The Note: Topsy Turvy

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) proposed a five-point plan for dealing with Iran while addressing the Seventh Annual Herzliya Conference in Israel this morning.

"Iran must be stopped, Iran can be stopped, and Iran will be stopped," said Romney while adding that the "military option remains on the table."

Note the way that Romney attacked a congressional straw man in his remarks.

"And on Iraq," Romney said, "I would just like to make another point. Some congressional leaders in the United States today are arguing that the President is not authorized to allow our forces to pursue Iranian elements inside Iraq--which are attacking our own troops. That would be folly."

When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) spoke at the National Press Club last week, he contended that the United States does not have authority to launch military action in Iran without first seeking congressional authorization. Without referring to anyone by name, Romney's remarks made it seem as if congressional leaders were opposed to going after Iranian elements "inside Iraq."

While Romney appeared in person, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) addressed the group via satellite.

2008: Republicans: Giuliani:

Mayor David Wallace of Sugarland, TX plans to host a cocktail reception fundraiser for Rudy Giuliani at the Houstonian Hotel on Thursday Feb. 1 in Houston, TX. Members of the host committee who raise $30,000 will get to join Giuliani for a private dinner following the reception.

Giuliani "is moving to sell the Wall Street wing of his multi-pronged business - the strongest sign yet that he's making a serious play for the presidency, The Post has learned," writes the prolific Maggie Haberman of the New York Post. LINK

2008: Republicans: Hagel:

Wil Hylton's profile of Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) for GQ's March issue doesn't go on newsstands for another month, but you can check it out now online. LINK

Hagel tells Hylton a pretty interesting anecdote of how the 2002 war authorization bill came to be, his belief that Colin Powell is tormented "by all of this," and his position that as a legal contract, marriage should be left up to the states.

Here's a snippet for you:

GQ: "But there was a decision whether to grant the president that authority or not."

Hagel: "Exactly right. And if you recall, the White House had announced that they didn't need that authority from Congress."

GQ: "Which they seem to say about a lot of things."

Hagel: "That's right. Mr. [Alberto] Gonzales was the president's counsel at that time, and he wrote a memo to the president saying, "You have all the powers that you need." So I called Andy Card, who was then the chief of staff, and said, 'Andy, I don't think you have a shred of ground to stand on, but more to the point, why would a president seriously consider taking a nation to war without Congress being with him?' So a few of us -- Joe Biden, Dick Lugar, and I -- were invited into discussions with the White House."

GQ: "It's incredible that you had to ask for that."

Hagel: "It is incredible. That's what I said to Andy Card. Said it to Powell, said it to Rice. Might have even said it to the president. And finally, begrudgingly, they sent over a resolution for Congress to approve. Well, it was astounding. It said they could go anywhere in the region."

GQ: "It wasn't specific to Iraq?"

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