Although several media outlets were aware that Rohde was taken last November in Afghanistan while working on a book, most had agreed not to publish that information at the request of Rohde’s family and The New York Times.
Times Executive Editor Bill Keller, who recently returned from Iran, spoke about the difficulty of the decision.
“It was an agonizing decision that we revisited over and over again, but I also have a responsibility for the people who work for me,” Keller said on the Reliable Sources hour of CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Keller told Kurtz that as time went on, they reconsidered keeping the abduction a secret, but ultimately decided that “the wisest course for David’s safety was to keep it quiet.”
Remarkably enough, this wasn’t the first time that Rohde had been abducted. In 1995, he was kidnapped by Serb forces while reporting for the Christian Science Monitor from Bosnia. He was released after heavy interrogation ten days later.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, long-rumored to be on Sen. John McCain’s short list for vice president, told CNN’s “Late Edition” he isn’t concerned about newly chosen Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware.
Calling Biden “long-winded,” Pawlenty told host Wolf Blitzer, “I think any of the people that Senator McCain is thinking about for vice president will be more than able to hold their own against Senator Biden.” The Republican vice presidential nominee will get his or her chance to face Biden during the vice presidential debate on October 2 in St. Louis, Missouri.
Other names circulated in Republican circles for the number two spot on the McCain ticket include former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney; Tom Ridge, former Homeland Security Secretary and Pennsylvania governor; and Sen. Joe Lieberman, an Independent Democrat and longtime ally of McCain.
Pawlenty appeared on “Late Edition” today while campaigning for McCain in Pennsylvania. He has spent the last few months speaking on McCain’s behalf in battleground states such as Michigan, fueling further speculation that he’s being seriously considered for the VP spot.
On Monday he is expected to campaign in Ohio for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
When pressed by Blitzer if he expected to be McCain’s running mate, or if he felt ready to hold the office, Pawlenty refused to speculate. “I just don't talk about the VP speculation anymore.”
(CNN) - Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) gave a bleak outlook on the prospects for a Republican-led Senate in 2009.
During an interview with CNN’s Late Edition, McConnell told guest host Candy Crowley that the numbers were not in the GOP’s favor.
“We are not going to be back in the majority in the Senate next year,” said McConnell. “The numbers make that impossible.”
Republicans in the Senate have been gearing up for the elections in November despite grim conditions. Five GOP senators are retiring this year: Sen. Wayne Allard (CO), Sen. John Warner (VA), Sen. Pete Domenici (NM), Sen. Chuck Hagel (NE), and Sen. Larry Craig (ID). Other Republicans are running in competitive elections, such as Norm Coleman (MN), who faces well-known comedian and outspoken Democrat Al Franken in November.
Each party holds the same number of members in the Senate (49-49), but the Democrats hold a slim majority with two independents, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman, caucusing with their party. However, many are predicting that the Democrats could pick up as many as six seats in the fall, giving them a clear majority.
Despite the GOP’s troubles, McConnell remains hopeful about his party’s chances and predicts they will hold most, if not all, of their seats. “I'm optimistic we can stay roughly where we are,” he told Crowley. “We have a robust minority.”
(CNN) - On Tuesday, Democrat Travis Childers won a key Mississippi House seat against Republican Greg Davis. The district was thought to be a stronghold for the GOP, with the seat held by Rep. Roger Wicker since 1994.
The state’s governor appointed Wicker to the Senate seat of Trent Lott at the first of the year. Many in Republican circles are interpreting this loss, along with those of two other House seats in traditionally conservative districts, as an ominous sign for the November election.
Meanwhile, the congressional Democrats raised over $44 million for the upcoming campaign, while Republicans have only pulled in an estimated $7 million. And earlier this week, retiring Republican Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia sent out a memo calling the current political climate “the worst atmosphere we've seen since Watergate.”
On ABC’s “This Week” House Minority Leader John Boehner spoke with George Stephanopoulos about the chances for Republican gains in the fall.
(Full roundup after the jump)
(CNN) - A top Clinton adviser this morning said that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is open to the possibility of loaning her campaign more money to continue in the race.
Terry McAuliffe, the Clinton campaign chairman, told Tim Russert on “Meet the Press” that he spoke to Clinton about the possibility of contributing more money and “she said that she would be willing to do it.” However, McAuliffe insists, “We haven’t needed it.”
Russert pressed the issue, asking McAuliffe if the Clintons will be able to repay all debts after the campaign is over. “We plan on it,” he replied.
The Clintons have contributed a sizeable amount to Hillary’s campaign, loaning $6.4 million in just the last few weeks. The total amount loaned is estimated to be around $11 million, with the campaign $20 million in debt.
(CNN) - This week’s Democratic primaries in North Carolina and Indiana brought disappointing results for the Clinton campaign. Senator Barack Obama handily won North Carolina by 14 points. While Senator Hillary Clinton edged out a win in Indiana, it was by just two points. Many political observers expected she would win handily.
After Tuesday’s results, several more superdelegates publicly endorsed Obama. Others have switched their vote from Clinton to the Illinois senator, including former senator and presidential nominee George McGovern.
With all these events in mind, the question of the week remains: Does Hillary Clinton have a chance to win the nomination, and if not, why hasn’t she dropped out? The Sunday morning circuit digs deep to find answers.
(Full roundup after the jump)
(CNN) - Presidential contenders Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have not been on the Sunday circuit simultaneously since February 3, two days before the Super Tuesday primaries. Fittingly, today they chose to sit down with two Sunday morning talk show hosts just two days before yet another major big day in the Democratic presidential nomination process, the Indiana and North Carolina primaries.
The rest of the Sunday circuit featured surrogates of the two campaigns to make a final push for their candidate before Tuesday’s vote.
(Full roundup after the jump)
(CNN) - Hillary Clinton's big win in Pennsylvania on Tuesday kept the New York senator's hopes alive as she and fellow candidate Sen. Barack Obama continue to campaign for the next two upcoming primaries in Indiana and North Carolina. With both campaigns still in full swing and no immediate end in sight, the Sunday morning talk shows hashed out the current stats with strategists, surrogates, party leaders, and even one of the candidates, in an effort to answer the question: Who's leading the race for the Democratic nomination?
Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, a backer of Sen. Hillary Clinton, and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, a supporter of Sen. Barack Obama, stopped by ABC's "This Week" to talk campaign politics. Sen. Bayh made the case for looking at the popular vote instead of the delegate count to determine a frontrunner. "The most important thing to look at is the aggregate popular vote. The pledged delegates are important, but they are just intermediaries representing the people themselves," he said. But Daschle argued that examining only the popular vote leaves out a large segment of the Democratic voting population, the caucuses. "That basically says to all caucus states who don't keep track of the popular vote per se that you don't count," Daschle said.
It was a Senator showdown on CNN's "Late Edition" this week between Clinton supporter Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) and Obama backer Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri). Sen. Schumer interpreted Clinton's Pennsylvania win as a change in the tide. "Hillary Clinton now has the momentum," he said to CNN's Wolf Blitzer. But Sen. McCaskill disputed Schumer's assertions. "If you drill down and look at the superdelegate race, right now, you see where the momentum is," referring to Obama's surge in superdelegates in the past week despite his loss in Pennsylvania.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - With this week’s headlines focused on the congressional testimony of U.S. Commander in Iraq Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, the Sunday morning talk show circuit showcased some of the top political players in the next steps for the United States in Iraq:
On CNN’s Late Edition, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden and Republican Ranking Member Richard Lugar gave their assessments following the week of testimony. Biden told host Wolf Blitzer that it’s not the presidential election that will change the Iraqi government, but rather “reality on the ground will change the politics in Iraq.” Lugar expressed some disappointment in the current Iraq strategy, telling Blitzer “The hearing demonstrated that we don't have still a definition of success or victory.”
Also on Late Edition, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari asserted that the Iraqi government is doing its part to stabilize the country. “We are shouldering the main burden on looking after our people,” Zebari said. “We are not standing by. This is our country.”