Thursday, January 24, 2008

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST January 24, 2008

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Miami Herald

Super Tuesday won't decide nominations

Posted on Thu, Jan. 24, 2008

Don't look to crown any presidential nominees on Super Tuesday. The race fordelegates is so close in both parties that it is mathematically impossiblefor any candidate to lock up the nomination on Feb. 5, according to anAssociated Press analysis of the states in play that day.

"A lot of people were predicting that this presidential election on bothsides was going to be this massive sprint that ended on Feb. 5," said JennyBackus, a Democratic consultant who is not affiliated with any candidate.Now it's looking as if the primaries after Super Tuesday - including suchbig, delegate-rich states as Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania - could grow inimportance.

"Maybe some states were better off waiting," said Backus.

That doesn't mean Super Tuesday won't be super after all. Voters in morethan 20 states will go to the polls on the biggest day of the primarycampaign, and thousands of delegates will be at stake.

But it's possible Feb. 5 might not even produce clear front-runners.

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Adults aren't getting vaccinations against most of 14 diseases

January 24, 2008

Parents and doctors do a good job making sure children get vaccinations,but only a tiny fraction of adults get their own shots against 14 diseasesthat can cause serious illness or death, federal health officials saidWednesday.

What's more, fewer than one in five adults in a 2007 survey could even namemore than two of the diseases that can be prevented with a vaccine, leadingto calls for a sharply renewed effort to promote adult immunization,especially among seniors.

Millions come down with the flu, pneumonia, shingles rashes and otherpreventable diseases, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, immunization director at theU.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"It's a shame that we have these weapons to prevent these devastatingdiseases and yet so many people are still suffering needlessly," Schuchatsaid after a news conference. "We really need to get beyond the mentalitythat vaccines are for kids. Vaccines are for everybody."

About two-thirds of seniors get flu shots every year, below the government'sgoal of 90 percent, and about 36,000 die from it. Less than 2 percent gotthe new vaccine against shingles, a painful skin rash that strikes 1 milliona year. Two percent are vaccinated for pertussis, or whooping cough, whichis reappearing and threatening babies.

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Miami Herald

Republicans differ on global warming

Posted on Thu, Jan. 24, 2008

While the major presidential candidates agree global warming is real, theRepublicans are sharply divided over what to do about it - even as theychase votes in Florida, where the predicted risk of rising sea waters andmore severe storms is anything but a passing concern.

Strategists in both parties say the political landscape for global warminghas shifted dramatically in recent years with a broad coalition ofenvironmentalists, business leaders, evangelical Christians and nationalsecurity advocates - Democrats and Republicans alike - urging concreteactions to stem the effects.

The issue is likely to interest voters not only in Florida's primary nextTuesday but in the rush of primaries that follow. Nine of the more than 20states with contests on Feb. 5 have passed or are considering programs tocap greenhouse gases, as is Maine, which holds its caucuses on Feb. 2.

"Climate change is real. It's happening. I believe human beings arecontributing to it," former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said during adebate in Iowa when pressed on the issue.

But Giuliani and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney adamantly oppose amandatory cap on the greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, that areblamed for the earth's warming. Both have borrowed a page from PresidentBush's strategy by maintaining that the answer is to free the country fromits dependence on foreign oil.

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Boston Globe

Fact Check: Obama's 'present' votes

January 24, 2008

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. --Barack Obama's rivals in the Democratic presidentialrace contend he sometimes voted "present" on tough issues rather than take afirm stand.

"In the Illinois state Senate, Senator Obama voted 130 times 'present.'
That's not yes, that's not no. That's maybe," Hillary Rodham Clinton said ina debate Monday.

Obama responds that Clinton is cherry-picking a handful of votes from a longlegislative career and then distorting them.

THE SPIN: Obama portrays himself as someone voters can trust to tell thetruth and skip the usual political games. Clinton and John Edwards are usinghis "present" votes to offer a different picture -- one of Obama duckingtough issues or refusing to support common-sense legislation.

THE FACTS: Obama acknowledges that over nearly eight years in the IllinoisSenate, he voted "present" 129 times. That was out of roughly 4,000 votes hecast, so those "presents" amounted to about one of every 31 votes in hislegislative career.

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Los Angeles Times,1,1807750.story?track=crosspromo

CAMPAIGN '08: Obama turns his attention to race issue
The Democratic presidential hopeful changes his approach in campaigning toaddress it directly -- and often.

By Maria L. La Ganga
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
January 24, 2008

ORANGEBURG, S.C - . -- Barack Obama was down to his shirt-sleeves under thehot gym lights at South Carolina State University, exhorting students atthis historically black college that America can and must be transformed.

"We cannot treat our poor with disregard," he thundered Tuesday, catalogingAmerica's racial ills, starting with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. "Wecan't leave New Orleans in a mess and then expect to be a model for thisworld."

Here at the site of the Orangeburg Massacre -- where three students werekilled and 27 injured by law enforcement agents during civil rights-erademonstrations to integrate a nearby bowling alley -- Obama decried acriminal-justice system fraught with inequity.

"I don't want Scooter Libby justice for some and Jena justice for otherfolks," he said, contrasting the white Republican ex-lobbyist with the blackyouths in Louisiana.

It could be the calendar, the electoral map or the recent flap between theDemocratic front-runners. But the senator from Illinois is being forced onthe campaign trail to address America's racial inequities more directly andmore often than before.

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Houston Chronicle

Billionaire sees downturn as end of era
Soros urges added oversight of world markets

Associated Press
Jan. 23, 2008, 8:43PM

DAVOS, SWITZERLAND - Billionaire George Soros called Wednesday for a massiveinjection of regulation and oversight of financial markets whose excessivefreedoms have caused "not a normal crisis but the end of an era."

The Hungarian-born financier and philanthropist commanded center stage atthe World Economic Forum with a dire analysis of recent days' market turmoiland a call for the creation of a "new sheriff" for global finance - detailsto be worked out later.

It was a stark and jarring message coming from one of the richestbusinessmen in the world - albeit one who is no stranger to controversy andpolitics and has seemed to pride himself on being a maverick.

'Wrong paradigm'
"Authorities are working with the wrong paradigm," Soros told journalists atthe annual gathering of the world's political, business and academic elitein the Swiss ski resort.

Also Wednesday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in a nod to the anxietythat has enveloped the World Economic Forum, said the U.S. economy wasresilient and would remain an "engine of growth."

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Houston Chronicle

Romney draws intense dislike from rivals
The tension may show in Florida's Republican debate

New York Times
Jan. 23, 2008, 11:39PM

TAMPA, FLA. - At the end of the Republican presidential debate in NewHampshire this month, when the Democrats joined them on stage, Mitt Romneyfound himself momentarily alone as his counterparts mingled, looking arounda bit stiffly for a companion.

The moment was emblematic of a broader reality that has helped shape theRepublican contest and could take center stage at the debate Thursday inFlorida. Within the small circle of contenders, Romney has become the mostdisliked.

With so much attention recently on the sniping between Sens. Hillary RodhamClinton and Barack Obama, the almost visceral scorn directed at Romney byhis rivals has been overshadowed.

"Never get into a wrestling match with a pig," Sen. John McCain said in NewHampshire this month to reporters when asked about Romney. "You both getdirty, and the pig likes it."

Mike Huckabee's pugilistic campaign chairman, Ed Rollins, appeared to stopjust short of threatening Romney with physical violence at one point.

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Washington Post

The Pork-as-Usual GOP

By Robert D. Novak
Thursday, January 24, 2008; A19

When House Republicans convene behind closed doors today at the Greenbrierresort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., they have a chance to make two boldmoves to restore their reputation for fiscal responsibility. First, theycould declare a one-year moratorium on Republican congressional earmarks.Second, they could name earmark reformer Rep. Jeff Flake to a vacancy on theHouse Appropriations Committee. In fact, they almost surely will do neither.

Instead, during the retreat Republicans are likely to adopt some limitationon earmarks that will have no public impact and will exert no pressure onthe earmark-happy Democratic majority. Consideration of Flake's candidacyfor Appropriations was postponed until after this week's earmark debate atthe Greenbrier. But, content with a half-measure on earmarks, the HouseRepublicans are unlikely to place Flake, an insistent reformer, in the midstof the pork-dispensing appropriators.

Republicans are staring into a 2008 election abyss, having lost credibilityas upholders of lean government by sponsoring profligate pork-barrelspending during 12 years in the congressional majority. And they have notreformed since the 2006 Democratic takeover. The message out of WestVirginia this week predictably will be business as usual.

Rep. Jerry Lewis, the Appropriations Committee's ranking Republican, isleading fellow appropriators against the moratorium. They are joined by themost seriously challenged Republican incumbents, who see political salvationin bringing funds home to their districts, principles be damned.

If the moratorium were adopted, it would make sense to put Flake on theAppropriations Committee to harass its irascible, earmark-loving Democraticchairman, Rep. David Obey, without offending GOP appropriators. But ifRepublicans have not foresworn pork, Flake as an appropriator would be on acollision course with Lewis. Under federal investigation for earmarks, Lewishas lost his customary California cool on the floor when Flake haschallenged his pork projects.

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Obama's historic run heads south
Did his victory in Iowa and strong showing in New Hamphire really "put torest the notion that a black candidate can't win in America"?

By Walter Shapiro

Jan. 24, 2008 | Herbert Fielding, who was one of the three African-Americanswho broke the color line in the South Carolina Legislature in 1970, hailsfrom the generation when funeral homes in the black community were a hub forpolitics. Seated behind the desk in his small office in the downtownmortuary that his father founded in 1912, the 84-year-old Fielding explainedWednesday morning why he had endorsed Barack Obama early last year, at atime when most establishment politicians were signing on with HillaryClinton.

Speaking in a deliberate, all-the-time-in-the-world tone as his handsfiddled with the flash drive for his computer, Fielding said, "My mainreason for getting on the Obama campaign early was when I realized thatObama was facing the same things as a black candidate that I heard when Iwas a black candidate for the South Carolina Legislature in 1952 and 1968."(That is no typo -- 1952 was a Jim Crow year when fewer than 1,000 blackswere registered to vote in Charleston County, while even in 1968 hiscampaign pushed the limits of the Voting Rights Act.) "I heard the samething in 1970 when I finally got elected to the Legislature," he continued."I got so angry when I heard some of my colleagues who had been through thesame things I had been through getting to the general assembly say, 'Obamacan't be elected. He's a black man.'"

"Damn," Fielding said, somehow adding a note of dignity to the epithet. "Ididn't want to go through it again. So I decided to do anything I could toget Senator Obama elected."

Judging from polls and political body language (Hillary Clinton left thestate for two days after Monday night's debate in Myrtle Beach), Obama islikely to prevail in Saturday's South Carolina primary -- the last contestsanctioned by the Democratic National Committee before half the nation voteson Woozy Tuesday Feb. 5. There is a danger in over-relying on votersurveys -- see the polling debacle in the New Hampshire primary where no onehad anticipated a Clinton victory. But the widespread expectation here isthat Obama's victory on Saturday will be fueled by a lopsided margin amongblack voters, who are likely to comprise at least half the primaryelectorate.

Even the hyper-partisan Bill Clinton appeared to concede the stateWednesday -- or else adroitly played the game of lowering expectations. In alunchtime appearance at Hugger's restaurant here (on a day when his wifecampaigned in Pennsylvania and New Jersey), Clinton said in response to theonly question about race during a lengthy question-and-answer session, "Asfar as I can tell ... neither Senator Obama nor Hillary have lost votesbecause of their race or gender. They are getting votes, to be sure, becauseof their race and gender -- which is why people tell me that Hillary doesn'thave a chance to win here."

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The New York Times

Tentative Deal Is Reached on Stimulus Plan

Filed at 10:53 a.m. ET
January 24, 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democratic and Republican congressional leaders reached atentative deal Thursday on tax rebates of $300 to $1,200 per household andbusiness tax cuts to jolt the slumping economy.

Congressional officials close to the negotiations said House Speaker NancyPelosi and Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio reached agreement inprinciple in a telephone call Thursday morning.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the two wanted keymembers of their parties to sign off on the accord before any announcement.

The development came as the Bush administration, which also has been pushingfor a deal, said agreement seemed imminent. ''Our understanding is there isno final deal yet but they are making progress,'' presidential spokeswomanDana Perino said early Thursday.

Pelosi, D-Calif., agreed to drop increases in food stamp and unemploymentbenefits during a Wednesday meeting in exchange for gaining rebates of atleast $300 for almost everyone earning a paycheck, including low-incomeearners who make too little to pay income taxes.

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The New York Times

Editorial: Trapped in Gaza

January 24, 2008

The neglect and mistreatment of the 1.5 million Palestinians trapped in theGaza Strip is a disgrace, and a very dangerous one. They are pawns in thestruggle among Hamas, which controls Gaza and uses the territory to bombardIsrael daily; its rivals in the Fatah movement that run the PalestinianAuthority and the West Bank; and Israel. If something isn't done quickly toaddress the Gazans' plight, President Bush's Annapolis peace process couldimplode.

It is no wonder that tens of thousands of Palestinians rushed out of Gazainto Egypt on Wednesday after a metal border wall was toppled. Life forGazans, never easy, has been worsening since Hamas seized control lastsummer, and most international aid - except humanitarian assistance - wascut off. Hamas has turned a deaf ear to the Gazans' plight, refusing tonegotiate peace or accept Israel's right to exist.

Life got truly desperate last week when Israel, reacting to a sustained andintense barrage of rocket fire, blockaded Gaza and stopped all shipmentsexcept emergency supplies. When the border wall was breached on Wednesday,Gazans went on a buying spree in Egypt, stocking up on fuel, medicine, soap,cigarettes, cement, chickens and goats.

We are deeply concerned about the many innocent Israelis who live along theborder with Gaza and must suffer through the constant bombardment. ButIsrael's response - shutting off power and other essential supplies - is acollective punishment that will only feed anger and extremism.

Mr. Bush has said that he is committed to negotiating a peace deal betweenthe Israelis and the Palestinians before he leaves office next year.Allowing Gaza to fester or to erupt into an all-out military confrontationis the surest way to bury that dream.

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The New York Times

Op-Ed Columnist: Editing Hillary's Story

January 24, 2008

Last summer, I asked Hillary Clinton if she had any reservations about usingher husband in her campaign. She said no, that having Bill on the team was"a great gift. I have always believed you should get the very best people toadvise you."

I never really made use of the interview. At the time, it was hard tocomplain about the former president's role. Publicly, he was limited to theoccasional stump speech, telling crowds what a good senator his wife was,and how she had helped a small businessman market his fishing poles toScandinavia. He had a peculiar line about how he had told her back at YaleLaw School that he'd met all the great minds of their generation and herswas the finest. Even if that seemed a tad over the top, supportive spouse isa role that provides latitude for excessive enthusiasm. After all, LauraBush always used to assure people that her George was up to the job.

But now Bill is all over the place - campaign guru, surrogate candidate,one-man first response team. By next week, he'll be designing the bumperstickers.

The Democratic elders are wringing their hands about the ex-president'srants at Barack Obama, worrying that he'll alienate black voters. That doesn't
seem all that likely. African-Americans have stuck with the Democratsthrough a lot worse than a fight over who said what about Ronald Reagan'slegacy.

And you can't deny the Clintons' double-teaming is throwing Barack off hisgame. "I can't tell who I'm running against sometimes," he complained duringMonday's debate.

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The New York Times

Op-Ed Columnist: China's Genocide Olympics

January 24, 2008

The Beijing Olympics this summer were supposed to be China's coming-outparty, celebrating the end of nearly two centuries of weakness, poverty andhumiliation.

Instead, China's leaders are tarnishing their own Olympiad by abettinggenocide in Darfur and in effect undermining the U.N. military deploymentthere. The result is a growing international campaign to brand these "TheGenocide Olympics."

This is not a boycott of the Olympics. But expect Darfur-related protests atChinese Embassies, as well as banners and armbands among both athletes andspectators. There's a growing recognition that perhaps the best way ofaverting hundreds of thousands more deaths in Sudan is to use the leverageof the Olympics to shame China into more responsible behavior.

The central problem is that in exchange for access to Sudanese oil, Beijingis financing, diplomatically protecting and supplying the arms for the firstgenocide of the 21st century. China is the largest arms supplier to Sudan,officially selling $83 million in weapons, aircraft and spare parts to Sudanin 2005, according to Amnesty International USA. That is the latest year forwhich figures are available.

China provided Sudan with A-5 Fantan bomber aircraft, helicopter gunships,K-8 military training/attack aircraft and light weapons used in Sudan'sproxy invasion of Chad last year. China also uses the threat of its veto onthe Security Council to block U.N. action against Sudan so that there is agrowing risk of a catastrophic humiliation for the U.N. itself.

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The New York Times

Op-Ed Columnist: America Needs France's Atomic Anne

January 24, 2008

It's not often that I find myself recommending a French state-owned industryas the answer to major U.S. problems, but I guess there's an exception toevery rule.

In this case the exception is the French nuclear energy company Areva, whichprovides about 80 percent of the country's electricity from 58 nuclear powerplants, is building a new generation of reactor that will come on line atFlamanville in 2012, and is exporting its expertise to countries from Chinato the United Arab Emirates.

Contrast that with the United States, where just 20 percent of electricitycomes from nuclear plants, no commercial reactor has come on line since1996, no new reactor has been ordered for decades, and debate about nuclearpower remains paralyzing despite its clean-air electricity generation in theage of global warming.

Areva is headed by Anne Lauvergeon, a brilliant product of France's topschools. She's earned the sobriquet "Atomic Anne," a stylish "Vive les Nukes" saleswoman. The United States needs her equivalent to cut throughits nuclear power hang-ups.

Those hesitations have been evident in this election year. Among Democrats,Barack Obama has shown most willingness (albeit guarded) to back nuclearpower, with Hillary Clinton multiplying caveats and John Edwards opposed.Republican candidates are favorable, but the campaign suggests costlynuclear muddle will persist.

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The New York Times

Goodbye Rudy, Tuesday

January 23, 2008, 7:10 pm

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the samething over and over and expecting different results. Flailing aroundFlorida, Rudolph Giuliani is getting different results, just not the ones hewants. Call him a lot a things - weird, imperious, self-aggrandizing - butcrazy he is not, at least by Einstein's notion.

For 50 days, Giuliani has had the Sunshine State nearly to himself. Inadvance of the presidential primary on Jan. 29, he's sucked up to the Cubanvote in Miami, pandered in Cape Canaveral about the space program, tried toscare retirees over early-bird specials in South Florida.

There he is riding in a fire truck in a Miami parade, trailed by angryfirefighters who blame him for multiple failures when New York was attacked.There he is in the Panhandle, the consummate Yankees fan trying to lookdown-home on the Redneck Riviera. And every night, his campaign phone bankreaches out to the diaspora of 1.5 million transplanted New Yorkers. Startspreading the news - quick!

Yet, the more they see of him here, the more his poll numbers tank. Evenwith ol' Fred Thompson shuffling off the stage for a life of longer naps andwitless homilies to more appreciative audiences, Rudy's campaign is in ameltdown.

It's worth stepping back for a moment to recall how far and how quicklyGiuliani has fallen. For most of the summer and well into the fall, he wasthe Republican frontrunner. His campaign consisted of a hagiography: thehero of 9/11. His fundraising was strong. Now the campaign is all but brokeand he's getting his clock cleaned in some states by Ron Paul - Ron Paul! -the 97-pound libertarian who thinks the war on terror is bogus.

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The New York Times

Stocks Flat in U.S. but Soar in Europe

January 24, 2008

American stock markets were mixed in early trading on Thursday, but Europeanmarkets recorded significant gains, extending a global stock rally thatbegan Wednesday afternoon.


Shortly after 11 a.m., the Dow Jones industrial average was down 13.66points to 12,256.51. The broader Standard & Poor's 500-stock index wasvirtually unchanged after a 2.1 percent rise on Wednesday. The Nasdaqcomposite index, coming off a particularly volatile session, was up 0.7percent.

All major European indexes were up at least 4 percent, with London's FTSE100 index gaining 4 percent and Germany's benchmark DAX index moving higherby 6 percent.

The European indexes have almost completely recovered from the steep lossesthey suffered on Monday, when fears about an imminent recession in theUnited States led to a broad-based sell-off.

Major Asian markets also recorded overnight gains, with the Nikkei 225 up 2percent and the ASX 200 index rising more than 3 percent.

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The New York Times

Canadian Military Has Quit Turning Detainees Over to Afghans

January 24, 2008

OTTAWA - The Canadian military secretly stopped transferring prisoners toAfghanistan's government in November after Canadian monitors found evidencethat they were being abused and tortured.

The suspension, which began Nov. 5, was disclosed in a fax sent bygovernment lawyers to Amnesty International and the British Columbia CivilLiberties Association, which are seeking to block the prisoner transfers.

The government's internal concerns about detainees is also at odds withCanadian officials' repeated public statements that the Afghan governmentdoes not engage in systematic torture.

"The denials and political posturing and name-calling that have gone on overthis at various points is very disheartening when all along there's beenthis information," said Alex Neve, the head of Amnesty International'sCanadian branch.

Despite the suspension, Mr. Neve and Jason Gretl, president of the BritishColumbia association, said their lawyers would appear at the Federal Courtof Canada in Ottawa on Thursday to seek an injunction blocking moretransfers.

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The New York Times

Justice Nomination Seen as Snub to Democrats

January 24, 2008

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department lawyer who wrote a series of classifiedlegal opinions in 2005 authorizing harsh C.I.A. interrogation techniques wasrenominated by the White House on Wednesday to a senior department post, amove that was seen as a snub to Senate Democrats who have long opposed hisappointment.

The lawyer, Steven G. Bradbury, who has run the department's Office of LegalCounsel without Senate confirmation for more than two years, has beenrepeatedly nominated to the job of assistant attorney general for legalcounsel.

But the earlier nominations stalled in the Senate because of a dispute withthe Justice Department over its failure to provide Congress with copies oflegal opinions on a variety of terrorism issues. Under Senate rules thatplace a time limit on nominations, Mr. Bradbury's earlier nominationsexpired.

Late last year, Democrats urged the White House to withdraw Mr. Bradbury'sname once and for all and find a new candidate for the post after it wasdisclosed in news reports in October that he was the author of classifiedmemorandums that gave approval to harsh interrogation techniques, includinghead slapping, exposure to cold and simulated drowning, even when used incombination.

Mr. Bradbury's memorandums were described by Democrats as an effort by theBush administration to circumvent laws prohibiting torture and to underminea public legal opinion issued by the Justice Department in 2004 thatdeclared torture to be "abhorrent."

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The Washington Post

A Pro for the Pakistani Army?
Ashfaq Kiyani May Do What Pervez Musharraf Couldn't

By David Ignatius
Thursday, January 24, 2008; A19

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan -- As you approach the entrance to the Pakistani army'sgeneral headquarters here, the dusty roads and traffic jams give way to theorder of a military compound. Even the shrubs are manicured into the preciseshapes of topiary.

The headquarters are only a 10-minute drive from the park where BenazirBhutto was murdered in December. But in political terms, that is a worldapart.

At its best, the Pakistani army has been a symbol of order and unity forthis chaotic country in the 60 years since Pakistan was founded. At itsworst, as in recent years when Pervez Musharraf was simultaneously presidentand army chief of staff, the military has been a politicized force that hasadded to the country's instability.

Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani, the new chief of staff, received a senior Americanmilitary visitor Tuesday at his white stucco headquarters here. Tall anddark, dressed in his army sweater and khaki trousers, Kiyani looked everyinch the soldier. To a great extent, Pakistan's future depends on whether hebehaves as one -- and can rally the army and the nation to defeat aninsurgency that threatens Pakistan's stability.

Kiyani's visitor was Adm. William Fallon, chief of Central Command, whichincludes Pakistan in its area of responsibility. Fallon later outlined hishour-long discussion with the Pakistani general. Fallon's account supportsother recent evidence that Kiyani is a professional soldier who wants torebuild an army whose reputation and morale were tarnished during theMusharraf years.

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The Washington Post

Some in Party Bristle At Clintons' Attacks
Anti-Obama Ad Heightens Unity Fears

By Alec MacGillis and Anne E. Kornblut
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, January 24, 2008; A01

DILLON, S.C., Jan. 23 -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaignaired a new radio ad here Wednesday that repeated a discredited chargeagainst Sen. Barack Obama, in what some Democrats said is part of anincreasing pattern of hardball politics by her and former president BillClinton.

The ad takes one line from an Obama interview -- "The Republicans were theparty of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last 10, 15years" -- and juxtaposes it with GOP policies that Obama has neveradvocated.

"Really?" a voice-over says. "Aren't those the ideas that got us into theeconomic mess we're in today? Ideas like special tax breaks for Wall Street.Running up a $9 trillion debt. Refusing to raise the minimum wage or dealwith the housing crisis. Are those the ideas Barack Obama's talking about?"

The Clinton campaign argued that it was simply quoting Obama. But in theoriginal context, Obama was describing the dominance of Republican ideas inthe 1980s and 1990s, without saying he supported them, and asserting thatthose ideas are of no use today.

The ad marked the escalation of a bitter fight between the two Democraticfront-runners that has taken on a new dimension because of the involvementof Bill Clinton, the titular leader of the party. While his wife campaignselsewhere, the former president has been making daily appearances in SouthCarolina in anticipation of the state's Democratic primary on Saturday, andhe has adopted the role of attacking his wife's opponent the way a vicepresidential candidate traditionally does in a general election.

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