Biden's role as vice president seems like a deja vu -- with a surprising comparison:
Shortly after he took office, Joseph R. Biden Jr. invited a handful of experts on the vice presidency into his residence to seek their advice.
He essentially said, look, previous vice presidents seem to leave office somewhat diminished from when they come in, recalled Jody Baumgartner, a professor of American politics at East Carolina University, who flew in for the gathering. He made it clear, this is not necessarily a thing of protecting my legacy, but more, 'What is the job and how could I do it better?'What has emerged after nine months in office, Mr. Baumgartnerand others agreed, is a powerful version of the vice presidency that bears its most striking, if unlikely, resemblance to the one that immediately preceded it that of Republican Dick Cheney.
'Proxy' diplomats take on high-risk missions:
If President Clinton was known for political triangulation, his wife is establishing herself as the quarterback of a multidirectional diplomatic offense.Sen. John Kerry's dramatic insertion into talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai last week marked the third time the Obama administration has used proxy diplomats to resolve major foreign crises.While critics of the approach say it is undermining Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and regular diplomatic channels, Mr. Kerry and State Department officials say that the secretary fully supported the senator's unusual role. Mrs. Clinton even called Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, on Monday to make sure it was OK for Mr. Kerry to miss a few important votes to secure Mr. Karzai's consent to a runoff election to settle an August vote tainted by fraud.
Get thefull story.
The message from Tehran to national dissidents is not subtle:
Iran has condemned five men to death for anti-government unrest, including at least four who were arrested months before the country's disputed presidential elections, human rights activists say.
Hadi Ghaemi, director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, said the four were purported members of a small group, the Iran Monarchy Committee, which advocates restoring the system overthrown by the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The fifth condemned man was said to have ties to the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), a Marxist-Islamist militant group that has several thousand adherents in Iraq, he said.Mr. Ghaemi said all five were lumped in with the postelection protesters and sentenced to death after show trials.
"The government is picking on the least popular anti-government groups and claiming they are the same as the election protesters," Mr. Ghaemi said. He said the government's intent is to show that the opposition is a marginalized minority segment and "put the counterrevolutionary label on them."
Get thefull story.