Political Notebook

Time in the limelight for Jindal

February 12, 2009
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BATON ROUGE, La. - Governor Bobby Jindal will get another prominent role later this month when he delivers the national Republican response to President Obama's first speech to Congress.

Obama plans to speak to a joint session of the House and Senate on Feb. 24 about the problems facing the nation in an appearance similar to a State of the Union address.

Jindal will give the Republican response in a nationally televised address from Baton Rouge immediately after Obama's speech, congressional Republican leaders announced.

"Governor Jindal embodies what I have long said: The Republican Party must not be simply the party of 'opposition,' but the party of better solutions," House minority leader John Boehner of Ohio said in a statement.

The 37-year-old governor, who took office last year, has become increasingly prominent in the party and is regularly mentioned as a potential 2012 or 2016 presidential contender, though he insists he is running for a second term as governor in 2011 and has no plans to run for president.


Fletcher School dean in line for N. Korea?
Stephen Bosworth, a former US ambassador to South Korea who is now dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, is reportedly in line to become special envoy to North Korea.

The Associated Press and Reuters reported last night that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wants to name the envoy before she leaves for her first major trip abroad, to Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, and China.

The AP said that Clinton could make the announcement tomorrow during a speech in New York outlining the administration's views on Asia. Reuters said Bosworth declined to comment on whether he would be tapped to lead the US delegation to the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program. The talks include the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia, and the United States.


A new venue for Romney's views
Mitt Romney has another prominent perch from which to stay in the political conversation - and enhance his prospects.

The former Massachusetts governor will be among those writing a new column in the Washington Times, well read by the party's movers and shakers. The newspaper says that the "Reinventing Conservatism" columns will "showcase a revolving series of essays by some of today's biggest thinkers in the conservative movement." The first column, published yesterday, was from former House speaker Newt Gingrich.

Romney ran for the Republican presidential nomination last year and subsequently created a political action committee to support GOP candidates. He is a frequent talking head on the cable TV news shows, most recently critiquing President Obama's economic stimulus plan.


Website keeps tabs on Obama promises
How's President Obama doing keeping his campaign promises?

The latest update yesterday from, a fact-checking website, that is now tracking all 510 pledges: seven kept, one broken, one compromised, one stalled, 21 in the works, and 479 unaddressed so far.

It says Obama went back on promise No. 234 - to give the public five days to look and comment before signing bills passed by Congress. But he was in a hurry to turn into law two bills opposed by his predecessor: an expansion of a children's healthcare program, and an overturning of a Supreme Court ruling to make it easier to sue for pay discrimination.

But he also gets credit for keeping two promises by signing those bills.

Others include appointing a Republican to his cabinet, banning lobbyist gifts, and directing military leaders to end the war in Iraq.


Solis moves closer to post at Labor
WASHINGTON - Representative Hilda Solis edged closer yesterday to winning confirmation as the nation's next labor secretary, after more than a month of delays over questions about her husband's unpaid taxes and her work for a pro-union group.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee cleared her nomination in a voice vote with two Republicans voting against her. The nomination now moves to the full Senate.

A committee vote scheduled last week was abruptly postponed after news that her husband had paid about $6,400 to settle outstanding tax liens against his auto repair business. White House officials said Solis was not involved in the business.


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