The Administration

Hagel, Reagan, Powell, Carlucci, Korb, Burt, Pickering

There are no greater witnesses to the excellence of President Obama's choice to be secretary of Defense, former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), whom I applauded in a recent column, than the strong support Hagel is receiving from a long list of national security leaders who served under President Reagan. Reagan always believed, as Hagel does, that while military force is sometimes needed, the best course for the U.S. is to seek diplomatic solutions that avoid large-scale combat missions when possible. It is Chuck Hagel who is most in line with the Reagan worldview and the Republican and bipartisan traditions of American security policy, not his critics on the right.

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John Kerry, statesman

A brief note here to express my enthusiasm, excitement and strong support for the nomination of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to be secretary of State.

I consider myself a good friend, big fan and on many occasions a collaborator with Sen. Kerry, who I believe has the potential to be a brilliant secretary of State in the tradition of George Marshall, who also combined diplomatic and military skills. I strongly defended United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice from attacks on Benghazi that I believed were unfair to her and believe she has a future as brilliant as Secretary of State-designate Kerry.

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Who will heed the cry?

What does the situation with ex-Marine Jon Hammar seen chained to a bed as he's held captive in Mexico have in common with the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya?

They both present situations where American citizens are on foreign soil and in serious trouble. Hammar was in a unit that sustained heavy casualties in Iraq and witnessed firsthand the death of many colleagues. Jon had just completed a nine-month course treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, and his Mexican trip was supposedly his vacation. This is akin to those brave American citizens in Benghazi who desperately needed the help of a competent and caring government and failed miserably to receive it.

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Obama’s selfish data play

Terry McAuliffe had to figure he’d done enough for President Obama.
 
He raised lavish sums of money for both of the president’s White House campaigns. As chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 2004, he gave the president, then a little-known state senator from Illinois, his big speaking spot at the Democratic National Convention. That speech launched the president’s career.

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The GOP's anti-Susan Rice jihad

a) Susan Rice is clearly qualified to be secretary of State;

b) Susan Rice is clearly not the most qualified candidate to be secretary of State;

c) these attacks against Susan Rice are among the most unfair and shameful partisan attacks in my memory — she did nothing wrong;

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GOP Susan Rice letter was wrong, not racist

I think the world of Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), whom I consider one of the finest leaders in American public life. I agree with him that some comments against President Obama, including those by John Sununu, did include dog-whistle race politics. But having recently written a call on Matt Drudge to stop the race stories, I feel compelled to state that regarding the Republican letter against Susan Rice, the letter was wrong but not about race at all.

It is untrue to suggest that Susan Rice "incompetently" or "willfully" misled the American public, but these are not dog-whistle words the way Sununu slandering the president by calling him "lazy" were dog-whistle words.

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Strength in unity

This isn't the first time that the state of Texas has threatened to secede from the union.

The real issue is why a state would want to pursue this course of action. Obviously, Texas and other states feel strongly that their interests are not aligned with those of the government of our nation.

In today's political environment, based on the recent presidential election results, the country is split down the middle. That should not mean that the losing half should pick up their marbles and go home.

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Susan Rice: Qualified to be secretary of State

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice is qualified to be secretary of State and if nominated should be confirmed. The attacks against her are grossly unfair. In my new column “Petraeus: Lessons learned,” I suggest that war and peace should never be partisan matters, that when America goes to war we should go "all in" and if we are not "all in" before the decision to wage a war, we should not wage that war. This is why I (along with many commanders in the Army and Marine Corps) advised AGAINST going to war in Iraq. Regarding Benghazi, there should be independent investigation and accountability but not witch-hunts or Watergate committees, which embody the brand of politics voters rejected in the elections of 2006, 2008 and 2012.

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Let the poker game begin

The president will be getting much advice now that he’s been reelected, including from those of us who wished he’d been more aggressive during his first term, but quietly hoped and prayed nonetheless that he’d be reelected.

First thing he must do, as I suggested in this blog on Oct. 29 (“Taking a leaf from Bill Clinton's playbook”), is convene top-level businessmen, congressmen, Simpson-Bowles-Gang-of-Whatever-the-Number, and personally highlight a wise bipartisan proposal for debt reduction and tax reform and jobs expansion. Make it very public and keep the pressure on. Don’t wait for the end-of-year fiscal cliff to push for a compromise.

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A job for Mitt Romney

Multimillionaire Mitt Romney clearly doesn’t need a job. He is, after all, one of the “1 percent.” But if President Obama wants to enlist his help in avoiding the fiscal cliff, he could do worse than to approach Romney about replacing Tim Geithner as Treasury secretary.

When you look at the composition of Congress, the incoming one is much the same as the outgoing one; in other words, a recipe for continued gridlock despite the suggestion from House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) that “we’re ready to be led.” Boehner has already ruled out new taxes, so that’s not going to encourage the markets about the chances of a deal anytime soon.

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