When Harry Met Jimmy (and Eric, too!), and McCain goes after Johnson

posted at 8:00 pm on June 9, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Harry Reid met with two-thirds of Barack Obama’s VP selection committee today, but given all of the heat over both appointments, one has to wonder who was vetting whom — and for what. The Obama campaign may have an interest in the Senate Majority Leader as a potential candidate, or perhaps Reid wanted to know whether Jim Johnson and Eric Holder might be interested in some other job:

Two members of Barack Obama’s vice presidential-vetting team met privately Monday with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Reid’s spokesman, Jim Manley, said Jim Johnson and Eric Holder spent about 30 minutes with the Nevada Democrat in his Capitol office. …

It was not known whether Johnson and Holder were seeking Reid’s advice about Obama’s search for a running mate, whether he was considered a potential ticket-mate himself, or whether the meeting was for a different purpose.

Republicans across the country immediately began praying that Obama would select Harry Reid as his running mate. If the GOP thought they had a treasure trove of material on Obama, they would have a field day with Reid on the ticket. They could run commercials throughout the entire campaign that would consist of just this:

More than likely, though, this was just a courtesy call. The two had a meeting scheduled with Nancy Pelosi as well, who would also thrill Republicans as a running-mate choice. However, Reid could have a few questions for Johnson and Holder, specifically as to whether it helps Obama to have two party hacks picking his running mate. Holder was up to his ears in the Marc Rich pardon, and Johnson has ethics problems with his actions during the Fannie Mae collapse, as well as with large loans given to him by Countrywide below market rates while running Fannie Mae.

Then again, Holder and Johnson don’t need to meet with Harry Reid to hear those questions. These days, they could hear them anywhere.

Update: John McCain goes after Johnson in this Fox News clip:It doesn’t appear John McCain is going to go easy on Obama. Nor does it appear that the Johnson story will go away quietly, as Obama clearly hoped it will by calling it an “irrelevancy”. How long will it be before Obama declares that Johnson isn’t the man he thought he knew?

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If Barak is in the mood for ol’ Harry then let Barak take him.

He would be mighty tough in the VP debate. No. Really, he would.

Limerick on June 9, 2008 at 8:04 PM

Harry Ried & Nancy Pelosi have been making it clear that they are eager to kiss his majesty’s ass, so his majesty is pulling down his trousers…

singlemalt_18 on June 9, 2008 at 8:05 PM

If Obama ever gets any kind of real scrutiny from the MSM he’ll be saying, “This is not the MSM that I knew.”

NotCoach on June 9, 2008 at 8:07 PM

Well , when the Obama web-site goes on a roll to ditch a whole lot of questionable postings, isn’t he essentially starting to throw his own supporters under the bus? “These aren’t the supporters I knew. I am saddened by their rabid anti, well anti most everything.”

bbz123 on June 9, 2008 at 8:09 PM

McCain comes across as a soft-spoken, likable gentleman in this clip, as well as elsewhere.
The Pompous Orator vs. the Nice Guy-Next-Door, or, Mr Smith Goes To Washington.

jgapinoy on June 9, 2008 at 8:11 PM

Hmmm an Obma and Weasel ticket?

Gatordoug on June 9, 2008 at 8:13 PM

It doesn’t appear John McCain is going to go easy on Obama.

He’d better not! It would be one way to “rally the base”.

SouthernGent on June 9, 2008 at 8:13 PM

More than likely, though, this was just a courtesy call.

Or a meeting to get their talking points down in perfect synchronization and to make sure that Harry Reid parrots them on the Senate floor as often as possible.

I wonder what the catch phrase on the Sunday talk shows will be this year (other than hope and change)? Not “gravitas” that’s for sure.

Buy Danish on June 9, 2008 at 8:17 PM

Courtesy call my ass. Harry obviously has another land deal cooking and they want in on it.

GarandFan on June 9, 2008 at 8:20 PM

So I’m watching “Dirty Jobs” on the Discovery channel and Mike Rowe is giving particularly sardonic commentary while describing the behind the scenes look into how the tv series is produced. The location is an underground salt mine.

So then I visit HotAir to catch up and find this post.

You have no idea just how funny this post is after Mike Rowe has set the stage.

rockhauler on June 9, 2008 at 8:30 PM

Harry for VP, Hillary for Majority Leader?

ctmom on June 9, 2008 at 8:38 PM

Ok, I’ve lost my other post so if it comes up – I apologize. I pray that they pick reid. Wouldn’t it be funny because mccain could pick Romney and then no one could say anything about the Mormons.

Bambi on June 9, 2008 at 8:38 PM

I’m more shocked that this didn’t take place in the ol’
backroom deals of Chicago!

canopfor on June 9, 2008 at 8:43 PM

Hmmm an Obma and Weasel ticket?

Gatordoug on June 9, 2008 at 8:13 PM

Yes, we know about Obama’s weaseliness, but who is he going to choose…(Oh wait! Now I get it!) Obama AND the Weasel! But wouldn’t that just be “Weasel and Weasel”?
Makes sense to me!

Vntnrse on June 9, 2008 at 8:48 PM

Obama and Reid, ’08? Please, please do it Barry. Reid is one of the most corrupt and stupid Democrats around. I can’t think of a better choice for your VP, Barry. Reid is exactly what you need.

Do it, Barry. Do it now.

AZCoyote on June 9, 2008 at 9:01 PM

They could run commercials throughout the entire campaign that would consist of just this:

Why not run them anyway, along with every other defeatist thing the Democrats have been saying against our troops from the beginning of the war?

Seven Percent Solution on June 9, 2008 at 9:09 PM

I agree with you AZ – he is so corrupt!

Bambi on June 9, 2008 at 9:15 PM

When will the American people wake up and actually SEE the Dems for who they are? The hypocrisy they spew is mindblowing.

HawaiiLwyr on June 9, 2008 at 9:50 PM

Wouldn’t Maxine Waters,be more of a safer bet,
and think about it,her recent performance in
video has been absolutely outstanding!

Now that would be a dream ticket/or/nightmare!Haha.

canopfor on June 9, 2008 at 9:54 PM

I still think the GOP needs to pillory the dems on oil shale. This article just dropped my jaw…

NEW YORK (Fortune) — You’d think this would be oil shale’s moment.

You’d think with gas prices topping $4 and consumers crying uncle, Congress would be moving fast to spur development of a domestic oil resource so vast – 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil shale in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming alone – it could eventually rival the oil fields of Saudi Arabia.

You’d think politicians would be tripping over themselves to arrange photo-ops with Harold Vinegar (whom I profiled in Fortune last November), the brilliant, Brooklyn-born chief scientist at Royal Dutch Shell whose research cracked the code on how to efficiently and cleanly convert oil shale – a rock-like fossil fuel known to geologists as kerogen – into light crude oil.

You’d think all of this, but you’d be wrong.

Last month, the U.S. Senate’s Appropriations Committee voted 15-14 to kill a bill that would have ended a one-year moratorium on enacting rules for oil shale development on federal lands (which is where the best oil shale is located). Most maddening of all – at least to someone like myself not steeped in the wacky ways of Washington – the swing vote on the appropriations committee, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., voted with the majority even though she actually opposes the moratorium.

“Sen. Salazar asked me to vote no. I did so at his request,” Landrieu told The Rocky Mountain News. A Landrieu staffer contacted by Fortune doesn’t dispute this, but notes that Landrieu did propose a compromise which Republicans rejected.

She was speaking of U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., who has emerged as the Senate’s leading oil shale opponent. Salazar inserted the aforementioned moratorium into an omnibus spending bill last December, and in May he proposed a new bill that would extend the moratorium another year.

Salazar’s efforts have essentially pulled the rug out from under Shell (RDSA) and other oil companies which have invested many, many millions into oil shale research since the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which established the original framework for commercial leasing of oil shale lands. (Last year, oil shale represented Shell’s single biggest R&D expenditure.)

Salazar says he’s simply trying to slow things down in order to ensure environmental considerations don’t get trampled in the rush to turn western Colorado into a new Prudhoe Bay. But, ironically, his bid to extend the moratorium comes at a time when his fellow Senate Democrats have been blasting Big Oil for not reinvesting enough of their profits into developing new sources of energy.

I recently spoke with Republican U.S. Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Wayne Allard of Colorado, the two lawmakers working hardest to end the oil shale moratorium. Here are some excerpts from the interviews:

I can’t link the article because it’s a cnn link. But google it….

funky chicken on June 9, 2008 at 10:01 PM

Check out Orrin Hatch, just spitting angry:

Fortune: Why do you consider developing oil shale such a high priority?

Sen. Hatch: We have as much oil in oil shale in Utah, Wyoming and Colorado as the rest of the world’s oil combined. Liberals and environmentalists can talk all they want about wind, solar and geothermal – all of which I’m for – but last time I checked, planes, trains, trucks, ships and cars don’t run on electricity. 98% of transportation fuel right now is oil. Ethanol is the only real alternative, and we’re seeing that ethanol has major limitations.

It’s pathetic. Environmentalists are very happy having us dependent on foreign oil. They’re unhappy with us developing our own. What they forget to say is that shipping fuel all the way from the middle east has a big greenhouse gas footprint too.

Fortune: With gasoline at $4, why this isn’t this more of a front-and-center issue for consumers and voters?

Sen. Hatch: I’m generally the last guy to lambaste the media, but generally you do not hear these facts. We’re sending $600 billion annually to enemies of our country. If one acre of oil shale produces 1 million barrels of oil, that’s 1 million barrels that we would not be importing from Russia and the Middle East. People are going to go berserk when they find out that all along we had the capacity, within our own borders, to alleviate our dependency in an environmentally friendly way.

Ironically, the local governments in Colorado’s oil shale areas do support oil shale development, but it’s being stopped by the ski-resort elites. A couple months ago, an article came out about how the city of Aspen was being besieged with building applications equating to about $2 million in development a day. Now if those nice, rich people in Aspen really cared about the environment, they might save an acre or two of those beautiful forests they’re building on and support some oil-shale development in the not-so-nearby and not-so-beautiful oil shale areas of Colorado.

funky chicken on June 9, 2008 at 10:06 PM

Unfortunately, when it’s pointed out to people the national security implications of our being stuck on foreign oil, they respond with it’s good that oil is so high because it will force us to alternative energy sources. The higher the price the better as it will force the change sooner.

It never seems to occur to some that we can wean ourselves off foreign oil AND if they really like the idea of high gas prices forcing us to alternative sources, tax the hell out of it.

aikidoka on June 9, 2008 at 10:13 PM

funky chicken on June 9, 2008 at 10:06 PM

funny stuff that! Great read.

Limerick on June 9, 2008 at 10:14 PM

Re Obama’s VP… wouldn’t even Maxie Mounds have more gravitas than Obama? Or at least certainly more gravity?

drunyan8315 on June 9, 2008 at 10:19 PM

I certainly hope Bob Schaffer is using this issue against Udall in his CO senate race.

Congrats CO, for electing a democrat governor and US senator, who are harming your state’s economy and your individual pocketbooks … really, it seems like it should be a slam dunk issue

funky chicken on June 9, 2008 at 10:29 PM

Re Obama’s VP… wouldn’t even Maxie Mounds have more gravitas than Obama? Or at least certainly more gravity?

drunyan8315 on June 9, 2008 at 10:19 PM

“Respect my gravit-ah!”

RD on June 9, 2008 at 10:40 PM

This whole argument about eliminating our dependence on foreign oil is ridiculous! Did we tax our way out of dependence on horses, and have government subsidies for Henry Ford and Ransom Olds? Was there a horse shortage at the time? No, the automobile was just technologically, functionally, and economically better than the horse.

Unfortunately, we cannot just wait for car companies to bother to offer us alternatives. They’re deathly afraid of any change…not the engineers, but the incompetent exec’s. And every time the government offered incentives for R&D, that’s exactly what they got – useless R&D, or even good R&D, but zero production. Just goes to show you have to be careful what you ask for.

Now, if the government offered tax breaks to car manufacturers for, say, the first million alternate energy cars they put into production…we’ll see cold fusion powered flying cars within the decade!

stonemeister on June 9, 2008 at 10:45 PM

Obama, please pick Harry as your VP choice.

This is a win-win, as far as this current Nevada resident is concerned. We get rid of this guy as our Senator if they win, but they won’t win when the nation sees McCain blasting the defeatist ticket over a war that we are (please God) well on the way to winning. Also, maybe the greater exposure of a national campaign will finally expose the ridiculous nature of so many of Reid’s positions to a national market.

On the downside, if they do win, Harry is one heartbeat away from the Presidency.


Maybe this isn’t really a good idea after all….

cs89 on June 9, 2008 at 11:08 PM

I would care who Obama picked if I cared about the Republican nominee. I don’t so I don’t…

sabbott on June 10, 2008 at 7:22 AM

Great post, Funky Chicken, about the oil shale. 800 billion barrels would eliminate US oil imports for 150 years at today’s rates.

Landrieu is up for re-election this year, and Louisianans LIKE to develop oil resources. This could be something her opponent could use against her! Isn’t a Senator supposed to use his/her own judgment, not vote because Kenny said so?

Steve Z on June 10, 2008 at 10:40 AM

Heh. Reid as Obama’s VP? That does soooo many things for McCain it’s wonderful. At one stroke it ties Obama to defeat, to incompetence and corruption.

Plus, it eliminates any penalty for McCain to pick Romney–they can’t use the Mormon issue anymore. And without the Mormon issue, Romney is one of the heavy favorites–he’d bring executive and economic experience to the ticket, he has more name recognition than Jindal or Palin, and he’s a conservative candidate with nothing really to do–leaving Palin and Jindal to build their own resumes where they are.

The idea of Reid on Obama’s ticket is just delicious.

Vanceone on June 10, 2008 at 11:05 AM

Hey Vanceone: That’s exactly what I said above.
Wouldn’t it be just too delicious?

Bambi on June 10, 2008 at 4:09 PM