John McCain’s campaign manager would not rule out the possibility that the Republicans’ presumptive presidential nominee would pledge to run for only a single term in the White House.
A top surrogate for Barack Obama said former President Bill Clinton is still “hurting” from his wife’s loss in the presidential primary.
And Bob Schieffer fails to ask Tim Kaine a single question about the prospect of the Virginia governor becoming Obama’s running mate.
Welcome to the Sunday morning talk shows, where the Russian invasion of South Ossetia took a back seat to chatter about John Edwards’ extramarital tryst and whether Hillary Rodham Clinton’s delegates would be able to cast votes for the New York senator at the Democratic convention.
Bill Clinton still feeling the pain?
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, a top surrogate for his home state colleague Obama, told an interviewer on Sunday that former President Bill Clinton is still “hurting” from his wife’s loss in the presidential primary.
“His wife did not prevail in the primary,” Durbin said on "Fox New Sunday" in response to a question about the former president’s tepid support for the Democratic nominee. “He worked hard at it and was involved in some controversial statments,” Durbin added, before concluding that he nonetheless believes both Clintons are “going to be an active supporter of the Obama campaign.”
Durbin would not comment on a move to give Clinton delegates a roll call at the Democrats’ convention in Denver.
"Hillary Clinton and President Clinton are integral parts of our convention in Denver,” Durbin said. “We need their help.”
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, another Obama surrogate who served in the Clinton administration, was more blunt on the idea of a roll call for Clinton delegates.
"No, I hope that doesn't happen," Richardson said on ABC’s “This Week.”
"We as Democrats have to come together, so I don't believe a roll call will be helpful."
Who punts on first down?
Bob Schieffer, the host of CBS’s “Face the Nation,” kicked off his interview with Tim Kaine by telling the Virginia governor he would not ask any questions about rumors that he’s a top candidate to be Obama’s running mate.
But that didn’t stop his next guest — former Bush adviser Karl Rove — from taking a shot at the popular Democratic governor.
After acknowledging that Virginia will be in play this fall, Rove said Kaine has been “able but undistinguishable” as governor of the commonwealth.
Regarding the Democrats’ ticket, Rove showed his partisan stripes by suggesting that Obama is “going to make an intensely political choice, not a governing choice. ... He's going to pick somebody that he thinks will, on the margins, help him in a state like Indiana or Missouri or Virginia."
Defending his man, kind of
Speaking of Rove, “Bush’s Brain” slighted McCain for failing to distinguish himself from Democratic claims that he would represent a third term for President Bush.
"Sen. McCain has responded badly” to those attacks, Rove said on “Face the Nation.”
"Rather than say, you know what, here's who I am and here's what I'm about, he's responded by saying 'No, I'm not,' which is the wrong answer. If the question is, who is not George Bush, the answer is Barack Obama."
Two members of the Senate Committee on Armed Services laid blame for the invasion explicitly at the feet of the Russians during a joint appearance on CNN's "Late Edition," with Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) warning of the prospects for a broader conflict and Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn suggesting that the United Nations Security Council should mediate the developing situation.
Levin does not believe the U.S. military should get involved but said it would be "appropriate" to allow the Georgian military to bring their troops home from Iraq. And both senators dismissed McCain's suggestion that Russia be kicked out of the G-8 for invading Georgia's separatist state.
"We're not at that point yet," Cornyn said, before complaining that Russia cannot claim that they are "legitimately threatened" by Georgia.
Georgia, in passing
On ABC’s “This Week,” guest host Jake Tapper prodded his first two guests about the politics of Russia’s recent military action.
Richardson said McCain’s hardline stance threatens to alienate the superpower and would limit his administration’s ability to negotiate with Russia or work with the country to intervene in Iran or other places in the Middle East.
"I believe what Sen. McCain is proposing is totally, totally wrong,” Richardson said. “Russia is a major superpower.”
Meanwhile, Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal complained that Obama’s campaign has politicized the issue by pointing out that a top McCain adviser lobbied for U.S. ally Georgia in Washington.
The John Edwards affair
Neither Durbin nor Richardson, who competed with Edwards in the Democrats’ presidential primary, would take a shot at the North Carolina senator after he admitted to a long-rumored extramarital affair.
And both Democrats predictably downplayed the impact these revelations would have on the presidential election this fall.
"I'm not going to be one of those that will pile on Sen. Edwards,” Richardson said. “Obviously, he let a lot of people down."
Paulson won’t stay on, just ask him
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who has forged close bonds with Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill, emphatically denied the suggestion that he might stay on under the next administration — even with a Democrat in the White House.
Asked by Tom Brokaw on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Paulson replied, “No, Tom, I wouldn’t.”
The Treasury chief said he would do everything possible “to make a smooth transition” for his successor, but he emphasized his resistance when Brokaw pressed the question.
"It couldn't be any firmer," Paulson replied.
It wasn’t fun for me either
Paulson said he didn’t enjoy asking Congress to expand federal lending authority to help prop up beleaguered mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
"This was not a pleasant task for me, to go to the Congress and ask for these backup facilities,” Paulson told Tom Brokaw in China. “But it was an easy one because it was better than the alternative."
The former head of investment bank Goldman Sachs said he agreed, at least in part, with President Bush’s assessment that “Wall Street got drunk.”
"There is a lot of truth in what the president said," Paulson said. "There was too much leverage."
The treasury secretary said the regulatory system was “very outdated” but suggested good people are keeping it working well.
But he would not sign off on a second economic stimulus package that Democrats have been crafting throughout the summer.
Instead, Paulson wants to see what impact the tax rebates have over the summer.