Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lindsey Graham's unlikely ally

When Sen. Lindsey Graham announced on national TV that the U.S. should at least consider nationalizing banks, he drew scorn from a lot of fellow Republicans.

But today Graham picked up an ally who's held in esteem by Republicans as well as Democrats.

”It may be necessary to temporarily nationalise some banks in order to facilitate a swift and orderly restructuring,” former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan has told the Financial Times. “I understand that once in a hundred years this is what you do.”

Greenspan, a free-market capitalist, told the paper that temporary government ownership would "allow the government to transfer toxic assets to a bad bank without the problem of how to price them."

Graham amplified his comments this week in an interview with the Observer. He said after federal investments such as the $45 billion the government poured into the Bank of America, nationalization should at least be on the table.

"The truth is we've put more money into the Bank of America than it's worth," Graham said. "That's not nationalization. That's just stupid."

Some online readers applauded Graham's idea to debate the issue. Others didn't.

"He just admitted Congress is stupid - not that this was unknown to the public," akhimark wrote. "Now he thinks Congress should take over banks. That's just stupid. I guess stupid is as stupid does.

(Graham's comments apparently didn't take into account that the $45 billion government investment is preferred stock, over and above the $27 billion in market capitalization.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

No stimulus for 2010 Senate race?

Democratic U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler of Asheville may have followed his conscience when he voted against the Congressional stimulus bill last week, but he may not have helped his prospects for a statewide race in 2010.

Shuler has been touted as a prospective challenger to Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina next year. A former pro-football player, he's got the name recognition and apparently the money. He had $940,000 in his campaign account at the end of the year, not much less than Burr.

But Shuler might have trouble in a primary.

He was one of only 11 Democrats to vote against the Obama-backed stimulus bill in the House, one of only seven to vote against the conference version the president is signing into law today.

Shuler is also an anti-abortion member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of moderate-conservative Democrats. That plays well in his mountain district but could present problems in a primary, where most voters are more liberal. Attorney General Roy Cooper is also considering the race.

An aide says the Senate race wasn't on Shuler's mind when he cast his stimulus vote.

"It was made because he really felt the stimulus package put before the House was not the way to go," says spokesman Andrew Whalen.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mistress scandal photo!!! (Bids start at $200.)

Want to own a piece of "The photo that Exposed the Truth about Edwards Mistress?" Better hurry.

There's only a week left on the ebay auction for .... a check paid for the photo of a plane.

The unidentified seller says his nephew took the photo of the private jet at Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport. After the nephew posted it online, he got an email from a man he identifies as an editor of "Inside Edition."

The seller says his nephew, 18-year-old Tomas Cubero, was told he'd photographed the Learjet carrying John Edwards and his mistress, Rielle Hunter, to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. (It's unclear whether either one was actually aboard.)

"Inside Edition's" parent, King World, bought the photo for $200. They paid Cubero with a check, in the stub of which is written "Edwards Mistress.”

For a bid of $200, you get the uncashed check (endorsed by Cubero) and the stub.

"Tomas is currently saving his money to be able to come to the USA to obtain his flying license," the seller says. "He requested that I sell this historical document, in the hope that it will help him to pursue his dream."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Aides rise after Edwards falls

You've heard of David Axelrod, President Obama's political advisor who now has prime real estate in the White House. You probably haven't heard of Tommy Vietor.

Both men worked for John Edwards' presidential campaign back in 2004 and subsequently signed on with Obama. They're among dozens of former Edwards' advisers and staffers who've gone on to prosper even after their erstwhile candidate fell in scandal.

Here's a look at where some of them ended up:

-- Mark Kornblau, Edwards’ traveling press secretary in 2008, is reportedly headed to the American delegation at the U.N.

-- Miles Lackey, Shelby native and Edwards’ policy adviser is now chief of staff to Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut.

-- Jennifer O'Malley-Dillon, who ran Edwards' Iowa campaigns in 2004 and 2008, is the new executive director of the Democratic National Committee.

-- Jennifer Palmieri, Edwards' one-time press secretary, is the Senior Vice President for Communications at American Progress, a liberal Washington think tank.

-- Jonathan Prince, a top Edwards’ aide, returned to the State Department and travels with Special Envoy George Mitchell. During the Clinton administration, he was a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and oversaw communications strategy for NATO during the war in Kosovo.

-- Eric Schultz, national spokesman for Edwards' 2008 presidential campaign, went on to work for Democrat Al Franken’s Minnesota Senate campaign. Now he’s spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

-- Joe Trippi, who ran Edwards’ 2008 campaign and Howard Dean’s 2004 bid, heads his own media firm and is a frequent guest on cable news shows.

-- Tommy Vietor. The former aide who worked for Edwards in Iowa went to work for Obama in 2004. Now he's an assistant ' press secretary in the White House.

One ex-aide who won’t be getting any White House invitations is Wendy Button.

Over the years she wrote speeches for Edwards, Hillary Clinton and Obama. Edwards even contacted her about helping draft a speech for the 2008 convention, before he became persona non grata. Button grew disaffected with her party and the treatment of Sarah Palin and publicly announced her support for John McCain.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Burr's old 'Thing' gets new exposure

It's not exactly a limo, but it gets U.S. Sen. Richard Burr to work and back. And yesterday it got him some national exposure.

A camera crew filmed Burr getting into his 1974 Volkswagen 'Thing' -- with the top down during a snowstorm. The footage made its way onto the celebrity Web site,
The notoriety brought comments from around the country.
"Neither snow nor sleet nor rain keeps him from diving the 'Thing'," says Burr spokesman Chris Walker.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Steele a hit with Meck GOP chairman

A lot of Carolinas' Republicans were pulling for Columbia's Katon Dawson to win last week's race for GOP national chairman. Not Lee Teague.

Teague, Mecklenburg County Republican chairman, was pulling for Michael Steele, the former Maryland lieutenant governor who edged Dawson for the chairmanship.

Teague invited Steele to speak at last year's Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner in Charlotte. He also found himself on the same page. Both criticized a Republican congressman who dismissed his GOP primary opponent as a liberal.

"This shouting Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! stuff is not going to work this year," Teague said the time, adding that the congressman "and a lot of other Republicans in Washington need to get a clue."

Asked about Teague's comments at the time, Steele said, "We don't have the brand power to do that right now, so we need to come to the table with a better game. We need some common-sense solutions that speak to where people are in their everyday lives. So running around screaming 'this guy's a liberal' won't get you re-elected."

"He understands that we’re going to have to fight very hard to get the attention of the average voter," Teague said today, "and get them to understand that our solutions will make their lives better.”