Thursday, January 11, 2007

Big Bill's Trip: No Hits, But No Errors Either; Plus: NM Delegation Infighting? And: More U.S. Attorney Stuff 

Big Bill's latest foray into foreign policy did not provide him with a big boost for his forthcoming presidential effort, but neither did it inflict any political damage. Expectations for a significant breakthrough in the Sudan were not out of hand going in, and that he came out of the African nation without a pledge to get U.N troops in there to stem the violence was not unexpected. He did secure a 60 day ceasefire that had the feel of a face-saving ploy by the Sudanese president. Overall, the Guv's impressive foreign policy resume goes untainted and his chances at becoming the new secretary of state in a Democratic White House undiminished. Not that getting that or anything else will be easy for Big Bill as he ventures onto the national stage where the politics and the egos are supersized.


How about if Bill announces his plan to form a committee to explore a presidential candidacy during his state of the state address Tuesday at high noon? So goes the speculative fun at the Roundhouse where wall-leaners promoting the idea say all the ingredients for a good TV shot--a warm audience, pomp and ceremony--would be in place for the announcement. He would just need to make sure he wears the correct colored carnation on his suit. On second thought, ditch the garish carnation, Guv, but not the Hermes tie.


Are there some temper tantrums going on in the NM congressional delegation? If not, why was Rep. Tom Udall not invited recently to tour snow-stricken Rio Rancho with Republican Mayor Kevin Jackson and GOP Rep. Heather Wilson? Heck, Heather only has a few precincts up there while Udall represents the lion's share of the city. The three R members of the delegation--Wilson, Rep. Pearce and Sen. Domenici-- sent a letter to the White House asking for help getting a disaster declaration. Democratic Senator Bingaman and Udall did not sign. But then Udall and Bingaman had put out a January 4 news release urging the federal agriculture department to act on the Governor's request for a disaster declaration. None of the Republican delegation members were on that release. Dividing up over a disaster doesn't seem the best way to get it cleaned up.


It's been pretty much accepted that U.S. Attorney David Iglesias was shown the exits because Senator Domenici and Congresswoman Wilson, among others, were not that pleased with his job performance, especially the conclusions of the corruption case against ex-state Treasurer
Vigil in which he was only convicted of one count. Also, there was Republican criticism when Iglesais did not comw with indictments in the investigation of the construction of two Bernalillo county courthouses before the November election. But Iglesias supporters are putting a different spin on why he was shown the door by Attorney General Gonzales. We go to the mailbag:

"There were a number of other U.S. attorneys asked to resign the same time as Iglesias.. eight to ten, all from western states. There was no formal reason stated. "

OK. But that doesn't do much to nix the job performance theory. Maybe there was unhappiness with the other U.S. attorneys too. Insiders say Iglesias did not have a personal meeting with the attorney general over his dismissal as we previously blogged; he was given the axe by a "mid-level" Justice Department bureaucrat, says our source. But the original report here pinpointing dissatisfaction with Iglesias by Pete and Heather is not in dispute.

In any event, Iglesias, who came in with the prospect of going out with a promising political career, will instead have some image rebuilding to do if he ever seeks elective office. However, he is getting kudos for resisting political pressure to file indictments in the federal courthouse investigation case in time for them to be put to use in last year's election. He is expected to return to private law and his replacement to be named by the White House in the next month or so.


Local liberal talk radio? You heard right. Former ABQ City Councilor Eric Griego, who now works for the state economic development department, is launching a weekly gabfest that promises to veer left of center and will be heard on ABQ's KABQ 1350 AM, home to the liberal national network, "Air America." Griego and co-host Suzanne Prescott will cover the Legislature and other state politics with regular guests. The show debuts this Saturday at 3 p.m.

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