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Tags: Nixon | Wanted | Brokaw

Insider Report: Nixon Wanted Brokaw as Press Secretary

By    |   Sunday, 18 November 2007 06:12 PM EST

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Nixon Wanted Brokaw as Press Secretary
2. Report: Hillary Pressed Spitzer on Driver’s Licenses
3. GOP Facing Money Woes in ‘08
4. D.C. Buzz: Israel to Attack Iran in Spring
5. We Heard: Ex-presidents, Bush Fundraising

1. Nixon Wanted Brokaw as Press Secretary

In what Tom Brokaw calls “one of the best-kept secrets of my life,” the veteran newsman reveals that President Nixon offered him the job of White House press secretary.

In his new book “Boom! Voices of the Sixties: Personal Reflections on the '60s and Today ” (Random House), Brokaw recalls that in late 1969, Nixon’s chief of staff, Bob Halderman, arranged for Brokaw to have lunch with a friend, Cliff Miller, in Hollywood.

Miller told Brokaw — then with NBC News — that Halderman “wanted me to consider joining the Nixon White House as press secretary,” Brokaw writes. “The plan was to move [then press secretary] Ron Ziegler to the post as director of communications.”

Brokaw said he turned down the offer because he was happy with the way his career at NBC was moving along — and he had come from a line of staunch Democrats.

Years later, after Brokaw began hosting the “Today” show, he was participating in a symposium on the Nixon years at a Long Island university when “someone grabbed me from behind in a big bear hug,” he remembers.

It was Halderman, who had recently completed his prison sentence for his role in Watergate. He told Brokaw: “Do you know how many times I’ve watched you on television and thought, ‘I could have put that young man in a position where he could have gotten into a lot of trouble!’”

When Brokaw turned 50 in 1990, NBC sent a camera crew to Nixon’s office as part of a roundup of birthday wishes, Brokaw recalls.

“Nixon was in his usual blue suit with that awkward smile on his face when he said into the camera: ‘I’ve always thought Tom Brokaw was a man of good judgment. He never showed better judgment than when he turned down my offer to be my press secretary.’”

Editor's Note:

2. Report: Hillary Pressed Spitzer on Driver’s Licenses

The talk among some political observers is that Hillary Clinton pressured New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer to abandon his plan to give driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.

During the Oct. 30 Democratic presidential debate, Clinton tried to dodge the question of whether she supported Spitzer’s driver’s licenses plan. Afterwards she was widely criticized for her evasiveness, and her standing in the polls began slipping.

But Spitzer announced on Wednesday that he was dropping the plan, claiming it was public opinion, not the Clintons, that persuaded him to abandon it, CBS-TV reported on its Web site.

But Rush Limbaugh is one conservative commentator who sees the Clintons’ hands in Spitzer’s decision.

“I wonder if anybody sighted New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer on a rowboat out on Lake Placid with Don Vito Clintonleone,” he told listeners.

He added in regard to Spitzer’s change of heart: “What coincidence! It happens on the day prior to the next debate with the Democrats.”

Fred Dicker, longtime state government reporter for the New York Post, confirmed Rush’s suspicions. Appearing on TV’s “Hardball,” he told Chris Matthews: “I was told at a very high level in New York politics that Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, or some of her top people, signaled to Governor Spitzer’s people that he had damaged her.

"They were wondering what the heck he was up to, why he had brought it to the floor now, and made it clear that the governor was hurting her and that he ought to back down if he wanted to help her, which he says he wants to do.”

Also on Wednesday, Hillary — who had called Spitzer’s proposal a “good idea” — issued a statement saying: “As president, I will not support driver’s licenses for undocumented people.”

Editor's Note:

3. GOP Facing Money Woes in '08

The Republican Party is hoping to bounce back next year from its disastrous showing in the 2006 elections, but financial problems could torpedo the GOP’s counterattack.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee raised $23.4 million during the first three quarters of this year, $5 million less than it raised in the same period in 2005 in preparation for the 2006 elections. The Democrats, on the other hand, raised $42 million, a $10 million increase over its 2005 three-quarters total.

The NRSC now has $8.3 million in the bank, while the Democrats’ cash balance at the end of the third quarter was $23 million.

“Unless Republicans can pick up the pace, they face going into a hostile 2008 election with less money and more contested seats than they had last year,” The Politico reports.

Of the 11 Senate seats generally considered to be competitive, nine are held by Republicans and only two by Democrats.

Worse still, changing campaign tactics could force some Republicans to burn through their cash earlier in this election cycle. In 2006, the liberal online organization MoveOn.org “softened up” GOP candidates for the Democrats by running early TV attack ads, The Politico notes.

Most Republicans held on to their cash and did not respond, a decision that took its toll and helped the Democrats regain Congress.

MoveOn is already at work for the 2008 elections, running ads critical of several pro-Iraq war GOP senators.

But even a Republican effort to counter the attack ads by buying early TV time might not work. In 2006, Rep. Nancy Johnson, a Connecticut Republican, depleted her campaign war chest responding to MoveOn’s ads early in the election cycle. She lost her seat anyway.

Editor's Note:

4. D.C. Buzz: Israel to Attack Iran in Spring

At a recent social gathering of movers and shakers in Washington, D.C., the scuttlebutt was that Israel is planning to attack Iran’s nuclear sites before the end of May, a source told Newsmax.

An earlier report had Israel gearing up for an attack on Iran in October. But the latest word from “well-connected folks” is that “a lot of the shuttle diplomacy is going on by the U.S. and Israel to line things up,” said the source, who also asserted that the recent trips to the U.S. by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were connected to the planned attacks.

“After May, the thinking goes, it gets too hot, and too close to U.S. elections,” the source added.

“And they say Russian President Vladimir Putin’s angry because he knows it’s coming and he knows he can’t do anything about it.”

On Thursday, the International Atomic Energy Agency issued a report stating that Iran now has 3,000 centrifuges working, enough to produce an atomic bomb within a year.

Editor's Note:

5. We Heard . . .

THAT former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton will head a committee celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel.

Clinton and Bush will serve as honorary chairmen of the National Committee for Israel 60, according to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

“We are excited and pleased that these two most distinguished American leaders have agreed to serve as the honorary co-chairmen,” a Conference spokesperson told JTA news service.

Israel’s anniversary will be celebrated on May 8, 2008.

THAT despite voter displeasure with President Bush’s Iraq war policy, Republican donors still flock to events Bush headlines and he has raised more money for the GOP this year than he had at the same point in the last election cycle.

Bush raised $63.5 million for the party and candidates through Nov. 2, compared with $62.4 million at the same point in 2005, the beginning of the 2006 election cycle.

Bush has spoken at 29 political fundraisers this year, most of them closed to the press, while he had done only 15 fundraisers at this point in 2005, The Politico reports.

While the GOP has generally faced difficulties in raising money for 2008, Danny Diaz, the Republican National Committee’s communications director, said Bush’s “ability to raise resources for Republican candidates will ensure we can aggressively communicate our message and mobilize the vote next year.”

Editor's Notes:

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Nixon Wanted Brokaw as Press Secretary2. Report: Hillary Pressed Spitzer on Driver’s Licenses3. GOP Facing Money Woes in ‘084. D.C. Buzz: Israel to Attack Iran in Spring5. We Heard: Ex-presidents, Bush Fundraising1. Nixon...
Sunday, 18 November 2007 06:12 PM
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