Hillary, Gore Slam White House and Congress
Monday, Martin Luther King Day, saw a fury of political activity this year, with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Al Gore slamming President Bush and Congress, and both the White House and the Republican National Committee firing back. Clinton, who is considered highly likely to run for President, spoke to a crowd of Katrina victims Monday, saying that Congress "has been run like a plantation... in a way so that nboody with a contrary view has had a chance to present legislation, to make an argument, to be heard." She also called the Bush administration "one of the worst" the country will have seen. Source. In an address to the American Constitutional Society, former Vice President Al Gore tore into the Bush administration's spy policy and the unjudiciated wire taps, calling them a "shameful exercise of power" and accusing the President of "breaking the law repeatedly and insistently." He, too, attacked Congress, urging that members "start acting like the independent and coequal branch of government you're supposed to be." Gore called for Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the intelligence-gathering program, saying that Gonzalez has an "obvious conflict of interest." Gore did not mention anything about his political future. Source.
Republicans shot back at Senator Clinton, through RNC spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt rather than White House press secretary Scott McClellan, saying that "on a day when Americans are focused on the legacy of Martin Luther King, Hillary Clinton is focused on the legacy of Hillary Clinton." McClellan fielded the right's response to Gore today, calling him a hypocrite and a headline chaser, citing warrantless searches conducted under the Clinton-Gore administration that were defended by then-Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick in Congressional hearings. However, the laws then existed regarding intelligence searches but not physical ones, cites the AP, and those laws changed in 1995 to require physical searches to go through the courts. Source.
The attacks on the House come in the midst of scandals regarding Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff, and House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert roil and Congress considers tightening ethical policy, and the assaults on the White House come in the wake of political controversy over covert intelligence-gathering means and escalated controversy regarding the occupation of Iraq.
It certainly seems like the political season is heating up early. With Gore's cryptic absence of mention of his political ambitions, it's looking like the 2008 campaign--which will follow Senator Clinton's bid in 2007 for reelection to that post--it's beginning to look like potshots at the administration could be the vague starts of the coming year's political campaign. With Rice--who is reputed to be considering a campaign to run against Hillary--'s strong backing of the Bush administration, taking shots at Bush and his Congress makes Condy prone to "collateral damage," taking hits for her near-unwavering devotion to Bush's policies. It is as yet unclearwhether she will run, and if she is, whether this loyalty will help or hinder her campaign.