Tales from the Trail

The First Draft: Kerry reports in after Kabul visit

October 21, 2009

Senator John Kerry, who once aspired to host meetings in the Oval Office, will be visiting President Barack Obama in that room Wednesday to talk about his recent trip to Afghanistan.

The First Draft: Clinton spills the beans?

October 20, 2009

After being upstaged by her own boss as she announced a new Sudan policy on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a special effort to let the media know she had a secret: after much pressure and delay Afghan President Hamid Karzai would announce on Tuesday how he planned to handle his country’s disputed elections.

from Summit Notebook:

Grassley grades Obama’s performance C to F

October 19, 2009

We asked Senator Charles Grassley to grade President Barack Obama's performance (close your ears Sasha and Malia) and the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee was a bit of a tough schoolmaster.

The First Draft: questions of fraud and hoax

October 16, 2009

If Afghanistan has a runoff election, how does that affect President Barack Obama’s decisions on a new Afghan strategy? Will it speed up his decision-making or hamper it?

The First Draft: No Decisions

October 15, 2009

Beau Biden, son of the vice president, says he is considering running for his dad’s Senate seat but hasn’t made a decision yet.

from Global News Journal:

Afghanistan’s protracted election sours the mood

By Sean Maguire
October 15, 2009

An atmosphere of stale defensiveness has sunk over Kabul. The mood has been lowered by the protracted saga of the Afghan election count, almost two months on from the first round August 20 vote. It's a drama veering towards farce more often than post-modern play, as we wait endlessly for a result, that like Godot, does not want to come.

Reasoning with the Taliban

October 13, 2009

AFGHANISTAN/OBAMAIn the past few weeks, as President Barack Obama closes in on a decision about sending more troops to Afghanistan, a couple of alluring ideas have resurfaced in Washington.

The First Draft: Hillary Clinton marginalized? If you have to ask…

October 12, 2009

IRISH/Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spent the weekend in Switzerland and Ireland, but landed on the morning talk shows on Monday, fending off questions about whether she has been marginalized in the Obama administration. It’s not considered a good sign when people start asking this question in Washington, because the implication is that the answer is “yes.”

What really happened in Obama, McCain Afghan exchange

October 7, 2009

It sounded like a pretty sexy story — a clash of the titans between President Barack Obama and Republican Senator John McCain in the big White House meeting yesterday on Afghanistan. USA/

The First Draft: David Letterman and the Dalai Lama

October 6, 2009

CANADA/This is one of those Washington days that seems to defy a theme. Consider:

Iran is the topic at the Senate Banking Committee, where officials from the State and Treasury departments are set to testify on economic sanctions against Tehran.