Breaux Considering Gubernatorial Bid
Former senator John Breaux is expected to decide this month whether to run for Louisiana governor, even as Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco says she plans to run for reelection.
Breaux, who told the Shreveport Times last week that he plans to decide within two weeks, said he will meet with Blanco -- they are both Democrats -- before making up his mind. Sources within the state suggest that Breaux is leaning toward running.
Blanco spokeswoman Marie Centanni said Breaux's decision will not affect Blanco's plans. "She has never indicated anything other than that she plans to run for reelection," Centanni said yesterday.
Breaux left the Senate in 2004 as one of the most popular politicians in the state. Blanco has been criticized for her handling of Hurricane Katrina's aftermath and has struggled to repair her image.
Republicans seem likely to nominate Rep. Bobby Jindal, who lost to Blanco in 2003. Jindal has the support of the party establishment, but he is not the only Republican in the race. State Sen. Walter J. Boasso (R) formally announced his candidacy last week.
'89 Video of Giuliani Backing Abortion Airs
Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani fielded questions yesterday about his positions on social issues as a video surfaced showing him professing support for publicly funded abortions during a 1989 speech.
The video clip, posted yesterday on YouTube and highlighted by the Drudge Report, shows Giuliani saying that "there must be public funding for abortions for poor women. We cannot deny any woman the right to make her own decision about abortion because she lacks resources."
In comments to reporters yesterday morning, Giuliani did not mention the video. He also dismissed questions about whether his support for gun control, civil unions and abortion rights will hurt his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination among conservatives.
"Republicans are essentially the party of strong national defense and fiscal discipline," Giuliani said. "Do we have disagreements on some other issues? Of course. I think those two big themes kind of unite us."
Dodd Bolsters Campaign Staff
Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) continues to build his presidential campaign's inner circle, adding Scott Arceneaux as national political director. Arceneaux managed Democrat Judy Feder's bid against Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) in 2006 and was then-Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan's campaign manager before Duncan dropped out of the Maryland governor's race.
And Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) announced yesterday he is an official candidate for president.
Congress Has First Non-Theist
It is a year of religious firsts in Congress: the first Muslim, the first Buddhist (two of them, actually) and, as of yesterday, the first lawmaker to say publicly that he does not believe in any supreme being.
The Secular Coalition for America, an association of eight atheist and humanist groups, held a contest in December to identify the highest elected "non-theist" in the land. Yesterday, it announced the winner: Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.). Stark, 75, in his 18th term representing San Francisco's East Bay, issued a brief statement confirming that "I am a Unitarian who does not believe in a supreme being."
A number of other Unitarians, including John Adams and Adlai Stevenson, have served in Congress, and Thomas Brackett Reed, speaker of the House in the 1890s, called himself a freethinker. But they all claimed some belief in God, according to Fred Beuttler, deputy historian of the House of Representatives.
"As far as I know, Representative Stark is the first self-proclaimed non-theist," Beuttler said.
Freshman Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) is the first Muslim in Congress. Reps. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) and Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) are the first Buddhists.