Post Politics Hour

Lois Romano
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 29, 2010; 11:00 AM

Post national political writer Lois Romano was online Thursday, April 29 at 11 a.m. ET to discuss the latest news from Washington.


Lois Romano: good morning everyone. sorry for the delay. We had some mixed signals about who was up today. But lets get started.


Pittsburgh: Gordon Brown only spoke the truth in calling that old woman bigoted, because she really did say something bigoted. Methinks his only real mistake was in knuckling under and apologizing for speaking the truth.

Lois Romano: No doubt others would agree. Perhaps he should have left it alone. But she's a constituent-- and she represents the views of many people who fear liberal immigration policies are costly. So on balance, he probably had to address it.


Arlington, VA: It seems like the apparent Republican presidentail candidates feel they need to endorse only candidates endorsed by the Tea Party. Has the Tea Party gone from a fringe group to the faction of the Republican Party that is now calling the shots?

Lois Romano: Its an interesting observation. But it seems support from the tea party is really just a metaphor for conservatism. Surveys indication that the movement cant move mountains just yet-- but they can make alot of noise.


Kensington, MD: Hi Lois. So in her memoirs, it appears Laura Bush was aghast that John Kerry would "use" his opponent's "child" in a debate (when he made glowing comments about Mary Cheney before noting that she was a lesbian). Leaving aside the minor point that the "child" in question was a 35-year-old adult directing her father's campaign, has anyone pointed out to Mrs. Bush that her husband and his political advisor were at that very moment quite busy using every gay son and daughter in the country to stir up bigotry and turn out the evangelical vote? Has Mrs. Bush learned nothing about decency? Why do people think highly of this woman if she cannot understand this basic concept?

"Beside me, Jenna and Barbara gasped. They were utterly stunned that a candidate would use an opponent's child in a debate."

How incredibly, jaw-droppingly outrageous the Bushes and the Cheneys pretend to be aghast that Kerry "used" the opponent's "child" in the debate. How incredibly like the despicable Bushes to play this game.

First of all, Mary Cheney wasn't a "child". She was an adult, and ACTIVELY PARTICIPATING IN HER FATHER'S CAMPAIGN. More importantly, George W. Bush and his sidekick Karl Rove were right at that very time USING EVERY GAY SON OR DAUGHTER IN THE COUNTRY as political footballs to foment anger and turnout by the nutty religious extremists in their base.

Lois Romano: You are right- she wasn't a child. But Kerry's comment- at the very least- was very awkward and forced. I remember it. I wasnt aghast. But I did wonder if it acheived anything accept making Kerry look eploitative.


Baltimore: Ms. Romano - Now that Obama has pronounced that "there may not be an appetite" to pass immigration law this year, does that mean that he will now resort to the "I feel your pain, but those nasty Republicans won't allow me to help you" card for the rest of the year. Given the history of the health care bill, he has proved that he can cram through anything no matter how much of the public doesn't like it. If he thought it was important to him, couldn't he do the same on immigration?

Lois Romano: Mr. Obama has a finite amount of capital and he has to decide how to use it. Heading into a contentious mid-term election, with a risk of losing a majority in the House, he may feel that this is not the right play. and he cant afford a huge legislative loss right now.


Crist: What do you make of his decision to run as an independent? What are his chances, in your opinion?

Lois Romano: From rueters: Analysts said Crist's decision to run as an independent could have been influenced by a recent opinion poll showing the governor could win a three-way race in November among him, Rubio and the Democratic Party front-runner, Representative Kendrick Meek.


Cheney's daughter in 2 (not 1) debates: The Kerry-Cheney thing is actually interesting for another reason. John Edwards had already made the same point, far more smoothly and adroitly, face to face with Cheney in the VP debate. You can look it up. So Kerry was trying to repeat a clever debating point that Edwards had already used (just in principle, this seems dumb in tactical terms) and you are quite right that he did it about as blunderingly and awkwardly as Edwards had done it appealingly, and got his hat handed to him.

As we now know, Edwards is a disgrace but he sure handled this debating point better than his running mate. Edwards was a high paid trial lawyer for a reason.

Lois Romano: I do remember Edwards do it as well. And I must disagree with you- I found it just as awkward as when Kerry did it. It would have been mike Cheney saying- "we support all children-- even your illegitimate child."


Washington DC: Hi Lois,

Interesting comment by the president re: that Congress may not have the stomach to tackle immigration reform this year. With all the noise that the Tea Partiers are making, doesn't this play right into their game plan? What about Texas' comment that they'd like an immigration law a la Arizona?

Lois Romano: Texas has long wanted tighter border control- nothing new there. I dont see it as playing into tea party as much as being very practical. You can get a lot done with a Democratic majority- so Dems need to stay focused.


When you're in a hole, stop digging, Gordon Brown: Gordon Brown should have apologized for forgetting the open mike and embarrassing a constituent by labeling her a bigot for all the world, not just UK. I mean, I certainly didn't know of her or her views at this time yesterday, so he definitely owes her an apology for being indiscreet. That's where he should have stopped.

To fawn and grovel because he accurately perceived the bigotry in what she said, to change his entire afternoon schedule to go to her house and say to the cameras he was "a repentant sinner" -- what does that say to British voters who happen to come from immigrant backgrounds, or to "native" Britons of good will who don't condone anti-immigrant ethnic remarks either? It seems like he has now antagonized both sides of their immigration debate simultaneously. Hardly a profile in courage.

Lois Romano: well stated.thanks.


Baltimore: Why hasn't Palin's support of the Arizona bill made headlines in your paper?

Lois Romano: Because its predictable-- not really news.


Miami: Did the Goldman performance before Levin's committee force the hand of Republican Senators?

Lois Romano: Hard to say. but it didnt help.


Richmond, VA: Isn't it more beneficial for Obama to leave the immigration debate until after the November elections? If the GOP takes the house and senate back then it becomes their problem and they risk either alienating the Hispanic vote or ticking off their base.

Lois Romano: absolutely. As I said earlier, Obama has limited capital. Immigration is a very contentious issues--better left till after elections.


Lois Romano: Thanks so much for joining us today. Sorry again for the late start- hope you'll join us every day at this time for the latest news and buzz....


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