Jon Ponder

Bush Makes Belated Bid to Capture Bin Laden

It has been 81 months since Osama bin Laden attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, but only now � with just seven months left in his term, George Bush has become desperate to capture the terror overlord.

If you factor in the fact that Pres. Bill Clinton tried to kill bin Laden in August 1998, a case could be made that Bush should have started the search for bin Laden on his first day in office, which adds another nine months to the total. That’s 90 months � seven and a half years � during which bin Laden has been at large in the mountains of Pakistan.

With his polling down to a 24 percent approval rating and his legacy in a shambles, Bush is making one last “hail Mary� bid to to capture the 9/11 mastermind before he leaves office.

Traveling in Europe, Bush has now enlisted the aid of British special forces in the hunt, according to the conservative Times of London:

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Obama Floats Florida Compromise

Now that Barack Obama is officially the pre-presumptive Democratic nominee, he’s going to have to decide what to do about “punishing� Florida and Michigan for moving their primaries too close to the sacred lead spots held by Iowa and New Hampshire.

In Florida yesterday, he floated this idea:

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McCain Hosts Potential Veeps at His Ranch

John McCain has invited three possible running mates to his ranch in Page Springs, near the resort town of Sedona, Arizona, for a weekend visit. The three prospective veeps are Florida’s perpetually tanned, bachelor governor, Charlie Crist; former presisdential candidate, Mitt Romney; and Louisiana’s new governor, Bobby Jindal.

Crist is popular enough in Florida to make a difference in a tight race this fall, but at least one GOP operative has insisted that Charlie must get married, but quick, lest yahoos in the GOP base think he is gay.

Romney proved himself to be so inauthentic during his self-financed run against McCain last winter that it is hard to imagine why McCain would seriously consider him. Perhaps he’s on the list because, if McCain was chosen because he was the least-bad candidate, Romney was second least-worst.

Jindal is a wild card. He was a congressman before running for governor, and is well-known in Louisiana but not elsewhere, which means introducing him to the country would eat up campaign time and resources. Compounding this is his ethnicity. McCain can’t run on the success of the Iraq occupation or the Bush economy, and he’s even been botching his purported strong suit, foreign relations and security, lately. That means the best � maybe only � thing the McCain campaign has going for it is the fact that his opponent, Barack Obama is African-American, a factor that will energize the GOP racist base. Jindal’s family immigrated from India, and he is brown-skinned. Putting him on the ticket might confuse those core voters, who tend to view anyone with dark skin with suspicion. (Another possible ding against Crist.)

In any case, McCain adviser Charlie Black denies that the meetings at the ranch are anything but a fun sleepover for grown-ups. He insists the weekend will be “purely social� and has “nothing whatsoever to do with the vice presidential selection process … Wouldn’t it be difficult to interview people for vice president with the other competitors there?�

McCain’s wife Cindy is worth $100 million, we’re told, and, not surprisingly, the McCains’ vacation home sounds pretty nice:

Anti-War Right Boosts Ron Paul to Top GOP Q4 Fundraiser

The campaigns have all released their fundraising reports from the fourth quarter of 2007, and the results show that three candidates who oppose the endless occupation of Iraq raised the most money.

Democrat Hillary Clinton led the field in both parties with $26.5 million, followed by Barack Obama with $22.8 million. (The Obama campaign says it has already raised $32 million in January alone.)

But the headline that ought to be in 40-point type is the fact the only Republican supporter of withdrawal from Iraq, Ron Paul, trounced his GOP rivals in the fourth quarter by raising nearly $20 million. As a Los Angeles Times blogger put it, it is a "news shocker":

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Would a President Obama Nominate John Edwards for Attorney General?

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This could just be Robert Novak making mischief:
Illinois Democrats close to Sen. Barack Obama are quietly passing the word that John Edwards would be named attorney general in an Obama administration.
Installation at the Justice Department of multimillionaire trial lawyer Edwards would please not only the union leaders supporting him for president, but organized labor in general. The unions relish the prospect of an unequivocal labor partisan as the nation's top legal officer.
It's considered bad luck, or maybe hubristic, for primary candidates to start naming cabinet officials so the Obama campaign has been mum about Novak's story.

Funny thing about this is, my friend and fellow political junkie, M. Tuttle, an Obama supporter, mentioned this possibility to me over lunch more than a month ago.

Would Rudy Manage the Federal Budget as Badly as His Campaign Finances?

Since the outset of the presidential campaign, Rudy Giuliani's strategy has famously been to hold fire during the GOP preliminaries, wait for a winner to emerge out of in Iowa and New Hampshire and then turn all of his guns on his opponent in the big states, starting with Florida on January 26.

But now, just two weeks away from the voting in Florida, and a little over thee weeks until the "Super Tuesday" primaries on Feb. 5 -- including votes in California, where his brand of liberal-Republicanism might work, and New York, his home state -- he is out of money:

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Bush Forgets His Grandpa Profited from Nazi Slave Labor

George Bush toured the Holocaust memorial in Israel yesterday, and through tears, came up with a telling formulation about what his predecessor, Pres. Franklin Roosevelt, should have done to stop the horror at the German concentration camps:

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