiri. God knows he tried: He put the warning of imminent, bloody al Qaeda deeds into Condi Rice's hands weeks and weeks before 9/11, and what did she do but turn it over not to the president but to her deputy?

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Teenyboppers

Media Matters takes us back to May 1, 2003, when the "Mission Accomplished" banner unfurled, the president strutted onto the USS Abraham Lincoln in his parachute harness, and media figures dropped to their knees on live TV. Like this little guy: [CHRIS] MATTHEWS: What do you make of the actual visual that people will see on TV and probably, as you know, as well as I, will remember a lot longer than words spoken tonight? And that's the president looking very much like a jet, you know, a high-flying jet star. A guy who is a jet pilot. Has been in the past when he was younger, obviously.

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Beyond Hypocrisy

Timothy Noah points out that former USAID director Randall Tobias is a hypocrite for cavorting with call girls, seeing as how he oversaw USAID's policy of refusing AIDS funding to any group that didn't sign an anti-prostitution loyalty oath. That's an amusing bit of irony, but now seems like a good time to note that the policy really isn't very funny at all. When Congress first told USAID to make all its recipients sign the pledge, in 2003, lawyers at the Justice Department argued that the policy violated the First Amendment and should be ignored.

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Sunday's Times reported that Saudi Prince Bandar, then the country's notorious ambassador to the US, simply gave a Jaguar to Colin Powell days after his 2005 resignation as Secretary of State. A incredulous Josh Marshall asks how often this sort of thing happens. From Bob Woodward's State of Denial, here's another instance of Bandar's generosity: When Michael Deaver, one of President Reagan's top White House aides, left the White House to become a lobbyist, First Lady Nancy Reagan, another close Bandar friend, called and asked him to help Deaver.

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Eve Fairbanks explains how Harry Reid (an Iraq war moderate) became a dove while Carl Levin (a fierce war opponent) discovered caution; we also post a guide to the candidates' Iraq speeches; Gregg Easterbrook wonders why the press called Cho Seung-Hui a "shooter" rather than a "killer"; Suzanne Nossel says a coalition of China, Russia, and neighboring countries may subvert U.S. attempts to build international alliances; Benjamin Wittes argues that the Supreme Court found a third way on abortion; and John B. Judis fights Comcast so you don't have to. On Saturday, David A.

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NYT: If lawmakers remain in Baghdad, said one senior American official who did not want to be identified because he was discussing internal White House deliberations, "we'll have some outputs then." He added, "That's different from having outcomes," drawing a distinction between a sign of activity and a sign of success, which could take considerably longer. --Michael Crowley

Today's NYTimes has some details from Tenet's forthcoming memoir and, combined with the quotes from the CIA director's upcoming "60 Minutes" appearance, it's clear that, while Tenet has all sorts of ill will toward Cheney and Rice and Hadley, he isn't all that pissed at the President. Which boggles the mind--especially when it comes to the "slam dunk" revelation. The "slam dunk" quote--which Tenet made in a December 2002 Oval Office meeting attended by Bush, Cheney, Rice, Andy Card, and Tenet's deputy, John McLaughlin--first came to light in Bob Woodward's Plan of Attack.

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Race To The Bottom

Is Rudy Giuliani trying to outpander Mitt Romney? As Brad notes below, it appears so. Last night, he "came out" to the the New York Sun with news that he opposes the civil unions bill recently passed by the New Hampshire State Senate, expected to be signed into law by the Republican Governor. "In this specific case the law states same sex civil unions are the equivalent of marriage and recognizes same sex unions from outside states. This goes too far and Mayor Giuliani does not support it," his spokesman told the Sun.

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Fidel'n Friends

The Nation has a symposium on the future of Cuba.

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Maybe Bill Richardson thought he was saying something very clever and bi-partisan. After addressing the National Democratic Jewish Council (along with all the other aspirants for the nomination), he told members of the press that, if elected, he would consider appointing former secretary of state James Baker special envoy for the Middle East. Now, Richardson's whole campaign is self-delusional: he will not be nominated for president or, for that matter, vice president either. But, still...does he think Baker is a credible or popular figure?

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