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Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 03/07/2011

Mitch McConnell on John Kerry: 'What planet is he living on?' (Sunday talk shows)

Sunday Talk Shows:

Fox: Rep. Jeb Hensarling: Democrats are 'willing to do nothing'
Sen. John McCain: In Libya 'ground intervention would not be appropriate'
White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley: Obama 'does not look at politics'
CNN: Sen. Lamar Alexander: Donald Trump 'has no chance of winning'
C-SPAN: Rep. Harold Rogers on earmarks: 'My people are sacrificing'
CBS: Sen. Mitch McConnell on Sen. John Kerry: 'What planet is he living on?'

FOX News Sunday

Rep. Jeb Hensarling: Democrats are 'willing to do nothing'

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) argued over budget cuts. Republicans have proposed $61 billion in cuts to discretionary spending; Democrats want only $10.5 billion.

"They're willing to do nothing," Hensarling said.

Durbin made the case that Republican cuts to investments would hurt job creation; Hensarling countered that Democrats weren't willing to cut anything. Both lawmakers were on the president's deficit commission. Hensarling ultimately voted against the group's recommendations, because they did not touch President Obama's health-care bill. Durbin said that a bipartisan group of senators are continuing the commission's work.

Celebrating her family's Supreme Court victory, Maggie Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church appeared on Fox News Sunday to say that the ruling was God's will. She added that she believes President Obama "is going to be king of the world before this is all said and done, and he is most likely the beast spoken of in the Revelation."

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This Week (ABC)

Sen. John McCain: In Libya 'ground intervention would not be appropriate'

On "This Week," Sen. John McCain said "you've to to look at" the recent uptick in jobs "as a good thing," but added that it doesn't mean a significant drop in unemployment. McCain broke with a former economic adviser, Mark Zandi, who says that cutting spending could cost the economy 700,000 jobs. "You know, he's the same guy that said that, if we adopted the stimulus package, unemployment would never go above 8 percent," McCain said, laughing. "Please." He said he did not think cuts would affect the employment rate.

McCain also addressed the crisis in Libya, saying "ground intervention would not be appropriate," but that the U.S. could assist in a lot of ways. He repeated his call for a no-fly zone over the country, pointing out that he was joined by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Liebmeran (I-Conn.). Asked if Moammar Gaddafi knew his time had come, McCain responded, "he's insane," but that may be a no-fly zone would inspire some of the people around him to "depart the sinking ship."

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Meet the Press (NBC)

White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley: Obama 'does not look at politics'

White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley declared that President Obama "does not look at politics." In response to questions about the 2012 election, Daley reiterated: "The president doesn't spend a lot of time talking about this stuff. We've got enough issues to deal with without worrying about who will be the Republican nominees."

Daley said that many people calling for a no-fly zone over Libya "have no idea what they're talking about," and that President Obama would move forward in careful consultation with military leaders and other nations. "Change is coming," all over the Middle East, he said. "It's
not something we can dictate and oversee." He said the administration was considering opening up the strategic oil reserves as fuel prices rise in response to instability in the region. "We're looking at the options," he said.

Daley also criticized House Republicans for not getting a budget passed: "We are only seven months away from the end of this fiscal year, and we don't have a budget, which is kind of ridiculous. No company could get away with that." Finally, he said.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) appeared after Daley, and she mostly dodged questions about a potential government shutdown. Instead, she focused on health-care spending, claiming at $105 billion was appropriated under false pretenses. (She even had a sign with the number on it.) She was equally reticent when it came to her 2012 plans, saying "I haven't made a decision one way or the other."

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CNN: State of the Union

Sen. Lamar Alexander: Donald Trump 'has no chance of winning'

Rep. Peter King defended plans to hold hearings in the House Homeland Security committee next week on radical Islam. Rep. Keith Ellison, a practicing Muslim who plans to testify in the hearings also joined. Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, said he agreed with holding the hearings, but that the scope was too narrow. King defended against the charge, saying that other, smaller groups did not pose as grave a threat.

The show started with discussion of the violence in Libya with Ali Errishi, the nation's former immigration minister and Stephen Hadley, former national security adviser to president George W. Bush. Hadley defended the Bush administration's having dealt with Gaddafi, saying "it was a difficult decision," to have done so, but that it had deprived him of more serious chemical weapons that he might have used on his own people.

Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson (D) - both one-time presidential candidates -- also joined to discuss the 2012 presidential field, in so far as it exists. Asked how formidable the president looked as a candidate, Alexander said he wouldn't rule out a Democratic challenge to Obama. Richardson, asked who could be a formidable challenger to Obama, answered that a "dark horse candidate" would prove to be the biggest challenge, going on to say he thought Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), who recently declared he would not seek the presidency, could have been that candidate. Alexander, shown an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showing Donald Trump with a higher favorability rating than Mitt Romney and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, was blunt: "He has no chance of winning." Alexander also included former Alaska governor Sarah Palin in a list of potential candidates, saying that she had the "force of her personality" as an asset.

-- More on Reps. Peter King & Keith Ellison

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Newsmakers (C-SPAN)

Rep. Harold Rogers on earmarks: 'My people are sacrificing'

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) defended his party's handling of the heated budget debate, saying he did not support a government shutdown and that Democrats were to blame for the current stand-off, since they failed to pass a 2011 budget in the previous Congress.

"We realize how important the government is to a lot of people," Rogers said. "I don't think we need a shutdown, I am adamantly opposed to that."

"The number one goal in all of this are jobs," said Rogers, bringing the conversation back to, what poll after poll has indicated to be the most important issues to American voters. Rogers said that the 2012 budget bills would begin to move in mid-to-late summer, and maintained that the 2011 budget battles would not delay the passage of the 2012 funding bills before the August recess.

Rogers was also asked about his ability to funnel federal funds prior to Republicans' calls to end earmark spending. "When they were en vogue and we did not have this fiscal crisis, again I represent the second poorest district in America. ... Sure enough I went after those problems to protect our district," he said referring to Kentucky's chronic drug problems, water pollution and inadequate roads. "So, my people are sacrificing, and I thank them for it, to help this country through this difficulty."

Julie Hirschfeld Davis of Bloomberg and Humberto Sanchez of National Journal joined.

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Face the Nation (CBS)

Sen. Mitch McConnell on Sen. John Kerry: 'What planet is he living on?'

"Moammar Gaddafi has lost all credibility," said Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. "The last thing we want to think about is any kind of military intervention," Kerry said. "We don't want troops on the ground. They don't want troops on the ground.

"I think if these countries do reform, that is an enormous consequence to all of us with respective relationships in the Mid-East, to the war on terror as we have known it," Kerry said.

"I'm not sure if it's in our vital interest for him to go," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), but he did say that the United States should do what it can to help rebel forces oust Gaddafi, short of sending troops into the country.

The topic turned to federal spending, a subject on which McConnell had plenty of criticism to levy at both Democrats and The White House. He said he failed to see any willingness from the president and Democrats to do "anything that's difficult."

"I haven't given up hope, but I am optimistic," McConnell said. Asked to explain his charge that the president was not appropriately serious about the budget, McConnell said tthe president and Democrats were "in denial about social security."

Referring to Sen. Kerry's claim earlier in the program that suggested budget cuts by Republicans were "reckless," McConnell shot back, "I'm wondering, what planet is he living on?"

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By  |  06:00 AM ET, 03/07/2011

 
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