February 4, 2006
-- The nation's governors are grumbling over inability to schedule
a meeting with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld when they
come to Washington Feb. 25-28 for the annual winter meeting of
the National Governors Association.
want to talk to Rumsfeld about his plans for National Guard troop
reduction. The Pentagon's response has been that the secretary
is busy managing hostilities in Iraq and Afghanistan and has no
time for a long gab session with governors.
theoretically are in command of the National Guard, the real control
is exercised by the Department of Defense. Governors are grateful
for their annual visit to the White House to see the president,
but they would much rather go to the Pentagon to talk National
Guard business with Rumsfeld.
Oxley, outgoing chairman of the House Financial Services Committee,
shouted in outrage at a closed-door conference of House Republicans
last Tuesday in protesting a reform barring from the House gymnasium
former congressmen who become lobbyists.
is not seeking election to a 13th term, is expected to become
a lobbyist. He was more restrained on the House floor Wednesday
in speaking against the reform, which also bans lawmakers-turned-lobbyists
from the House floor. But he voted against the measure. He resigned
as chairman of the gymnasium committee, effective immediately,
when the reform passed 379 to 50.
Former Majority Leader Tom DeLay surprised colleagues when he
voted against the leadership-backed proposal.
Gov. Bill Richardson's stock for the 2008 Democratic presidential
nomination may rise or fall depending on whether Republican Rep.
Heather Wilson keeps her seat representing the New Mexico congressional
district that includes Albuquerque.
a principal target of Rep. Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the Democratic
Congressional Campaign Committee. Her opponent is state Attorney
General Patricia Madrid, who appears to have the financing to
wage a strong race against Wilson.
Gov. Mark Warner got a big boost in the '08 presidential derby
when his state elected Democrat Tim Kaine to succeed him. Richardson's
backers say he could experience a similar effect from Wilson's
members of Congress who have been trashing President Bush, including
several African-Americans, arrived at the House up to 45 minutes
ahead of President Bush's State of the Union address in order
to get aisle seats for his speech.
walked in shortly after 9 p.m., the Democrats on the aisle were
as eager as the Republicans opposite them to shake hands with
the president. African-American Democrats Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick
of Michigan and Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas engaged in hugs and
kisses with Bush. He shared a joke that caused Rep. Stephanie
Tubbs Jones, who had formerly challenged Bush's 2004 electoral
votes from Ohio, to laugh uproariously.
Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, now the House's top African-American
as the newly elected chairman of the Democratic Caucus, was the
only member of the House Democratic leadership to keep his seat
and not rise in applause during Bush's address.
Harman of California, ranking minority member of the House Intelligence
Committee, was on her feet clapping in response to nearly all
of President Bush's national security applause lines Tuesday night
while fellow Democrats generally kept their seats. An exception
was the president's defense of wiretapping, where Harman shook
her head vigorously and stayed seated.
Nelson, Bush's most consistent Democratic supporter in the Senate,
was often alone on his side of the aisle in rising to applaud
the president. Nelson, up for re-election this year in heavily
Republican Nebraska, also praised Bush's address in television
interviews after the speech.
Schumer of New York, a sharp critic of Bush, clapped and started
to rise when the president called for renewal of the Patriot Act.
But he stayed down when he noted that Democrats around him were
keeping their seats.
2006 Creators Syndicate