January 10th, 2010
04:33 PM ET
4 years ago

State of the Union: John King's Crib Sheet for January 10

In his Crib Sheet, CNN's John King looks back at Sunday's talk shows and ahead to the topics that will be making news this week.
In his Crib Sheet, CNN's John King looks back at Sunday's talk shows and ahead to the topics that will be making news this week.

Sober is the word that came to mind after two Sunday conversations: one with Senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman about the fight against Al Qaeda; the other with White House economic adviser, Christina Romer, about the prospects for jobs growth in the year ahead.

“I think America is safer since 9/11 but we are not – certainly not safe,” Senator McCain told us from Israel, after stops in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Lebanon. “Al Qaeda can land almost anywhere. Where there is fertile ground, they’re going to breed.”

Here at home, Romer would not offer a prediction of where the unemployment rate – 10 percent nationally to begin the year – would be by the end of the year – or this November’s critical midterm elections.

But she did have a message for banks preparing to dole out big bonuses in the days ahead: “For heaven's sakes, people, it does seem really ridiculous.”

There also was a vibrant political debate to add some spice to the day – some of it about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s apology for racially insensitive remarks about then candidate Barack Obama back in 2008, and some of it about whether Michael Steele’s book – and book tour – is a drag on his ability to lead the Republican National Committee in this critical midterm election year.

“There is a big double standard here,” was Steele’s take as Democrats from the president on down said Reid’s apology was good enough.

On to the “Sound of Sunday,” beginning with the policy and political debate over terrorism – and the administration’s reaction to the Christmas Day attempt to blow up an U.S. jetliner.

TERROR TALK

Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) on CNN’s “State of the Union”

“I think America is safer since 9/11, but we’re certainly not safe. We have a long way to go, but I think we made significant progress. I think we’ve shown Al Qaeda can land almost anywhere. Where there is fertile ground, they’re going to breed. Now, of course, the latest is Yemen, where there certainly is a significant challenge. Al Qaeda continue to inhabit areas along the Afghan-Pakistan border, which again argues for success in Afghanistan. But I think that we have to continue our emphasis and our focus on the fact that this challenge is not going away anytime soon.”

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) on CNN’s “State of the Union”
Lieberman: “I think some people have to be held accountable for the mistakes, the human errors that the president acknowledged that were made that enabled the Nigerian terrorist to get on the plane to Detroit. And we’ve got to change some things in the system.”
King: “…if someone should be accountable, who?”
Lieberman: “Well, I think the investigation would show that.”
He continued: “…if human errors were made, I think some of the humans who made those errors have to be disciplined so they never happen again.”

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) on “Fox News Sunday”
“I think the president was right when he said, ‘The buck stops with me.’ The problem is he can't be fired right now. So what he has to do is provide a sense of urgency with the people who work for him. I don't blame them as much as I do him. And I don't blame the people in the CIA for example, or the counterterrorism center as much as I blame the heads of those groups, who obviously are reflecting the sentiments of the president.”

Sen. Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island) on “Fox News Sunday”
“We have to be engaged in Yemen. The question - and I think [Sen. Kyl] is right - is how do you do it. It has to be, I think, a very, very small footprint. It has to be more about intelligence, more about special operations, in collaboration with the Yemeni government. It's a country that has profound problems - a civil war, poverty, running out of resources. It's an area that we can't ignore.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Guantanamo detainees should not be released to a country with an Al Qaeda presence “…if you look at Yemen– and we're taking a good look at Yemen– what you see is I think at least 24 or 28 are confirmed returns to the battlefield in Yemen. And there are a number of suspected. If you combine the suspected and the confirmed, the number I have is 74 detainees have gone back into the fight. And I think that's bad. And here's the reason. They come out of Gitmo and they are heroes in this world. This world is the only world that's going to really be accepting of them. Therefore, the tendency is to go back. And I think the Gitmo experience is not one that leads itself to rehabilitation, candidly.”

TRIP NOTES

McCain and Lieberman offered insights on their meetings during their visits to Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Israel:

Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) on the war in Iraq
“I wish every American knew that the month of December was the first month without a single American killed, which is the best indicator of success that we could ever have. And our troops are still working hard, but the environment has dramatically changed, and - and we have won there. Now, the Iraqi government will take two steps forward and one step back. It's a messy business, democracy, and we will see problems
and challenges and continued attacks. But the ability of Al Qaida or the extremists to - to have a sustained campaign of attacks in Iraq is not there anymore.”

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) on CNN’s “State of the Union”

“Pakistan is a full partner in the war on terrorism. And I think [Sen. McCain] and I both felt that we have seen a really significant change in Pakistan on this visit. I think they clearly understood that they, the Pakistani people, are the targets of terrorism. They have suffered terribly, including, for instance, attacks at mosques, terrorist attacks at mosques. I think they are also beginning to understand that there is not a clear separation between the Taliban that's fighting in Afghanistan and the Taliban fighting in Pakistan.”

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) on CNN’s “State of the Union”

“I think because it's such an unconventional war, that people in our country may forget it. It's a war with many battlefields. We are on the verge of really an extraordinary turnaround and success in Iraq. President Obama is committed to win the war in Afghanistan, and I think we have got an extraordinary team there that John and I visited a few days ago. And we will succeed in Afghanistan.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) on Afghanistan
“Well, they have a long way to go in the area of corruption. But the fact that the parliament rejected [Pres. Karzai’s] nominees, I think you could look at a democratic process moving forward. I believe that President Karzai recognizes that what he's just been through was an important lesson to him. We have to keep pressing on the corruption issue.” He continues: “I think that [the Karzai government] has got a long way to go, but I know the Afghan people do not want the Taliban back, and he has that advantage. But this is going to be tough, long slog, but I am confident now we have the recipe for success.”

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) on reports White House advisers worry Pentagon deployments to Afghanistan are falling behind promised timeframes
“It made me furious because an article like that does not serve the national security interest. It - it reveals a - a disagreement on our side to our enemies. It can only weaken us. And it unfairly disparages the U.S. military, who I know are doing everything they can as quickly as they can to get reinforcements the new surge that the president wisely and courageously ordered into Afghanistan. So I would say this. If the story is wrong, the president should come right out and make that clear. If there are people, on the other hand, in the White House or the administration who are leaking stories of that kind, they ought to be disciplined, because they have undermined our war effort and, in that sense, our national security and our homeland security. It's just an unacceptable form of behavior. If you've got an argument with the military, argue it during a war in house, quietly, privately. Don't spill it out in the media of our country. That's just un-American; it's bad for our country.”

DOLLARS AND CENTS

Christina Romer, Chair, W.H. Council of Economic Advisers, on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“..There are so many ways that ordinary families are just really suffering through this recession. We tend to focus on the unemployment rates that you've talked about, but…they have seen their pensions get - you know, their pension funds get decimated by the stock market, their housing values. They have suffered tremendously.”

Christina Romer, Chair, W.H. Council of Economic Advisers, on a sobering December jobs report
“…the December jobs report was a disappointment. We know it was a setback from November, where we now know we actually added 4,000 jobs in that month. So that certainly is, you know, something to keep in mind. …we are continuing the pattern of moderating job loss.”

REID’S APOLOGY

RNC Chairman Michael Steele on NBC’s “Meet the Press”
“Oh, yeah, there is a big double standard here. The thing about it that's interesting is that when democrats get caught saying racist things you know, an apology is enough. If that had been Mitch McConnell saying that about an African-American candidate for President of the U.S., trust me, this chairman of the DNC would be screaming for his head very much as they were with Trent Lott.” He continues: “…Whether he steps down today or I retire him in November either way he will not be the leader in 2011.”

DNC Chairman Tim Kaine on “NBC’s “Meet the Press”

“I think the case is closed because President Obama has spoken directly with the leader and accepted his apology. The comments were unfortunate and they were insensitive. They were in the context of praising the senator and acknowledging that the senator could be a great president but they were still insensitive. I think Senator Reid stepped up, acknowledged they were wrong. We're moving on.”

Democratic strategist Donna Brazile on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“….I am profoundly disappointed in his choice of words.  I'm disappointed whether I hear it from Glenn Beck, from Harry Reid, anyone else, let's be clear about that, John.  But I also know that Harry Reid is a man of integrity, someone who has been a championof civil rights, hate crimes, voting rights, and he's someone who has earned the respect of many in the civil rights community.  That's why I believe, as President Obama said yesterday, for someone who has been a leader on social justice issues, we accept his apology.”

Former Virginia Governor Doug Wilder (D) on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“…I think the Reid comment, unfortunately, as he's described it, and the apology should be to the totality of the American people, because we are not where he thought we may have been a year ago. We crossed that threshold as you pointed, 20 years ago, when we said we don't care what the color of this guy's skin is…I think the unfortunate thing, John, is that one snippet or that recent adventure by Harry Reid illustrates the need for more open discussion about race and put it where it belongs, into the closet. Obama wasn't elected because he was or was not of any color. He represented a change.”

POLITICAL POTPOURRI

RNC Chairman Michael Steele on NBC’s “Meet the Press”
“I think I am a passionate leader of this party, I'm a grass roots guy. I grew up here in the streets of D.C. At 17, decided to become a Republican. I've been fighting that fight ever since. I believe passionately in those principles that drew me into this party. I get angry sometimes when we walk away from those principles. I get angry and frustrated when I see those principles not being regarded because they have been the foundation for generations. And the reality of it is as chairman I’ve raised $80 million this year [2009], I’ve won two gubernatorial races that no one thought I could win. One in his [DNC Chairman Tim Kaine] back yard. I've got 370,000 new donors to the party. I’ve got $8 million cash on hand when the budget I inherited said I would have zero, said I would have debt. I have no debt. They [DNC] have debt. I have the same amount of money cash on hand as my partner here who has the White House, both houses of Congress. $8 million going into this year. So I think overall, I'm doing okay.”

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) takes issue with a McCain ad saying President Obama “is leading an extreme left-wing crusade to bankrupt America”

“…I don't agree with that. I think that the president understands the importance of bringing our government back into balance. Look, he came in at a most difficult economic time, inheriting a national debt that had doubled in the preceding eight years. And I think you're going to hear from the president, in his State of the Union, maybe earlier about some tough medicine for our economy. We need it, and I hope that there will be bipartisan support in Congress for doing that.”

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and the week ahead,
John King

p.s. If you like this Crib Sheet, you will love State of the Union’s “Sound of Sunday.”  Be sure to set your DVR for 11AM ET every Sunday for a sneak peek at Monday’s headlines. And connect with State of the Union on Twitter and Facebook.


Filed under: Economy • Harry Reid • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. harold

    Yeah...Mr. Steele.. you are right.. Its called the Republican Southern Strategy...Get it?

    January 10, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  2. harold

    You have to consider Mr. john McCains comments in the context that he is the Man who picked Sarah Palin to be Vice President of the United States of America... cause she really likes "real Americans".... .....I .....guess?

    January 10, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  3. John

    I guess we get to find out the true character of Roland, Don, and Donna who can`t wait to call a tea party person a racist. I am going to work tommorrow and I travel. I deal with alot of black execs and I am going to find out how they would feel if I call them Negro`s by mistake. Let us all see how fair the crowd at CNN and MSNBC are.

    January 10, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  4. Jerry

    I really have a problem with King calling his show State of the Union,
    it like he thinks he is as good as the President.

    This could be the reason CNN is losing so many viewers, they think the are better then everyone else

    January 10, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  5. Indy

    Please have something else put on this crib sheet. Keep Liz Cheney off the air. I find it deplorable to listen to her when you have Dick Cheney as one of the worst terrorists in history, it is like giving a terrorists children the right to try and solve the planets problems. If you are going to give Liz Cheney a voice, to me it is on the same level as giving other terrorists family members air time.When Cheney committed the terrorists attacks and occupation, he gave up the rights for his child to give advise to the President. Liz Cheney totally agrees with her father the terrorist and should not be allowed on television to spread her hate and fear of Obama

    January 10, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  6. Patriot1

    John McCain is a mockingbird!!! Did his daddy have anything to do with him being seperated from the rest of the POW's in Hanoi?!?!? Go back to where you were born McCain, Panama!!!

    January 10, 2010 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  7. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    John McCain obviously feels safer in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon because there are no terrorist there. Someone please put John McCain out to pasture, he's senile.

    January 10, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  8. Mike, formerly from Syracuse

    First of all, Reid was 100% correct (for the first time ever). Obama is President because of racially motivated voting by blacks and liberal whites, who decided it was time for a black President, qualified or not. Steele is also 100% correct when he says that if a Republican had said it, there would be cries for his head. Donna Brazille basically confirms that when she qualifies accepting the apology based on his record with 'social justice issues'.

    January 10, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  9. mavcal

    You know you watch the hired talking heads of CNN or Fox News and it is very difficult to decide who really knows what they are talking about and has foresight and who only has strong opinions that sound as if they know what they are talking about, but really don't. Terroism is proliferating right under our noses and I find it ironic that Obama labels this a failure in intelligence when he surrounds himself with intellectual elitists. Obama has turned the Oval Office into an ivory tower. All brains and no instincts.

    January 10, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  10. Aunt Bea and Opie

    Please send John to cover the middle east stories where he belongs.We wont miss him in the least,and he can be with his family.

    January 10, 2010 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  11. Keith in Austin

    There is a lesson to be learned from Prince Harry's verbal foible. All the hoopla is really moot. The hard cold fact is that he is a weak, cowardly old man that can retire to the Liberal Old Folks Home when he is pummeled in the November electionss!
    Hey Harry, The War is Lost"!!!!

    January 10, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  12. Keith in Austin

    There is a lesson to be learned from Prince Harry's verbal foible. All the hoopla is really moot. The hard cold fact is that he is a weak, cowardly old man that can retire to the Liberal Old Folks Home when he is pummeled in the November electionss!
    Hey Harry, The War is Lost"!!!! Remember????

    January 10, 2010 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  13. Dan, TX

    So much heat, so little light. Where can I find a place that has news?

    January 10, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |