Sunday Rundown: Holder: Second immigration lawsuit possible; Netanyahu: Israel has no better friend than U.S.; Axelrod on Gitmo: 'We'll see'
By Matt DeLong and Aaron Blake
Sunday Rundown: A quick wrap-up of the Sunday talk shows.
CBS: FACE THE NATION - Holder: Second immigration lawsuit possible
Attorney General Eric Holder, appearing with host Bob Schieffer from the Aspen Ideas Festival, said the alleged Russian spies who were recently deported were a "threat" to the United States. "Russia consdered these people very important to their intelligence-gathering activites," Holder said.
Holder explained his decision to sue to block Arizona's tough new immigration law on the grounds that a state law can not preempt federal law. "The solution that the Arizona legislature came up with is inconsistent with our federal Constitution," Holder said. "It is the responsibility of the federal government to decide immigration policy." While the White House has expressed concern that the Arizona law -- which allows law enforcement officials to ask people suspected of being illegal immigrants for proof of their legal status -- could lead to racial profiling, Holder said this was not the basis for the lawsuit because "we wanted to go out with what we thought of our strongest initial argument and to focus on what we thought is the most serious problem with the law as it now exists." Holder suggested a second lawsuit on racial profiling grounds could be possible if the first suit fails. Holder rejected the notion that the administration had filed this suit in an attempt to paint the Republican Party as anti-Hispanic.
The closure of the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay is "still a priority," Holder said, adding that the administration has "done all we can to close" the camp. Holder said the White House is evaluating the detainees on a case-by-case basis to determine whether they would be tried, released to a foreign country or continue to be held under the "laws of war" at a to-be-determined facility in the United States. He pointed to Congress' failure to appropriate money for a new prison on U.S. soil, but he noted that the administration had decreased the number of inmates held at Guanatanamo Bay from 220 to 180. He lamented that the issue had become infused with politics."I think there's a lot of misinformation out there," Holder said. "We have proven an ability to hold in our federal prison system people convicted of, charged with terrorist offenses very effectively, very safely. There is no reason to believe that people held in Guantanamo cannot be held wherever we put them in the United States." The attorney general also said that the White House had not yet decided where to hold the trial of self-described 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, but said a decision would be made "as soon as we can."
FOX NEWS SUNDAY - Netanyahu: Israel has no better friend than U.S.
White House senior adviser David Axelrod said he could not guarantee that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill will be contained by the end of July, though the administration is optimistic. "We're reasonably confident, but obviously this thing is uncharted waters - no pun intended," Axelrod said. He said the process would take seven to 10 days to put a new cap on the spill, which should help slow the flow of oil into the Gulf. Axelrod also defended the administration's lawsuit against Arizona and the state's new illegal immigration crackdown. "We can't have a patchwork of 50 states developing their own immigration policy," he said. "No administration has been tougher on enforcement; no administration has gone after employers the way we have." Axelrod also defended the administration's recess appointment of Donald Berwick as head of Medicare and Medicaid services, saying Berwick's past comments in favor of the British healthcare system and rationing have been taken out of context.
Responding to Axelrod's immigration comments, Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl (R) said the administration has improved the situation on the border, but not by enough. "It'd be one thing if the federal government had controlled the border already, but it hasn't," Kyl said. Kyl also said there wasn't support in Congress for a temporary worker program as part of a comprehensive immigration bill, even though he himself favors it.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, asked about President Obama's support for Israel, declined to compare him to other U.S. presidents. But he said Obama and he engaged in a detailed discussion recently about Israel's security situation. "I'm sure that Israel has no better friend and ally than the United States," Netanyahu said. He said he thinks he can reach an agreement with the Palestinians to create their own state by 2012, but he declined to say whether he would offer East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. He said he doesn't believe Iran can be contained once it attains nuclear weapons. "I think that's a mistake," Netanyahu said. "You can't rely on the fact that they'll obey the calculations of cost and benefit that have governed all nuclear powers since the rise of the nuclear age."
CNN: STATE OF THE UNION - Axelrod on Gitmo: 'We'll see'
White House senior adviser David Axelrod blamed the lack of bipartisanship in Washington on Republicans in Congress. "This president has spent more time meeting with the other party than most presidents," Axelrod said, adding, "I think we need bipartisanship, but we can't order it. They need to be willing to participate." Axelrod singled out Nevada GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle, who recently referred to BP's $20 billion escrow fund for oil spill victims as a "slush fund," as emblematic of the problem. Axelrod noted that 11 GOP senators supported comprehensive immigration reform during the Bush administration, but none is willing to work with the president on the issue now. "We're not going to get it done without bipartisan support," Axelrod said.
Axelrod chalked up the administration's failure to close the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo largely to congressional resistance. "We identified a location [for the transfer of detainees]," Axelrod said, referring to the Thomson [Ill.] Correctional Facility. "We have not yet gotten a consensus to move forward on that, and we're going to continue to work on it." Asked point-blank if the prison will be closed this year, Axelrod replied, "We'll see."
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) said he is sympathetic to the people of Arizona but said the state is "harming foreign policy with Central America and Mexico" by taking immigration enforcement into its own hands. Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) accused the president of knowingly spreading "falsehoods" about the Arizona immigration law, which he described as simply codifying the federal government's 287(g) program that allows state and local law enforcement to enforce immigration laws. Franks defended Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) and warned that "someday we may fae an incursion from some malevolent group that comes over our borders," and cited the recent arrest of an agent of Hezbollah in Tijuana.
ABC: THIS WEEK - Little appetite for more stimulus, Axelrod says
Axelrod said that the administration is working closely with business but that "doesn't mean that we simply turn away from the kinds of corrective measures that are necessary to prevent" another financial crisis. Axelrod said there is "little appetite" for additional economic stimulus spending in Congress, but he said that "we can get additional tax relief" and lending for small business. He defended the president's decision to use a recess appointment to name Donald Berwick to head Medicare and Medicaid before a hearing on his nomination could be held. "What we don't want ... is to let this be drawn out in a long kind of political circus while the job that needs to be done is not getting done or not getting done with the man who should be doing it," Axelrod said.
Immigration was a hot topic, as Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.) and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) faced off. Bilbray disputed Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's recent assertion that the majority of illegal immigrants crossing the border are involved in the drug trade. But he said that Brewer is "seeing the crime, she's seeing that her community is becoming the kidnap capital of the world" -- a variant of a claim made previously by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) which the fact-checkers at Politifact ruled "false." Gutierrrez called for Republicans and Democrats to come together on the elements of an immigration reform package that they agree on. Bilbray said a pair of bills introduced by Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) and Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Tex.) could pass "tomorrow" if House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) "allowed that to be done."
NBC: MEET THE PRESS - Gibbs: 'No doubt' GOP could take House
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said a new cap on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill will triple the administration's power to contain the spill. Gibbs also defended the administration's role in the slow economic recovery. In a shot at the previous administration, he said he "is not here to unfurl the Mission Accomplished banner" on the economic recovery. "The president's going to lay out a choice: look back to where we came from and look forward to where we're going," Gibbs said. "There's no doubt that we're on the right path."
Asked why Democrats running in the 2010 election are choosing to focus on local issues rather than defend the administration's policies, Gibbs points to the financial regulatory reform bill as an example of something Democrats could proudly point to. "A man far smarter than me said 'All politics is local.' Having worked on a number of races, I can tell you that the truth," Gibbs said. "But there's no doubt that there are obvious national issues." Gibbs said the president wants to see the tax cuts instituted by President Bush extended for the middle class but not extended for wealthy Americans. He said he did not know if Congress would take up the issue before the November election. Turning to election-year politics, Gibbs said it is possible that Republicans could take over the House this year. "I think there's no doubt there are enough seats in play that could cause Republicans to gain control," Gibbs said.
CSPAN: NEWSMAKERS - Issa: GOP will deal on immigration
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said Republicans are more than willing to come to the table and negotiate an illegal immigration bill, but he said it's Democrats that are holding up the process. "The problem is it's a minority of Democrats who are willing to say, I will do immigration reform without a pathway to citizenship," Issa said. Issa said it's not feasible to deport 12 million illegal immigrants right away, but that a system like e-verify could be used to make sure that employees are legal.
Matt DeLong and Aaron Blake
July 11, 2010; 2:42 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency
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