Today is the last Friday of the month, which in some cultures means…probably something. On to the Gravy!
Don’t forget to submit your news and calendar of events to firstname.lastname@example.org.While Republicans are still trying to sort out who is going to be running for the U.S. Senate besides former Rep. Scott McInnis, Democrats say they are ready to unite behind Rep. Mark Udall, provided that he is running. As M.E. Sprengelmeyer of the Rocky Mountain News reports:
Democrats are likely to unify behind Rep. Mark Udall if he follows through with a run for U.S. Senate in 2008, Sen. Ken Salazar told reporters Thursday. Udall, D-Eldorado Springs, has been positioning himself for a possible race to succeed the retiring Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Loveland, although he has said a formal announcement would come “at a time and place of my choosing.”
On his weekly conference call, Salazar was asked if Democrats would “clear the field” for Udall.
“Mark will be a wonderful candidate for the U.S. Senate if he decides to run,” Salazar said. “He loves Colorado and knows the state very well, and I think he will be a very formidable candidate. “I don’t think he has gotten to the position where he has formalized his decision, and has decided to move forward,” Salazar said. “But I expect that if he does get to the point where he makes a decision that he wants to run for the U.S. Senate in 2008, that he will have a unified support of the Democratic Party and others who are looking at his kind of leadership in the U.S. Senate.”
Salazar said it was premature to offer Udall an endorsement, since the congressman had not made a formal decision.
Some political observers have speculated that Democrats might look to an alternative like Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, although the mayor said after Allard’s retirement announcement that the city needs a full-time mayor. On the Republican side, former congressmen Scott McInnis and Bob Schaffer, Attorney General John Suthers, and Veterans Secretary Jim Nicholson are among those reportedly considering the race.
Salazar, meanwhile, says that he is hopeful that a senate resolution on the Iraq war will come soon. As Margie Wood of The Pueblo Chieftain reports:
U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar said Thursday that he hopes senators can develop a single, bipartisan resolution on the war in Iraq by next week.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee debated the subject hotly on Wednesday and the discussions continued on Thursday, Salazar, D-Colo., said in his weekly telephone press conference. He predicted that several versions would be floated into next week, but he is working with a bipartisan group in hopes of developing a single resolution that can win bipartisan support.
“There’s really not much difference between the various resolutions,” he said. “Fundamentally, we all disagree with the president’s decision (to put a ‘surge’ of 21,500 additional troops in Iraq). At this point, I think the discussions are over distinctions without a difference. I suspect there’s significant push-back from the White House, but the people in our group are people of integrity and backbone and I think we’ll do the right thing.”
In addition to letting the president know the Senate doesn’t agree with escalation, Salazar said, “We need to send a loud and clear message to Iraqi leaders and the sectarian leaders that they will have to do the compromises that are necessary to stabilize their country. The soldiers of America and the taxpayers of America should not by shouldering that burden alone.”
Democrats in the state legislature are moving forward with a plan to lower prescription drug costs for Coloradans. As The Associated Press reports:
A plan to cut health-care costs by having the state negotiate lower prices on generic prescription drugs moved into the fast lane Wednesday, winning early approval from a key Senate panel for nearly $146,000 in startup costs.
The program is aimed at people who can’t afford health insurance but earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. About 264,000 people could sign up in the first year, legislative analysts said.
Under the plan (Senate Bill 1), the state would negotiate to buy cheaper drugs and then sell them through participating pharmacies.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the bill Wednesday, only two weeks into the session. Normally, the panel will not commit to spending money on a new project until weeks later, when members have a better idea of the overall state budget.
Governor Bill Ritter is still taking heat over a labor union bill that has been introduced every legislative session for years. As Jeri Clausen and Will Shanley of The Denver Post report:
Under fire for refusing to back business in a legislative labor fight, Gov. Bill Ritter stood up to more than 400 business leaders Thursday and called for civil discourse rather than threats.
Though he was greeted with a standing ovation in the packed ballroom at the Brown Palace Hotel, the applause stopped after he addressed “the elephant in the middle of the room. … Or maybe that’s the donkey in the middle of the room.”
“I don’t believe that the economic prosperity of this state rests on whether I sign the Labor Peace Act,” Ritter told the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry luncheon.
The bill, which would make it easier for labor groups to form all-union shops, was passed by the House this week. Ritter’s office said he was inclined to sign it. That prompted an outcry from business leaders, including CACI, whose board Thursday unanimously voted to oppose it.
Congressman Tom Tancredo renewed his desire to ban race-based caucus in congress, because he wants to get his name in the paper again for saying something controversial. The Denver Post obliged:
Rep. Tom Tancredo called today for abolishment of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Black Caucus and Asian Pacific American Caucus, saying they equal racial segregation
“It is utterly hypocritical for Congress to extol the virtues of a color-blind society while officially sanctioning caucuses that are based solely on race – and restrict their membership based on race,” Tancredo wrote in a letter to Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, D-Calif., who oversees the caucuses.
Tancredo, a Littleton Republican who is considering a presidential run, first called in 2003 for a ban on the caucuses that are tied to ethnic groups. He pegged his renewed demand to a report in a Capitol Hill political newspaper that freshman Rep. Stephen Cohen (D-Tennessee) could not join the Congressional Black Caucus because he is white.
A spokesman for Cohen said “He never formally sought membership in the Congressional Black Caucus, nor has the Congressional Black Caucus denied membership to him,” said Cohen’s spokeswoman, Marilyn Dillihan.
Mr. Bus, meet Mr. Cheney. Mr. Cheney, Mr. Bus.
As The Washington Post reports, Scooter Libby doesn’t seem willing to take the fall for something his former boss, Vice President Dick Cheney, may have orchestrated himself:
Vice President Cheney personally orchestrated his office’s 2003 efforts to rebut allegations that the administration used flawed intelligence to justify the war in Iraq and discredit a critic who Cheney believed was making him look foolish, according to testimony and evidence yesterday in the criminal trial of his former chief of staff.
Cheney dictated talking points for a White House briefing in the midst of the controversy that summer, his former press aide, Cathie Martin, testified, stressing that the CIA never told Cheney that a CIA-sponsored mission had found no real evidence that Iraq was trying to buy nuclear materials in Africa.
Aboard Air Force Two, on a trip back from the launch of a warship in Norfolk, Cheney instructed his chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, about responding to a Time magazine reporter who questioned how the faulty intelligence on Iraq had become one of the Bush administration’s central arguments for going to war.
In the dramatic replay of events that summer that unfolded yesterday in Libby’s federal court trial, Cheney was portrayed as a general on a political battlefield — enmeshed in tactics, but also deputizing his chief of staff to handle the dirty job of persuading journalists that the war critic was all wrong.
Previously described in court filings and by the news media, Cheney’s role was brought to life yesterday by Martin’s account. She is the first witness in the case who worked closely with Cheney and Libby as they tried to refute former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, who was sent to Niger by the CIA to determine whether Iraq had sought uranium for a weapons program.
Cheney says that he doesn’t pay attention to polls, which have President Bush in the low 30s. But this? Well, let’s just say he’s probably paying attention to this.
Retiring Sen. Wayne Allard may be taking a look at trying to end the minimum wage altogether