Gun Laws, Gonzales and War Funds in the News
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
Virginia's governor, Tim Kaine, has appointed an independent panel to examine issues raised by the Virginia Tech shootings. Congress may also take action, and NPR senior correspondent Juan Williams is following that. He joins us for some analysis. Juan, good morning.
JUAN WILLIAMS: Good morning, Steve.
INSKEEP: How likely is it that Congress is going to take up gun control?
WILLIAMS: So that's likely to get some support from Republicans, so there's a real chance you could have some movement on that kind of change in gun control legislation.
INSKEEP: So we'll listen to see what state and federal officials do with that. And we'll also be paying attention this week as the top U.S. commander in Iraq comes to Washington. David Petraeus will be here. House and Senate negotiators are trying to work out differences on their Iraq war spending bills, the bills that provide Petraeus's troops the funding to do what they do. Any compromise likely?
WILLIAMS: Now you mentioned Petraeus coming in, and he's going to have a closed session with the senators on Wednesday, the same day I think it's likely the full House will vote to send the bill with a timetable to the president.
INSKEEP: So this negotiation is really about, it's among Democrats really about how best to approach this situation with the president. What happens if and when President Bush vetoes this bill, and he says he will?
WILLIAMS: In the Washington Post yesterday, General Petraeus said the surge so far has only produced moderate or modest progress.
INSKEEP: Is there some point at which this becomes dangerous for Democrats, Juan? You have Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, saying the war is lost, and you have Republicans capitalizing on that, saying that Democrats are waving the white flag.
WILLIAMS: Well, absolutely, Steve. You could be doing the analysis. And I think that there's danger. I mean the way the Republicans have set this up is you have General Petraeus coming in and the suggestion would be Democrats are not listening to the troops in the field, the commanders in the field, not supportive. And what you're seeing from the Democrats is to say no, we're very supportive; and they try to clean up Harry Reid saying that the war was lost by saying the war is not lost but they just want to make sure that we are not pursuing a lost cause by continuing to have troops in the middle of a civil war.
INSKEEP: So how important is it, then, that Democrats also this week will be having their first presidential debate of the 2008 election season? It will happen later this week in South Carolina.
WILLIAMS: Very important, and I think this is an opportunity for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to really lay out their ideas, and to make it clear that they are sincerely committed to the troops but not to the war effort.
INSKEEP: Very important, really, this many months ahead?
WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think because right now Hillary Clinton is fighting polls that show that her favorability ratings are uncertain. Obama has to prove that he has the kind of command and control of foreign policy specific war issues that would make him electable.
INSKEEP: Juan, good to talk with you, as always.
WILLIAMS: All right, Steve.
INSKEEP: You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News.
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