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Insider Report: Novak Stunned by Thompson; Israeli Strike; Churchill Ripped

By    |   Sunday, 11 November 2007 12:40 AM EST

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Bloomberg Mulling Run for Governor in NY
2. Novak Stunned by Fred Thompson 'Abortion Blunder'
3. Iran's Boast Could Trigger Israeli Strike
4. Pat Buchanan Book Rips Churchill
5. Carville Predicts 'Trifecta' for Democrats in '08
6. We Heard: Heidi Fleiss, Bloomberg


1. Bloomberg Mulling Run for Governor in NY

With speculation persisting that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg may run for president as an independent, the new buzz is that he may instead seek to become governor of New York in 2010.

Deputy Mayor Kevin Sheekey, a top Bloomberg aide, told former state Republican Chairman William Powers late last month that Bloomberg is "open" to running for governor against incumbent Eliot Spitzer after he leaves the mayor's office in 2009.

"Sheekey told Powers that he'd like to talk about the governor's race, and they're going to do it," a source told the New York Post.

First-term Gov. Spitzer blasted Bloomberg in September for being "morally wrong" in opposing Spitzer's controversial plan to provide illegal aliens with driver's licenses.

"I think it's fair to say the mayor wasn't happy with the governor's recent attack on him over driver's licenses and, partly because of this, it's also fair to say he's open to running against Eliot," the source added.

Sheekey has reportedly pushed Bloomberg — who left the Republican Party earlier this year to become an independent — into considering a run for the White House, but the mayor insists he has no intention of running.

A recent Siena College poll reported by the Post showed Bloomberg easily defeating Spitzer by a 59 to 31 percentage point margin.

Bloomberg also has a 75 percent job approval rating in New York City.

Editor's Note:

2. Novak Stunned by Fred Thompson 'Abortion Blunder'

Syndicated columnist Robert Novak says he and other social conservatives were "stunned" by remarks from Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson that showed "an astounding lack of sensitivity about abortion."

Thompson's comments came during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Nov. 4.

"I do not think it is a wise thing to criminalize young girls and perhaps their parents as aider and abettors [if girls have an abortion]," he said, adding: "You can't have a [federal] law" that "would take young girls … and say, basically, we're going to put them in jail."

In a column headlined "A Major Abortion Blunder," Novak writes that Thompson's statements drew "astonishment" and "rage" from pro-life Republicans "who had turned to Thompson as their best presidential bet for 2008. No serious antiabortion legislation ever has included criminal penalties against women who have abortions, much less their parents. Jailing women is a spurious issue raised by abortion rights activists."

Thompson's comments "revealed an astounding lack of sensitivity about abortion … Whether the candidate just blurted out his statement or had planned it, it suggested a failure to realize how much his chances for the Republican nomination depend on social conservatives."

During his years in the Senate, Thompson had a 100 percent pro-life voting record.

But when interviewer Tim Russert asked Thompson whether he could run for president on the 2004 Republican platform plank endorsing a "human life" constitutional amendment banning all abortions, Thompson replied "No," then added: "That's been my position the entire time I've been in politics."

Novak noted: "Every Republican platform since 1980 has endorsed such an amendment, and every Republican candidate since then has been able to run on it."

After the program, Thompson's campaign manager Bill Lacy told Novak that Thompson "does not want to change the [Republican] platform."

But "there was no apology for raising the criminalization chimera," says Novak, who writes that Lacy doesn't seem "to understand that what Thompson said has antagonized the social right."

Editor's Note:

3. Iran's Boast Could Trigger Israeli Strike

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's announcement that his nation now has 3,000 operating centrifuges could be the "tipping point" that provokes an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, according to U.S. military sources.

The London Times quoted the sources as saying that while the U.S. is reluctant to launch an attack on Iran, Israel is a "different matter."

Even before Ahmadinejad's announcement on Wednesday, U.S. officials told the Times that "Israel could do something when they get to around 3,000 centrifuges. The Pentagon is [of a] mind to wait a little longer."

Hours after the Iranian president's boast that "we now have reached 3,000 machines," Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said a military strike was a viable option for dealing with the Iranian threat, the Jerusalem Post reported.

"We cannot take any option off the table and we need to study operational aspects," Barak said, without going into detail.

Ahmadinejad has in the past claimed Iran succeeded in installing 3,000 centrifuges at its uranium enrichment facility at Natanz. Wednesday's announcement was his first claim that the plant is now fully operating the 3,000 centrifuges.

Centrifuges are used in enriching uranium, a process that can produce either fuel for a nuclear reactor or material for a warhead.

U.S. experts say 3,000 centrifuges are sufficient to produce a nuclear weapon, perhaps as soon as within a year.

Editor's Note:

4. Pat Buchanan Book Rips Churchill

Syndicated columnist and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan is sure to stir up controversy with a new book that castigates British icon Winston Churchill.

"Churchill, Hitler and the 'Unnecessary War': How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World" is due out in May 2008.

Buchanan "overthrows the conventional wisdom of the 20th century and charges British statesmen — Churchill foremost among them — with blunders that brought on two world wars and the collapse of the British Empire," according to the book's publisher, Crown.

"Buchanan documents the epochal decisions that reduced Britain from mistress of the world's greatest empire since Rome to an American dependency."

Also coming from Crown next year is a book from John Podesta, White House Chief of Staff under President Bill Clinton from 1998 to 2001.

In "Think Progress: The Five Challenges for Progressives in the 21st Century," Podesta charges that the U.S. government today offers Americans "fear" and "incompetence," along with "out-of-control healthcare costs and fuel bills," and he offers "a real vision for a better America," according to Crown.

And Crown Forum publishers is bringing out a book by Republican Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida, "A Sense of Belonging: From Castro's Cuba to the U.S. Senate, One Man's Pursuit of the American Dream."

Editor's Note:

5. Carville Predicts 'Trifecta' for Democrats in '08

Democratic strategist James Carville says that his party can win the "trifecta" in 2008 — capturing the White House and both houses of Congress — if contributors will cough up enough money for the campaigns.

Writing on behalf of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Carville said in an e-mail to supporters: "If 2006 was the year we took back Congress, 2008 is the year we can take back America…

"Imagine how sweet it would be if next year we can go for a clean sweep — a Democratic president, a stronger Democratic House of Representatives, and an even bigger Democratic majority in the Senate.

"There is no doubt in my mind that we can nail the trifecta next year if we start filling our war chests now."

Carville asserts that to fulfill its goals, the DSCC needs $1 million by Nov. 14, and he asks for contributions of "$50, $75 or more to expand Democratic control of the United States Senate" and to be ready for "every under-handed GOP attack."

He also states that "a group of Democratic senators will double your contribution."

He concludes: "You show your support, we can win these races. It's that simple."

Editor's Note:

6. We Heard . . .

THAT former "Hollywood Madam" Heidi Fleiss now operates a small coin laundry in the town of Pahrump, Nev., called, appropriately, Dirty Laundry.

Fleiss ran a Los Angeles prostitution ring that catered to wealthy figures in the entertainment industry. She served three years on tax-evasion, money-laundering and pandering charges, and was released in 1999.

Fleiss hopes to open a brothel in Nye County, Nev., employing only male prostitutes, she told the New York Times.

Prostitution is legal in Nye County. But the county board that oversees liquor, casino and brothel licenses can refuse to grant a license if the applicant has been convicted of a felony or a crime involving "moral turpitude," according to the county Web site.

In the meantime, it's Dirty Laundry for the Hollywood Madam.

THAT CBS "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith probably isn't buying any New York City real estate for his progeny — he told Mayor Michael Bloomberg that "Manhattan will be under water by 2050."

Smith made the statement while Bloomberg was discussing climate change last Monday. The mayor has pressed for action to address what he views as an impending environmental crisis, but he wasn't prepared to go that far, NewsBusters reported.

"I don't know that Manhattan will be under water," Bloomberg said, "but certainly the environment's going to be a lot worse that we leave our children."

Editor's Note:

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Bloomberg Mulling Run for Governor in NY2. Novak Stunned by Fred Thompson 'Abortion Blunder'3. Iran's Boast Could Trigger Israeli Strike4. Pat Buchanan Book Rips Churchill5. Carville Predicts 'Trifecta' for Democrats in '086....
Sunday, 11 November 2007 12:40 AM
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