Washington Monday: The Week's Buzz

A guide to the week's Washington buzz

The Sunday Shows: A presidential parade

Former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who leads the field of Republican presidential candidates in national polls, said that he supports a woman's right to an abortion, then added that he "might be able" to appoint antiabortion justices to the Supreme Court.

Giuliani said he hates abortion and would advise against it. "That's a principle I've held forever, and I'll hold it forever," he said on "Fox News Sunday." But he added that he does not think he should impose his view on women.

Rudolph Giuliani (Fox News Sunday)

The former U.S. attorney said his judicial priority is was not a "litmus test" on abortion, but rather appointing "strict constructionist judges" who would hew to the original meaning of the language in the Constitution.

Giuliani was one of a parade of presidential candidates on the Sunday talk shows, with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on NBC's "Meet the Press" and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on ABC's "This Week."

Obama said he does not think much about the role his being an African American might play in the presidential race. If he does not win the White House, he added, "it's not going to be because of my race. It's going to be because I didn't project a vision of leadership that gave people confidence."

Obama also suggested that, when his two young daughters apply to college, they should not benefit from affirmative action because they are "pretty advantaged." Both Obama and his wife attended Harvard Law School.

McCain, meanwhile, grew indignant at the suggestion that of political calculations sparked his opposition to the repeal of President Bush's tax cuts and his support of ethanol as an energy alternative -- two views seemingly at odds with positions he has taken before. "I can't respond to a statement like that," he said when asked if his stance on the ethanol, stance, popular in Iowa, had anything nothing to do with that state's caucuses.

WAR POLITICS: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) warned on CNN's "Late Edition" of "a growing sense of bipartisan frustration in the Senate" with the Iraqi government. One big complaint among GOP lawmakers has been the Iraqi parliament's plan for a two-month summer recess. Consider McConnell's message received: Later on the same show, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih said the recess will be condensed to perhaps as little as two weeks.

Week Ahead

Immigration revisted

After a year's hiatus, immigration returns to the forefront of the national discussion this week. The Senate is to take up a bill, sponsored by McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), that would combine enhanced border security with offering a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country.

The White House is working with lawmakers from both parties to allow a path to legal status only for immigrants who have passed a background check and paid fines, among other things.

The Senate also is set to resume the debate over Iraq, appearing unlikely to back a House bill cutting funding for the war as soon as July if the Iraqi government does not meet certain benchmarks. But senators are poised to include some benchmarks in their war-spending legislation, which they hope to pass this week and send to the president by month's end.

Other items on Congress's agenda include work on the budget and a hearing Tuesday on about problems at the Justice Department.

An old ally, a final visit: Having announced he will step down at the end of next month, Tony Blair will make perhaps his final U.S. visit as British prime minister on Tuesday and Wednesday. Blair and President Bush, ideologically disparate leaders, forged a bond in their support for the Iraq war.

Debate count: Wasn't there a GOP debate just a few days ago? Well, get ready for another one -- Tuesday night in South Carolina, hosted by the state party and Fox News Channel.

The Wolfowitz watch: A committee of the World Bank is expected to issue a finding midweek on the actions of bank President Paul D. Wolfowitz, who is accused of improperly acting to help his girlfriend. Word is that the committee will say it has lost confidence in Wolfowitz, hoping that will persuade him to resign.

What do you get when you mix politics and brotherly love? You get the Philadelphia mayoral primary, set for tomorrow, and you get two Democratic lawmakers facing off: Reps. Robert Brady, a six-term congressman from Overbrook, and Chaka Fattah, a seven-term congressman from East Falls. There are three other men in the Democratic primary, too.

The Quotes

"[I]f every Republican calls for withdrawal [from Iraq], ... if I'm the last man standing, I have an obligation to do what my conscience and my knowledge and my background ... [tell me] is best for this country."
-- Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on NBC's "Meet the Press"

"I don't think there can be any doubt that I would strike swiftly, promptly and vigorously, if there was an attack."
-- Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on ABC's "This Week"

"Republicans overwhelmingly feel disappointed about the Iraqi government. I read just this week that a significant number of the Iraqi parliament want to vote to ask us to leave. ... [I]f they vote to ask us to leave, we'll be glad to comply with their request."
-- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) On CNN's "Late Edition"

"I can't decide when life begins. All that I can decide is ... what are the constitutional issues? What are the legal issues?"
--Former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani

"I am not happy with the Republican Party today. ... It isn't the same party. It's not. It's been hijacked by a group of single-minded, almost isolationist insulationists, power-projectors."
--Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.)

By Zachary Goldfarb |  May 14, 2007; 8:01 AM ET
Previous: May 13: A parade of presidential candidates | Next: May 20 Preview: Pelosi, McConnell and Judiciary Cmte. Members


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Many Congressmen who vote for amnesty on illegal immigration will have seen their last days in Washington. That vote will serve as the best term limits ever passed in US as well it should. Billions of dollars that dumb congress will spend when American kids cannot get medical care and good education they want to add this burden to the backs of taxpayers. The whole congress that votes for amnesty must be replaced.

Posted by: Sonny Davis | May 14, 2007 10:54 AM

The illegal immigration question and the rule of law will define the nation. If we are betrayed by the politicians on this. It will spell the END of the nation. It will also spell the END of the GOP.

Posted by: Phil | May 15, 2007 12:24 AM

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