5 p.m. ET: Now that David Vitter's airport run-in has become a full-fledged Big Story, and a potential headache for him back home, The Rundown plans to just sit back and enjoy it. But one thing did catch his eye in Vitter's explanation of last Thursday's incident.
In his statement, Vitter said: "In a rush to make my flight home for town hall meetings the next day, I accidentally went through a wrong door at the gate." Now, The Rundown has been to the airport a few times before, and he knows Vitter has too. And anyone who has been to the airport knows that there's really only one door actually at the gate -- the one that leads to the airplane. And when the door is closed, you don't just go walking through it. So how could Vitter have gone "through a wrong door?" Did he think it was the bathroom? If Vitter wants to play down the incident, that's fine, but his account should at least make sense, right?
8 a.m. ET: You can't please everyone, particularly in politics, but it's also not easy to alienate everyone. Yet that may just be what President Obama managed to do yesterday when he announced a new set of earmark reform proposals.
Irritate his fellow Democrats by making them look bad? Check. Disappoint reform groups who say he didn't go far enough? Check. Give Republicans an opportunity to call him a hypocrite? Check. Put the earmark-laden omnibus bill on the front page again, when it probably wouldn't have been otherwise? Check. Obviously, Obama wanted it known that he wasn't a fan of the $410 billion spending measure and that things would be done differently in the future (though it's not clear which of his proposals really would have made a difference on this bill). But it's a tough sell, when you're the president, to throw up your hands and say you just HAVE to sign this bill and there's nothing you can do about it, particularly when your party wrote the measure and you control Congress. And it appears that Obama didn't make the sale Wednesday.
But today is another day, and Obama has nothing on the schedule likely to draw flak or controversy. He plans to stop by a conference on implementing the stimulus bill, then will attend the dedication of Abraham Lincoln Hall at National Defense University. (Does Obama have an affinity for Lincoln? Someone should write a story on that.) The president won't be talking to the press, so it will likely be up to Robert Gibbs to field any questions about Charles Freeman. The former pick for chairman of the National Intelligence Council blamed "the Israel lobby" for forcing his withdrawal. This story -- and how it was covered by the mainstream media -- continues to be the talk of the blogosphere (and the 42 bus, apparently).
Back on the Hill, that still-nascent idea to do another stimulus bill may not be going over so well, with some key Democrats saying they're hesitant to move a second measure before the first one is given time to work. Democrats are more enthusiastic about moving the Employee Free Choice Act, but getting a majority of Democrats won't be enough to move card check in the Senate. The measure needs 60 votes, and current indications are that the votes aren't there yet.
On the Republican side of the aisle, Michael Steele is working to fortify his position as RNC chairman after a steady stream of bad press. He may not be helping that effort by giving an interview to GQ in which he says abortion is "an individual choice" but homosexuality is not. However often Steele puts his foot in his mouth, he can definitely help himself by doing more to boost the GOP's chances of capturing New York's 20th district House seat in the March 31 special election. (Jim Tedisco, the Republican candidate, had a 7-point lead when this poll was taken two weeks ago.) Unlike Obama, Steele doesn't have to try to please everyone -- just Republicans.
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March 12, 2009; 8:05 AM ET
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