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Emanuel: Need a Strong Afghan Govt.; Axelrod: Public Option Would Meet Goals

By John Amick and T. Rees Shapiro

CNN: State of the Union - Emanuel, Kerry Want an Afghan Partner Before Sending More Troops

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said Sunday that before a decision is made on whether or not to send more troops to Afghanistan, the U.S. has to assess the strength and viability of the Afghan government.

"It would be reckless to make a decision on U.S. troop level if, in fact, you haven't done a thorough analysis of whether, in fact, there's an Afghan partner ready to fill that space that the U.S. troops would create and become a true partner in governing the Afghan country," Emanuel said.

Widespread reports of fraud in the Aug. 20 presidential election have made a runoff possible. Senate Foreign Relations chair John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) said President Obama should not commit more troops to the region until Afghanistan's election is legitimately settled.

"It would be entirely irresponsible for the president of the United States to commit more troops to this country when we don't even have an election finished," Kerry said from Kabul in a taped interview.

More Sunday show wrap-ups after the jump.

Emanuel and Kerry echoed each other: Further U.S. military intervention without an Afghanistan that has confidence in its own leadership would be the wrong way to go.

"No commander-in-chief should be cornered into making a decision that isn't based on a responsible assessment about what is possible and what the American people are prepared to commit to," Kerry said.

On health-care reform, Emanuel insisted that the legislative process is as transparent as it's ever been despite reports that a group of Democratic senators, with the White House, is shutting off much of the ongoing debate. The key points, Emanuel says, is to increase access to health insurance at affordable rates while increasing competition. Emanuel repeated past sentiments that Obama supports a public option, but he won't specifically insist on its inclusion in legislation. On a delayed "trigger" public option, Emanuel said, "The president of the United States will obviously weigh in when it's important to weigh in on that."

Emanuel said taxing "Cadillac" health plans is key to keeping pressure on insurance companies from driving up premiums. The White House has received opposition from labor unions that call this excise tax a shot at middle class Americans.

ABC: This Week - Axelrod: A Public Option Would Help Achieve Goals

White House adviser David Axelrod signaled the inclusion of a public option in health-care reform would advance the Obama administration's goals of creating more access to health insurance at more affordable rates while lowering the overall cost of health care.

"I think the final bill will achieve those goals, and a public option would help in that regard," Axelrod said in an interview with ABC's "This Week," though he did not say Obama's support of a public option in the final form of legislation is a guarantee.

In response to criticism from Democrats that the White House is doing more to court one Republican senator, Olympia Snowe of Maine, than Democrats that support a public option, Axelrod was non-committal as to which side Obama would ultimately support.

"And I think that we will overcome these differences," he said. "There will be compromise."

On the proposed excise tax on "Cadillac" health plans, Axelrod seemed to predict some morphing of these aspects in the coming weeks.

"I think that this thing is going to be adjusted as we go along, so let's see what the final proposal says before we talk about what the president will or won't sign," he said.

On the economy, Axelrod said the White House will stay the course despite reports of record deficits.

"I think history shows us that the worst mistake you can make is to pull out of your -- your recovery efforts too early, because you could send the economy cascading backward into a recession, so that has to be a priority, but that doesn't mean that we don't look to the mid- and long term for deficit reduction," he said.

Axelrod, offended by the record bonuses reportedly handed out by Wall Street, said firms that took bailout funds from the government have a responsibility to act prudently.

They have responsibilities," Axelrod said. "They ought to meet those responsibilities. And they ought to express them by increasing lending, which is what we need right now, and by standing down and allowing the kinds of reforms we need to protect consumers and protect the country from the sort of disaster we've seen."

-- Axelrod on the White House's criticism of Fox News and whether it will fortify their opposition to Obama:

I'm not concerned. Mr. (Rupert) Murdoch has a talent for making money, and I understand that their programming is geared toward making money. All -- the only argument Anita (Dunn, White House communications director) was making is that they're not really a news station, if you watch -- even -- it's not just their commentators, but a lot of their news programming, it's really not news. It's pushing a point of view. And the bigger thing is that other news organizations, like yours (ABC), ought not to treat them that way, and we're not going to treat them that way. We're going to appear on their shows. We're going to participate, but understanding that they represent a point of view.

CBS: Face the Nation - Emanuel Confident in Afghan Run-off

White House Chief of Staff Emanuel echoed much of his earlier comments on CNN in his interview with CBS's "Face the Nation," saying the Afghanistan government's strength and commitment are essential before the U.S. makes any sort of decision on troop levels.

Emanuel did add that he believes a legitimate run-off is attainable. Emanuel also believes that once U.S. policy in Afghanistan is set, there may be possibilities of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal and other military leaders testifying before Congress.

Once American strategy is determined, "then the entire national security team will obviously be available to walk the Congress and the American people through that," Emanuel said.

Sen. Kerry also repeated many of the same sentiments he expressed on CNN. He said guaranteeing regional stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan is crucial to American goals, but a sound decision on troop levels can't be made until the Afghan government, and President Hamid Karzai if re-elected, steps up. Kerry said that while a counter-insurgency strategy should not be discarded, it must be fine-tuned to fit realities on the ground.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said that while the U.S. should thoughtfully calibrate Afghanistan strategy, the longer we wait to make a troop announcement, the more "deliberation begins to look more like indecisiveness which then becomes a way of emboldening our enemies and allies and causing our allies to question our resolve."

Cornyn said the canceling of a missile-defense system in Eastern Europe and current handling of Iran by the Obama administration "begin to create a narrative or begin to create a picture that shows a lack of resolve when it comes to our national security."

NBC: Meet the Press - Democrats: Public Option Will Be Included

Senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett said it's "premature" to say whether or not a second stimulus bill will be necessary to carry the economy out of its current slump. She said Wall Street is showing improved signs of health and with more time the first stimulus bills' effects will become more apparent to the general public.

On health care reform Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) said the public option "makes the most sense if you want competition." He said "when we get to the floor...we have a good chance to include a public option." Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said the public option "is an important issue, but not the most important issue." Jarrett agreed and said it's important to recognize the progress that has been made so far. She said with five bills out of committee, and with so much momentum for change, "we're on the brink" of landmark health-care reform. Jarret said President Obama will not demand the public option. Sen. Kyl also cited the budget deficit as a reason to be wary of an expensive government hand in health-care. But he admitted a public option will probably be included in a bill but with "a different color ribbon on it," perhaps in the form of Sen. Olympia Snowe's "triggered" approach.

FOX New Sunday - Specter: Time to Compromise


Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) implored his former party members that now is the time to compromise. He said the absence of any Republican plan is a demonstration of "obstructionism" that is purely partisan politics. He said President Obama swore only to sign a "deficit neutral" health care reform bill. Specter suggested creating criminal penalties for those who engage in Medicaid fraud in order to to discourage abuses that could inflate costs.

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said he would "not support any public option tied to medicare levels of reimbursement," but said a not-for-profit entity would be helpful in reducing consumer costs as a competitive counterpart to private insurers.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said he would reject any form of a government run healthcare provider, citing costs to the climbing $1.4 trillion deficit.

C-SPAN: Newsmakers - Murkowski Will Support Climate Legislation, with Nuclear Pursuits

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the leading republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee said that while carbon sequestration in the form of cap-and-trade agreements are a good first step, more should come in order to stymie overall greenhouse emissions and kick start climate legislation.

"We can't just count on renewables," Sen. Murkowski said. "We must aggressively start pursuing nuclear" energy. She said thousands of jobs will be lost and costs to consumers will increase during the process of converting to a more greener economy. But she said with a weak economy and the need for climate change at the forefront: "We need to make sure all options are on the table."

By washingtonpost.com editors  |  October 18, 2009; 12:45 PM ET
Categories:  Sunday Talkies  
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Comments

While Hamad Karsie may not have stuffed the ballot boxes to steal the election in person, those around him did. On that basis alone this man is seen as little more than a US Puppet, a later day Diem or Kay and hardly someone to die for. On the other hand the only way to insure that the (Anglo-American) English speaking world remains safe is to go after and KILL the religious fanatics/ terrorists [Al-Qaeda] commonly mislabel as Taliban (it means student) they are terrorists.. Perhaps a switch to Desert Fox like raiding might be
better than attempting to hold ground as at present. Afghanistan hearts and minds are probably unwindable as in Vietnam despite may be another 20 years of effort, that's the place and it's history. And unless the "government" in Afghanistan from center to local is shown to be less corrupt than at present Afghanistan may prove as unsolvable as Vietnam was. The current anti-Taliban action by the Pakistani Army will certainly aid in preventing the Taliban regrouping. But with the full resources of the Washington intelligence alphabet soup at work why has Bin Laden not been killed or captured? How can they be trusted to come up with accurate and truthful picture after the WMD fiasco in Iraq??? On the basis that the guys are there to protect us, the US and England but "nation building" just ends up propping up a bunch of "Fat Cats", fat on misappropriated "construction" dollars

Posted by: spirals | October 19, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

While Hamad Karsie may not have stuffed the ballot boxes to steal the election in person, those around him did. On that basis alone this man is seen as little more than a US Puppet, a later day Diem or Kay and hardly someone to die for. On the other hand the only way to insure that the (Anglo-American) English speaking world remains safe is to go after and KILL the religious fanatics/ terrorists [Al-Qaeda] commonly mislabel as Taliban (it means student) they are terrorists.. Perhaps a switch to Desert Fox like raiding might be
better than attempting to hold ground as at present. Afghanistan hearts and minds are probably unwindable as in Vietnam despite may be another 20 years of effort, that's the place and it's history. And unless the "government" in Afghanistan from center to local is shown to be less corrupt than at present Afghanistan may prove as unsolvable as Vietnam was. The current anti-Taliban action by the Pakistani Army will certainly aid in preventing the Taliban regrouping. But with the full resources of the Washington intelligence alphabet soup at work why has Bin Laden not been killed or captured? How can they be trusted to come up with accurate and truthful picture after the WMD fiasco in Iraq??? On the basis that the guys are there to protect us, the US and England but "nation building" just ends up propping up a bunch of "Fat Cats", fat on misappropriated "construction" dollars

Posted by: spirals | October 19, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

While Hamad Karsie may not have stuffed the ballot boxes to steal the election in person, those around him did. On that basis alone this man is seen as little more than a US Puppet, a later day Diem or Kay and hardly someone to die for. On the other hand the only way to insure that the (Anglo-American) English speaking world remains safe is to go after and KILL the religious fanatics/ terrorists [Al-Qaeda] commonly mislabel as Taliban (it means student) they are terrorists.. Perhaps a switch to Desert Fox like raiding might be
better than attempting to hold ground as at present. Afghanistan hearts and minds are probably unwindable as in Vietnam despite may be another 20 years of effort, that's the place and it's history. And unless the "government" in Afghanistan from center to local is shown to be less corrupt than at present Afghanistan may prove as unsolvable as Vietnam was. The current anti-Taliban action by the Pakistani Army will certainly aid in preventing the Taliban regrouping. But with the full resources of the Washington intelligence alphabet soup at work why has Bin Laden not been killed or captured? How can they be trusted to come up with accurate and truthful picture after the WMD fiasco in Iraq??? On the basis that the guys are there to protect us, the US and England but "nation building" just ends up propping up a bunch of "Fat Cats", fat on misappropriated "construction" dollars

Posted by: spirals | October 19, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

While Obama officials agonize over Afghanistan and health care...

GRASSROOTS GESTAPO SEIZES POLITICAL POWER BY VIOLATING CONSTITUTIONAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Is THIS how the extreme right seeks to retake political and social control of America -- via a "Grassroots Gestapo" enabled by powerful reactionary forces in federal and local government agencies and commands...

...deploying silent, mind- and body-degrading microwave/laser directed energy weapons systems against perceived political enemies and other Americans...

...who have been systemically and unjustly targeted by a secretive executive branch multi-agency coordinated action program...

...sold to naive Obama administration officials as necessary components of the "war on terror"?

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

OR (if link is corrupted): http://NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA" (see "stories" list).

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 19, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I've been studying developments in Afhganistan and Pakistan for years.

I am happy to see Rahm Emmanuel hit the nail on the head.

It's absolutely no use to send in more troops to Afghanistan until it has a functioning government, i.e. a government that responds to the needs of the people.

Karzai heads a gang of warlords and corrupt cronies and relatives, not a government. His "election" was fraught with fraud. He knows it and is afraid of a runoff.

It's suicidal to send in more troops in a situation like that. NATO troops have no backing in the population because they have no stake in the government.

Actually, the USA's biggest enemy on Afghanistan is Karzai's "government."

Right on, Emmanuel!!!

Posted by: FedUp1 | October 18, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Hey what about OUR wide spread Fraud in the last election?

Posted by: Imarkex | October 18, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Hey John Cornyn; you forgot to mention one simple little fact. The Czechs never wanted the socalled "missle shield" and never gave us permission to build it in their country.

Posted by: JoeNTx | October 18, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Please people, Obama is just doing what he has ALWAYS done....he is voting PRESENT, again.

Of course The Post was leading the charge in defaming smart people who rightly pointed this out when you fools where electing this doofus.

When Obama goes down in flames, his wh*res at the POST and all the other MSM must join him.

What a failure.

Posted by: LogicalSC | October 18, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

When did we elect this dolt Commander in Chief ???

Not to mention ALL of the others who have been in positions of decision making by PO
TUS NoBama !!!

Posted by: thgirbla | October 18, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Oh great. Military genius Cowardly John Kerry is giving the inept dolt in the White House advice on Afghanistan.

Talk about the blind leading the blind..or more appropriately dumb and dumber.

What disgraceful incompetents Odumbo and his cabal of liars, Emanuel, Gibbs and Axelrod are.

Pathetic and contemptible.

Posted by: LarryG62 | October 18, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Some cheese for your WHINE? The terrorists and communists everywhere must be laughing, knowing that this administration can't handle Fox News, how are they going to handle Iran, Russia, China, Venezuela or Afghanistan. See what happens when you elect a democRAT as POTUS?

Posted by: trippermeow | October 18, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Exactly who are these stupid people who watch Fox News anyway? That network promulgates a far-right-wing point of view that is equally as far to the right as the Christian Broadcasting Network, a self-avowed right-wing point of view network. Those who seem to accept Fox' claims that is somehow balanced are sadly misled.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | October 18, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Preisdent George W. Bush brought 'democracy' to both Irag and Afghanistan for the first time in their long histories.

President Obama can't figure out why we are there. It's been 9 months, Mr. Emanuel:

"This marks the conclusion of a careful policy review that I ordered as soon as I took office. My Administration has heard from our military commanders and diplomats. We have consulted with the Afghan and Pakistani governments; with our partners and NATO allies; and with other donors and international organizations. And we have also worked closely with members of Congress here at home. Now, I'd like to speak clearly and candidly to the American people." Presiden Obama, 3/27/09.

WHERE'S THE BEEF?

Posted by: amos3_3 | October 18, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Every time I see Axelrod for some reason I picture him in a brown shirt and jack boots. The stench of corruption and lies that is coming from this administration is staggering. They are not even trying to hide it anymore.

People need to stand against this blatant attack on our Constitution. There is great mischief that these socialist, communist or fascist, whichever leanings they seem to have, can do before the 2010 elections and they are thrown out of office. They are getting desperate because they understand that their time in office is short.

Call your representatives in the Senate and the Congress and let them know that this will not stand. No more debt, no more too big to fail, no more bail-outs, no more stimulus to the unions and other special interests.

Forget about health care, cap and trade and the other nonsense. It is about the debt, the loss of jobs and the destruction of our economy. The scam that was TARP and the stimulus was a mechanism to transfer the debt of the Wall-Street fellowship to the taxpayers, and it is an outrage.

Instead of sending the companies and individuals that created the mess to bankruptcy court and making those that created the debt pay the price, it has been and is continuing to be passed to the taxpayers.

We need to stop the mountain of taxes that will consume this Nation from the debt being created. This the greatest threat to our individual Liberty since the Revolutionary War. Stand against it.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | October 18, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Fox 4, Obama 0? What planet do you live on? The network of we distort, we decide has proven again and again that they are shills for the RNC. The percentage of viewers they get exactly tracks the wingnut base of the Republican Party. Let em rant--no one with any wits believes their gibberish. They are propagandists, not journalists. From conspiracy nut Beck, to "I'm entitled to MY facts" Rove, they present black as white, up as down. They consistently misrepresent positions and facts to promote their agenda. It's not like Anita Dunn sasid anything any thinking person didn't already know. The only real error is wrestling with the metaphoric pig in the first place--you both get sullied and the pig loves it.

As for Afghanistan, all the same gasbags that were wrong on EVERY aspect of Iraq are calling for a repeat, rushed performance on a truly momentous decision. The debate that should happen is happening, and should go on until all parties have their say---this time thinking replaces seat of the pants decision making--that makes us SAFER not more vulnerable. Obama should just ignore the carping by a political party that is irrelevant to the process. They won't be happy whatever he does, and really don't matter at all.

Posted by: bklyndan22 | October 18, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

For you sports fans scoring at home, it's now FOX News 4, Obama nothing, nada, zero, zippity-do-dah. Sweet Jeepers, quit while your behind!

Silly Socialists!

Posted by: sosueme1 | October 18, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

It will take only a green light from the U.S. to send a 2 million man Chinese army into Pakistan. The Chinese army will liberate backward cultures that should have disappeared centuries ago. They will not stop until all Muslim cultures are secularized. China`s reward will be a partnership with the U.S. in Middle-East oil. No longer will the world be terrorized by religious fanatics and their suicide bombers.

Posted by: melvin_polatnick | October 18, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Saving our troops isn't an emergency that you should get backed into a corner on.. it's healthcare..that's the emergency and clunkers and the UAW..and banks.. we should take our time when playing with the lives of our men and women abroad.. maybe insert the leader that we want..not like Karzai..but a man worth defending..
this is outrageous and wrong!

Posted by: newbeeboy | October 18, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

These Generals aren't serving our country in the military to further their political future, they took an oath to defend the country and its national interest.
Donald Rumsfeld made a big mistake when it didn't listen to its military leaders.
These Generals make assessments and preparations to make the best move. Most of them are the best of the best who went to top US military academies that only accept the best and brightest in our nation.

Posted by: HailCaesar | October 18, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Rahm, your experience in dealing with military strategies is a joke, much like the wimp in the White House. If your leading General says we need more troops NOW, then you talk him at his word, not debate or send out a poll. Haven't you libs learned anything about your military strategies from Vietnam?

Posted by: cschotta1 | October 18, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

On Afghanistan, the key content of Kerry's remarks, Emanual's remarks, and what the President has said is that no consideration is being given to an Afghanistan strategy that would be primarily directed at withdrawing our troops as rapidly as possible. The implication is that one way or another we are likely to wind up with more troops in Afghanistan.
On the public option and Olympia Snowe, there are clearly still a number Democrats who are in denial of reality on the health care bill. The reality is that there are a number of Democrats with positions not much different from hers. Clearly the bill will include some kind of non profit option. Clearly it will not have any ability to mandate reimbursements more than private insurance. So Jay Rockefeller will be unhappy. Perhaps it will have some form of the triggered public option proposed by Olympia Snowe. That choice gives everyone a sense of victory because everyone can form their own idea about the chances of the trigger being exercised. If there is a demonstrated need for the public option, then it will be there. If there is no need for it, then there will not be the wasted expense of creating it. That approach is probably the one that leaves the fewest Congress people unahppy.

Posted by: dnjake | October 18, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod showed off their paranoia on prime time Sunday!! Forcefully bullying commentators! Axelrod continually used cowardly defensive gestures against George Stephanopolois!!

Rahm never let a question in from his interviewer and when forced always changed the subject to predictable talking points!!!

Posted by: jjcrocket2 | October 18, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

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