John King, USA

The latest political news and information on the most important stories affecting you.
December 28th, 2010
10:22 PM ET
December 28th, 2010
09:06 PM ET
December 28th, 2010
06:10 PM ET

Jessica Yellin’s response to last night’s Assange discussion

Last night’s discussion about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s book deal and his philosophy triggered an online debate and prompted a blog post by one of the guests. Some thoughts:

1) Glenn Greewald suggests that I am among those “leading the crusade against the transparency brought about by WikiLeaks.” This is an unfair accusation.

After Julian Assange accepted a book deal from a corporate publisher, we asked Greenwald on to address that news and answer some larger questions. I thought it would be helpful for viewers to hear a supporter explain Assange’s long-term objectives. Does he intend to disable what he considers a corrupt system? What is the end goal for him? I was interested to have that explained on air by someone who is sympathetic to Assange’s views.

2) In his blog post the author says I "angrily proclaim(ed)" that Assange is a terrorist when, in fact, I did something starkly different: I asked Fran Townsend whether it was fair for Vice President Biden to describe Assange as a "high-tech terrorist." That's no more an endorsement of Biden's view than my subsequent question to Greenwald was an endorsement (or not) of the view that Assange is a journalist. By Greenwald’s own logic, asking a question that challenges a guests’ view makes the journalist "indistinguishable from," "merged into" and "a spokesperson for" their opponent. That won’t get us very far.

3) The author revisits a falsehood I’d like to correct. I stand by a statement I made several years ago that during the war – when I worked elsewhere – I felt there was pressure to present the war in a way that was consistent with the patriotic fever in the nation and the president’s high approval ratings. I still stand by that statement. I’ve never backed down from that statement.

As a journalist, I enjoy moderating debates and asking questions that help viewers better understand each guest's view. In that light, probing Assange’s actions and endgame is not the same as aligning myself with the establishment. Similarly, engaging Assange’s belief that there should be more transparency in government does not align me with Wikileaks.

I ask questions. I push guests to explain why they believe what they believe. –Jessica Yellin


Filed under: Extra
December 28th, 2010
01:24 PM ET

Be in the know: Today's political bullet points

Everyday we ask influential politicos to send us their top three bullet points that are driving the day's conversation in and outside Washington.

RedState.Com Editor Erick-Woods Erickson:

– Is Michael Bloomberg able to clean up the snow this year? It seems the Department of Sanitation is moving slower than in years past. And if Bloomberg can't clean up the snow, is he really POTUS material?

– Democrats are plotting to kill the filibuster. The Senate GOP is plotting to make it as painful as possible. If the Democrats only need 51 votes for a Senate Rules change, the GOP has lots of rules to add.

– Jeb Bush for Florida Senate? Conservatives hope so.

Senior Political Columnist for TheDailyBeast.com John Avlon:

– Afghanistan turnaround? – There are signs that the tide is turning on the ground in Afghanistan as a result of General Petraeus’ strategic adjustments. The Haqqani network has been quieted as a result of increased raids by U.S. commandos, according to a New York Times story. It comes at a time when liberals and conservatives are increasingly vocal about withdrawal. The catch is that the revised 2014 withdrawal date has been pivotal in fueling the shift.

– Lisa Murkowski in the Middle – Joe Miller may still be pushing ahead with a court case, but Lisa Murkowski emerged as a key center-right vote in areas like DADT and the START treaty in the lame duck. Along with Scott Brown, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, she’s at the heart of a new centrist block that will be essential to passing legislation in the new Congress.

– Budget Fights Brewing – With the omnibus spending bill punted to the spring over earmark anger and a debt ceiling vote looming around the same time, the opening of the new Congress will be all about fiscal discipline. Senator Tom Coburn’s already taking to the airwaves to warn of ‘apocalyptic pain’ if spending isn’t reigned in. The good news is that both the conservative Coburn and the liberal Dick Durbin signed on to the Simpson-Bowles’ deficit commission recommendations. Could it be a sign of potential common ground?


Filed under: Bullet Points
December 27th, 2010
11:06 AM ET

Be in the know: Today's political bullet points

Everyday we ask influential politicos to send us their top three bullet points that are driving the day's conversation in and outside Washington.

RedState.Com Editor Erick-Woods Erickson:

– A week before the new Congress convenes is also the last week a Kennedy will serve in Congress after 63 years.

– Atlanta had a white Christmas. Columbia, SC had a white Christmas. Look for Democrats to declare it a sign that we need global warming legislation immediately.

– Janet Napolitano better get ready. The House Republicans are going to take a good look at Homeland Security once they get to Washington in January.

Talk Show Host and Online Editor of MyLatinoNews.com Mario Solis-Marich:

– Holiday Cheer: Wall Street parties as middle class Americans spend on the holidays…hmm…wait a minute, I thought the top 2% were the job creators???

– Holiday Leftovers: The NYT calls for President Obama to halt the deportation of DREAM students and focus on real criminals in an issue that wont go away.

– Holiday Hangover: The GOP complains that the most productive congress in decades didn’t accomplish anything as Leader Reid plans filibuster reform that they will fight.


Filed under: Bullet Points
December 23rd, 2010
10:01 PM ET
December 23rd, 2010
10:01 PM ET
December 23rd, 2010
09:59 PM ET
December 23rd, 2010
01:23 PM ET

Be in the know: Today's political bullet points

Everyday we ask influential politicos to send us their top three bullet points that are driving the day's conversation in and outside Washington.

Good day. Barring breaking news, this is our last show before Christmas, so let me begin with a wish for a safe and family-rich holiday for all. What a remarkable week in Washington. What’s fun now is the mix of clues people find as they study the lame duck session for ideas about how 2011 will shake out. Is Lindsey Graham right? As in, did Harry Reid eat the GOP’s lunch in the lame duck? Or, did the GOP get some big wins even though Democrats still had the power? One could argue that, too, by citing the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, the demise of the earmark-loaded Omnibus spending bill, and trimming the price tag of the 9/11 first responders bill from $7 billion to $4 billion. Maybe both sides won some and lost some. We do know many conservatives are not happy, thinking their guys should have stalled until they have more power next year. Those in that camp won’t like a snippet from our exclusive conversation with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who tells us about a nice dinner he had recently with GOP Senator-elect and tea party favorite Rand Paul.

On to the bullet points: Erick begins with a piece of that conservative angst and a key window into one of the tensions of next year: those Tennessee senators are Lamar Alexander, a former governor and Bob Corker, a former mayor. I’d call them pragmatists – and people who like to get things done. But as you can see, Erick relays unhappiness with those who want more ideology and less compromise. Mario’s No. 2. Is another great window into another major 2011 challenge: will the Democrats disappoint Latinos again or get some of the immigration agenda to the finish line? And can some of the new GOP Latino voices perhaps change this critical political dynamic? Put it on the list for next year, but for a few days maybe just relax and enjoy the end of a volatile and consequential year in politics. –John King

RedState.Com Editor Erick-Woods Erickson:

– START passes. Republican activists are angry at the Senators from Tennessee.

– Parts of the South look set for a white Christmas. Blame global warming.

– Is he or isn't he? Conflicting reports on just what Stephen Spielberg and Nancy Pelosi are talking about and whether he's going to try to help re-brand the democrats.

Talk Show Host and Online Editor of MyLatinoNews.com Mario Solis-Marich:

– Santa: Leader Harry Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi deliver the gift of historic legislation to President Obama and make him the comeback kid.

– Elf: Obama pledges to conduct a grassroots effort on the DREAM Act before talking to the grassroots DREAM’ers; can workshop helper Clinton be put in charge of this, too?

– Grinch: Senator Tom Coburn becomes the embodiment of the anti-health care, pro-upper class at-any- expense-GOP while his colleagues run home for the holidays.


Filed under: Bullet Points
December 22nd, 2010
09:39 PM ET
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