the latest news on Presidential campaign, Republicans, Democrats, Economy, Mideast, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Darfur, Emergency care, and selected Op-Eds.
Presidential campaign. Feb. 5 Primaries to Pose A Super Test of Strategy "After the trench warfare of Iowa and New Hampshire and the upcoming skirmishes in a handful of states, a very different battle awaits the presidential candidates on Feb. 5: the biggest and most challenging single day in a recent campaign for a party nomination."
Republicans. GOP rivals reverse roles "John McCain and Mike Huckabee traded places yesterday, with the war-hawk senator preaching Judeo-Christian values and the ordained Southern Baptist minister talking bullets and bombs at an armored-vehicle plant." Romney stance on Michigan trail clashes with Massachusetts record " On the eve of today's potentially make-or-break primary in Michigan, Mitt Romney campaigned as the savior of the auto industry, trying to convince voters that he is the Republican presidential hopeful best equipped to turn around the state's battered economy." Michigan's sagging economy is Tuesday's big issue "Michigan's Republican presidential primary on Tuesday is this election year's first clear referendum on who voters think can best manage - and revive - the slumping economy, which has hit this state harder than most."
Democrats. Clinton and Obama Call for Truce Over Dr. King Dispute "Speaking to black and Hispanic New Yorkers, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton tried on Monday to quell a controversy over race in the fight for the Democratic presidential nomination by praising the Rev. Dr. Martin Lither King Jr. and describing him as a trailblazer for both herself and her rival, Senator Barack Obama." Democratic rivals try to calm racial rhetoric "After a week of race-related acrimony between the Clinton and Obama camps, Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama sought to tamp down the unpleasantries and lower the temperature of the Democratic presidential race." As Candidates Agree, Aides Keep Sparring As a controversy over racially charged politics threatened to spin out of control and supporters of Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) expressed concern that the ongoing debate would revive old images of a party mired in identity politics and haunt the eventual Democratic nominee in the general election, the candidates inched toward a truce."
Economy. Pelosi Begins Discussions on Stimulus to Economy "Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, to discuss potential action by Congress, the White House and the central bank to jump-start the economy and try to shorten the slowdown that many economists say has already begun to take hold." As Talk of Recession Grows, Republicans and Democrats Differ on Response "For Democratic presidential contenders, the growing risk of a recession is an opportunity for action. For Republican contenders, accustomed to calling for less government intervention, it presents a dilemma."
Mideast. Mideast peace talks get underway "Israeli and Palestinian negotiators began addressing the most difficult issues of their decades-old conflict, keeping a promise to President Bush but putting Israel's coalition government under strain." Gaza's Christian population wanes "Life has become increasingly difficult for Christians in Gaza since Hamas seized control of the coastal strip in June. Most Christians do not hold Hamas directly responsible, but they are calling for increased protection and accountability." Israel kills Hamas leader's son "Israeli forces killed the militant son of a powerful Hamas leader in Gaza in one of the bloodiest days of fighting since the group took control of the Gaza Strip in June."
Pakistan. Militants Escape Control of Pakistan, Officials Say"Pakistan's premier military intelligence agency has lost control of some of the networks of Pakistani militants it has nurtured since the 1980s, and is now suffering the violent blowback of that policy,"
Iraq. Iraq Defense Minister Sees Need for U.S. Security Help Until 2018"The Iraqi defense minister that his nation would not be able to take full responsibility for its internal security until 2012, nor be able on its own to defend Iraq's borders from external threat until at least 2018." Top naval officer warns of growing costs of maintaining war fleet"The US Navy's top officer has warned that the skyrocketing costs of designing and building cutting-edge warships - a problem that has plagued some shipbuilding programs in recent years - could hamper the service's ability to obtain the fleet it needs to defend American interests"
Iran. Israel: All 'on table' to halt Iran nukes "Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that "all options" were open to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, suggesting that Israel was prepared to use military force if it deemed it necessary against Tehran's nuclear program." Olmert hints that strikes on nuclear sites in Iran are an option"Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned that all options are open when it comes to keeping Iran from obtaining atomic weapons, his clearest sign yet that Israel could use force against a nation considered among its most serious threats."UN 'to mull new Iran sanctions' "Foreign ministers from the UN Security Council's five permanent members, plus Germany, will meet next Tuesday in Berlin to discuss Iran, diplomats say. They are expected to explore whether to impose a third round of sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear programme."
Darfur. Aid workers flee Darfur amid bombing "Aid workers have been forced out of parts of West Darfur after the bombing of rebel positions by Sudanese government planes. According to rebels and international sources, Antonov aircraft belonging to the government bombed two villages near the West Darfur capital, el-Geneina,"
Emergency care. Emergency Care Waits Found to Be on Rise "Patients are waiting longer for care in the nation's emergency rooms, a potentially deadly result of the shrinking number of emergency departments and rising demand for emergency services, according to a new study by researchers at Harvard Medical School."
It Took a Partnership (Joseph A. Califano Jr., Washington Post) "The visionary preacher and the tough-talking master politician would be the first to say that they needed each other. I know how they came to work together, in a complex partnership, to produce a social revolution that has saved this nation."
Who was more important, the president or the preacher? (Robert Mann, Boston Globe) "WHO IS more responsible for all those New England Patriots touchdowns this season - Tom Brady or Randy Moss? To argue this question would strike many as silly. The answer, of course, is that both men, and other team members, played essential but unique roles in their team's success. A similar and equally pointless question has emerged in the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination: In the long struggle for civil rights, who was more important, the preacher or the president?"
Iraq, anyone? (James Reston Jr., USA Today) "A year from now, no matter who is elected, this country will inaugurate a postwar president. Depending on the continued success of the troop surge, the growing confidence of Iraqi authority and the safety of the withdrawal, the details might be different. But essentially, the nightmare of Iraq will be over and a new era of U.S. history will begin. So why are none of the candidates putting forward their vision of the post-Iraq era in America?"