Who's afraid of
the big, bad bat Hillary Clinton? Not Lindsay Graham, that's for sure. He thinks it's possible to take down the leading favorite to run for President on the Democratic ticket. "Yeah, she can be beat," Graham said on NBC's Meet the Press. Graham said that "after eight years of President Obama," he thinks Republicans will be heading into 2016 as the favorites. But he's still taking the threat of a Clinton candidacy seriously, mind you. "Republicans underestimate her at their peril," he cautioned. Graham also took a moment to praise the President for how he's handled the North Korea situation so far, saying Obama has "acted responsibly." "I appreciate what this administration is doing - standing by our allies," he said.
Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy fought back against attacks from the NRA's Wayne LaPierre on CNN's State of the Union. LaPierre "reminds me of the clowns at the circus -- that's what he's paid to do," Malloy said. LaPierre criticized Malloy for passing gun legislation making background checks mandatory and placing restrictions on assault weapons. "This guy is so out of whack, it's unbelievable," he said.
One person who is excited about a possibly Clinton run in 2016 is Arianna Huffington. She's pretty sure that Clinton will reverse her public position and run for President. "She's obviously running," Huffington said on ABC's This Week. But she does hope that Clinton takes more time away from the public spotlight to rest up and regenerate before jumping back into the busy schedule of someone hoping to run for President. "What I was hoping is that she would have been taken more time to become what she called herself 'untired,'" Huffington said. Clinton said when she was leaving her position as Secretary of State that she wanted to sleep in for a change. "She hasn't given herself that time and I think that's sending a bad message to women, that the only way to succeed is to drive yourself to ground. After all, she collapsed. She had a concussion," Huffington said. "She could be an incredible leader in helping us do our life and our success differently, not just for women but for me," she added.
White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer did double duty appearing on ABC's This Week and Fox News Sunday this morning. Perhaps the most interesting things he said were about guns. Pfeiffer told Chris Wallace on Fox that the White House put forth its "ideal package" of gun legislation knowing that not all of it would pass. "When we put forward our package, [we believed] that this is the ideal package," he said. "We knew not all of it was going to pass right away." None of that legislation has passed, but the White House is negotiating with the Senate and working on a gun bill that could possibly see the floor. And that, Pfeiffer argued, was a sign the President has made more progress on guns than anyone in recent memory. "Where we are right now, there is a bill in the Senate, which is the most progress we have made legislatively in many years to try to address gun violence," Pfeiffer said. "The crux of that bill is what many advocates said is the most effective thing we can do, which is universal enforceable background checks and so, the question is, are we going to pass that bill? Or are Republicans going to block it?" On ABC, he addressed those Republicans directly. He chastised certain Senate Republicans for threatening to filibuster any gun legislation. "Now that the cameras are off and they're not forced to look the Newtown families in the face, now they want to make it harder and filibuster," Pfeiffer said. "If we have a simple up or down vote, we can get this done." Pfeiffer also spoke fairly briefly about North Korea on both shows. Wallace asked if the U.S. was giving in to North Korea's threats by postponing a Minutemen ballistic missile test scheduled for this week. "Absolutely not," Pfeiffer answered. "The onus is on North Korea to take the step back and meet their international obligations so they can undertake what they say is their number one goal, which is economic development." On This Week, Pfeiffer said he "wouldn't be surprised" if North Korea did a missile test within the next few days to see if their equipment can actually reach Guam.
Sen. John McCain and Sen. Chuck Schumer appeared on CBS' Face the Nation Sunday morning. McCain, who appeared alone before Schumer joined him, warned that things could get very real very quickly in the ongoing exchanged of threats between North Korea and the South and its western allies. "More than once wars have started by accident and this is a very serious situation," McCain said. Not that he's worried about the results, but it's still something to be concerned about. "South Korea would win, we would win if there was an all-out conflict," McCain said. "But the fact is North Korea could set Seoul on fire and that, obviously, would be a catastrophe of enormous proportions." On Kim, McCain's not really sure what to make of him. "I don't know what kind of game this young man is playing," he said. "It's obviously brinksmanship." Schumer was also cautious, saying that "especially with such an erratic leader," there's a chance things will go too far too soon. He called for China to step up and "put a little pressure on this North Korean regime." McCain and Schumer also talked about their collective confusion over the Republican attempts to filibuster any gun legislation that makes it to the Senate floor. "I don't understand it," McCain said. "The purpose of the United States Senate is to debate and to vote and to let the people know where we stand." McCain would prefer the Senators calling for a filibuster let the legislative process take its course. "What are we afraid of? [...] If this issue is as important as we all think it is, why not take it up and debate?" McCain asked. "Everybody wants the same goal," McCain said, which to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, but he also thinks a discussion on background checks is "something that the American people and certainly Congress could be helped by if we have a vigorous debate and discussion." Schumer pleaded for his Senate colleagues to let the bill make to the floor, at the very least. "We certainly should be at least allowed to get on the floor and have a debate," he said. "Please let us go to the floor," he continued. "If we go to the floor, I'm still hopeful that what I call the sweet spot, background checks, can succeed."
McCain on North Korea:
After Schumer joined the table and the two Senators talked about their upcoming immigration bill. They complimented each other's work on the bill. They're friends!
Former New Mexico governor and U.N. ambassador Bill Richardson explained that Kim Jong-Un is trying to save face with multiple audiences with his latest rounds of threats during his appearance on Meet the Press. "First, he's playing to the North Korean generals, they run the show -- the military," Richardson said. "He's playing to the Korean Worker's Party, the leadership there. Secondly, he's playing to his own people." He thinks the North's recent embarrassments in the press are central causes for Un's behavior, though not the only ones. "He got burned by that missile test that failed and he feels he has to buttress his domestic standing. And I think the third thing that he's doing is he's testing the new South Korean president. Every year or -- every five years or so when a new South Korean president comes in, North Korea does a provocative act." Richardson has often visited Pyongang as an unofficial diplomatic envoy for the U.S.