When I heard how cheap it would be to keep White House tours going — and thought about heartbroken schoolchildren losing perhaps their one chance to see the home of the President — I actually wondered if any well to do people would be willing to step up and offer the pittance necessary to keep the doors open. Lo and behold, my musing has become reality:
In a Facebook post on Thursday, anchor Eric Bolling announced that he will offer to personally pay the costs to keep the tours at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue open for a week.
During Thursday evening’s episode of “The Five,” Bolling elaborated. “I will absolutely write the check if they open the doors next week.”
“I’ll make you a deal Mr. President…Let these families take their White House tours next week and I’ll cover the added expenses. Word is it will cost around $74,000.”
Referencing White House press secretary Jay Carney, the Fox host added: “Mr Carney, you know this an offer you can’t refuse. Give me a call.”
Hannity is offering to chip in as well.
This is a big PR win for Republicans, and accordingly, John McCain took to the floor of the Senate to denounce it as “ridiculous.” (Not really, but it wouldn’t surprise me.)
One thing I didn’t get to post about yesterday because of the Paul filibuster was a set of updates on the flawed Washington Post story purporting to debunk the Daily Caller pieces on Menendez. We can’t lose sight of this: it could be the next Rathergate.
Second, as the Daily Caller has reported, the Washington Post airbrushed out the central error of their story without acknowledging error. This is huge. The original story read:
[T]he women’s videotaped claims, with their faces obscured, were played on the conservative Web site The Daily Caller. The news site reported that ‘the two women said they met Menendez around Easter at Casa de Campo, an expensive 7,000-acre resort in the Dominican Republic.
This was quietly changed to this:
“the videotaped claims of two women, made with their faces obscured, were posted on the conservative Web site the Daily Caller.”
As the Daily Caller explained, this “ma[de] it ambiguous whether the two women who appeared in TheDC’s video are the same ones Leonnig identified as retracting their allegations against Menendez.”
Third, the affidavit they relied on? I’m just saying, that thing seems suspect.
Somehow I think we haven’t heard the last of this story. Keep it in the forefront of your mind.
Mary Katherine Ham has the language of the “sense of the Senate” resolution that Rand Paul wanted passed:
Resolved, that it is the sense of the Senate that:
1. The use of drones to execute, or to target, American citizens on American soil who pose no imminent threat clearly violates the Constitutional due process rights of citizens.
2. The American people deserve a clear, concise, and unequivocal public statement from the President of the United States that contains detailed legal reasoning, included but not limited to the balance between national security and due process, limits of executive power and distinction between treatment of citizens and non-citizens within and outside the borders of the United States, the use of lethal force against American citizens, and the use of drones in the application of lethal force within the United States territory.
That bold language is important, because (as I argued yesterday) a President has to have the right to act in a 9/11 situation where a Flight 93 remains in the air. If Paul’s filibuster was not a partisan issue where we decry executive overreach only when the other guy is in office — and it wasn’t — we have to devise rules that make sense regardless of who is in the Oval Office. Senator Dick “Dick” Durbin raised the Flight 93 issue with Sen. Paul last night, who acknowledged that everyone agrees a Flight 93 situation poses a different question.
But when you have no imminent threat — when an American citizen is sitting at a cafe (Paul’s and Sen. Cruz’s example) on U.S. soil — the government has no Constitutional right to simply snuff him out with a drone. This would seem such a simple proposition. Why wouldn’t Senators bring it to a vote? Why wouldn’t Obama make a clear statement to that effect?
A report says that Brennan’s nomination can still be filibustered, because Mitch McConnell gave his blessing to opposing cloture. That report was filed before Durbin came in at the end of Paul’s filibuster and uttered some sort of parliamentiary incantation, and I’m not positive it’s true. I hope it is.
There is a collection of videos from yesterday’s filibuster here. To whet your appetite, here is one in which Paul calls Obama a hypocrite on civil liberties:
Paul makes the point, as I say above, that the law has to apply to everyone, because you never know who’s coming next.
When your government won’t tell you they don’t have the power to do something, they’re telling you they do have that power.
Finally, I said this last night and I stil believe it: this event was far more important than most in the media realize. The filibuster made the front page of the L.A. Times, but it was only part of a larger story centered around the debate prompted by the white paper on drone attacks. I think what happened yesterday went beyond the issue of drone attacks. Conservatives saw, at long last, two men (Rand Paul and Ted Cruz) willing to literally stand up for what they believe in. It felt like the first time that had happened since Ronald Reagan. It was inspirational, and it won’t soon be forgotten.
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