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Pundits & Editorials

Carlson says less is more in Obama's Berlin speech and T. Boone Pickens is praised. Plus: How much influence can one jalapeno pepper have in Congress?

Margaret Carlson predicts how the public may perceive Barack Obama's speech in Berlin today. "Drawing a million people in Berlin is less likely to be compared with Ronald Reagan or John F. Kennedy but to [Adolf] Hitler Youth chanting 'Sieg heil!'"

• "On his visit to the Middle East," Obama "gave ritual affirmations of his support for Israeli policy, but what Israel needs from America isn't more love, but tougher love," Nicholas D. Kristof contends.


David S. Broder asseses Obama's thorough preparation for his trip overseas. "He is almost always well briefed, and he was traveling in sharp company -- with" Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. -- "so you knew he would be ready for these meetings. The chance of a major screw-up was minimal."

• "It is more than a little pathetic to hear nightly network news reporters talking about Mr. Obama's overseas trip in terms of gaining needed national security experience and foreign policy credentials," Donald Lambro scoffs. "As if a few days abroad can miraculously give anyone the experience to be commander in chief in a time of war."

• "Had" Obama "actually rigged it with Nouri al-Maliki so the prime minister of Iraq would go out of his way to endorse Obama's withdrawal plan, it would have been a page out of" Karl Rove's "manual -- how to win by attacking, and ultimately diminishing, your opponent's strength," A. B. Stoddard remarks.


• Evaluating the new book "Grand New Party" by Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam," Morton M. Kondracke (subscription) argues that, while it's "designed to show Republicans how to win the working-class vote," the book "actually makes a strong case that" Obama "will carry it."

• "There's been a lot of talk lately that former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) will have some sort of role in the Obama administration, if there is one," observes Byron York, acknowledging that "Edwards has shaped up as someone to watch should Democrats win in November."

Timothy Egan believes that oil man T. Boone Pickens is "doing Democrats the biggest favor of the election by calling Republicans on their phony energy campaign."

• In USA Today, conservative columnist Cal Thomas and liberal Democratic strategist Bob Beckel support Pickens' call for bipartisan cooperation in solving the oil crisis and weigh in on what it will take to achieve that.


• "In a lame-duck administration counting the days before a troubled eight years finally end, American fighting men and women who are deprived of their right to vote constitute the least of the White House's worries," laments Robert D. Novak.

David Ignatius offers "a brief guide to the Syrian and Iranian negotiating tracks."

Rosa Brooks notes that the arrest of Radovan Karadzic, who "stands accused of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity... was long overdue."

• Meanwhile, Karadzic's arrest compels Roger Cohen to recount the lessons he "took away from the war" while covering the conflict in Bosnia 13 years ago.

From The Editorial Boards...

• Looking at the presidential candidates' positions on Iraq, USA Today maintains that "the next president" should "admit the obvious -- whether that's" John McCain "conceding that it was a terrible blunder to invade Iraq in the first place, or Obama acknowledging that the surge has worked better than he expected."

• Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del, counters in an opposing view that Obama is right in refocusing on Afghanistan and that "progress still lags" on the surge's "stated purpose," which was "to help bring about the political progress and economic development necessary for long-term stability in Iraq."

• "A few brave souls in the Senate are threatening a filibuster" of the housing bailout that passed in the House Wednesday, "which is where the last hope lies for stripping the most egregious and expensive provisions from this monster," the Wall Street Journal fumes.

The Hill comments on the National Rifle Association's attempt to convince lawmakers to "sign a discharge petition to force a vote on an NRA-backed bill. Given the lobby's clout, the chances are that many lawmakers will give it a serious look."

• The Washington Post urges Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to bring to the floor the shield law that would protect reporters from having to reveal confidential sources.

• Responding to the news that salmonella was found on a jalapeno pepper, the New York Times asserts that "the only real cure" for the food crisis "can come from Congress, which needs to move quickly to strengthen the nation's food-safety system. The public is demanding action, and the food industry should support, not delay, reforms."

• The Washington Times gives a rave review of CNN's "Black In America" two-day special that concludes tonight, writing that it's "a gripping series that takes viewers on the personal journeys of black Americans from every walk of life."

• With the headline "No Fine For Nipplegate," the Los Angeles Times weighs in on Monday's U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals decision that ruled the "Federal Communications Commission acted arbitrarily when it fined CBS $550,000 for airing a half-second shot of Janet Jackson's right breast loosed from its studded leather mooring."

• The Dallas Morning News believes that "this week's arrest by Serbian police of the alleged war criminal" Karadzic "is important not because the fugitive wartime Bosnian Serb leader was still a threat, but because of what it says about the future of peace and stability in the notoriously bloody Balkans."

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