- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 13, 2009

TERRORISM

Cheney rips ‘huge’ Obama mistakes

Former Vice President Dick Cheney stepped up his criticism of President Obama on Tuesday, warning he was making “huge” mistakes on the economy and stripping America’s anti-terrorism arsenal.

Mr. Cheney also said Mr. Obama’s plan to close the detention facility for terrorism suspects at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was a “terrible” idea.

“Bottom line is, we successfully defended the nation for 7 1/2 years against a follow-on attack to 9/11,” Mr. Cheney said in an interview with Fox Business Network.



“That was a remarkable achievement. Nobody would have thought that was possible, but it was. I believe it was possible because of the policies we had in place, which they’re now dismantling.”

Mr. Cheney also said the Obama administration is making a “huge mistake” by increasing the power of government over the private sector.

REPUBLICANS

Steele regrets latest controversy

BOSTON | The head of the Republican Party says he regrets how the public has interpreted remarks in which he said Republicans voted against Mitt Romney last year in part because he is Mormon.

Republican National Committee spokeswoman Gail Gitcho said Chairman Michael S. Steele thinks the former Massachusetts governor “is a respected and influential voice” in the party.

Last week, Mr. Steele told a national radio audience that Mr. Romney lost the 2008 Republican nomination for president to Sen. John McCain partly because of policy flip-flops and partly because the party base didn’t approve of his religion.

Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom did little to conceal his displeasure. He said people who shoot from the hip sometimes “miss the mark.”

MILITARY

No intervention in gay dismissals

The White House says it won’t stop gays and lesbians from being dismissed from the military while the Obama administration works to repeal a decade-old policy banning openly gay people from serving in uniform.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that President Obama does not plan to intervene in current cases against men and women who announce their homosexuality.

Mr. Gibbs said the president wants to do away with the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy through legislation.

Mr. Gibbs said the policy does not serve the national interest and that Mr. Obama is working with lawmakers for what Mr. Gibbs calls a “durable legislative solution.” He said a repeal of the policy requires “more than the snapping of one’s fingers.”

Critics of the policy have called on Mr. Obama to stop the dismissals now.

SUPREME COURT

Obama’s list remains secret

Press speculation about President Obama’s “shortlist” for the Supreme Court doesn’t include everyone he is considering.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Tuesday Mr. Obama is glad his decision-making process for replacing retiring Justice David H. Souter has remained largely a secret.

“The president does take some heart in knowing that in all of the lists that have been seen and produced,” none have been comprehensive, Mr. Gibbs said.

Mr. Gibbs said Mr. Obama does not want “to drag names through and vet names through the public,” and suggested the process would be as secretive as the vice presidential selection last summer.

The president will host several key senators at the White House Wednesday to discuss the nomination process.

Meanwhile, Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, and Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, Maine Republican, urged the public to sign a petition asking Mr. Obama to appoint a woman to the post.

POLITICS

Palin memoir set for 2010

NEW YORK | Sarah Palin is ready to tell her side of the story, agreeing to publish a memoir with HarperCollins. The book comes out in spring 2010 — the year she is up for re-election.

“There’s been so much written about and spoken about in the mainstream media and in the anonymous blogosphere world, that this will be a wonderful, refreshing chance for me to get to tell my story, that a lot of people have asked about, unfiltered,” the Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate said during a brief telephone interview Tuesday with the Associated Press.

Mrs. Palin’s memoir, currently untitled, will cover her personal and political life, from her childhood in Alaska and last year’s campaign to her political beliefs and her family life, including the pregnancy of her teenage daughter, Bristol Palin, who gave birth in December to a baby boy, Tripp. Miss Palin and the baby’s father, Levi Johnston, have since ended their relationship.

“In fairness to my family, this is going be a good opportunity for them, too, because there have been so many misperceptions out there about who we are and what we believe in, and I’m excited to get to put my journalism degree to work and tell my story as it relates to my family,” said Mrs. Palin, who in 1987 graduated from the University of Idaho with a degree in journalism.

SUPREME COURT

Breyer: Entrance plan questioned

Justice Stephen G. Breyer said Tuesday that plans to prevent visitors to the Supreme Court from ascending the building’s wide marble steps and entering beneath the words “Equal Justice Under Law” are under review.

The court’s ongoing renovation project includes a central screening point for visitors to the side of and beneath the grand central steps, intended to enhance security and improve the flow of people into and out of the building.

But several justices, including Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., have spoken fondly of being able to walk up the steps and through the 1,300-pound bronze doors at the center of the court’s columned entryway. Others have complained privately about the symbolism of closing those doors to entering visitors.

People still would be able to leave the court through the bronze doors.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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