In a new twist to the CIA leak story, Robert Novak thinks that President Bush knows who leaked CIA operative Valerie Plame's name. Also, bloggers are troubled by the Iranian president's Holocaust denials and are wondering if a Mormon could be the next president.
Novak speaks: On Tuesday, columnist Robert Novak told an audience that he would "be amazed" if Bush did not know who leaked CIA agent Valerie Plame's name to Novak and other reporters in 2003. The statement has sparked speculation about what Bush knows—and suggestions, like this one from the Nation's David Corn, to "heed the admonition he issued to administration employees after the leak investigation began: come forward and speak out."
Corn is not alone in his curiosity. "A lot of us have been saying this from the beginning," says Josh Marshall of prominent lefty blog Talking Points Memo, adding that what Bush knows about the leak source has "always been the essence of" the controversy. At The Liberal Phoenix, David Benjamin wants Bush and everyone subordinate to him to testify in front of Congress. "If we actually had a Congress interested in finding the truth, that is exactly what would happen, but instead we have Republicans," he snips.
But other bloggers point out that Novak's statement could be speculation. "The questions is whether Novak is 'reporting' on information he has … or is he speculating?" asks conservative AJStrata of the Strata-Sphere. Strata, who does a little speculating of his own on the source's identity, is discouraged by Novak's statement. "The 'campaign' by the left was just given a real boost by these statements," he complains.
Denial is not a river in Iran: Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday called the Holocaust a "myth." World leaders have condemned the remarks and bloggers are pointing out the potential political ramifications of Ahmadinejad's statements.
"Pres. Ahmadinejad is rattling a saber he may not want to," warn Syd and Vaughn of the right-leaning blog The Asylum, noting that Israeli officials may target Iranian nuclear facilities in the future. Tehran native and Toronto resident Hossein Derakhshan of Editor: Myself believes that the Iranian president wants to divert the world's attention from Iranian strife, gain Iranian citizens' support for a nuclear program, and "embarrass the moderate diplomats and make it impossible for them to stay" in an attempt to remove reform-minded officials from his government.
Bloggers in Iran are also concerned. An Iranian who voted against Ahmadinejad and posts under the pseudonym The Letter N at Another Irani Online thinks Ahmadinejad is playing a dangerous game. "[E]ven I didn't expect that he would be so unpredictable and dangerous: the US/Israel are dying to attack Iran, and Ahmadinejhad seems determined to give them the excuses they've been fishing for," he broods. Another in-country Iranian, h, analyzes the situation at Brooding Persian. "This does not bode well for Iran or the region," he says, addressing similar comments that Ahmadinejad made last week. "That place [Israel] is and remains their home. Perhaps the Israelis—much like the rest of us—should be encouraged/learn to be better, more humane neighbours. But it is not Mr. Ahmadi-Nejad's business to play the role of a disgruntled landlord."
Read more about Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial.
A Mormon president?: Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney announced yesterday that he will not seek re-election in what might be his first step toward a presidential bid. But bloggers are wondering whether Romney's Mormon faith might stymie his political ambitions.
Jackmormon says on his blog, Not Yet Enlightened, that the stumbling block might be the church's stance that "an official, publicized statement from the President of the Church … bears the weight of The Word of God," possibly making it seem like Romney was under the control of his faith. He asks, "How much space can Romney actually create for himself between the pronouncements from Utah and his status as a believer?"
Posters at ThinkChristian, a forum for Christians, while far from reaching a consensus, suggest that evangelical Christians might be open to Romney if he supports conservative values. "I stand for the Word of God and that's what we should all do! If he keeps his extreme religious views to himself and leads the way God wants him to, he has a chance," poster Donnell says. Elect Mitt Romney in 2008, a blog whose purpose is self-evident, is optimistic: "Mr. Romney's Presidential campaign/administration is not going to be defined on his being Mormon."
On The Corner, the group blog of the National Review, Tim Graham, isn't making any predictions yet. "[E]vangelicals … start breathing fire when they suggest they hold Jesus 'at the same level as modern Christendom.' Mitt could break through. Or it could cause a real theological wrestling match," he says, possibly prophesying another religion-infused presidential election.
Read more about Mitt Romney.