In the Loop: The Not-So-Persuasive Liz Cheney

Liz Cheney, shown with father Dick at Andrews Air Force Base in 2007, may not have inherited the Angler's powers of persuasion.
Liz Cheney, shown with father Dick at Andrews Air Force Base in 2007, may not have inherited the Angler's powers of persuasion. (By Gerald Herbert -- Associated Press)
By Al Kamen
Friday, May 15, 2009

We now know at least one reason former vice president Dick Cheney was taking the Acela up to New York on Monday morning: He was going to attend a debate on U.S. policy on Iran where his daughter Liz Cheney, former principal deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, was arguing for the proposition that "Diplomacy With Iran Is Going Nowhere."

The debate Tuesday night, sponsored by the Rosenkranz Foundation, included, on Cheney's side, Dan Senor, a former Hill foreign policy aide best known for having been the top spokesman for the disastrous Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad.

The opponents were former undersecretary of state R. Nicholas Burns and Kenneth M. Pollack, former director of Persian Gulf affairs at the National Security Council and a former CIA analyst on Persian Gulf matters.

A pre-debate poll of 430 audience members showed that 34 percent favored the Cheney-Senor side, 33 percent were with Burns-Pollack and 33 percent were undecided.

After the one-hour, 45-minute debate, Cheney's position was favored by 35 percent, while the Burns team rocketed to a whopping 59 percent vote and undecideds dropped to 6 percent.

An electronic voting system was used, so we don't know how Dick Cheney voted. But it seems Liz won't be called "The Great Persuader."


Speaking of Iran and that region, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) sent out a "Dear Colleague" e-mail Tuesday asking for signatures "to the attached letter to President Obama regarding the Middle East peace process."

The letter says the usual stuff, emphasizing that Washington "must be both a trusted mediator and a devoted friend to Israel" and noting: "Israel will be taking the greatest risks in any peace agreement."

Curiously, when we opened the attachment, we noticed it was named "AIPAC Letter Hoyer Cantor May 2009.pdf."

Seems as though someone forgot to change the name or something. AIPAC? The American Israel Public Affairs Committee? Is that how this stuff works?


The White House is continuing to put the finishing touches on its first wave of ambassadors. The Germany posting looks to be going to former investment banker Phil Murphy, national finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who's oft credited with turning around the party's fundraising operation.

Murphy, long part of the Goldman Sachs mafia, which includes former Treasury secretaries Robert Rubin and Henry Paulson, left his long career there three years ago to work for the DNC. He was also a founding board member of and donor to the liberal Center for American Progress.

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