News and Notes: The National Scene
Levin Calls for Maliki's Ouster - Fresh back from Iraq, Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) describes the Iraqi government as "non-functional" and says the Iraqi parliament should remove Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his cabinet if they can't arrive at a political accommodation with their political rivals immediately.
Obama Claims He Would Win Southern States By Increasing Black Turnout - Responding in New Hampshire to questions about his electability and a comment that it would require a "leap of faith" to vote for him, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) made some startling electoral predictions if he is the eventual Democratic nominee:
* Black voter turnout will increase by at least 30 percent across the country.Obama says that he is the only candidate who can actually "redraw the electoral map." He pointed out that he fares best among independent voters, that he has lower negative ratings than his Democratic rivals, and is leading Giuliani, Romney and Thompson in head-to-head matchups.
* Young people's percentage of the vote will go up 25-30 percent.
* He will carry southern states like Mississippi and Georgia, and put South Carolina in play.
Congressional Approval at All-Time Low - A new Gallup Poll shows approval of Congress at 18%, tied for lowest ever for this poll. The nine point drop since the last poll is due to a decrease in approval among Democrats and Independents. Bush's approval is still dismal at 32%, up three points from the last poll.
CIA Director Failed to Prepare for Al-Qaeda Attack - A long-classified report by the CIA Inspector General, released today, concludes that former CIA Director George Tenet did not marshal CIA resources to deal with the recognized threat posed by al-Qaeda before the 9/11 attacks. The report says it cannot identify a "single point of failure nor a silver bullet" that would have prevented the attacks, but "[t]he agency and its officers did not discharge their responsibilities in a satisfactory manner," thus failing to come up with a comprehensive approach to battling the threat.