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Steele: Reid should resign; White House watching bonuses

By John Amick and T. Rees Shapiro

Today on the Sunday talk shows:

CNN: STATE OF THE UNION - McCain, Lieberman see end to Iran regime

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) said Sunday that the Iranian leadership, embroiled in protests from anti-government citizens throughout Iran, is at the "beginning of the end" of its reign.

Lieberman suggested continuing to seek economic sanctions against Iran while simultaneously supporting the Iranians who are challenging the government.

"We have to do everything we can not just to put economic sanctions on Iran because of their development of nuclear weapons but to support the people of Iran, to cry out against the human rights abuses, the terrible repression of the demonstrators and just the freedom of average citizens in Iran," said Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security committee.

McCain added that the Iranian regime very well may "try to divert the attention of the people from their domestic situation to increasing confrontation with Israel [as] a real threat." He said he is optimistic of a return to peace talks among Israelis and Palestinians this year, in light of a "heightened understanding" of the stakes and threats of instability in the region.

Lieberman said any activity the U.S. takes in regard to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is going through the Yemeni government, and the U.S. should continue its vigilance in restricting al-Qaeda from developing a sanctuary there.

"Just have got to look at the three cases in which our homeland defenses were broken through this year, Arkansas, Fort Hood and the Detroit bomber," Lieberman said. "They all three of those have a connection to al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula, which is headquartered in Yemen."

Both senators agreed that there must be accountability for those that missed intelligence connections that allowed Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to board an airliner headed for Detroit on Christmas.

"If human errors were made, I think some of the humans who made those errors have to be disciplined so that they never happen again," Lieberman said, indicating he thought a review would make clear just who would be held responsible.

McCain again lamented the Obama administration's decision to try Abdulmutallab in U.S. civilian courts, although terrorist suspects have tried in civilian courts long before Obama came to office.

"I don't think the president's action matched his rhetoric when we send this individual to a civilian court," McCain said when asked about Obama's statement on Thursday that "We are at war." "That person should be tried as an enemy combatant, he's a terrorist. And if we are at war, then we certainly should not be trying that individual in a court other than a military trial."

Romer: December jobs report a 'disappointment'

Following a jobs report that showed a loss of 85,000 positions in December, White House economic adviser Christina Romer maintained that unemployment numbers will start to turn around by this spring.

"An important fact is GDP not only needs to grow, it needs to grow at about a normal rate, like at 2.5 percent to actually bring down the unemployment rate," Romer said. "So the thing we're going to be looking for is, do you see that kind of robust GDP growth?"

In the meantime, targeted actions like tax incentives and encouraging at least temporary hiring must be in place now, Romer says, to assuage the economic impact.

As bonus season emerges for financial institutions that received government assistance to stay afloat amid crisis, Romer said the administration knows the American public is keeping an eye on how firms compensate employees.

"We have had to take these extraordinary actions," Romer said. "And you would certainly think that the financial institutions that are now doing a little bit better would have some sense. And this big bonus season of course is going to offend the American people. It offends me."

FOX NEWS SUNDAY - Steele: Reid should resign

Republican National Commitee Chairman Michael S. Steele said Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid should resign from his post after a book quoted him as making "racially insensitive" remarks about then Democratic candidate Barack Obama's chances in the 2008 election.

Reid has apologized to President Obama for saying that because he was "light-skinned" and did not have a "Negro dialect," that made him broadly appealing to the Democratic voting base. He was quoted in the book "Game Change" by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann.

Steele compared Reid's remarks to those of then Minority Leader Trent Lott, who resigned from his post after saying that if former Sen. Strom Thurmond had been elected president on his pro-segregation ticket in 1948, the nation would not "have had all the problems" it faced in a nonsegregated America.

Virginia Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said Reid's comments, taken in context, were said in a positive light and were not intended to be inflammatory.

Responding to recent talk that many Republican party members view him as an ineffective leader who is a distraction to the party's overall goals, Steele said he is passionate about the party's causes and has the track record to prove it. Steele said that in the past year he has raised millions of campaign dollars, won two gubernatorial races, and has his party bankrolled with a surplus of cash going into 2010.

Kaine said his party "has the edge" on voting in the upcoming mid-term elections. With the departure of high profile Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, who recently announced he will not seek re-election, Kaine maintains that more Republicans will be giving up their seats than Democrats. In the House, Kaine said 14 Republicans are bowing out compared to 10 Democrats, and six Republicans to two Democrats in the Senate.

CBS: FACE THE NATION - Feinstein: More scrutiny on released detainees

Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) agreed that detainees held at Guantanamo Bay with ties to al-Qaeda, or any country that has an al-Qaeda presence for that matter, should not be released no matter what their status of guilt or incarceration.

"If you combine the suspected and the confirmed, the number I have is 74 detainees have gone back into the fight," Feinstein said, despite the murky definitions of who "goes back" to the fight, who joins after being motivated by their incarceration at Gitmo and just how valid statistics on released detainees are.

Feinstein sees the celebrity aspect of former Gitmo detainees as a prime reason they are coveted for propaganda purposes by extremist groups. And she said rehabilitation programs for these former detainees may not work.

"They come out of Gitmo and they are heroes in this world," said Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence committee. "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."

Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) reiterated his past claims that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab should not be charged in civilian courts. He said Abdulmutallab's alleged contacts with American-born Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi, as well Aulaqi's ties to Fort Hood shooter Nidal M. Hasan, may prove to be the window to missed intelligence.

"After Fort Hood, what did we as an intelligence and a military community do to try to find this guy, either arrest him or potentially kill him?" Hoekstra asked. "Remember, he has the protections of an American citizen. I think that's going to be the big issue as we move forward. How are we going to deal with American citizens who go rogue?"

Of Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid's racially-inflammatory comments about then-presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008, Feinstein hopes the matter has been dealt with after Reid's profusive apologies to Obama and African-American leaders.

"Clearly this was a mistake," Feinstein said of Reid's comments in the book "Game Change" by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann . "He has not only apologized to the president, I think he has apologized to all of the black leadership that he could reach. So the president has accepted the apology. And it would seem to me that the matter should be closed."

Hoekstra said this is a matter for the Democratic Party, and Republicans should let them handle what they allow their leaders to do and say.

ABC: THIS WEEK - Job losses moderating, Romer says

White House economic adviser Christina Romer said despite lagging job numbers in December, a broader look at job losses shows an steady improvement in the American job market.

"I think it is important to put them (the losses outlined in a December jobs report) in context, because they are, I think, still part of this overall trend towards greatly moderating job losses," Romer said.

Romer sees an improving GDP as another sign of steady progress for the economy.

"GDP, which grew in the third quarter of last year, is going to grow even more strongly when we get the numbers for the fourth quarter," she said. "And I think ... if you look at basically every forecast, they are saying steady GDP growth over 2010."

The administration will be hard on firms that compensate excessively, she asserted. Regardless, financial reform is in the works.

"What we're going to do is redouble our efforts on financial regulatory reform ... sensible things like saying, for heaven's sakes, compensation should be focused on long term, so that you don't have rewards for short-term risk-taking," she said. "And we just simply have to put in place rules of the road so that this system doesn't bring the economy to the edge of collapse like it did a year or so ago."

NBC: MEET THE PRESS - To Steele, race remarks show a double standard

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele claimed a double standard exists between Democrats and Republicans in light of recent "racially insensitive" comments made by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) Steele said if Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) had called President Obama "light-skinned" with no discernible "Negro dialect," Democratic party leaders would be "screaming for his head" and resignation.

Virginia Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said the "case is closed," and that while the comments were unfortunate and insensitive, any talk of Reid's resignation is partisan politics, and that Reid "absolutely should not" remove himself as Majority Leader.

By washingtonpost.com editors  |  January 10, 2010; 1:10 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Sunday Talkies  
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Next: Harry Reid's worrisome weekend

Comments

HE__ NO! The dems should stop caving in to The Party Of NO's unrealistic demands.

Posted by: EZDon | January 11, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

This seems to be a description of a person that somehow someone decided is racism!
What is racist about just a physical description of a person?? My question is why are only Negros considered discriminated against in America, when there are many races?
The man, and he is a man, right? Has never held a job and does not seem to understand that with a new job, comes the same job as the person who held it before him; there is no blame to be placed on anyone, it is what it is and this man in the job needs to move on to be effective.

Posted by: daughters04 | January 11, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Then Steele should step down first!

"Steele said Reid used "anachronistic language," adding, "It harkens back to the 1950s and 60s, and it confirms to me a mind-set that's out of step with where America is today."

Steele was asked about his use in a recent television appearance of the words "honest injun," seen as disparaging toward American Indians. Asked if his own words were a racial slur, Steele said, "Well, if it is, I apologize for it. ... I wasn't intending to say a racial slur at all."
(Reuters)

"Steele, appearing on "Meet the Press," said that "whether [Reid] steps down today -- or I retire him in November, either way, he will not be the leader in 2011."

The senator is "absolutely running for reelection," said Reid spokesman Jim Manley, adding: "Nevadans are facing challenging times, and they need the majority leader fighting for them to create jobs and get the economy back on track."

Steele, in his remarks on "Fox News Sunday," reiterated that he has no plans to step aside -- even after a week of Republican Party squabbles caused by the release of his book charting a new way forward for the GOP.

The controversy over the book, which leaders in Congress said they had not been made aware of before its publication, came days after Steele had angered many Republican officials by saying he didn't think the party could win back the House."

(Washington Post)

Dug up from 2008 for political mudslinging in a 2010 election by an embattled GOP .

Posted by: macdoodle1 | January 11, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Harry Reid should retire from the senate, but not for his comments. Those comments were just discussing facts, and I do not see anything wrong with that. We cannot avoid the truth that racism is still in America and just not talking about will not make it go away.

Posted by: belttari159 | January 11, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Harry Reid should retire from the senate, but not for his comments. Those comments were just discussing facts, and I do not see anything wrong with that. We cannot avoid the truth that racism is still in America and just not talking about will not make it go away.

Posted by: belttari159 | January 11, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

There is nothing wrong with what Reid said. He was talking about the viability of a candidate who he supported. What's wrong with pointing out that Barack is light-skinned, and can have an black "affect" to his voice if he wants to? That means he can speak to all types of audiencdes. Tons of African Americans do that - Oprah is a prime example. When she speaks to another African American, her way of speaking changes. In terms of saying Obama is "light skinned" - what's wrong with pointing out that it was an attribute in this campaign? Everyone knows that racism still exists in the US (obviously, we're talking about it!). He was simply saying that perhaps for some who had reservations with an African American being President, Obama would be appealing...not TOO much of a change for more closed-minded people.

While these comments look bad if taken out of context, Reid was doing what all political leaders do during an election - talking strategy and discussing the viability of the candidate. Not one bit of that is racist.

Perhaps the word "Negro" could upset some, as it seems a pretty dated term...but Reid is older, so it may seem normal to him.

The Republicans know that Reid had NO intention of slighting Obama, and that he wasn't being racist.

Posted by: bronxville | January 11, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

ATTN. D.C. SCRIBES (special to Bob Woodward/Karen DeYoung):

U.S. GOV'T USES CBS NEWS TO COVER UP MICROWAVE CELL TOWER TORTURE OF 'TARGETED' AMERICANS?

• Steve Kroft "60 Minutes" report on "electronic fence" along Mexican border reveals U.S. Homeland Security "department-wide re-assessment of the entire program."

• Does the "entire program" also include the nationwide network Homeland Security cellular "torture towers" already operational in virtually every community in America...

...being used to physically attack and physiologically and neurologically impair unconstitutionally "targeted" American citizens -- as first reported on sites linked below?

• A government-wide cover up that makes Watergate look like just another black bag job?

Poynter.org (Groups -- Reporting): "U.S. Gov't uses CBS..."; "U.S. Silently Tortures Americans with Cell Tower Microwaves"
http://nowpublic.com/world/u-s-silently-tortures-americans-cell-tower-microwaves
http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america OR NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 10, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

So many of you folks speak of the truth Harry Reid is quoted as having said. But I ask what relevance is in truth if the result is to create an air of divisive distinction? We hold truth to be self evident as in all men (women) are created equal. How does what HR said support THIS truth? This is the only truth any American citizen should be concerned with. In my opinion, fully 80 percent of all criticism directed at our elected president stems from a racist mindset. To deny this is to deny another truth, that being, this country was built, in part, on the labor of black slaves and it hasn’t been too long yet for this mindset to eradicate itself from the masses. Ask any black person how they are judged at work? They say they have to work twice as hard and be twice as perfect in order to be seen as equal. Some truth.

Next time any of you want to offer criticism of the progress or perceived lack of progress our president is working towards, really ask yourself, is it because he is ineffective or because he is half black? Can any white person achieve a better result based on process and procedure than Barack Obama has begun to achieve? How could any one person lift us from the pit of despair we were dropped into by the Bush/Cheney years after a single year in office? Obama himself knows that he has to work twice as hard and be twice as perfect to gain the respect he deserves from the American public and EVEN his colleagues in the house and congress.

It is disgusting that this is were we are at in AMERICA. We constantly pat ourselves on the back for being the best. Who really can believe this premise any longer? I say, let the man do his job. Yes, there is politics and lobbies and graft and self interest over and above support of the people in every quarter of the government. Yet I still hold to the belief I felt during the run up to the election that change is needed systemically within our governmental practices. And yes, this change is slow to come but if the underlying mood is racist then this will have to change and it must come from changes within nearly every one of us.

Posted by: iralarry | January 10, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

JENNIFER ALLEN

MOREHEAD CITY — A leader in the county volunteer effort that raised nearly $900,000 in the last three years to donate to the American Cancer Society to find a cure for the deadly disease resigned last week in disgust over the millions of dollars paid in executive salaries and the lack of focus – both in the group’s message and financing – for cancer research.

City resident Vernon Hill, who for three years has served as co-chairman of the County Relay for Life, an annual community effort in which about 70 teams totaling 1,000-plus people raise money for the cancer society, called out the national group for “excessive salaries” and other information he found in an Internet search.

His battle cry has caught the attention of the national group. An ACS leadership team will meet this week with Relay for Life team captains at 7 p.m. Monday in the Carteret Community College Bryant Student Center.

The county’s annual effort has teams sponsoring a variety of events that take place year round from raffles to spaghetti dinners to bake sales, culminating in a 24-hour outdoor community event in May in which those who have lost their lives to cancer are honored and those who survive celebrate.

All that work and effort, at a cost of about $37,000 during the last three years, is a great return for the amount raised locally, according to Mr. Hill.

He reported in his resignation letter, circulated to Relay for Life volunteers and the newspaper, that the national group’s CEO John Seffrin was paid more than $1 million in salary, benefits and deferred compensation in 2008, and he listed other six-figure salaries for the nonprofit’s executive level management team.

While management pulled in those salaries, the ACS cut 140 jobs in 2009 and at the same time asked the county-level operations to cut costs.

Mr. Hill said he discovered nearly half the money raised in 2007 nationally went to salaries, and more money went to prevention rather than a cure for the disease.

“Due to these excessive salaries and other info I have found, I can no longer ask anyone for any money for the American Cancer Society as I have no interest in paying this highly paid executives while they lay off 140 individual who needed their jobs,” Mr. Hill wrote.

Posted by: lucygirl1 | January 10, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

This should be between Obama and Reid. The Republicans are sitting around waiting for any little thing that they can disagree with. It was no racist comment in the first place but even so, it should not be any concern of anyone except the two involved. This should show the American people where the Republicans heads lie. I will certainly vote Democratic or Independent, they are the only two Parties for the American people. Every Republican stands against the United States.

Posted by: racam | January 10, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Reid's comments were not even remotely racist. Many African-American commentators have made similar observations. They were simply insensitive coming from a Caucasian. Since when are Republicans so obsessed with political correctness?

Posted by: jondnorton | January 10, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

nothing racist in Reid's remarks. Reid didnt dis African Americans. It was no different than the GOP's remarks on Romeny being a mormon.

Posted by: tru-indy | January 10, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Reid should resign! Today!

Posted by: tonyjm | January 10, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

There is no doubt if a Republican official made the remark Reid made the majority of the national media would be calling for his resignation. Needless to say, all Democratic leaders would also be calling for the Republicans resignation.

Hopefully this is another wake up call for African-Americans that the Democratic party is not what it represents itself to be for you.

Where is Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton on this one. Imagine their hue and cry if a Republican made a remark like this or even less inflamatory. Jackson and Sharpton certainly have a double standard when it comes to Republicans.

Posted by: Illinois3 | January 10, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

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