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Posted at 7:45 AM ET, 02/ 1/2011

Morning Bits

By Jennifer Rubin

Yikes. "Western powers should work on the assumption that Iran could have a nuclear weapon by next year and an Israeli intelligence assessment of 2015 could be over-optimistic, British Defence Secretary Liam Fox said on Monday. Meir Dagan, outgoing director of Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, said this month that Israel believed Iran would not be able to produce a nuclear bomb before 2015. But Fox, answering questions in parliament, said Dagan was 'wrong to insinuate that we should always look at the more optimistic end of the spectrum' of estimates of Iran's nuclear capability."

. The RNC's fiscal situation looks like the federal government's. "To date, the committee has approximately $23 million in debt: $15 million in loans, and $8 million owed to vendors."

Unreal. Bashar al Assad says "it's time for reform" in Syria. So when are the elections and why aren't the political prisoners freed?

Wow. For a guy who is "too nice" to be president, Tim Pawlenty showed some steel in the spine turning down an investment deal for his state with an Indian company, Essar. "[I]t was Pawlenty who delivered the message to Essar that because of terrorist activity associated with Iran, it would not be permissible for the Indian company to do business in both countries. And within four days of Pawlenty's notice, Essar capitulated by way of a letter stating the company would abandon those interests in Iran, giving the Minnesotan a critical foreign policy line for his resume in the race for the White House."

Whoa. The headline reads, "Rubio's Strategy: No Spotlight, Yet." But then follows a highly complimentary story that, um, puts him in the spotlight. But, kidding aside, this is very smart: "Rubio has turned down 'hundreds' of national media interview requests (including one for this article) since he was elected in November and instead has engaged only local press, according to sources close to the Florida Republican. . . .The strategy has become familiar for new Senators who come to the chamber as high-profile freshmen. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) used it after he won his protracted battle against former Sen. Norm Coleman (R), as did first-lady-turned-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). Both Franken and Clinton instead involved themselves deeply in their committee work and learning the ways of the Senate rather than immediately jumping back on the national stage."

Good grief. "Senate Democrats tapped an airport lobbyist to help them make their case for the passage of a long-stalled aviation bill to reporters on a conference call Monday." Really, why not just cut out the middle men and let the lobbyists vote on the bill?

Oh, puleez. Just what the Republican primary electorate is looking for -- a moderate Republican who worked for Obama. "The White House says U.S. ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, a Republican, has advised officials that he intends to leave the post during the first part of this year. Huntsman is considered a potential GOP presidential candidate."

. From the "Did we need a study?" file: "The latest nutrition guidelines released Monday by the federal government reiterate much of the advice from previous years: eat less salt and saturated fats, eat more fruits and vegetables and whole grains. But there is a startling difference. This time, the government suggests that Americans also just eat less." Cutting edge stuff.

By Jennifer Rubin  | February 1, 2011; 7:45 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Bits  
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Next: Egypt's revolution has nothing to do with Israel


Not sure why Jen is so anti-Huntsman? Maybe she will explain a future post. Not apparent to me why his flaws are any more obviously disqualifying than most of the others.

The primary is crapshoot at this point. Maybe Huntsman will never get any traction at all, but who knows. Stranger things have happened. In a NH primary field of 10 candidates, he has as much chance to catch fire as anyone else. And moderation on social issues is not necessarily a disadvantage in NH.

And wouldn't the fact that he worked with Obama on China policy be an advantage in attracting Independent voters in the general election. Wouldn't it leave him free to be harshly critical of Obama's economic policy without appearing to have a personal animus against the President?

I think Independent voters are going to be looking for an opponent who can challenge Obama on substance without appearing to "dis" him personally. Independents just don't hate Obama personally the way a lot of conservatives do and they likely never will. Huntsman's background could --could-- be an advantage in reaching those voters. So why summarily rule him out at this point???

Posted by: EricR1 | February 1, 2011 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Watch for the all of the various branches of the Liberal media to start churning out puff pieces extolling practically unheard of Jon Huntsman, explaining to the yahoos in conservativeland why he is really the best person to be the Republican candidate for the 2012 Presidential election. LOL! Should this happen, the real message is that JournoList is back, alive and well (in a sickening sort of way).

Posted by: nvjma | February 1, 2011 9:18 AM | Report abuse

"But there is a startling difference. This time, the government suggests that Americans also just eat less." Cutting edge stuff"

Let's count the number of hours until we get a tweet from Sarah Palin telling us the government is now creating "food rationing panels"!

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 1, 2011 9:27 AM | Report abuse

EricR1: exactly what i have been thinking about Jon Huntsman, adding that his serving as the Obama administration's ambassador to China is a fine example of putting service to country first.

Ms. Rubin is determined to disrespect Huntsman before he announces or speaks publicly. I am looking forward to a fresh voice who might actually have a vision for the American economy after thirty+ years of deliberate de-industrialization by both political parties who believed the fantasies that 1) U.S. wages (unit labor costs) are too high (see Germany), 2) Wall Street private equity leveraged buyouts added 'value' (ROFL and crying), and 3) a post-industrial economy was not only inevitable but desirable (again, see Germany).

I do appreciate the reference on Pawlenty here.

Posted by: K2K2 | February 1, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

The irony of the "did we really need a study" question is that there's a paucity of evidence to support much of what is recommended, and substantial reason to believe that much of it (eat less food, eat less salt, eat less saturated fat, eat more fruits and grains) is actually (a) wrong, (b) unhelpful, and/or (c) unhealthy. The government has been promoting this sort of diet advice for some 30 or 40 years now, and the fact that obesity has substantially increased over the same time period seems not to dissuade anyone from continuing to promote it. Read Gary Taubes' "Why We Get Fat" to get an understanding of just how insane this is.

Posted by: mattman26 | February 1, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Yikes, ouch, unreal, wow, whoa, good grief, oh puleez, sigh -- can we do Batman next?

Really enjoyable "theme meme" stuff in Morning Bits and the previous Flotsam and Jetsam features of Jennifer's. Great work!

Posted by: aardunza | February 1, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Sucks that the RNC is in debt, but that's what happens when trust is broken with the constituents. Many Republicans bypass the RNC and send money directly to the most conservative candidate. After the RNC proves that it is serious about conservative principles, maybe, just maybe, trust could be rebuilt. Maybe.

Posted by: johnhiggins1990 | February 2, 2011 7:27 AM | Report abuse

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