In a set of remarks that has some observers wondering whether the Bush Administration is continuing to change its rhetoric to emphasize that the transfer - - but not the possession - - of nuclear weapons on the part of North Korea is seen as a "grave threat," President Bush warned at the National University of Singapore that "America's position is clear: the transfer of nuclear weapons and material by North Korea to states or non-state entities would be considered a grave threat to the US and we would hold NK fully accountable for the consequences of such action."
"For the sake of peace," President Bush continued, "it is vital that the nations of this region send a message to NK - -that the proliferation of nuclear technology to hostile regimes or terrorist networks will not be tolerated."
The Washington Post on Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA), the incoming chairman of the House International Relations Committee, faulting the Bush Administration for its exclusive reliance on the six-nation negotiating framework. LINK
In the forthcoming New York Times Magazine, Matt Bai writes his opinionated opinions that two formerly top-tier candidates - - George Allen and Bill Frist - - "now seem irreparably damaged. The party's presumed frontrunner, John McCain, also faces a more troublesome environment, given his strong support for a war that many of his moderate supporters clearly oppose. On the Democratic side, the election dealt a blow to John Kerry … while perhaps opening the door further for Al Gore, whose defiant, antiwar fervor would seem well suited to the moment." Bai adds that the elections' results "may also boost the prospects for some younger candidate who can "credibly claim distance from the establishment of both parties - - a candidate much like Barack Obama."
The Senate Armed Service Committee provides an opportunity to see where front-running Sens. McCain and Clinton are on the critical issue of Iraq, reports the New York Times. LINK
Gen. Abizaid resisted calls for troop withdrawals from Democratic Senators and additional troops from Sen. McCain, per the Los Angeles Times. LINK
Critics see McCain's position on Iraq problematic in his quest to attract independent voters to his potential presidential campaign, while supporters see McCain's near-lonely call for more troops as that classic "straight talk" independents find so attractive. The Los Angeles Times takes a closer look. LINK
Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) signs top Republican ad maker Alex Castellanos, who has already cut the anti-McCain attack spots on his head. LINK
USA Today has McCain adviser Rick Davis talking about Sen. McCain's new exploremccain.com web site while saying: "We are not under the radar." LINK
The New York Daily News includes McCain adviser Craig Goldman's explanation of the difference between the Giuliani and McCain filings McCain's filing "provides full disclosure," claims Goldman. LINK
Be sure to Note Rep. Peter King's (R-NY) support for Giuliani's bid.
Thompson jumps into the fray:
Former Wisconsin Governor and HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson (R) joined the growing list of politicians taking--or preparing to take--formal steps to run for president, saying yesterday in Iowa that he intends to file a presidential campaign committee after the first of the year.
As Robert Pear can tell you, a brat and a brew in moderation is perfectly healthy.