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EARLYBIRD

Pundits & Editorials

Conflicting views on the Employee Free Choice Act and speculation on why Obama and McCain are so close in the polls. Plus: a Soviet "propaganda blitz."

• Despite "angst" in Germany over Barack Obama's decision to speak in front of the Siegessaule -- a monument to Prussian military victories -- William Kristol wonders "if Obama chose the Victory Column as his speech venue because he intends to make the case for... victory."

• "Obama's visit" to Europe, and specifically to France, is "principally about European politics," contends Roger Cohen. French President Nicholas Sarkozy "gets a touch of the Obamaura. Think halos in Florentine Renaissance paintings. Such reflected glory can do no harm, as Sarkozy the opportunist knows well."

 

• Evaluating Obama's speech last week to the NAACP, Gregory Rodriguez notices that, "in a campaign fueled by high expectations, Obama seemed to be trying to lower his audience's hopes that the election of the first black president would be anything more than a symbolic milestone."

• "Why, in a year when the nation clearly has rejected the GOP as a party, does" John McCain "have a real chance to be elected?" Robert D. Novak wonders. "Why does Obama have trouble breaking the 50 percent barrier, nationally and in battleground states?"

Clive Cook sees irony in the close polls as well. "One cannot help but be struck by the current disconnection in US presidential politics between, on one hand, the excitement and enthusiasm that attend" Obama's "candidacy and, on the other, the tightness of the race."

 

• "Gasoline prices are flattening consumer wallets and hobbling our economy, while the Democrats sit back and play politics with the issue," scoffs Donald Lambro.

• "Washington is losing it" with the financial crisis, Sebastian Mallaby asserts. "The most vivid illustration comes from the Securities and Exchange Commission, which first failed to oversee the financial institutions under its purview -- and now wants to stop the markets from doing their part."

• In the Washington Post, Sen. Joe Lieberman, I/D-Conn., praises District of Columbia Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee "for her determination to implement courageous and innovative educational reforms in the District," writing that "Congress should take note as it considers reshaping the No Child Left Behind Act."

• In the Washington Times, author and news Web site founder Andrew Breitbart delves into the disparity between Republican and Democratic representation in Hollywood.

 

• In the Politico, Glenn Spencer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce denounces the Employee Free Choice Act, which he maintains would "effectively strip workers of the protection of secret ballots in union certification elections."

David Madland of the Center For American Progress Action Fund disagrees, writing in the Politico that existing laws are responsible for declining union membership, which makes "joining a union a Herculean task that few are able to undertake."

• "If nuclear energy is to progress, it must stand on its own," author William Tucker reasons in the Wall Street Journal. "That means Wall Street has to invest. And convincing Wall Street to invest means persuading the public that there is nothing unacceptably dangerous or diabolical about nuclear power."

From The Editorial Boards...

• "The blatant bias of the major national news media toward" Obama "is now so overwhelming that it would not be worth noting, except that the election of a President of the United States is involved. It is a propaganda blitz that would make the Kremlin blush," fumes the New Hampshire Union Leader.

• "Obama is right to want to tap into the power of faith-based groups to deliver social services," argues the Washington Post. "He is also right to want to prevent government funds from being used to subsidize discriminatory practices. His position strikes a sensible balance in a delicate area."

• Citing new IRS data, the Wall Street Journal asserts that despite Obama's plans to raise taxes for the country's most wealthy, "it's going to be hard for the rich to pay any more than they already do."

USA Today thinks that "the people who want to wave signs, speak their minds and demonstrate outside the convention hall have already gotten a taste of Denver's hospitality. They're being treated like a bunch of pests."

• Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper sees it differently in an opposing view: "We've worked hard to balance and address everyone's needs in the face of significant security and logistical considerations."

• House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., "is the pot calling the kettle black," the Washington Times charges. "On Thursday, she referred to President Bush as a 'total failure.' Yet, the Democrat-led Congress that she captains has even lower poll ratings than Mr. Bush."

• "Congress did the right thing last week by overriding a presidential veto of some modest Medicare reforms. But as welcome as it was," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch fears that "the quick and decisive response highlights a long-standing inequity in federal spending."

• "Congress has an opportunity to add significantly to the nation's store of protected wilderness -- a million new acres at a minimum, and perhaps twice that if everything falls into place. But it must move quickly," the New York Times urges.

• The Christian Science Monitor supports a bill, sponsored by Sens. Joseph Biden, D-Del., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind., that "would more than triple development aid to Pakistan over the next five years and aim to extend it for another five."

• "In an encouraging turn, the State Department plans to open an American interests section in Tehran," the Boston Globe notes. "There are times when nuanced diplomatic gestures foretell major policy changes. The plan for an interests section - a step short of an embassy - should be only the first of many moves toward better relations with Iran."

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