After an eight-month hiatus from Sunday Morning talk, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel speaks. Despite all the hefty issues floating through the White House, he remains an aficionado of raw politics. Ratcheting up the political noise over Rep. Joe Barton’s (R-Texas) apology to BP, Emanuel said Barton’s now retracted words were “not a political gaffe… (but) a philosophy.”
As close as Democrats try to tie all Republicans to Barton’s remarks, that’s how far away Republicans want to get.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska): “The statement that Representative Barton made was wrong. Absolutely wrong.”
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Kentucky): “I couldn’t disagree with Joe Barton more.”
Coming soon to a campaign trail near you.
In the 62 days since 11 men were killed on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig, more than 70 members of the U.S. military were killed in Afghanistan. Taking stock of the war, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Chairwoman, Senate Intelligence Committee) called Afghanistan a “difficult situation.” Sen. Richard Lugar says the question is what’s the mission, …”the President is going to have to redefine the plan.
Amid signs that June may be the deadliest month so far this year in Afghanistan and against the backdrop of a U.N. report saying roadside bomb attacks in Afghanistan are up 94 percent in the first four months of this year, Defense Secretary Robert Gates blames the media and argues that people are “losing context.” Gates says the plan to begin withdrawing troops in 2011 still stands.
To all Dads, wherever you are this day, Happy Father’s Day.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) Alaska on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“The statement that Representative Barton made was wrong, absolutely wrong. He has since apologized for it. But for - for the White House, for the administration to be, kind of, running with this as the issue - let's not forget; we had 11 people die. We have an environmental disaster unfolding. We have an economic disaster that is unfolding. Let's not be distracted by saying, you know, Joe Barton made this gaffe or this - this inappropriate comment. Let's focus on what we need to do, which is getting relief to the Gulf, making sure that they have every asset possible, making sure that we've got a claims compensation system that works for them. Let's focus on providing what the people of the Gulf need, not pointing fingers back and forth and saying, oh, you know, what you said was wrong.”
Rahm Emanuel, White House Chief of Staff on ABC’s “This Week”
“The approach here expressed and supported by others in the Republican Party sees the aggrieved party as BP, not the communities down there and the fishermen affected. And that would be the government philosophy. I think what Joe Barton did, was remind the American people, in case they forgot, that this is how the Republicans would govern.”
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) Minority Leader, on “Fox News Sunday”
“I couldn't disagree with Joe Barton more. BP doesn't need an apology, they need to apologize to us, and they certainly need to cover all of the costs of the cleanup and the economic damages as well, and they're going to.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) California, on CNN’s “State of the Union”
FEINSTEIN: “There is one, I think, irreversible truth. The Taliban is on a march. If you lose Afghanistan, Pakistan is the next step. And so what that bodes, is nothing but ill because Pakistan is a nuclear...
CROWLEY: “Failure is not an option is what you are saying.”
FEINSTEIN: “Failure is not an option.”
Sen. Richard Lugar (R) Indiana, CNN’s “State of the Union”
“The President and his plan said that we would begin to withdraw in July of next year, 2011. Now, this was to satisfy in part critics in the United States saying why are we there and how long are we going to be there? Likewise, to reassure the people in Afghanistan, that we were not there permanently, and some didn't like to see us around. I think the President is going to have to redefine the plan, and when the proper time comes for that, he will have to make a decision.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) California and Sen. Richard Lugar (R) Indiana, on CNN’s “State of the Union”
CROWLEY: “Jonathan Alter wrote a book called "The Promise," in which he quotes Vice President Joe Biden about July of 2011, when these troops are supposed to start leaving. ‘In July of 2011, you're going to see a whole lot of people moving out. Bet on it.’ Do you bet on it?”
FEINSTEIN: “A nice thought."
LUGAR: “I think that Senator Biden - or Joe Biden has many thoughts about this. Jonathan Alter may have caught him at a moment there, not really fair. Essentially, the vice president is going to follow the lead of the president, and that may mean we have a lot of troops still there after July 1.”
Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense, on “Fox News Sunday”
“People are losing context. This policy, this strategy has been in place and working for only about 4 or 5 months. We have yet to put in a third of the surge forces into Afghanistan. The President has said we'll wait until December to evaluate how we're doing. So I think there's a rush to judgment frankly, that loses sight of the fact we are still in the middle of getting all of the right components into place and giving us a little time to have this work.”
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I) Connecticut, on CNN’s “State of the Union”
CROWLEY: “Does comprehensive energy reform even have a chance this year?”
LIEBERMAN: “Yes, it does have a chance. And it needs to be done. And really it needs to be not just a kind of false energy bill, that is one that gets a few good things done, but doesn't change the equation, doesn't break our dependence on oil, particularly foreign oil, doesn't create new jobs, doesn't clean up the environment, and that's the judgment we have. I'll tell you what my count is in the Senate. There are 50 – in my opinion, there are about 50 senators who want to vote for a strong comprehensive energy bill that puts a price on carbon pollution. There are 30 who are set against it and there are 20 undecided. You have got to get to 60 to pass anything in the Senate. We need half of the undecided and we can do it.”