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EARLYBIRD

Pundits & Editorials

McCain trumps Obama in Lambro's foreign policy test while Santorum suggests the GOPer 'play it safe' with his VP pick. Plus: How secure are nuclear plants?

• "It has been more than two months since Barack Obama secured the Democratic presidential nomination, yet here we are, still fascinated with Bill and Hillary Clinton and what they're up to. Why?" E.J. Dionne Jr. wonders.

Rick Santorum recommends to John McCain that he "play it safe" when it comes to picking his vice president: "His choice needs to be a pro-life economic conservative with zero baggage and solid experience in government. Completely noncontroversial."

 

• "As much as" McCain's "camp wants to mock" Obama "for his worldwide fame, it's McCain who's been spending lots of time lately playing up his longstanding relationships with foreign leaders," Amy Walter points out. "And it's Obama who's been taking a more local, less global advertising approach, tailoring ads to fit issues relevant to various regions of the country."

• "If you think" former presidential candidate John Edwards "will be allowed anywhere near Denver or a Democratic election ever again, I'm a Nigerian princess with a $10 million inheritance that I will split with you once I receive your bank routing number," Margaret Carlson quips.

David S. Broder expresses his support for ideas put forth at a meeting of former lawmakers at the new Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy on how to improve the Democratic Convention.

 

• If responding to the Russia-Georgia conflict "was the first real foreign policy test of the presidential campaign, the score right now is McCain 10 and Obama 0," Donald Lambro concludes.

Rosa Brooks blames President Bush, McCain and McCain's foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann for "the silly idea that the U.S. would bail" Georgia out.

• "Russia's invasion of Georgia strikes at the heart of Western values and our 21st-century system of security," Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili declares in the Washington Post. "If the international community allows Russia to crush our democratic, independent state, it will be giving carte blanche to authoritarian governments everywhere."

• "The real objective" of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin "is the Finlandization of Georgia through the removal of" Saakashvili "and his replacement by a Russian puppet," contends Charles Krauthammer.

 

• "How is the West to react" to Russia's invasion of Georgia? American Foreign Policy Council President Herman Pirchner Jr. asks in the Washington Times. "With the power of Russian nationalists ascendant, it is especially important that the next administration, in consultation with Congress, decide where America will draw its red lines."

• "The New Russians now in Georgia are shaping a new world with rules based on the old Russian brutalisms," laments Daniel Henninger. "Their political instruments include the eternal silence of murder, routine energy-supply blackmail, and this week a revival of the massed-tank strategies of 1956 and 1968."

Nicholas D. Kristof reflects on the possibility of the Dalai Lama visiting China to "commemorate the victims of the earthquake in Sichuan Province in May. That would be the first meeting between the Dalai Lama and Chinese leaders in more than 50 years and would give enormous impetus to resolving the Tibet question."

• "The world knows now that the adorable little girl we saw warbling 'Ode to the Motherland' at the Olympics opening ceremony was not really singing," Gail Collins remarks. "She was a Potemkin performer. A Trojan tyke. Lin Miaoke, 9, was fronting for Yang Peiyi, 7, the girl with the best voice but imperfect teeth."

From The Editorial Boards...

• The New York Times thinks that "the Senate should follow the House's lead and give the" Food and Drug Administration "regulatory control over tobacco. Then the F.D.A. should move as quickly as possible to determine the effects of menthol and what should be done to regulate or ban it. Americans need to know, once and for all, whether menthol makes cigarettes even deadlier."

• The Washington Post defends Attorney General Michael Mukasey's decision to not prosecute former Justice Department deputy Kyle Sampson and public affairs officer Monica Goodling. "The laws broken by the two are civil in nature and do not empower the Justice Department to press charges."

• The San Francisco Chronicle, on the other hand, slams Mukasey for what the board claims was "a blithe brush-off to findings that Bush administration gate-keepers used a conservative checklist in vetting appointees to nonpolitical law enforcement posts."

• "The safety and security risks" involved in building nuclear plants "seem less ominous and more manageable than opponents of nuclear power make them out to be," USA Today asserts.

• "An increase in U.S. nuclear capacity could help reduce global warming," scientists Edwin Lyman and David Lochbaum acknowledge an in an opposing view, "but it could increase threats to public safety and security at the same time."

Osama bin Laden's driver, Salim Hamdan "is supposed to get out" of jail "in January, the same month President Bush leaves office." The Denver Post insists that "it is incumbent upon this administration and whomever takes over in January to abide by" the military tribunal's decision and release Hamdan at that time.

• The Wall Street Journal applauds Bush for "strengthen[ing] his response to Russia's invasion of Georgia yesterday," and "sending his Secretary of State to Paris and then on to Tbilisi. We're delighted to hear it, as no doubt are the Georgians."

• The Washington Times worries that "the conflict in Georgia is raising troubling questions about American foreign policy in the region."

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