Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Cheney and Yemen, Palin on "O'Reilly" & "Game Change", RIP Jean Biden
Hey Vice-Precedence Blog Readers.
In Cheney news, with the recent uproar over Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab of Nigeria and his attempt to blow up Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day, there has been a lot of focus on Yemen and terrorists coming from there under Al-Queda. Many are saying this constitutes a Muslim terrorist attack on American soil, something that hasn't happened since 9/11 and that its a black mark on President Obamas national security record.
Personally the way I see it-this is the equivalent of Richard Reid-the "Shoe Bomber" something that happened during the Bush Presidency-but lots of conservatives-like former VP Cheney-don't see it that way.
However, Mr. Cheney needs to tread carefully about any remarks he makes criticizing the Obama Administration about this incident after what has recently been discovered.
In 2007, then Vice President Cheney personally authorized the release of 11 Saudis from Guantanamo Bay, who then passed through a Saudi halfway house terrorist rehabilitation program to rejoin Al Qaeda. Two of the 11 former prisoners rejoined Al Qaeda in Yemen.
In February, 2009, the New York Times reported that U.S. counterterrorism officials confirmed that one of the prisoners Cheney freed was Said Al-Shihri, who became the deputy leader of Al Qaeda in Yemen, and that he was suspected of being involved in the attack on the U.S. embassy in Yemen in 2007.
A review by the Defense Intelligence Agency showed that 14% of the 530 Gitmo prisoners released through VP Cheney's direct approval, 74 individuals, have either been identified as still participating in terrorism or are suspected of doing so. Now 14% doesn't sound like a lot, but when you think about it, its 14% too much. So many people have strong feelings about Gitmo, and now this report comes out. It all seems overwhelming sometimes.
As Jason reported, former Republican candidate for VP, ex-Governor of Alaska, and best-selling author Sarah Palin will soon be working for FOX News. It all begins on "The O'Reilly Factor" TONIGHT! So you may want to watch that.
If you saw "60 Minutes" on Sunday you know about the recent revelations by John Heilemann of New York magazine and Mark Halperin of Time magazine-the joint authors of "Game Change" about the 2008 Presidential campaign-from the primaries all the way to election night. Steve Schmidt-who headed up the McCain/Palin campaign also was on "60 Minutes" as well. Besides revealing that McCain originally wanted Joe Lieberman on the ticket but couldn't name him for fear of infuriating the far Right wing of the party, Schmidt also revealed that when Gov. Palin was told she had been tapped for the VP nomination she replied that: "It's God's plan." Also, the reason she asked Joe Biden
"Can I call you Joe?"
was that in all her practice for the Vice-Presidential Debate she kept saying "O'Biden". Now that should NOT be some big revelation to people, because on Page 289 of "Going Rogue"-Palins own book which has now been out for over a month-she admits to it happening over and over during the debate practice and that debate prepper Randy Scheunemann had the suggestion that she ask Sen. Biden permission for her to call him Joe when they met in the middle of the stage to shake hands before the debate, and Biden being a gentleman, would be happy to accept. She was nervous about calling him "Joe" because, as she points out:
"Senator Biden was a senior statesman. He'd been sitting in a U.S. Senate seat since I was nine years old."
However, she felt comfortable with doing as Scheunemann suggested, and the rest is history. For those of you who think Palin was a negative on the Republican ticket, Schmidt (who Palin occasionally rips on in her book) admits that if Palin had not been the Veep candidate: "Our margin of defeat would've been greater than it would've been otherwise."
I'd read all about this in her book while waiting to meet Mrs. Palin here in MN (which you can read all about here on the blog) so I wondered who would really be stunned by this-its been out there for over a month! My guess is-people who simply dismissed Palins book because it was written by Palin. News Flash folks-its old news.
Finally, as Jason has reported on Friday Jan 8th, the mother of Vice-President Joe Biden, Jean Biden, passed away. She was 92. Vice-President Biden made the following statement on her passing:
"Together with my father, her husband of 61 years who passed away in 2002, we learned the dignity of hard work and that you are defined by your sense of honor," he said in the statement. "Her strength, which was immeasurable, will live on in all of us."
Biden also had high praise for his mother at the Democratic National Convention in his acceptance speech for the Democratic nomination for Vice-President. His mother was there to see her son at this-the high point (so far) of his political career:
"My mother's creed is the American creed: No one is better than you," he said. "Everyone is your equal, and everyone is equal to you. My parents taught us to live our faith, and to treasure our families. We learned the dignity of work, and we were told that anyone can make it if they just try hard enough. When I got knocked down by guys bigger than me, and this is the God's truth, she sent me back out the street and told me, 'Bloody their nose so you can walk down the street the next day.' And that's what I did."
As Jason reported her funeral was today. Around 700 people gathered together at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Wilmington, Delaware. Guests included President and Mrs. Obama, former President Clinton, and many Cabinet and Congress members. Vice-President Biden thanked the President for treating his mom "with warmth and personal affection."
In his eulogy Biden said the following:
"She believed in us, so we believe in ourselves. How could we do less?" he said. "... Mom taught us that courage was not defined by the lack of fear, but by the willingness to act in spite of your fears; that bravery lived in each of our hearts. And her expectation was that we would be summoned to reach for it when necessary."
Jean Bidens original name was Catherine Eugenia Finnegan, and she was born in Scranton, PA. on July 7th, 1917. In 1941, she married businessman Joseph Biden Sr., with whom she had four children, Joe being the oldest. The couple moved from Scranton to Claymont, Del., in 1953, when the future VP was 10 years old.
In the Vice-Presidents book-"Promises to Keep" his mother was concerned about him leaving his successful law practice to go into politics-particularly running for the Senate against an extremely tough opponent;
"You're not going to run for Senate and ruin your reputation, are you?" he recalled his mother asking.
"And once Mom was reassured that my future was safe, win or lose, she would do anything," Biden wrote.
He also recalled in the book how when his mother couldn't find a pair of cufflinks for him to wear to an eighth-grade dance, she fashioned a pair from nuts and bolts, which left him stunned and embarrassed.
"Now look, Joey, if anybody says anything to you about these nuts and bolts, you just look them right in the eye and say 'Don't you have a pair of these?'" she told him.
Bidens mother was a great source of strength to her son after the tragic car accident that took the lives of his first wife and daughter just a month after his election to the Senate in 1972.
"After the accident, she told me, 'Joey, God sends no cross that you cannot bear,'" Biden recalled.
Biden continued in his eulogy that his mom was fiercely protective.
"To mom, the greatest virtue was courage," he said. "She taught her children that the thickest of all substances was blood."
Pallbearers included four grandsons and three granddaughters read selections from the Bible.
The Rev. Msgr. Thomas Cini told Jean Biden's children that she was "your strength, your rock." In death, Cini added, Jean Biden has been reunited with her siblings and her husband.
"You can imagine the Irish feast that's going on right now, and she's leading them," Rev. Cini said.
The Vice President concluded his eulogy echoing those remarks.
"Mom is back in dad's embrace, where she belongs, and we're all at peace,"
RIP Jean Biden from Vice-Precedence.
What else will be said about former VP Cheney and all the debate about national security and Yemen? What will Palin say on "The Factor" tonight? Stay tuned for more here Vice-Precedence readers, and thanks for your support.