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Lois Romano
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 24, 2010; 11:00 AM

Washington Post national political writer Lois Romano was online Thursday, June 10 at 11 a.m. ET to discuss the latest news about Congress and the White House.

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Lois Romano: Good morning everyone. Thanks for joining me today. I wanted to give you all a heads up that I will have to stop at 11:30-- but I will try to get as many questions as I can before then. Lois Romano

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Seattle, WA: Lois,

It's great to have you on today.

I think the assignment of Gen. Petraus to Afghanistan is brilliant, even if it is a bit of demotion (he gets paid the same amount either way, right?) But would this give the President a bit of disadvantage if the General wants to keep the same amount of surge forces past July 2011?

Lois Romano: I dont believe so. In the end, those decisions will be made by the president and Gen Petraus will have say and influence. Also, Im hard pressed to see this as a demotion. He was tapped to be a savior -- this only contributes to his popularity and image.

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Bremerton, WA: So we may not know until Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal writes his memiors, but....WHAT WAS HE THINKING??

Was this just something his PR Staff let in and he didn't realize how biting "Rolling Stone" can be? Or was he a lot smarter than that and used this as a way to getting out, getting a book deal, and then becoming a contributor on Fox News?

Lois Romano: I assure you he didn't want his military career to be brought up short like this. There's is a lot of speculation about what happened, but the most likely scenario is simply poor judgment amount people who dont deal much with the media. Clear ground rules were not established about what material could and could be used, and they simply let the reporter spend too much time with them. He was traveling with them for a month and Im sure at a certain point everyone got a little too comfortable.

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Herndon, VA: Who do you think will be the republican nominee for president in 2012?

Lois Romano: A lot will depend on where the country is and how voters perceive the strengths of candidates. For all sarah palin's popularity among her base, poll numbers suggest she cant beat Barack Obama. Some people think Mitt Romney and Mitch Daniels look like the strongest contenders right now. But so much can change- as we saw among the Dems in 2008

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Reston, Va: There may be another aspect to the political fallout from Obama's decision regarding McChrystal. The gov't has been implementing best business practices for the past decade... and Obama had an opportunity to push those goals.

McChrystal was fired because he could not do his job; so his salary, benefits and pension accounts should go to zero.... just like the business world. If Obama (or any president)could just apply the following question (How will this impact the taxpayer?) in their decision making, maybe the Federal debt could benefit from least cost decisions.

Lois Romano: Interesting notion. But it's not going to happen.

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New Haven, Conn.: This is Joe Lieberman's world come Nov. 5: His junior senator will be a guy who was planning to run against him in 2012 and endorsed his opponent, Ned Lamont, in 2006. The governor will be that very same opponent who beat him in the Democratic primary in 2006.

Considering how personal Sen. Lieberman takes opposition to him as well as how long he can hold a grudge, I'll be curious to see how it reacts.

Lois Romano: Sen. Lieberman is a professional and his job is to serve his state- so I feel sure he'll put those former campaigns behind him and move forward.

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Judge Feldman: Will House Judiciary investigate Judge Feldman's ethics violations in the recent deep water drilling moratorium overturn? His most recent financial disclosure shows he's held BP and Tranocean stock. If I as an agency lawyer am prohibited from working on cases involving stock I own, surely a federal judge knows better. As a member of the legal profession, I want to see him disciplined and even censured for his wanton violation of the Judicial Code.

Lois Romano: I doubt it. He's been upfront about his holdings. The question binging around the blogosphere is where he should recuse himself from ruling on issues relating to transocean or bp. First of all, we're dont know enough to make a judgment. Dont know if he's since sold the stocks. Dont know how much he owned and if any ruling would have any impact on him financially. If an interested party moves to have him recused he'll have to decide.

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St. Paul: Hi Lois -- Nice to have you back chatting with us today. Obama's approval ratings are continuing to slide. Will doing something bold and decisive like yesterday with McChrystal help at all with that, or is everything (like his entire presidency) riding on what happens with the economy? In other words, even if the oil spill is contained and becomes old news, things improve in Afghanistan, etc., will none of that matter if unemployment is still hovering around ten per cent?

Lois Romano: Yesterdays move certainly cant hurt. he was decisive and it was framed with strong, sure footed language. But, like you, I tend to think it is all about jobs. If people start feeling good, if they get jobs and their houses start appreciating again, Obama numbers should go up. The republicans have also done a good job of focusing on his administration's spending- and convincing people that the administration is adding to the recession instead of fixing it.

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Pittsburgh: We've learned in recent days that General McChrystal eats only once a day, runs 7 miles a day, and sleeps only 4 hours a night.

Shouldn't these have been signs that he was kind of flaky from the outset, at least taken in the aggregate? After all, medical science is learning more re the importance of getting more sleep, and a person's blood sugar level is better served by eating multiple smaller meals, rather than one larger one.

Lois Romano: Gen McChrystal figured out how he best functions- that strikes me as self-aware, not flaky.I suspect he is a highly disciplined soldier who has tried a variety of lifestyle models before settling on this one. And yes, sleep is important but not everyone requires 8 hours a night.

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Herndon, VA: Isn't Tim Pawlenty the real frontrunner for the Republican nomination in 2012, considering he's not Mormon and not a woman?

To clarify, I am not prejudiced against Mormonism or women, but I do know how republicans vote.

Lois Romano: Pawlenty is in the mix. But he hasnt been tested on a national stage yet. Hard to know if being a Mormon hurt Romney all that much. He didnt connect with voters as well as he could have. But will an ailing economy, his business experience might be appealing.

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Herndon, VA: Who do you think will be the Democratic nominee for president in 2016? Hillary Clinton?

Lois Romano: There's certainly a lot of buzz out there on that. And your numbers are soaring - while the president's are slipping.

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Bob Inglis: Lois any thoughts on a party where a pretty big conservative, Bob Inglis is tossed out by 30% points just because he said Glenn Beck may be making stuff up?

Lois Romano: Inglis believes he lost because he wasnt an angry enough partisan. Hard to know exactly- but sometimes, voters just get tired of someone and their number is up. I dont its about any one thing- but a series of things over time- he voted for TARP, criticized Joe Wilson for shouting 'you lie" to the president.

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Lois Romano: Thank you all for joining me today- I have to take leave now. See you here in two weeks.

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