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Ear to the Ground

Bush Defends NSA Surveillance, Romney Was Against Presidential Run, and More

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Posted on Jul 2, 2013

Defending PRISM: In an interview with CNN on Monday, former President George W. Bush says the National Security Agency’s Internet spying program that began under his administration and was expanded by President Obama’s was necessary to aid in the fight against terrorism. “I think there needs to be a balance, and as the president explained, there is a proper balance,” he said. “I put that program in place to protect the country. One of the certainties was that civil liberties were guaranteed.” Bush refused to comment on whether he thought Edward Snowden, the whistle-blower who leaked documents revealing details about the NSA’s PRISM surveillance program to several news outlets, was a traitor, but said he thought Snowden’s leak hurt the U.S. “I think he damaged the security of the country,” said Bush, who also declined to discuss his own tarnished legacy while in office during the same interview. (Read more)

Perry’s Big News: Rick Perry is expected to announce next week whether he’ll run for an unprecedented fourth term as Texas governor. According to an email obtained by CNN on Tuesday, Perry “will be making an announcement around mid-day in San Antonio concerning his exciting future plans” at the beginning of next week. The email, which was circulated to his political allies, invites recipients to “join his family and closest friends on July 8th.” It says more details will follow. It was initially thought that Perry would announce his plans regarding the 2014 gubernatorial race this week, or after Texas’ legislative session should have concluded. However, after state Sen. Wendy Davis successfully mounted a filibuster against a controversial anti-abortion bill, Perry called for a second legislative session, which began Monday. Many Texas political insiders believe Perry won’t run, but as Ray Sullivan, Perry’s former chief of staff said, “I don’t think anyone knows what he is going to do until he gets up there and says it.” Hopefully whatever the gaffe-prone governor gets up and says is scripted at least. (Read more)

Not All In: Didn’t want Mitt Romney to be president? That’s OK. According to a new book on the 2012 presidential campaign, neither did the failed Republican nominee. The Washington Post’s Dan Balz reports that in 2010, the Romney family took an internal poll of family members to determine whether the former Massachusetts governor should make another bid for the White House. Of the 22 votes, 12 said “yes,” while the rest said “no.” And one of those no votes belonged to Mitt Romney himself. From Balz’s book, “Collision 2012”: “ ‘A lot of the thinking on the part of my brothers and dad was, ‘I’m not sure I can win a primary given those dynamics,’ Tagg Romney said. The prospective candidate also knew the sheer physical and family toll another campaign would take. ‘He’s a private person and, push comes to shove, he wants to spend time with his family and enjoy his time with them,’ his son said. ‘Even up until the day before he made the announcement, he was looking for excuses to get out of it. If there had been someone who he thought would have made a better president than he, he would gladly have stepped aside.’ ” Balz’s book is set for release Aug. 6. (Read more)

Renewed Gun Control Push: Signifying the beginning of Round Two in the fight over this nation’s gun control laws, gun control advocate Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly went to a Las Vegas shooting range Monday where she fired a gun. Kelly helped his wife steady the gun after the former Arizona congresswoman fired it with her left hand, which she was forced to use since she no longer has use of her right hand after being shot in the head during an assassination attempt in January 2011. The event signaled the beginning of Giffords and Kelly’s Rights and Responsibilities Tour around the country to promote stronger gun control laws after the defeat of a bipartisan compromise bill in the Senate nearly three months ago. The tour will take them through, among other states, Ohio, Alaska, North Carolina and North Dakota. As The Atlantic Wire notes, “There’s something grotesque about American politics when a woman who was shot in the head has to prove she still likes guns anyway in order to comment on them.” Indeed there is. (Read more)

Video of the Day: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to prove he’s hip (or something?) by releasing a campaign video in which the voice of his Democratic Senate opponent is auto tuned. The video is called “What Rhymes with Alison Lundergan Grimes?” You know what doesn’t rhyme with Alison Lundergan Grimes? Pretty much every example that’s used. But that’s actually not even the best part of this video. No, that would be the fact that his campaign team couldn’t even spell its own candidate’s last name correctly in the original video.

 

—Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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