Wednesday, September 28, 2005

OfficialWire: Bush Drinking Again

Bush Drinking Again

Pressures of Office and falling polls knock President off the wagon
by OfficialWire NewsDesk

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- (OfficialWire) -- 09/23/05 -- According to the National Enquirer George W. Bush is sneaking shots behind his wife's back, while many of his staff know he's drinking again.

Enquirer reporters, Jennifer Luce and Don Gentile, quoting 'family sources' detail how the 59-year-old president was caught by First Lady Laura downing a shot of booze at their family ranch in Crawford, Texas, when he learned of the hurricane disaster.

His worried wife yelled at him: "Stop, George."

Bush claims to have given up the drink after his 40th birthday, but according to a Washington source "The sad fact is that he has been sneaking drinks for weeks now. Laura may have only just caught him—but the word is his drinking has been going on for a while in the capital. He's been in a pressure cooker for months."

The result is he's taking drinks here and there, likely in private, to cope. "And now with the worst domestic crisis in his administration over Katrina, you pray his drinking doesn't go out of control."

Substance abuse is no stranger to Bush. During the 2000 presidential campaign, there were also persistent questions about past cocaine use. Eventually Bush denied using cocaine after 1992, then quickly extended the cocaine-free period back to 1974, when he was 28.

Dr. Justin Frank, a Washington D.C. psychiatrist and author of Bush On The Couch: Inside The Mind Of The President, said: "I do think that Bush is drinking again. Alcoholics who are not in any program, like the President, have a hard time when stress gets to be great.

"I think it's a concern that Bush disappears during times of stress. He spends so much time on his ranch. It's very frightening."

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Salena Zito Takes Cheap Shots at a Good Man -

Where's the za-za-za-ZOOM? - "Where's the za-za-za-ZOOM?

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By Salena Zito
Sunday, September 4, 2005

The power brokers of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party last winter unleashed upon the electorate their version of a demigod.
Seemingly out of nowhere came freshly minted state Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr.

Billed as a savior who would peel a U.S. Senate seat from the hands of Rick Santorum, he was thrust into the spotlight as the most likely Democrat resurrecter in the country.

In theory it was a brilliant move. Casey, a Pennsylvania brand name, had just clinched a landslide victory for treasurer. He had the backing of the Beltway leadership, the nod from the "progressives" and over-the-top enthusiasm from his one-time nemesis, Ed Rendell.

Thus was born the perfect political triangulation.

But we all know there is no such thing as perfect; this is politics, not Walgreens.

Most of Bobby Casey's detractors have pointed to his obvious vulnerability -- he lacks a message. But there is a deeper problem: If he had a message, he'd lack the ability to deliver it.

Casey suffers from a fatal political flaw. He's dull. Al Gore dull. Joe Lieberman dull. And most of us can agree that the only thing that kept John Kerry from putting us all in a coma was anticipating what Teresa would say next.

It's quite different with Casey's opponent, Rick Santorum. Love him or hate him, he's a man who overachieves and gets results. Casey is well-liked by most but commands little respect let alone a political pulse.

Santorum cut his teeth winning tough battles. From his first gutsy run for Congress in 1990 -- taking down Doug Walgren -- to his campaign against Harris Wofford for the Senate, Santorum never has backed away from a challenge or controversy.

Santorum's positions may not always win a popularity poll but they always send a clear and concise message. No one ever has to question where Rick Santorum stands on an issue; he's the first to tell you.

Contrast that with Casey, who ran for state auditor general because, in his own words, his dad did. He was re-elected seamlessly and in 2004 was elected state treasurer. Casey probably could run for any state row office and win it on filing day. These races are more about name ID than anything else.

Conversely, when Casey ran for governor, he flat-lined. He was directionless, issueless and defenseless. He allowed the labor unions to highjack his campaign and message while he sputtered pathetically on communicating a new direction for Pennsylvania. In the end, he had no defense for the mean-spirited personal attack ads that he ran against Rendell.

Democrats gravitated toward Casey for U.S. Senate because they learned they could not just be the party of Michael Moore and Ted Kennedy. Some of those "red voters" used to be true blue. In the Northeast and Midwest they are known as Reagan Democrats. In the South, they are Christians who vote their beliefs.

Casey cannot rescue a Mudville Party by engaging in the same mudslinging that he used against Rendell. The real problem this cycle for Casey and the Democratic Party is that their hero is well-known, liked and presentable, but still has no message. Couple that with a lackluster delivery and an all-star he never will be.

Voters want za-za-za-ZOOM. That is why they gravitate to personalities like Santorum and Rendell.

So forget the polls, analysts and talking heads. Watch the personalities of the candidates and listen to what they say about the issues. That will decide the outcome of next year's race.

For Bob Casey, spring training is about to end; it's time to see if he is ready to bat in the majors. But he'll need some political Viagra to perk up his decidedly za-za-za-less zoom.

Salena Zito, a political consultant who has worked for both Democrats and Republicans, lives in Mt. Lebanon. E-mail her at:"

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Former CIA Director Tenet Threatens Disclosures?

Former CIA Director Tenet Threatens Disclosures?: "With Carl Limbacher and Staff
For the story behind the story...

Friday, Sept. 2, 2005 11:00 a.m. EDT
Former CIA Director Tenet Threatens Disclosures?

Former CIA director George Tenet, said to be the target of what the Washington Times called "a scathing report by Inspector General John Helgerson” - may go public with embarrassing disclosures about the Bush administration and its actions leading up to Sept. 11, 2001.

The CIA report, prepared as the result of a 17-month investigation by a team of 11 CIA officials, blames Tenet and several top CIA officials for its failure pre-9/11 to deal with al-Qaida.

But former Reagan White House aide and intelligence expert John B. Roberts II, quoting an anonymous source close to Tenet, wrote in Thursday's Washington Times that the former chief spook has no intention of taking it lying down.

The report, delivered to Congress this week, recommends punitive sanctions against Tenet, former Deputy Director of Operations James L. Pavitt and former counter-terrorist center head J. Cofer Black.

Roberts writes, "George Tenet is not going to let himself become the fall guy for the September 11th intelligence failures, according to a former intelligence officer and a source friendly to Mr. Tenet.”

In retaliation, Roberts says that Tenet may turn the tables and put the blame on President Bush.

Tenet, he claims, has already written a fiery, 20-page, "tightly knitted rebuttal” to the Inspector General's report. But Tenet's response has been marked "classified," in contrast to usual CIA practice. Also unavailable to the public is the report itself.

Roberts says Tenet's decision to strike back could be very bad news for the President.

Wrote Roberts, "Mr. Tenet's decision to defend himself against the charges in the report poses a potential crisis for the White House.

"According to a former clandestine services officer, the former CIA director turned down a publisher's $4.5 million book offer because he didn't want to embarrass the White House by rehashing the failure to prevent September 11 and the flawed intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.”

Quoting a "knowledgeable source,” Roberts wrote that Tenet "had a ‘wink and a nod’ understanding with the White House that he wouldn't be scapegoated for intelligence failings.”

Roberts claims a "deal" was made between Tenet and Bush, one that was sealed with the President’s award of the Presidential Freedom Medal to the former CIA head.

In his rebuttal, Tenet, Roberts warns, "treads perilously close to affirming the account of Richard Clarke, the former NSC terrorism official who claimed the Bush administration's had delayed adopting a strategy against al-Qaida."

Current CIA Director Porter Goss is between a rock and a hard place, according to Roberts, who explains that Goss will be criticized for covering up if he does nothing. But if he follows the IG's recommendation to convene formal hearings as a prelude to sanctions, Tenet himself may go public to defend his reputation by damaging the President and his administration.

Roberts concludes: "The $4.5 million book offer may soon be back on the table, and this time Mr. Tenet might take it.”"