FROM Stephen Spruiell
A Subdued Republican Convention Kicks Off Opening day is a shadow of what the Republicans planned for their National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. George Bush and Dick Cheney won't be coming as scheduled. Hurricane Gustav has forced them to make other plans. John McCain has suspended political hoopla, at least for today, and the convention will conduct the minimum of official business. We get the latest from Louisiana and try to assess what it will mean for the legacy of President Bush and McCain's political future. We also hear Republicans debate the choice of Sarah Palin and a conservative platform that fails to mention McCain.
The State of the Presidential Race after the Philly Debate Polls show the top issues for voters are the economy, including free trade and $4-a-gallon gas and the war in Iraq. But less than a week before the Pennsylvania primary , the first 50 minutes of last night's debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama , – the twenty-second in this presidential campaign -- were focused on personal gaffes, past associations and who could withstand a Republican onslaught before the November elections. Eventually, each candidate was forced to concede that the other could beat John McCain . ABC;s moderators are getting as much post-mortem attention as the candidates. Did anything happen to change the momentum in Pennsylvania? Are voters around the country better informed? What about the super-delegates who are likely to make the final decision?
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.