See, it’s another one of those Sundays where I like what wasn’t answered almost as much as I like what was answered.
So the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mullen, what I liked was the question about well, okay, if NATO and U.S. forces will get out of Afghanistan with their combat troops in 2014, how much of a footprint – which is military talk for how many troops will be left behind – said, haven’t figured it out yet. And I said, “Well how many combat troops are there now?” And he just would not go there. So it’s clear to me that this is a work in progress, this plan to get out of Afghanistan by 2014, at least with the combat troops. So I liked that.
I also thought his also just saying yes, this is not just NATO troops getting out in 2014 with combat forces, it’s also the U.S. troops. There obviously are more than 100,000 there.
I liked with the TSA Administrator John Pistole, Hillary Clinton said on another show that the government was looking at other less intrusive methods and that she totally understood the outrage and that she wouldn’t want to submit herself for a pat-down. And I’ll tell you, this is a never-let-them-see-you-sweat guy, because he said ‘Nope, I’m keeping it the exact same way.’ So you just had the president’s basic support, rather lukewarm, Hillary Clinton saying ‘oh they’re looking for another way to do this,’ and Congress kind of up in arms because they’re getting calls from their constituents. But the TSA administrator stuck with his guns, said ‘Nope, I’m not changing this, we’re going to do it.’
I guess with (Rep.) Mica, a conservative Florida Republican who is very critical of the TSA and how they do things, I thought his non-support for the so-called “opt-out” day on Wednesday that is trying to slow down the whole security procedures, I thought that was kind of interesting. He says ‘No, I think the public should work with us on working on these, but I don’t support that kind of opt-out day.’
So, I like those things.
Adm. Mike Mullen, Joint Chiefs Chairman, on CNN’s “State of the Union
Crowley: “And what is the footprint that you envision will be left in Afghanistan after 2014? We know there are still 50,000 U.S. troops in Iraq although combat forces have been brought out. What’s it going to look like in Afghanistan?
Mullen: “Very difficult to know, Candy, at this point what it would look like. It’s just too far off. Clearly we have an expectation that it will be dramatically reduced from where it is now. We have almost 100,000 troops there today. But in terms of specifics, it’s just too soon to tell.”
Crowley: “Do you have a ballpark? I mean, could it be – do you forsee that you might need more troops to help with the training and that sort of thing, after 2014 than you’d need in Iraq, given the complexity of Afghanistan?
Mullen: “No, we really don’t. We really haven’t sat down and done that detailed work right now. There is just too much uncertainty between now and then to say this is what the footprint size would be at in 2014.”
John Pistole, TSA Administrator, on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“No, we are not change the policies because of that, because of the risks that have been identified because of the current threat stream. We have a travel advisory in Europe now. We know through intelligence that there are determined people – terrorists who are trying to kill not only Americans but innocent people around the world.”
Rep. John Mica (R-FLA) on CNN’s “State of the Union” speaking about an opt-out protest at airports
“I think the public needs to work with us. We will get it right. I’m not going to support that but we need to get it right and we will.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared on three shows to push for immediate ratification o f the U.S.-Russia missile reduction treaty. Showing her diplomatic skills, she confronted Republican reluctance with the gentle art of reassurance and a Republican hero.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on NBC’s “Meet the Press”
“I think the questions t hat are being asked by Republicans deserve thoughtful answers and everyone in the administration stands ready from Bob Gates to Jim Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, because we all see it in the same way and we’re in the tradition of both Republican and Democratic presidents, going back to Ronald Reagan who famously said trust but verify.”
And a couple of Sunday no-goes to scratch off your list of 2012 presidential players. Firmly, and apparently happily ensconced in the diplomatic world, Secretary Clinton dropped the nuance on this one.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on “Fox News Sunday”
Chris Wallace: “So you’re done with elective office?”
Clinton: “I am. I am very happy doing what I’m doing and I am not in any way interested in or pursuing anything in elective office.”
On the Republican side, cross off the name Rick Perry… seems his Texas-size job is plenty big enough for him.
Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) on “Fox News Sunday”
“I think being the president – or excuse me – being the governor of a state like Texas, or for that matter Oklahoma or New Mexico is a more pivotal job in the future. I don’t want to be the president of the United States. I do want to work with these governors across the country to make the states more pivotal, more powerful, as they should be.”
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