Editor’s Note: Robert Zimmerman has been a volunteer for the Democratic National Committee member since 2000. He is a partner at Zimmerman/Edelson Inc., a marketing, advertising and public relations firm based in New York which does not represent the DNC.
AC360° Contributor and CNN Political Analyst
In politics, hypocrisy often passes for hyperbole. However, when the discussion gets into the trillions of dollars, hyperbole just doesn't cover it. Hypocrisy puts it in the proper perspective. I will be the first to recognize that neither political party is above hypocrisy, and I have never failed to call my party on it.
However, these past several weeks, hypocrisy has climbed to the height of our national debt, and with the same speed. Which brings me to the self-righteous and divisive comments of the Republican Congressional leadership, their colleagues in Congress and, of course, Rush Limbaugh. Even the unabashed A-Rod would probably cringe at this level of hypocrisy.
Baja is a hot spot for vacationers, and surfers – and a magnet for spring break. But it's also suffering from an image problem stemming from some very real safety issues. Dangerous drug routes to the United States run through the region.
With spring break just around the corner, the U.S. State Department has issued a travel alert aimed at tourists considering visiting many areas in Mexico, including northern Baja California.
Rosarito and Ensenada are two cities feeling the consequences. The mayor of Rosarito says the violence in surrounding areas is destroying business. He says his city is safe - yet he travels with armed guards.
Despite the State Department's warnings, and a growing list of victims, not everyone is listening. Thursday on 360° Gary Tuchman digs deeper. He'll talk to spring break travelers who have ignored calls to stay away.
Are they being brave – or foolhardy? What do you think? Would you take the risk?
See you at 10 p.m. eastern...
CNN Sr. National Editor
Maybe Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has a future in American Express commercials.
Something like, “Do you know me? I am one of the most powerful men in America, in charge of federal bailouts and bank rescue plans. But even at the White House where my boss works, they don’t know my name….”
President Obama Wednesday night hosted a dinner for Congressional committee chairs in the East Room at the White House. The tablecloth-covered tables have elegantly-written nametags next to the gold-rimmed plates for the guests. One of the bigger names is the Treasury boss, who still found his seat even though his tag is misspelled “Geitner”.
Mr. Obama made brief remarks to the gathering before they ate, telling the guests, “We're not always going to agree on everything, but given how hard so many you are working, on both sides of the aisle, day in day out, we thought it was important for us to be able to step back for a moment, remind ourselves that we have things in common. Family, friends, laughter. And hopefully we will have a chance to appreciate each other a little bit, take a time out before we dive back into the game.”
Among those seated at the President’s table: Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Democratic House Whip Jim Clyburn and Republican House Whip Eric Cantor.
Advice for the next dinner, Mr. Secretary? Don’t leave home without it.
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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/03/04/barbara.bush.surgery/art.barbara.bush.gi.jpg caption = "Former first lady Barbara Bush had heart surgery Wednesday in Houston, Texas.]
We're following breaking news out of Texas, where former first lady Barbara Bush is hospitalized after undergoing heart surgery. We'll have the latest details.
Also tonight, new shots in the war of words between Rush Limbaugh and the White House. And, now there's the new development that Limbaugh has dragged the Republican party into a political trap set by Democratic strategists Paul Begala and James Carville and was carried out with the help of folks inside the White House. Anderson talks it over with Begala. Is this all an inside job by the Democrats? What do you think of the tactic? Sound off below.
Join us for these stories and more at 10pm ET.
I’m on my way to the studio downstairs to interview George Clooney about Darfur. He recently returned from the region.
There was big news on that story today–the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for leading a five-year campaign of violence in Darfur. It’s the first arrest warrant ever issued for a sitting head of state by the war crimes tribunal.
I hope you’ll tune in to see the interview.
Rod Blagojevich is back. After an arrest on charges that he tried to sell the senate seat vacated by Barack Obama; after he named relative unknown Roland Burris to the seat, generating a new storm of controversy; after he was finally impeached by the legislature in his home state of Illinois; after all that, Blagojevich is back — with a book deal.
Tentatively entitled “The Governor,” Blago’s book will chronicle his election to Congress and his election and re-election as governor. Of course, Blagojevich was also the first governor removed from office in Illinois history, but he wants to tell his side of the story.
He wants to write about what he calls “the phoniness and hypocrisy” of politicians: their drinking, womanizing and other bad behavior. For that, he will receive six figures, which is good for a former governor who is out of a six-figure job and who is facing the prospect of an expensive criminal case. The book could improve his image, not to mention make some money which he might need for his defense.
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U.S. Vice President Joe Biden reaches out to tap British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on the shoulder before Brown addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress March 4, 2009 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.
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F. Stephen Larrabee, RAND
Julian Lindley-French, Netherlands Defense Academy
The Obama Administration’s decision to commit another 17,000 troops to Afghanistan is unlikely to have an important effect unless it is part of a broader shift in U.S. and coalition strategy.
Given that the insurgency in Afghanistan is fueled by radical Islamic groups based across the border in Pakistan’s north-west, any strategy that concentrates primarily on Afghanistan has little prospect of success. What is needed is an approach that recognizes the important linkage between the insurgency in Afghanistan and its roots in Pakistan, and which also takes into consideration how India fits into the broader regional security equation.
A strategy toward Pakistan should be an integral part of a plan to stabilize Afghanistan. This strategy should include a coherent package of economic assistance. Mass anger at rising food prices and electricity cuts could again lead to widespread protests and undermine support for Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zadari. The resulting instability could wreck any hope of Pakistan continuing, let alone intensifying, its campaign against the insurgents in the largely ungoverned tribal areas that border Afghanistan.