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Right Turn
Posted at 07:45 AM ET, 03/17/2011

Morning Bits

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decides to pack it in after two years. She’ll need that long to come up with excuses for arguably the most badly managed foreign policy in decades. (Question for readers: who was worse?)

Obama’s flack says to lay off the carping about March Madness. “The White House is defending President Obama’s televised interview about college basketball amid criticism from Republicans who question whether the president is focused on the big issues facing the country.” Well, since he has Libya, Bahrain, the budget, free-trade deals and entitlement reform done, he’s entitled to attend to his bracket.

It’s hard to keep track of all the diversions. “Mr Obama has refused to scrap a five-day trip to Latin America that will take him to Brazil, Chile and El Salvador. Resisting demands that he should remain at home in the White House to deal with the international response to Japan’s nuclear crisis and Colonel Gaddafi’s crackdown on anti-government rebels, the president insists he can stay on top of the fast-moving developments while on the road. Some Republican critics have complained the sunshine trip symbolises Mr Obama’s lack of leadership at a time of international chaos.”

Get the sense Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels suffers from a lack of political acumen? “Public-opinion polls consistently show that nearly 80 percent of Indiana voters oppose forced unionism, and members of Daniels’s own party think it is a winning issue enough to bring it up. . . . Daniels has claimed that the rest of his agenda would have been derailed if right-to-work came up. As such, Daniels has urged the delay of the introduction of right-to-work since December, essentially cuing the Democrats to block the bill from the start by pushing the introduction of the bill to the point where the Democrats could defeat it by leaving the state for just a day or two. And in the end, Daniels’s other legislative priorities were blocked anyway, despite his preemptive surrender on the right-to-work issue.”

Tim Pawlenty takes a whack at Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) on national security. “ ‘I don’t think we should be talking about cutting the Pentagon’s budget,’ the former Minnesota governor told Politico . . . . ‘I think we should be talking about looking for those areas where we might some efficiencies or redeploying money spent on defense to higher-priority areas within defense. In other words keep the defense budget intact, but if we find some savings, some efficiencies, some ways to redeploy money we should do that.’ ” He also weighed in against “prematurely” scaling back our troop presence in Afghanistan.

She’s baaack. Sharron Angle is running for the House.

Since no one else will, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) takes a crack at leading on entitlement reform: “U.S. Senator Marco Rubio today joined a group of 23 Republican senators in calling on President Obama to become engaged in the debate over the country’s debt crisis and finally demonstrate leadership on reforming and saving entitlement programs. During his campaign for the White House, President Obama said he would lead on the tough issues but so far has been absent from the debate. The letter was spearheaded by Senator Dan Coats (R-IN).”

By  |  07:45 AM ET, 03/17/2011

 
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