‘Top Line’ — Sen. Alexander: Obama Going ‘Down a Road’ to Nixon

Oct 21, 2009 3:03pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: Republicans are using a new line of attack against President Obama: They’re accusing him of being like Richard Nixon. Or getting there, at least. On ABCNews.com’s “Top Line” today, Sen. Lamar Alexander — who worked as a low-level aide in the Nixon White House — explained what he meant. Obama’s no Nixon yet, but the signs are in place, he said.  “I’m seeing the same seeds now that I saw then,” Alexander, R-Tenn., told us. “My suggestion — friendly suggestion — to the Obama administration is, don’t create an enemies list. But . . . they’re going to boycott a major news network; they’re going to take away the anti-trust exemption from an insurance industry who disagrees with them; they put a gag order on a big healthcare company that let its beneficiaries know that their benefits might be cut.” “Instead of characterizing those who disagree as enemies — that takes us down a road we’ve seen before — it’s better to work with people with different points of view. And I think the president would be better served by that.” Regarding his experience in the Nixon White House, Alexander said: “It started off innocently enough, with Vice President [Spiro] Agnew saying ‘nattering nabobs of negativism.’ But after a while here came the Nixon enemies list. My advice is, don’t create an enemies list.” The senator also talked about his suggestion — as highlighted in a story that Newsweek put on its cover this week — that colleges adjust the standard academic schedules to make it possible for more students to graduate in only three years. “It would save time and money for students,” he said. “And I made it clear that I didn’t think a three-year degree is for every student anymore than a hybrid car is for every driver. But there are a lot of well-prepared students who come into college, they’re ready to go on.” Alexander also endorsed the concept of extending unemployment benefits by reallocating unspent stimulus dollars — even though he voted against President Obama’s stimulus package. “We’d have to pay for it. We’d have to find ways either to raise taxes or cut out of other programs,” he said. “The money’s obligated to be spent. And rather than spend it on non-stimulative projects, I’d rather spend it on unemployment benefits.” Watch the full interview with Sen. Alexander HERE. We also checked in with Ana Marie Cox of Air America, to discuss MoveOn.org’s new celebrity endorser of a “robust” public option, and to talk about the gubernatorial race in Virginia. “It looks like Creigh Deeds is going to lose, going to lose pretty badly. However, I don’t think Virginia is lost to Democrats. I think it’s just lost to Creigh Deeds,” she told us. And check out the new Website for Ana Marie’s Air America program, the conveniently named “The Inside Story with Ana Marie Cox” — with new Web-only interviews coming soon. You can see the full discussion with Ana Marie Cox HERE.

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus