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Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: John McCain

How Hannah Thoreson handled Mitch Daniels' disappointing dropout decision

Hannah Thoreson with Mitch Daniels 5-11

The media spotlight has moved on from Indianapolis now, after Gov. Mitch Daniels aborted his anticipated campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in a Saturday midnight email that shocked supporters across the country.

Daniels acknowledged that his family was opposed to the grinding run, so he dropped it.

Now most of the attention focuses on Newt Gingrich's campaign here and Tim Pawlenty's newly announced bid here and Jon Huntsman's informal campaign swing through New Hampshire.

But little noticed as the political parade marches toward the state fairs this summer and the Iowa caucuses and primaries next winter are the newly abandoned supporters of Daniels.

"Well," said Max Eden, head of the Student Initiative to Draft Daniels, "the rapture took Mitch from 2012. His better angels had the last word, and he put his family first. His choice attests to half the reason why students at 65 colleges rallied to urge him to run: He is a good man."

Among those students is Hannah Thoreson, a 21-year-old physics major at ....

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The secret lesson within Newt Gingrich's botched campaign launch

Newt Gingrich campaigns in Iowa 5-16-11

There's an important, hidden lesson in Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign kickoff for all the other Republican White House wannabes:

Take your time.

There's no rush.

It's only May.

Why set yourself up as a target any sooner than necessary? President Obama would be delighted to have Republicans fighting among themselves ASAP, so he can look calmer, more presidential by comparison, while his opponents try to prove their conservative bona fides to that raucous crowd on the right side.

Obama announced early to get going on his billion-dollar campaign fund, which is $255 million more than he needed last time as a nobody. A billion dollars is a really impressive number -- unless you're falling short, say, because of the economy or this time your less enthusiastic base is saying, "Yes, we won't."

Interestingly, only one month into his campaign Obama aides are already trying to walk back that billion-dollar boast and the first quarter's report, due out in early July, that was supposed to blow away everyone else's money haul.

The president will do two Boston fundraisers tonight after his ....

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John McCain and Sarah Palin together again as you've never seen them before

Game Change HBO movie with Ed Harris as John McCainThey're baaaack.

And just in time for the 2012 political season.

HBO is currently filming its adaptation of "Game Change."

That's Mark Halperin and John Heilemann's bestselling chronicle of the 2008 John McCain-Sarah Palin presidential campaign that didn't sell so well.

Their Arizona-Alaska effort to keep the White House in Republican control, coming after eight years of you-know-who and his sidekick, you-know-him-too, who led the country into two wars and left the country in the hands of an ex-state you-know-what who's upped the ante in one war and started another against Libya.Game Change hbo Julianne Moore as sarah palin

Other than that and the spending beyond belief and the $3 trillion-plus of new national debt and no end in sight to the harsh political tone of Washington and the healthcare bill that seems to have more large companies exempted from its rules than are covered, other than those little things, everything turned out for the better.

Anyway, for those folks who want to reminisce about that endless campaign as we head into another that'll cost even more, this movie should be right up their alley.

Here's a newly released photo of McCain, who will play himself. No, not really. This is Ed Harris pretending to be John McCain.

Julianne Moore has been chosen to play the role of the Tina Fey lookalike from Alaska.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Upper photo: Ed Harris as McCain in "Game Change." Credit: HBO /

Lower photo: Julianne Moore as Palin in "Game Change." Credit: HBO /

Ron Paul: Why his silly campaign launch today really matters for 2012

Texas Republican Representative Ron Paul opens his Iowa campaign office 5-10-11

Ron Paul.

Today is the big day. Well, a big day anyway.

Ron Paul, the 12-term Republican representative from Texas, appeared on one of those morning news shows that mixes the weather, singers, weather, authors, weather, actors, weather, the scary kidnapped child story and the occasional animal tale.

Paul conversed with that little guy with the precisely-tousled hair who used to work for Bill Clinton. And 48 hours after Paul opened his Iowa caucus campaign headquarters -- News Bulletin -- he "revealed" to "Good Morning America" his candidacy for president of the United States.

Here's why Paul and ABC did this together: It seems like news. Real news is hard to come by on Fridays. Especially "exclusive" access. Less competition for a bigger headline. It also saved Paul ballroom rent money and got....

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Sunday shows: Ryan, Bachmann, Rubio, Van Hollen

ABC's "This Week" with Christiane Amanpour: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), with George Will, Chrystia Freeland, David Stockman and Arianna Huffington.

Bloomberg's "Political Capital" with Al Hunt: Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).Minnesota Republican Representative Michele Bachmann

CBS' "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer: Gov. Robert Bentley (R-Ala.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), with Michael Gerson and Michael Dyson.

CNN Fareed Zakaria "GPS": Malcolm Gladwell, Eliot Abrams, Martin Indyk, Fawaz Gerges and Ayman Mohyeldin.

CNN's "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley: Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Stephen Hadley, Steve Perry, Randi Weingarten, Jane Harman and Van Hollen

Fox News Channel "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn,), Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), with Brit Hume, Bill Kristol, Nina Easton and Juan Williams.

NBC's "Meet the Press" with David Gregory: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-Va.), New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and David Axelrod.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Why wait until Sunday for politics? Click here now to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or follow us @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle now. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share this item with friends.

Photo: Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images (Bachmann).

That went well: With Mubarak gone, 52% of Egyptians dislike Obama's policies, barely 20% like the U.S.

North Africa, Egypt and the Nile River valley seen from space

A case study in klutz?

Yes, it took a while for him to figure out which side was going to win in Egypt's popular uprising earlier this year. But remember all of President Obama's warnings and unsolicited pieces of advice for the people currently inhabiting that land of ancient culture? 

Everyone should avoid violence. You can't repress ideas. Time to go. No going back. Everyone deserves universal human rights. Peaceful assembly and self-expression are very important.

The Real Good Talker and his rhetorical sidekick, Mideast power player Jay Carney, have been issuing an abundance of White House warnings in recent weeks to Tunisia, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, Syria. Forget about Iran. It's worked so well that demonstrators continue to....

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California poll support for Jerry Brown's tax increases has ominous implications for U.S. taxpayers too

California democrat governor jerry Brown 4-12-11

If the conventional mantra about California being on the forefront of the nation's political trends holds true, it's really bad news for America's taxpayers.

According to a new L.A. Times / USC Dornsife poll, a majority of Californians -- 52% to 38% -- are just fine with Democrat Jerry Brown's plan to fill the state's chronic budget deficit with $14 billion in new or renewed taxes along with cuts, as long as they get to vote on it.

This despite the recent history of waste, corruption and spending abuses in the most populous state's vast government.

This despite the state's continuing 12% unemployment rate, second-highest in the country.

This despite the weak 44% job approval rating for Gov. Brown.

This despite 41% of Californians believing that wasteful, unwise spending by ....

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Sunday shows: Rice, Graham, Rubin, O'Neill

Susan Rice 

ABC's "This Week" with Christiane Amanpour: ´╗┐Franklin Graham, president and chief executive of Billy Graham Evangelist Assn.; and Pastor Tim Keller, found of Redeemer Presbyterian Church; Steve Roberts, coauthor of "Our Hagaddah": Rev. Al Sharpton.

Bloomberg's "Political Capital with Al Hunt": Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

CBS' "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer: Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).

CNN Fareed Zakaria "GPS": Former Treasury secretaries Robert Rubin and Paul O'Neill.

CNN's "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley: Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Michael Bennett (D-Colo.); former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns; Randi Weingarten, president of American Federation of Teachers.

Fox News Channel's "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.).

NBC's "Meet the Press" with David Gregory: Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).

-- Steve Padilla

Note: Andrew Malcolm is on vacation.

Why wait until Sunday for politics? Click here now to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or follow us @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle now. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share this item with friends.

Photo:  U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice / Associated Press.

Has the tongue turned? Obama explains his Libya attacks -- and his national security approval sinks


Is the Real Good Talker losing his famous talking touch, just as the Democrat opens a 19-month campaign for $1 billion and reelection?

Then-wannabe senator Barack Obama spoke at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. The dynamic duo of John Kerry and John Edwards lost the election anyway. But Obama emerged on the political scene as an articulate spokesman for the party's left side.

After his 2004 upset win over the political powerhouse of substitute Republican candidate Alan Keyes, the new senator from Illinois built on his speaking reputation to create an almost immediate presidential candidacy.

During the bitter 2008 Democratic primaries, party rival Hillary Clinton notoriously noted that Republican John McCain had a lifetime of public service on his resume and Obama had but an anti-Iraq war speech he gave in 2002. Obviously, Obama defeated both of them anyway.

Since moving into the White House he has often flown several hours on Air Force One with his ubiquitous Teleprompter to employ likely his best political skill, delivering speeches of varying duration before enthusiastic audiences. As adversities have accumulated -- the economy, unemployment, deficits, his controversial healthcare legislation, lack of a fiscal 2011 federal budget and now three wars -- that once formidable strength now seems possibly neutralized.

Obama will surely give hundreds more speeches before Nov. 6, 2012, when voters decide if he becomes only the third Democratic president in nearly a century to win a second election. Or if he joins Jimmy Carter in the ranks of one-termers.

But Obama's most recent major speech, the one on Libya last week, may provide an intriguing ....

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Robert Gates' goal for Libya: No American troops on the ground


Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, under heavy questioning before the Senate Armed Services Committee, swore that despite the fact that Moammar Kadafi will "kill as many (people) as he must to crush the rebellion," there will be no American troops on the ground in Libya "as long as I'm in this job."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that there was "no daylight" between herself and President Obama regarding Libya.

"The president said no boots on the ground, and I agree with him," Feinstein said, adding that NATO should do its part. "We have a number of other nations who can put boots on the ground."

Feinstein talked tough but hesitated when it came to arming the Libyan rebels. "We did it in Afghanistan and we got burned by it. In Iraq we got burned by it," she said. "The weapons cropped up later and were used against us. We don't know, other than a few dozen, who these people really are.... The call has gone out for jihad and there is a Libyan Islamic Front. I would be very reserved."

She was not at all reserved about Kadafi, however, when she was interviewed by MSNBC. Feinstein said "the international court" should "go in and arrest" Kadafi, who she called the "head of the snake."


Dramatic photos: Rebels pushed back in Libya

Robert Gates again rules out U.S. ground forces for Libya

Libyan regime could collapse from within, U.S. officials say

-- Tony Pierce

Note: Andrew Malcolm is on vacation.

Photo: Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates testifies in the Senate on Thursday.  Credit: Michael Reynolds / European Pressphoto Agency


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About the Columnist
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.
President Obama
Republican Politics
Democratic Politics



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