BP Admits Lobbying But Denies Direct Involvement In Bomber Release, Plans To Continue Libyan Drilling

Four US senators have called for an investigation into BP’s involvement in the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the convicted bomber of Pan Am Flight 103 which exploded in 1988, killing 270 people. Last night, BP released a statement on the subject. They stuck with their account they, while they did lobby for al-Megrahi’s release, they had no direct involvement with the Scottish government’s decision. They have also said that they will continue drilling in Libya, despite the senators claims that any profits made there are potentially “blood money.”

From Fox News:

“A statement from BP said: ‘It is matter of public record that in late 2007 BP told the U.K. Government that we were concerned about the slow progress that was being made in concluding a Prisoner Transfer Agreement with Libya.

‘We were aware that this could have a negative impact on U.K. commercial interests, including the ratification by the Libyan Government of BP’s exploration agreement.

‘The decision to release Mr. al Megrahi in August 2009 was taken by the Scottish Government.

‘It’s not for BP to comment on the decision of the Scottish Government. BP was not involved in any discussions with the U.K. Government or the Scottish Government about the release of Mr. al Megrahi.’”

The senators have called for BP to cease drilling in Libya while the investigation takes place. However, BP said today that they plan on continuing their work off the coast of the country in the coming weeks. In England, where the company has many ties to the nation’s wellbeing, a spokesperson for Prime Minister David Cameron claimed there were no links between BP and al-Megrahi’s release. Officials in America are not convinced with even Hillary Clinton stating that she would look into the possible connection.

Move Over Sarah, The ‘Hillary For President’ Drumbeat Has Begun

The rehabilitation of Hillary Clinton has been interesting to watch, and will likely get more so if this is any indication. An op-ed in today’s Wall St. Journal by Pete DuPont is making the case that Hillary Clinton could launch a formidable campaign against incumbent President Barack Obama in 2012.

The question of whether Hillary plans on making another White House run has been casually bandied about since her hard fought 2008 campaign against Obama, but this is the first time I can recall seeing it in a serious publication…though I strongly suspect it will not be the last. The speculation this time around comes as a direct result of Obama’s plunging poll numbers (Hillary, by contrast, rates 45% favorable and only 35% unfavorable) and the approaching mid-terms, which even Press Sec. Robert Gibbs is none too optimistic about. Neither of these things, of course, are remotely new challenges for a incumbent president to face — Bill Clinton in 1994 is obviously the first example to spring to mind. What is new, however, is the wave of euphoria that Obama swept into office on, making this plunge all the more dramatic. But also: Sarah Palin.

First, here are the reasons DuPont thinks Hillary would be a good choice for the Dems:

She is one of the most experienced prospective candidates the Democratic Party has had in a long while: wife of a governor, U.S. first lady [nice that these attributes are now considered boons], senator and now secretary of state. This is a good record to run on as someone who knows how the government works.

Fourth, she is an experienced foreign-policy adviser who understands the threats to our national security: unresolved conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, rising threats of nuclear capability in Iran and North Korea, and uncertainties in Pakistan.

Fifth, experience will be even more important to voters in the 2012 presidential election, whose 2008 gamble on someone with little experience is proving costly.

All good strong, reasons, and ones that are notably lacking on the GOP side. Ironically, what DuPont neglects to include is the fact that Hillary’s a woman could also be a huge selling point, particularly now that Sarah Palin has been banging the Mama Grizzly drum so consistently.

It’s not a secret that Palin of late has been ingeniously cashing in on those 18 million cracks in the ceiling Hillary so notably inspired in 2008. In fact, lest we forget, in the beginning that was Palin’s reason for being: to allow the McCain campaign to capitalize on all those women votes. In the interim however she’s built (in ways no one could have anticipated) enough national clout to be widely considered the GOP’s strongest candidate for Oval Office, which may say as much about the roster of GOP candidates as it says about Palin — who I am still not convinced actually wants to be president — but nevertheless she’s a force to be reckoned with. Likely absolutely nothing could take the wind out of those sails faster or more permanently than Hillary Clinton. A hypothetical I imagine the media is going to harp on in the next few months: could there be a greater gift to the calbers and blogosphere than a Clinton vs Palin election year?

Mind you, there’s also the question of whether Hillary Clinton wants to be president still, or would consider launching a campaign against an incumbent from her own party (the last person to seriously do so was Pat Buchanan in 1992); one imagines Obama’s poll numbers would have to be rock bottom to justify such a decision. And even then it would be tough.

Of course, it’s still early and plenty could happen in the next 12 months that would entirely change the national political stage: the hole could be plugged, the economy could rebound. That said, the media started beating the Obama drum shortly before the 2006 midterms so perhaps it’s not that early at all, if the 2008 political season is anything to go by — and granted Bush was not an incumbent — the presidential debates should begin sometime next April.

Bernie Goldberg On 2012 President Race: ‘Keep An Eye On Hillary’

Last night Bill O’Reilly had on Bernie Goldberg as guest to discuss, among other things, the recent interview that CBS News’ Bob Schieffer conducted with Attorney General Eric Holder. But perhaps more interesting than their predictable criticism of Schieffer for neglecting to ask about the voter intimidation case in Philadelphia, was the opening discourse on HIllary Clinton’s future run for President against Barack Obama in 2012.

Goldberg opened the segment by explaining the theory that he had earlier posited on his website, titled “Wanna Bet?” And while he hedged by saying that he’s “going out on a limb,” and called a 2012 Presidential run by Hillary a “long shot,” Goldberg did assert that she “will challenge in 2012.” He framed his comments last night on O’Reilly thusly:

What I said on the website is I’m going out on a limb. I think she will challenge in 2012, but I understand this is a long shot. All I’m saying is that it is no longer a crazy idea. Here is why. Independents one year ago – just one year ago – supported Barack Obama with 56% of their vote. Today, it’s down to 38%. African-American voters will not forsake Barack Obama, we know that. White Liberals normally would never abandon the first black president not if it means voting for some vanilla liberal democrat white guy. But, if they get a chance to vote for Hillary Clinton, they can make history twice. The first time they elected the first black president. The second time it will be the first woman president. and if this will go a long way in easing their white liberal guilt which normally knows no bounds. Now, if things change, if the economy takes off, if unemployment drops, if the tooth fairy leaves, you know, a couple of trillion dollars under Barack Obama’s pillow, type. But if miracles don’t happen all I’m saying is keep an eye on Hillary.

Keep in mind that Hillary Clinton is not only one of the most respected political figures in the world, but she’s the sitting Secretary of State serving the Obama administration! If she were to opt to run for President against Obama, it would be an historic political development for a variety of reasons. Least of which, the former bitter primary rivals in the 2008 would, theoretically at least, go through another round of fierce campaigning against one another. But never has the stage of modern U.S. politics seen a dramatic development of in-fighting within the same party of the sitting president. One could argue that Senator Edward Kennedy’s primary challenge of then President Jimmy Carter in 1980 was a similar development, but Kennedy was not sitting on Carter’s administration at the time (as Clinton is now.)

Cynics might see the timing of this story as somewhat suspect. Yes, Obama is down in approval polls, but the 2012 campaign is at least a year away from starting in earnest. Further, the notion of Hillary challenging the sitting Democratic president still seems far-fetched, but perhaps coincidentally timed with the release of the documentary We Will Not Be Silenced, a movie that claims voter fraud in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary race between Obama and Clinton.

Perhaps Hillary Clinton will risk become a political “pariah” as O’Reilly suggests in the following clip, and challenge Obama for the Democratic presidential candidacy on 2012. The more likely reason for the following segment, in the eyes of at least one media critic, is that Fox News is wisely ginning up another juicy and controversial topic to discuss in preparation of the summer news doldrums. And we will likely be following this story — and how it’s being reported — right along with them.

Note – the balance of the clip focuses on the Bob Schieffer interview with Eric Holder.

New Documentary Alleges That Obama Stole The Primary Election From Hillary

Amidst recent charges that the New Black Panther Party intimidated voters outside a Philadelphia polling place in 2008, a new documentary called We Will Not Be Silenced charges that this was not an isolated incident. The film’s director Gigi Gaston appeared on Fox and Friends this weekend and was introduced by host Alyson Camerota who claimed that “the 2008 primary race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton was rife with stories of voter intimidation and voting violations.”

The film’s website describes its mission thusly:

This documentary is about the disenfranchising of American citizens by the Democratic Party and the Obama Campaign. We the People have made this film. Democrats have sent in their stories from all parts of America. We want to be heard and let the country know how our party has sanctioned the actions of what we feel are Obama Campaign “Chicago Machine” dirty politics. We believe this infamous campaign of “change” from Chicago encouraged and created an army to steal caucus packets, falsify documents, change results, allow unregistered people to vote, scare and intimidate Hillary supporters, stalk them, threaten them, lock them out of their polling places, silence their voices and stop their right to vote, which is, of course, all documented in “We Will Not Be Silenced.”

Right of center media outlets and websites have already begun promoting this film rather aggressively, ostensibly to delegitimatize the Obama administration. The director’s pedigree is noteworthy, particularly to those who are aiming to present the film as non-polemical – a lifelong Democrat and granddaughter of a former Governor of Massachusetts.

Gaston sits down with Fox and Friends and outlines a number of investigations of fraud, some footage of which is highlighted in the segment below.

Chris Matthews: Sarah Palin Is Going To Run For President, I See Her Winning The Nomination

After listening to Chris Matthews spend the better part of 2007 and 2008 making questionable (frequently offensive) remarks about the candidacy of Hillary Clinton it is a bit hard to swallow hearing him cheerlead Sarah Palin as the GOP’s strongest candidate for the presidency.

Nevertheless, that is what he has been doing recently, and never more so than this morning on Morning Joe when he ran theorized how Palin might easily with the GOP nomination in the 2012 primaries.

She has the power that Oprah Winfrey had in the beginning or still has in popular culture. I think Sarah’s going to run for President. I see her winning. It’s very simple…she wins in Iowa because the Evangelicals will vote for her. One woman against for or five guys. She goes to New Hampshire, decent second or third, she shows at least, doesn’t get killed. She goes to South Carolina, wins down there, goes out to the big challenge in Michigan where she’s already staked her claim for her book tour. Takes on Mitt Romney who is not a politician and beats the hell out of him there. Maybe gets an early knock out.

The key is an early knock out according to Matthews, who also notes: “the media will try to destroy her, of course.” Not the Matthews media apparently! It is of course a wonderful thing that the world can discuss a female candidate without making mention of nutcrackers or witches. What is less wonderful is the fact that thus far there has been precious little discussion of whether Palin is qualified to be president beyond her personal charm. Which, ironically is the exact opposite challenge that faced Hillary Clinton: no one doubted her bona fides, they apparently just had some issues with her lack of Oprah-like charisma.

I remain unconvinced that Palin is actually interested in a presidential run beyond hearing the cablesphere chatter about the possibility. That Hillary Clinton will ever make another stab at the Oval Office is even less likely. That said, all this discussion about whether Palin is a viable candidate in 2012 is making me wish there were some way to stage a debate between the two. Speaking of which, Matthews concedes that Palin would like lose to Obama in the general election because she wouldn’t hold up in the debates. Watch below.

CNN’s New 8pm Co-Host Thinks Obama’s Problem Is He Talks Like A Girl

Apparently Kathleen Parker, WaPo columnist and newly minted CNN host, swallowed a MoDo pill yesterday. How else to explain her column pondering whether Barack Obama is our first female president (listen closely, that’s Hillary Clinton ripping the wood off of whatever podium she’s at today).

Parker’s column may lack the trite comparisons to fictional cartoon characters, however the message is the same: Obama throws like a girl. Too much Woody Allen, too little John Wayne. And to top it off he may be losing his presidency because he speaks like a girl:

No, I’m not calling Obama a girlie president. But . . . he may be suffering a rhetorical-testosterone deficit when it comes to dealing with crises, with which he has been richly endowed [pun intended?]…The masculine-coded context of the Oval Office poses special challenges, further exacerbated by a crisis [BP] that demands decisive action. It would appear that Obama tests Campbell’s argument that “nothing prevents” men from appropriating women’s style without negative consequences.

Indeed, negative reaction to Obama’s speech suggests the opposite. Obama may prove to be our first male president who pays a political price for acting too much like a woman.

It’s hard to know where to begin. Does this mean that Hillary Clinton would not have been able to deal with the BP Oil crisis? Or that Hillary Clinton is better at speaking like a man that Obama (hello again MoDo!) Or that Obama is paying the price for speaking intelligently? Or that Joan Walsh was right, and this nation has been so infantalized by a combination of overreaching government policies and the media we really just crave a daddy who will tell us it’s all right. No grey area allowed.

Perhaps it’s that grey area that’s been causing the trouble all along. The grey area of empty coverage space needed to be filled. And the grey area of where Obama fits in the national storyline. At some point it will be easier to make a list of the things and people Obama hasn’t been compared to in the mediasphere’s continuing effort to pinpoint exactly who Obama is than it will be to comprise a list of the actual comparisons. In the meantime, it’s hard not to wonder if this column is a preview of what we can expect from Parker and Spitzer’s new CNN show…lord knows the world is dying to discover whether Eliot Spitzer thinks Obama is man enough. In the meantime I suppose we can be grateful that no Bambi references made it into this piece.

Update! Modo weighs in. She thinks Obama is a humanoid. Watch below.

Gloria Steinem: ‘Palin Calls Herself A Feminist Because Of How Many Votes Hillary Got’

Shortly after I posted about my disappointment regarding Stephen Colbert’s interview with Gloria Steinem last night, Katie Couric’s online show @katiecouric when live with this lengthy interview she’d just completed with Steinem. Ask and you shall receive!

Here’s what Steinem had to say about Sarah Palin’s recent declaration that she is a feminist:

We’re free to call ourselves whatever we wish, but I think her calling herself a feminist has mostly to do with how many votes Hillary Clinton got in the presidential race. Yes, you can be a feminist who doesn’t agree with abortion, but you can’t be a feminist who says that other women can’t…to make it criminal and dangerous is not a feminist act.

As for how she feels about the rise of Carly Fiorina, Meg Whitman, and Nikki Haley, Steinem says “I support their right to be wrong. But the reason they are being put forward is because the women’s movement has been so successful…the Republican party saw how well Hillary Clinton did and is now fielding female candidates.”

Steinem also had this to say about why Hillary Clinton was given such a rough ride by the media during her 2008 presidential campaign:

We associate female authority with childhood, we think it’s appropriate to childhood and not to adult life and politics because we really haven’t seen it that much. And some people, especially men as we saw during this last election, men on camera felt regressed when they saw Hillary Clinton, a powerful woman, because the last time they saw a powerful woman they were eight.

Draw your own conclusions about how this analogy follows through to Sarah Palin. Watch the clip on Palin below. The whole 40 minute interview, which is with both Steinmen and Women’s Media Center president Jehmu Greene is worth your time and can be found here.


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