Will the once-vanquished first lady, who's been the solid voice of administration foreign policy since Day One, challenge White House incumbent Barack Obama for the Democrats' presidential nomination a year from now in Charlotte, N.C.?
Of course, she and everyone will say no, no, no -- until the day they might say, well, actually, yes.
Or until the day the ex-state senator takes Joe Biden off the 2012 ticket and replaces the aging gaffemeister with her because Obama is in so much trouble and the party's big-money people from New York and California insist that the Harvard guy needs a woman's help. And they don't mean Oprah.
The Hillary question came up again Monday at the White House briefing. Jay Carney, with his Where's Waldo glasses, tried unsuccessfully to joke it off. Similar queries will ...
Finally, the desert city of Las Vegas breaks the ice and gets its first national political convention.
The Libertarian Party will gather there the first week of May 2012 to nominate its national ticket of guaranteed losers.
The Libertarians' choice of Nevada along with the Republicans' choice of Tampa for their 2012 nominating convention in late August means the country's two major parties have now settled on their meeting sites.
The only one left is the fringe third-party Democrats, who haven't agreed yet on one of four cities: Cleveland, Charlotte, Minneapolis and St. Louis.
Some unions recently expressed opposition to North Carolina as a right-to-work state, and....
The Defense Department is increasing its focus on using solar energy in overseas operations (and it has nothing to do with actress Jessica Simpson raising temperatures during a visit to the mess deck of the USS Harry S. Truman).
It’s no joke, though. In fact, the military's move toward renewable energies comes amid the deathly seriousness of increasing attacks against U.S. fuel convoys in Afghanistan’s Khyber Pass, another national newspaper has reported.
A California company of Marines arrived recently in Helmand Province replete with “portable solar panels that fold up into boxes; energy-conserving lights; solar tent shields that provide shade and electricity; solar chargers for computers and communications equipment,” the newspaper said. It reported that U.S. military leaders plan to “rapidly expand their use” of such materials in future.
The stakes are pretty high here. Whoever wins the GOP primary gets to take on freshman Democrat Walt Minnick, elected in the Democratic wave of 2008 in a state that rarely sends anyone but Republicans to Washington.
Maybe the pressure was too much.
Whatever the cause, Ward now stands accused of plagiarizing one of the most famous speeches in political history -- Barack Obama's rousing address to the Democratic National Convention in 2004 -- the one that catapulted the Illinois lawmaker to the national political stage and then the presidency.
Take a look.
Ward's copycat behavior was brought to light by Boise businessman Lucas Brumbach. who is running for state Senate and whose website notes that "Lucas has been coating Boise with quality paint for several years, but promises there will be no whitewashing when elected senator."
When you have a good answer to what could be a public relations quagmire, you have two options: keep repeating it or bring up Tiger Woods.
Guess what the politician did?
Rand Paul had every reason to celebrate. The champion of the flag-waving, "throw the bums out" -spouting Tea Party movement just knocked off the establishment candidate in Kentucky's Republican senate primary. The only problem?
The ordinary, average guy (just like the Joe Walsh song) had his victory party at a snooty country club. You can see the problem. The Democratic National Committee sure did. They pounced on it.
It's a "lesson in how not to launch a ‘man of the people’ campaign," snarled the DNC's Hari Sevugan.
No kidding. Every Democratic candidate always celebrates in a bowling alley, a Wal-Mart parking lot or the local gravel pit.
Of course, it was a smart move by the DNC. They saw an opportunity and took it.
Have no fear, Paul supporters. He had a good answer. Appearing on CNN, Paul said hotels were "generic and boring" and he liked the view at the club. Plus, the facilities were free (good for the fiscal restraint message) and everyone was invited.
He solved the problem.
So why didn't he just repeat that while appearing on "Good Morning America" Wednesday morning? Who knows? That's what makes election season great to watch.
Responding to Robin Roberts' question if his choice of venue sent a "mixed message," Paul's wheels fell off.
"I think at one time people used to think of golf and golf courses and golf clubs as being exclusive," Paul said. "But I think in recent years now you see a lot of people playing golf. I think Tiger Woods has helped to broaden that in the sense that he’s brought golf to a lot of the cities and to city youth, and so no, I don’t think it’s nearly as exclusive as people once considered it to be."
A terrible response? Without question. Did he enter the Joe Biden zone? That's another league.
To Paul's credit (watch the video below), he didn't stammer or stumble when bringing up Woods. It didn't sound like he was grasping for an answer. Sure, it didn't make any sense -- at all. But it's a campaign.
-- Jimmy Orr
Photo: Rand Paul at a country club on election night. Credit: YouTube
Insiders apparently felt that Phoenix, also under consideration by Democrats, would not make a good backdrop because of its new anti-immigration law -- and the resulting boycotts that have cast Arizona in the cross-hairs of controversy. As for Salt Lake City, where Utah Republicans denied renomination to longtime U.S. Sen. Bob Bennett, parking the Republican convention there might be taken as a sign of retreat in one of the friendliest Republican venues in the country.
For their part, Democrats plan to nominate Obama to his second term the week of Sept. 3, 2012. A site committee has visited St. Louis, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Charlotte, N.C.
North Carolina in play? Who knew.
As for Florida, NBC's much-missed host of "Meet the Press," Tim Russert, who died in June 2008, called it a long time ago. Back in 2000, with the presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore hanging in the balance, Russert held up a low-tech white-board and summed up the race in three words, saying it came down to "Florida, Florida, Florida."
According to the Mayan calendar, 2012 may not be the best time to hold a national political convention, let alone the next U.S. presidential election. What with the world said to end and all.
Hitting Democrats especially hard.
Nonetheless, the diligent Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has already scheduled his party's delegates and hangers-on to gather somewhere 125 weeks from now to renominate Barack Obama and Joe Biden for a second four-year term. This early announcement has nothing to do with trying to look beyond the oncoming November iceberg.
In the eloquent style of Joe "Big Effing Deal" Biden, Kaine has taken to his party blog -- genteelly dubbed "Kicking Ass." There, he's made the announcement in plenty of time for hotel and plane reservations, if only anyone knew where the party's party would be. That part comes later.
Suffice it to say, the opening gavel will fall on the 46th Democratic National Convention the week of Labor Day, Sept. 3, 2012.
As for the other part of Kaine's claim, that Biden will be on the ticket, that remains to be seen.
Despite the professed popularity of Joe's profane proclamation, he has made more than his fair share of BFG's (Big Effing Gaffes) since the D.C. newcomer from Illinois chose him in the summer of 2008 not for....
Since Michael Steele was elected chairman of the Republican National Committee in January 2009, the once Grand Old Party has suffered a series of gaffes, scandals and other signals of a party in distress. Then the "tea party" activists came to town, further endangering the brand.
Now, in a development alarming for the RNC as an institution, a group of Republicans is starting an outside political group to go head-to-head with the RNC for wealthy donors and prominence. American Crossroads hopes to raise $52 million to help Republican candidates this fall. Steven Law is leaving his top post at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to run the group, and lots of top-name Republicans, such as former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie, are on board.
None of this is to say that Republicans won't have a banner year at the polls in November. These are midterm elections, fraught with danger for any president, and Barack Obama is a lighting-rod figure who provokes tremendous distrust among the conservative base.
But for the RNC, the timing of this widespread defection from its base could not be worse. Tea party activists are promoting a different kind of model -- up from the grass roots, and emotional. And the Supreme Court has cleared the way for corporations to play a much larger role in this year's elections, a decision that already limits party influence.
The Angry Right is unlikely to take his suggestions -- movements of the heart rarely like hearing from establishment elders about how they should conduct themselves -- but Rove's gratuitous advice does show concern by party regulars about how uncontrollable -- and how destabilizing to the Republican Party's future -- the tea party activists are.
-- Johanna Neuman
Photo: Tea party activists gather in Salt Lake City on Tuesday. Credit: Associated Press
Remarks by President Obama after House vote, as provided by the White House
Good evening, everybody. Tonight, after nearly 100 years of talk and frustration, after decades of trying, and a year of sustained effort and debate, the United States Congress finally declared that America’s workers and America's families and America's small businesses deserve the security of knowing that here, in this country, neither illness nor accident should endanger the dreams they’ve worked a lifetime to achieve.
Tonight, at a time when the pundits said it was no longer possible, we rose above the weight of our politics. We pushed back on the undue influence of special interests. We didn't give in to mistrust or to cynicism or to fear. Instead, we proved that we are still a people capable of doing big things and tackling our biggest challenges. We proved that this government -- a government of the people and by the people -- still works for the people.
I want to thank every member of Congress who stood up tonight with courage and conviction to make health care reform a reality. And I know this wasn’t an easy vote for a lot of people. But it was the right vote. I want to thank Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her extraordinary leadership, and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn for their commitment to getting the job done. I want to thank my outstanding Vice....
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.