Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, confirmed Sunday morning that the twelfth Secret Service agent implicated in the Cartagena "crisis" was staying at the same Colombian hotel where President Barack Obama would check into a few days later. This revelation brings the situation closer to the president's actual security, making the situation "more troubling." The Wall Street Journal explains how this information changes the incident. Lieberman expanded, saying, "If anybody thinking the worst wanted to attack the president of the United States, one of the ways he might find out the path that he would follow in Cartagena is by compromising White House advance personnel." Read more from the Washington Post.
Lieberman touched on another scandal that's gotten shoved out of the limelight by the episode in Cartagena. The GSA scandal doesn't involve prostitutes, but an $823,000 Las Vegas-area conference that involved sushi, a mind-reader and clowns. The Los Angeles Times took an in-depth look at the scandal and Lieberman's comments Sunday that he thinks all 11 regions within the GSA should be investigated, not just Region 9, which organized the aforementioned conference. POLITICO points out Lieberman called the episode "outrageous" and "sickening."
We moved back to the Secret Service and talked to Former Secret Service Director Ralph Basham. He insisted this incident was "absolutely" an "aberration," because it's "not the character of the men and women who serve every day." National Journal explains how Basham looks past this incident to the Service's future.
A trio of lawmakers involved in key committees who will investigate this scandal weighed in, too. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, called for "zero tolerance" for the agents involved. She insisted that "for the Secret Service to move forward, the cancer must be carved out." Read about her comments in the Houston Chronicle. POLITICO highlights that Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said the administration was handling the situation well. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., also weighed in on the topic.
Moving on to politics, Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior adviser to Mitt Romney's campaign, disputed Romney's likeability problem, insisting over the next seven months voters will see Romney as "a person of integrity, a person of character, and someone who can lead this country through some very challenging times with our economy." Read more from the Boston Globe.
Stephanie Cutter, Deputy Campaign Manager to President Barack Obama, disagreed. She told Bob, "I'm not sure what exactly the next seven months are going to do, particularly when you're spending your campaign really running a wholly negative campaign." She elaborated, saying Romney's campaign is full of "distortions and dishonesty."examined her statements.
Then Bob turned to a very different issue, but one that's likely to play a big role in Campaign 2012: poverty. Princeton's Cornel West and PBS host Tavis Smiley recently published a book titled The Rich and the Rest of Us: A poverty manifesto. One of their premises is that "poverty now is a matter of national security." The Orlando Sentinel also picked up another of their themes, that poverty is not "a black problem or a brown people."
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