Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – Changing palette

Not so very long ago a no-fly zone over Libya seemed like an option on the outskirts of what the United States was considering in trying to pressure Muammar Gaddafi.

OBAMA/Since last night, apparently a no-fly zone might not be enough, and the United States is now pressing for air strikes against Libyan tanks and heavy artillery. What changed?

“It is not our feeling … that a no-fly zone is a snap-your-fingers, one-size-fits-all solution to a problem. And what we want is action on a variety of items that can improve the situation in Libya,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said, without agreeing with the premise that policy had shifted.

The hardening stance brought to mind the words from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper last week that “the regime will prevail” eventually because Libyan rebels were outgunned. Words the administration quickly distanced itself from at the time.

Gaddafi had words of his own, warning the rebel stronghold of Benghazi that he would show no mercy. “We will come zenga, zenga. House by house, room by room.”

Obama celebrates Irish heritage on St. Patrick’s Day

President Barack Obama celebrated a small piece of his heritage this St. Patrick’s Day and announced he would visit Ireland, including the village of Moneygall, the homeland of his great-great-great-grandfather.

IRELAND-USA/Or maybe it’s five ‘greats’, as he said in the Oval Office this morning? Either way, he’s confident he’s a little bit Irish.

“Two years into my presidency, some are still bent on peddling rumors about my origins.  So today I want to put all those rumors to rest,” he joked at the Friends of Ireland luncheon that he attended at the Capitol with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny. ” It is true my great-great-great-grandfather really was from Ireland.”

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

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.”

Clinton had no comment when newscaster Ann Curry on  NBC’s “Today” program asked whether she should be more visible on such hot-button issues as Iran and Afghanistan. But she responded fully when asked about concerns that the “highest-ranking woman in the United States needs to fight against being marginalized.”

“I find it absurd, I find it beyond any realistic assessment of what I’m doing every day,” Clinton said. “I believe in delegating power. I’m not one of those people who feels like I have to have my face in the front of the newspaper or on the TV every moment of the day. It would be irresponsible and negligent were I to say, ‘Oh no, everything must come to me!’”