Loop’s view: From D.C. to Benghazi
By Al Kamen,
Former deputy secretary of defense and World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz , now at the American Enterprise Institute, is worried that everyone’s having too much fun with the increasingly bizarre Paula Broadwell/Jill Kelley/David Petraeus soap opera and losing sight of serious matters.
But he forgets that people are still exhausted from the endless, bitter presidential campaign. L’affaire Petraeus is like a peach sorbet, a palate cleanser after a very heavy meal.
Wolfowitz, writing on the AEI policy blog, says, “Forget the gossip: focus on Benghazi.”
He argues that “fascination with the general’s personal story must not divert attention from the very significant policy failures that helped produce a chaotic security situation in Libya.”
We were going to write, “Well, Wolfowitz is certainly familiar with humongous policy failures,” but that would be most unkind, and, besides, it would take the focus away from Petraeus.
So, back to Petraeus. Seems a lot of very smart people sensed from afar that something odd was going on between the general and Ms. Broadwell.
Check out the blurbs on the back jacket of Broadwell’s book, “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus.”
Author and legendary NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw wrote: “General Petraeus is one of the most important Americans of our time, in or out of uniform.”
Acclaimed author and former Washington Post colleague Tom Ricks was downright prescient when he wrote that the book “feels at times like we are sitting at his side in Afghanistan, reading his e-mails over his shoulder.”
And historian Doris Kearns Goodwin wrote that Broadwell “provides an intimate look at Petraeus the man.”
Maybe they should be called to testify about what they suspected and when.
A Big D Democrat?
We’re hearing that U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk , who served two terms as mayor of Dallas, has let the White House know he intends to leave Washington and return to Dallas.
The USTR, a Cabinet-rank position, is the point person for coordinating and implementing U.S. trade policy and for conducting international trade negotiations with countries and multilateral institutions.
Kirk, who has headed the agency since March 2009, was elected in 1995 as the first African American mayor of Dallas. He left that job in 2001 and made an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate in 2002. Kirk has also been a partner in the international law firm Vinson & Elkins.
He has been mentioned as a choice for the now-vacant post of commerce secretary — and it’s not clear whether he might be willing to stay if offered that job.
The trade rep’s position is highly coveted, in part because it has a focused mission and a small — about 200 or so — and highly professional staff.
Probably doesn’t hurt, for those who value location, that the headquarters is across the street from the White House complex.
No shortage of energy
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson , said by insiders to soon be en route back home to New Jersey after four years here, was in good form last week at the big Environmental Law Institute gathering two days after President Obama’s reelection.
After asking all EPA appointees there to stand up, she said: “Everyone who wants my job, stand up!”
“I know you’re out there, Brad Campbell !” she said. Campbell, an enviro official under President Bill Clinton who succeeded her as head of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, has been mentioned in the trade papers as a candidate.
Jackson also mentioned Jeff Holmstead , a Bush II EPA official and Mitt Romney adviser who could have gotten her job, adding: “Sorry about that.” She confessed she “really wasn’t sorry.”
Holmstead told our colleague Juliet Eilperin this week that he was “flattered” Jackson “has been following my career. I just hope she has also been following the president’s statements of support for U.S. coal, oil and natural gas.”
No doubt she has.
Old soldier still standing
Sen. Daniel Inouye visited the Bethesda naval hospital on Thursday after taking a fall in his Rockville apartment.
Spokesman Peter Boylan said that Inouye’s injury, a cut on his head, was minor and that he was treated and released.
Inouye, a recipient of the Medal of Honor for his service in World War II, initially didn’t want to seek medical attention, Boylan said. “The old warrior wanted to get in his car and get to work, but his wife insisted” that he get it checked out, Boylan said.
Because of his military service and security clearance, he was taken to the National Naval Medical Center.
The Hawaii Democrat, 88, is the most senior senator. And as president pro tempore of the Senate, Inouye is third in line for presidential succession, behind Vice President Biden and House Speaker John Boehner.
He is the second-oldest senator, behind Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), also 88 but eight months older, and the second-longest-serving senator, after the late Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.).
With Emily Heil