Christine O’Donnell Tempted to Vote for Hillary Clinton for President in 2012

Despite all the cold water being thrown on the idea, former Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell may have surprised some people this morning by revealing witch potential 2012 candidate is casting a spell on her (take that, Jon Stewart!): Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In an interview with Good Morning America’s George Stephanopoulos, O’Donnell said she would “love to see (Hillary) take out Obama in the primary,” and would even be tempted to switch her registration to vote for Clinton.

Oddly, O’Donnell didn’t even mention mentor Sarah Palin until fellow guest D.L. Hughley brought her up, initially saying of possible GOP challengers that “anybody is better than Obama.”

Hughley gave Palin as an example of someone who’s not better than Obama. O’Donnell replied that “Sarah shoots from the hip,” to which Hughley responded, “So does a greeter at Wal-Mart, but I wouldn’t want him to run for President.”

Stephanopoulos then asked O’Donnell about Joe Scarborough’s scathing commentary on Palin, and O’Donnell gamely defended the former Alaska Governor.

Palin fans may be heartened by O’Donnell’s defense of their idol, but they ought to keep in mind that, in promoting a Hillary Clinton candidacy, O’Donnell is also advocating for the one opponent who could completely neutralize a key Palin advantage: the chance for voters to participate in another historic election, this time to elect the first female President of the United States.

O’Donnell’s kind words for Clinton were a follow-up to a Twitter message in which she praised the Secretary of State’s tough response to the most recent Wikilieaks document dump, but this isn’t the first time she has promoted a Hillary Clinton candidacy. Several months ago, O’Donnell claimed, in an interview, to have seen “many Hillary Clinton for President ads running.” They’ve obviously had an effect on her.

Here’s the clip, from ABC’s Good Morning America:


Shep Smith And Judge Napolitano Back Assange, Inside Sources Over New Wikileak

It’s safe to say that Julian Assange’s co-opting of this week’s news cycle with the latest embarrassing diplomatic Wikileaks is not making him any friends in Washington. Somewhat surprisingly, however, he seems to have found an ally in two of the Fox Family’s most prominent figures– Shepard Smith and Judge Andrew Napolitano, who today expressed disgust at those who leaked the documents but mostly supported the site’s mission.

Smith brought Judge Napolitano– host of the now-nightly Freedom Watch on sister network Fox Business– on the program to discuss the reaction to this weekend’s document dump, which revealed embarrassing details about several major U.S. diplomatic ventures. In light of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s harsh reaction to the release and calls from Congressmen to crack down on Wikileaks, both Smith and Napolitano seemed to agree that this was a case of shooting the messenger. In fact, Smith seemed outraged that the focus was on Wikileaks and Assange rather than on the purported insider who leaked the files, Pfc. Bradley Manning– or, as Smith insisted on calling him, “bradass87.” Pointing out the major security breach required for Manning to get away with leaking the files, even if he had help from other insiders, Smith appeared aghast that the reaction has been directed mostly at Wikileaks, at one point exclaiming, “They’re mad at Wikileaks? That it’s a terrorist organization? What the hell? Come on.”

Judge Napolitano, who has had Assange on his program before and has made readily apparent his distrust in the state, noted that, while “I understand the view of those who want to believe that the government always tells the truth,” he believed it better “for mature people to know the truth and understand it.” While Smith did not comment on whether he believed the actual leaking of the documents was positive or not, he did scoff at the idea of people trusting the government.

Instead of Wikileaks, the pair focused their ire on Pfc. Manning, currently in detention, and “the people who failed to protect the documents.” Napolitano noted that he found it bizarre that Manning would have access to the files he is accused of releasing. “He normally would not qualify for the level of security that would give him access to this,” Napolitano noted, “which tells me there are others involved besides this fellow with the unique email name.”

The discussion from this afternoon’s Studio B on Fox News below:

Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton Is Not Happy With Wikileaks Release

Among the many fascinating, if not shocking, revelations that came with the report on the latest tranche of documents recently released by Wikileaks is the alleged low-level spying on United Nations diplomats encouraged by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Earlier today Ms. Clinton responded to these allegations, becoming the first official senior member of Obama’s cabinet to officially comment on the Wikileaks release. “So let’s be clear,” Madame Secretary explained “this disclosure is not just an attack on America’s foreign policy interests, it is an attack on the international community.”

Ms. Clinton was clearly in a no-nonsense mode of communication as she exhibited her inherent badassness not seen since the end of the Democratic primary campaign of 2008. Frankly, she seemed more than a little peeved, which is understandable given her front-and-center placement in the days news cycle. Economic Times reports:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described India as a “self-appointed front-runner” for a permanent UNSC seat and directed US envoys to seek minute details about Indian diplomats stationed at the United Nations headquarters, according to classified documents released by WikiLeaks today.

In a potentially damaging disclosure, the whistle-blower website released a “secret” cable issued by Clinton on July 31, 2009, as part of its massive leak of a quarter million classified documents of the American government.

The cable posted by The New York Times gave directions to US diplomats to collect information on key issues like reform of the UN Security Council and Indo-US civilian nuclear deal and pass it on to the intelligence agencies, including on foreign associates’ credit card and frequent-flier numbers that could be used to track a person’s movements.

Ms. Clinton would not comment on or confirm on what are alleged to be stolen State Department cables, but she did say “that the United States deeply regrets the disclosure of any information that was intended to be confidential, including private discussions between counterparts or our diplomats personal assessments and observations.”

Howard Kurtz Has Hopefully Started the Backlash Against the TSA Backlash

For a little over a week, an eternity in news cycle dog years, the uproar over TSA pat-downs has dominated the media landscape like the bastard spawn of Rod Blagojevich, Sarah Palin, and Balloon Boy. Heading into the Thanksgiving weekend news dead zone, there seems little chance its momentum will slow, but The Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz may be ushering in the most welcome phase of this story’s arc: the inevitable backlash against the TSA backlash.

Kurtz mostly nails it in his critique of “The Media’s Pat-Down Frenzy,” but misses a key cog in this story’s engine: the intersection of public outrage and proponents of racial profiling.

Kurtz accurately traces the story’s Drudge-watered roots, a viral video by software engineer/hardware protector John Tyner in which he tells a TSA screener, “If you touch my junk I’ll have you arrested.” Tyner likened the pat-down procedure to a “sexual assault,” an absurd bit of hyperbole that should have earned him a bitter rebuke from anyone who has ever actually been sexually assaulted, or by anyone who has ever been frisked. I’ve been patted down before, and since my chest is now held together with wires, I’m sure I will be again. It’s a commonplace occurrence for anyone who accesses secure areas, and while a first-timer can be forgiven some discomfort, it is surprising that Tyner’s metaphor went unchallenged.

From there, it was off to the races, and Kurtz cannily observes the atmospheric conditions that led to the media cyclone:

The narrative combines a number of elements: Hassled airline passengers (who can’t relate to that?); terrorism concerns; invasion of privacy, and a hint of sexual naughtiness. But the key here is that every local news outlet in America could send a reporter or a crew to a nearby airport and grab a piece of the action.

To be sure, they found a few revolting cases.

Indeed, they did, but as TSA administrator John Pistole (an unfortunate name for this junk-centric story) pointed out over and over, these were aberrations from the standard procedure. In addition to the anecdotal horror story, the Junk-gate beast munched hungrily on empty calorie sound bites like Hillary Clinton’s declaration that she wouldn’t submit to a pat-down (but ignored her eminently reasonable qualification “if I could avoid it. Who would?”), and instant celebrity-seeking opportunists like the scanner-proof underwear guy and the hot TSA stripper girl with the see-through lingerie and utter lack of video-editing software.

To be sure, practices such as these pat-downs should be monitored vigilantly for abuses, but Kurtz correctly takes the media to task for a lack of perspective:

The obtuseness of these TSA clowns boggles the mind. And in the modern media world, anecdotal accounts rule. Perhaps some customers, not the disabled ones, were being oversensitive; doesn’t matter. We all identify with bedraggled passengers, having removed their shoes and belts, having dumped their drinks and packed their tiny toothpaste tubes, being oppressed by a rigid and inflexible system. But that doesn’t mean the excesses are widespread.

Kurtz also tackles questions about the efficacy of the Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) machines, but such concerns are more resonant before the fact than after. The machines were already being rolled out when last year’s Christmas Day bomb attempt occurred, revealing the machines’ weakness at detecting the explosive PETN. Lost in the angst over this is the fact that screening measures have forced the terrorists to use PETN, a substance that doesn’t work. The only successful use of PETN as a primary explosive was an attack that killed 1 and injured 23, and that took 24 kilos of the substance to accomplish. It takes a 50 lb set of balls to ignore this.

Tyner, among others, has also raised the possibility of using so-called “puffer machines” to detect PETN, but the TSA abandoned that program before the Undiebomber because those machines didn’t work.

Whether the expensive machines  and pat-downs are worth the investment becomes somewhat moot, however, once you’ve already made the investment. How does TSA put that genie back in the bottle? If they abandon these measures, how does John Pistole explain that to the families of the next airline disaster that might have been prevented by them?

Kurtz’s deft critique swings and misses at an important element of this story in his conclusion:

On the other hand, it seems absurd to be screening grandmothers and young kids, and has this elaborate and expensive enterprise caught a single terrorist?

No self-respecting man wants a hyperactive security guard touching his junk. But I’ve about had it with media types who insist on turning this into a junk story.

This is really at the heart of the TSA whine-fest. True abuses aside, the loudest complainers have one thing in common: they don’t care so much about privacy as they do about their own privacy. While The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg invokes the mythical non-racial profiling of El Al, conservative provocateur Ann Coulter cuts through the bullshit and just comes out and says it: profile the Moose-lims. Every single interview I’ve seen on this subject has included the “Kids ‘n Grandma” code for “Don’t do it to us” (John Tyner is neither, though it’s hard to tell from the whining), and every panel has proffered the El Al model as a worthy replacement for our current system.

There are a host of problems with this, but the most insidious is the notion that it doesn’t involve racial profiling. This is achieved through verbal sleight of hand, by saying that El Al doesn’t “simply” rely on racial or ethnic profiling, they imply that the Israeli airline uses techniques like “behavioral profiling” (aspects of which are already in use here) to narrow the number of people scrutinized, when in reality, the opposite is true:

Despite their current anxieties, Americans also might balk at El Al-style ethnic profiling. Staff scrutinize the passengers’ names, dividing them into low-risk (Israeli or foreign Jews), medium-risk (non-Jewish foreigners) and extremely high-risk travelers (anyone with an Arabic name). These people automatically are taken into a room for body and baggage checks and lengthy interrogation. Single women also are considered high-risk, for fear they might be used by Palestinian lovers to carry bombs.

Such profiling ignores the fact that the terrorists are actively recruiting outside that profile, and heavy reliance on it would actually make us less safe. The TSA was rightly derided for chasing the terrorists’ tail by scrutinizing shoes and shampoo, but this appears to be an attempt to get ahead of the evildoers. At yesterday’s White House briefing, Robert Gibbs tried to point this out without showing our hand: (Transcript via email)

Jake Tapper:   You’re a parent.  The President is a father.  There are a lot of parents out there whose children have been subjected to pat-downs, and they’ve been very upset by it.  There have been individuals with medical conditions who have been forced into humiliating situations.  This is evolution?

MR. GIBBS:  No, I think it’s important to understand that anybody under 12 goes through something much more modified.  I would say, first and foremost — and I think if the TSA Administrator was here, he would say this to you as well — has all of this been done perfectly?  No.  If somebody feels as if they have been unduly subjected to something that they find to be far more invasive than the line of convenience and security, they should speak to a TSA representative at the airport.

Again, without leaning too far into this, Jake, I think it’s important that it’s not out of the realm of possibility to think that — I’m trying to be somewhat careful here — that those that wish to do people harm via an airplane haven’t looked at some of the ways through explosives in devices or luggage or on themselves that we know can get around and through security.  And we have to be careful about that.

Whether they’re acting on specific intelligence or not, it only makes sense that if a terrorist knows we’re not going to search Grandma, a halfway-decent pickpocket could smuggle a weapon aboard an airplane simply by getting behind her in line. A pregnant woman from England might well become a viral video star in today’s climate, were she subjected to enhanced screening, but that’s the danger of reactionary policies. When discussing the Israeli model, it’s important to note El Al’s success at catching people who don’t fit the profile:

Other catastrophes have been averted since. One bomb was found in 1979 in Zurich in the bag of a German passenger who looked nervous: He had thought he had been hired to smuggle diamonds. Another bomb was discovered a few years ago in the bag of a pregnant English passenger in London, placed there by her Palestinian lover, whose identity security officials had checked beforehand.

In fact, the current white-hot furor over the screening procedures could act as a deterrent for terrorists, who might think twice about making a move during a time of such heightened awareness. Bowing to public pressure at a time like this might have the opposite effect.

Since the Christmas Day bombing attempt last year, the government has continued to work on improving intelligence efforts, with some recent success, but our airports are the last line of defense. I hope the TSA busts some heads over the misuse of screening procedures, and comes up with better detection equipment, but if properly executed, the current procedures don’t step over the line between privacy and security. Hell, if the TSA really wants to keep an x-ray of my junk, I’ll even autograph it for them.

See, here’s the real elephant in the room: all the nekkid body-scanners, and puffer machines that don’t work, and color-coded alert systems, and pat-downs, and even profiling, will never eliminate the threat. The truth is, we can be safer, but never completely safe. The actions of terrorists, especially suicide terrorists, are anomalous to human nature, even to dark-sided human nature. Even “bad” people have an instinct for self-preservation, and even most killers don’t kill indiscriminately. For a person who doesn’t care who he kills, including himself, the whole world will always be a target-rich environment. The best way to stop them is to either kill them before they can act, or to make them not want to do that.

Barbara Bush: “You Can’t Dislike Bill Clinton”

It seems no one is immune to former president Bill Clinton’s Southern charm– even the couple who lost the White House to him. In today’s special Larry King exclusive with George H.W. and Barbara Bush, both the former President and First Lady heaped praise upon the Clinton clan, thankful for the easy transition of power and the “really good personal relationship” that developed between the families.

King asked the couple about their thoughts on Chelsea Clinton’s wedding, which they did not attend and were happy not to. “Jenna [Bush]’s wedding had no politicians,” Barbara Bush explained, “and I think that’s what Bill did, and Hillary.” She added that she understood how difficult it must have been for them to keep the wedding that way.

The former First Lady then went on to confess how much she liked President Clinton: “it took me a little while, I confess, but you can’t dislike Bill Clinton. He’s very likable. And he was so good to George… he would let George have the bed. I have a feeling Bill wishes he had a father like George, truthfully.” George Bush corroborated her story, lauding Clinton’s “extraordinarily kind” disposition towards him and their warm friendship.

First Barbara Bush casually hints she’d rather see Sarah Palin out of the political picture, and now she’s praising Bill Clinton? Is there something the former First Lady would like to tell us about her post-presidential political views?

The clip via CNN below:

Hillary Clinton: I Would Not Submit to One of TSA’s Patdowns

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the Sunday talk show rounds this morning, appearing on Fox News Sunday, CBS’s Face the Nation, and NBC’s Meet the Press. The topic of conversation: TSA’s new security measures and national security.

On Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer asked Secretary Clinton whether she would submit to one of TSA’s controversial new patdowns.

“Not if I could avoid it. No. I mean who would?” she responded.

However, she did note that while she feels the new patdowns should be made less intrusive, they are still a necessary security measure. On Meet the Press, she told David Gregory “I mean obviously the vast, vast majority of people getting on these planes are law abiding citizens who are just trying to get from one place to another. But let’s not kid ourselves. The terrorists are adaptable.”

“Striking the right balance is what this is about. And I am absolutely confident that our security experts are gonna keep trying to get it better and less intrusive and more precise…Everybody is trying to do the right thing and I understand how difficult it is, and how offensive it must be for the people who are going through it,” she said.

Watch the video from CBS below:

James Carville Un-Apologizes For Crude Obama Joke Yet Again, Isn’t Going To Rehab

A few days ago, James Carville resuscitated a 2008 campaign joke about the respective number of testicles President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton possess. This joke was about as well-received as it was in 2008 (not at all), and Carville visited John King USA to explain just how much he didn’t regret it. This apparently wasn’t enough, however, as he took his case to Anderson Cooper last night, as well, and was just as unapologetic.

Last time around, on John King USA, Carville squarely said he wasn’t sorry “and I don’t apologize.” He didn’t change his tune on AC 360º– in fact, he used almost the exact same phrasing, adding that, “to me, it’s not that big a deal” and, lest anyone think he has a conscience, “I’m not going to rehab; I’m not praying with my priest; I’m not reconsidering my life” over the joke, he explained.

Unlike last time, however, he went a little deeper in to the reasoning behind his bizarre accusation: “I thought the president should be tough on these banks.” Carville expressed his distaste with the way the bank bailouts were handled, adding that “we should have done something to show that we were unhappy with what they did,” and that he didn’t “blame” the American people for voting Republican as a way of expressing displeasure with the bank policy. That doesn’t quite explain why Carville made the joke in 2008, though he agreed with then-Senator Obama’s logic the first time he deflected the joke– Carville is not in public office, and is in the business of saying eye-catching things. “He’s right,” Carville conceded, “I’m a cable TV commentator.”

Carville’s second CNN non-mea culpa from last night’s Anderson Cooper 360º below: