Political News Summary: Feb. 11

Rubin doesn't seem to regret at all his call to a senior Treasury official about Enron, but he will likely be pained by this (because that is, apparently, the kind of reputation-concerned guy he is): "Even some of Mr. Rubin's friends say privately that it was a rare misstep for a man known for caution and foresight." (Read to the last paragraph for a clue about who provided that insight on background.)

Given his failure to join the piling on against Treasury Secretary O'Neill, we are pretty sure Rubin will notice this: "Bush administration officials, by contrast, view him as a nagging antagonist, preaching the 90's virtues of budget discipline and low interest rates when they are fighting war and recession."

He takes a hit for his dealings with California Gov. Gray Davis, and for his "rude" multi-tasking in meetings.

For pure color, these are the best parts: "Mr. Rubin calmly ate a bowl of plain blueberries during a long breakfast interview in his red-and- beige office … Wearing his customary charcoal suit and white shirt, he is youthfully trim but gives little evidence of overt vanity."

The The Wall Street Journal snagged the first "extensive" interview with new Enron acting chief executive Stephen Cooper, who is delightfully optimistic that he can salvage a smaller version of the company.

The Los Angeles Times Brownstein urges Congress — quickly, so as to take advantage of the momentum from Enron — to "think boldly about reforming not only the accounting process, but the safeguards built into the basic governing structure of public corporations." ( http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-000010725feb11.column?coll=la%2Dnews%2Da%5Fsection )

The Washington Post looks at how the Enron mess is mucking up legislative activity on electricity deregulation. ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A55148-2002Feb10.html )

ABC 2004: The Invisible Primary

If you smelled smoke over the weekend, that was Jack Germond excoriating Al Gore in the Los Angeles Times: "Former Vice President Al Gore's lurch into what he called 'the national debate' is based on two flimsy premises. The first is that there is such a debate, and the second is that he has the political standing to take part." ( http://www.latimes.com/la-000010252feb10.story )

Gore's "position as a potential presidential candidate in 2004 rests almost entirely on the reluctance — perhaps inability — of both Democratic Party leaders and the press to speak frankly about his standing. The broad and pervasive consensus in the political community today is that Gore is finished as a national candidate. While Republicans lick their chops at the thought of a Gore candidacy, there is not a single Democrat of any national prominence publicly supporting him for the 2004 presidential nomination. Privately he is faring even worse."

Meanwhile, George Will sounded bullish on Senator Lieberman, Democratic nominee. ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A48625-2002Feb8.html )

We'll just go ahead and put this one here: Roll Call reports that both Daschle and Gephardt have begun "monthly issues tutorials" from members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. ( http://www.rollcall.com/pages/news/00/2002/02/news0211f.html )

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