Richard Wolffe

Stories by Richard Wolffe

  • The Oval: The Price of an Ambassadorship

    For the first half of this year, the Bush administration seemed on track to patch up its dismal relations with its European allies. President George W. Bush has toured Europe three times this year (four if you include the pope's funeral) and even spoken sweet words to one of the arch critics of the war in Iraq German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder--first in Germany and then in Washington last month.But photo ops are cheap compared to the price of an ambassadorship, and nothing speaks quite so loudly about the Bush administration's priorities as its senior embassy postings. Germany's new ambassador has no obvious qualifications or abilities to repair the deeply strained relationship with one of America's most important allies for the last 50 years. However William Timken Jr., an Ohio industrialist, does have one big claim to the job: he raised at least $200,000 for the president's re-election campaign in 2004--ranking him among the elite class of fund-raisers known as the Bush Rangers....
  • The Oval: Changing the Subject?

    They looked like the quintessentially civilized gentlemen. It was early enough in the summer morning to stroll through the colonnade in front of the Oval Office wearing dark jackets without breaking into one of Washington's heavy sweats. They had just shared a cup of coffee and congratulated one another on a fine first day working together. All they needed was a croquet set for a little spin around the Rose Garden.It was Wednesday morning and President Bush had summoned reporters and photographers for his second photo op with Judge John Roberts in 12 hours. The message was clear: his Supreme Court nominee would bring "great dignity to the court" after a confirmation process that he hoped would proceed "in a dignified, civil way." There was so much dignified and civilized behavior on display that Judge Roberts could only go one place from there: to the world's greatest deliberative and dignified body, otherwise known as the United States Senate. Roberts would spend the day sipping...
  • The Oval: Stonewalling?

    Contentious news conferences are nothing new in the hothouse of the James S. Brady press briefing room at the White House. But new evidence about Karl Rove's role in the Valerie Plame leak has turned the already tense daily press briefings into something of a frenzy. On Monday, reporters repeatedly slammed White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan for refusing to comment on questions about Rove's discussions with Time magazine's Matthew Cooper, in which the White House deputy chief of staff told the reporter that former ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. When reporters pressed McClellan if he stood by previous comments that Rove had no involvement in the leaking of Plame's name, the Bush spokesman demurred, saying "I appreciate the question"--but adding that he couldn't comment because of an "on-going investigation."That was a line repeated by McClellan's boss after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. "I have instructed every member of my staff to fully cooperate in...
  • PRESIDENTIAL BOOKS: A SPACE ON THE SHELF

    Bill Clinton offered an exhaustive look at his life. George H.W. Bush authored a foreign-policy tome with his national-security adviser, and followed with a collection of his letters. Now George W. Bush is mulling his own book, according to one senior aide and one former administration official (both declined to be named about a subject that the White House has not discussed in public).Nothing is on paper, and President Bush has yet to decide who will physically write his book, but he has discussed his ideas with a handful of aides in casual conversations over the last few years. It remains unclear whether the book will stretch beyond Bush's presidency to encompass his life story. Bush's aides take a dim view of the few biographies of him that have appeared to date, and are under no illusions about the sketchy nature of Bush's 1999 book, "A Charge to Keep." That slim volume, written by Karen Hughes (at the time Bush's communications director, and later his White House counselor),...
  • The Oval: Less Extreme Selection?

    Fresh from a transatlantic flight with his Supreme Court dossiers, President George W. Bush landed in Denmark feeling expansive about the prospect of making a big presidential decision. Speaking to reporters in Copenhagen on Wednesday, it was clear that Bush has a clear game plan in mind for the naming of his first Supreme Court justice.Bush has already said he wants his pick to be in place by the time the court resumes its work in October. But in recent weeks his aides have toyed with the idea of delaying any announcement as late as possible to avoid a repeat of the mauling of Robert Bork, Reagan's doomed Supreme Court pick nearly two decades ago. Now Bush explained he was working his way back from the October deadline to figure out when to make his selection. "That's the backstop," he said Wednesday, "and we'll work backward to determine what is best for the Senate calendar to get the hearing and to get the vote, up or down, on the floor of the Senate." Bush is planning to meet...
  • Osama and Saddam

    Just in case anyone was reaching for the remote, President George W. Bush hit his keynote as early as he could while still being polite. After thanking the troops at Fort Bragg, N.C., on Tuesday night, the first two lines of his speech were blindingly simple. "The troops here and across the world are fighting a global war on terror," he said. "The war reached our shores on September the 11th, 2001."In other words: forget about the Downing Street memos and Colin Powell's now discredited speech at the United Nations. This is one war, against one enemy, making Iraq simply a continuation of the hunt for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. Or, as Bush put it, "Iraq is the latest battlefield in this war." He might as well have stood in front of a picture of the Twin Towers.It's easy to see why this approach is so attractive to the White House. The president's response to 9/11 remains a potent memory in public opinion. So potent that it still drives the only positive numbers in the president's...
  • NO MORE HAPPY TALK

    It's supposed to play host to kings, queens and the leaders of America's closest allies. Instead the East Wing's opulent state dining room will entertain a far more powerful group of guests this week: the 55 GOP senators who hold George W. Bush's second-term agenda in their hands. Along with lunch, the restive Republican majority can expect the president's staple diet of Social Security and Iraq. Just six weeks before Congress adjourns for the summer, Bush's message is simple: don't go wobbly. Yet for some of his supporters who are seeking an exit strategy at home and overseas, the prospect of another presidential pep talk isn't enough. "Hopefully the session we have will be an honest conversation," says South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, "about the mistakes he's made, about the mistakes we've made and about what we can do better."To most Americans, there's plenty of room for improvement. The only thing worse than Bush's job-approval ratings is the dismal level of support for the...
  • The Oval: Strategic Planning

    The White House is on a hair trigger and it has nothing to do with Iraq or Al Qaeda. The twitchy, nervous mood is the product of a far more pressing battle--one that promises to shape domestic politics for the rest of the year while also shaping President George Bush's place in the history books.Yet there's something strangely rehearsed about the looming struggle to fill a likely vacancy on the Supreme Court--an opening that could emerge next week if, as is widely predicted, the ailing Chief Justice William Rehnquist announces his retirement. That's because all sides, including the president's aides, have been preparing for this moment for the last five years. In 2000 (before the Florida recount), Al Gore liked to strike a populist note by warning that "the Supreme Court is at risk." George W. Bush stoked those Democratic fears by saying he most admired conservative Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Four years later, John Kerry was confronted at every turn by Supreme...
  • The Oval: Who's Right on Gitmo?

    Standing before a crowd of journalists at the National Press Club in Washington this week, Dick Cheney seemed less than surprised that his audience's first question was about Guantanamo Bay. "I thought somebody might ask about Guantanamo today," he quipped when asked whether the prison camp was damaging America's image in the world.His response sounded characteristically robust and carefully researched. Cheney told the story of two former detainees who returned to the battlefield in Afghanistan and were killed by Afghan and U.S. forces. Declaring the camp "an essential part of our strategy," he added: "Does this hurt us from the standpoint of international opinion? I frankly don't think so. My own personal view of it is that those who are most urgently advocating that we shut down Guantanamo probably don't agree with our policies anyway."For all his preparation and research, the vice president must have overlooked a few salient details about Guantanamo Bay's history since the war in...
  • AFRICA: PUSHING BUSH FOR HELP

    Tony Blair is coming to the White House this week to push his friend George W. Bush into increasing aid to Africa ahead of the G8 summit of world leaders in Scotland next month. Blair's vision for Africa is as bold as Bush's for the Mideast--to lift the world's poorest nations out of poverty. He's not alone: last week some of the globe's biggest (and oldest) pop stars said they would revive the Live Aid concert for Africa of 20 years ago (renamed Live 8) to turn the heat up on G8 leaders.But Bush sounded dismissive about Blair's proposals, which include doubling aid and a provision to allow governments to borrow against the promise of future aid. "We have made our position pretty clear on that," Bush said in the Oval Office, with President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa sitting beside him. "It doesn't fit our budgetary process."The White House says Bush was not dismissing Blair's vision: according to one senior adviser (who declined to be named because the proposals are still under...
  • The Oval: Donor Woes

    On Oct. 30, 2003, more than 600 people gathered inside a Hyatt Regency hotel ballroom in downtown Columbus, Ohio, where they lunched on roast-beef sandwiches and listened to President Bush deliver a campaign speech. With admission priced at $2,000 a person, the luncheon raised more than $1.4 million for the president's re-election effort.But some attendees got more than just an expensive lunch. Individuals who sponsored a $20,000 table at the event--that is, they convinced 10 people to give $2,000 apiece--got to take their picture with Bush. One of those people was Thomas Noe, a Toledo-area rare-coin dealer who ranked as one of the president's biggest fund-raisers and chaired Bush's northwest Ohio re-election campaign.The event is now the subject of a federal investigation into whether Noe violated campaign-finance laws by reimbursing individuals for contributions to the Bush campaign. According to the Columbus Dispatch, at least $25,000 in contributions collected at the event came...
  • The Oval: Presidential Gifts

    What do you give the man who has everything? In 2004, President George W. Bush accepted more than a dozen gifts valued at nearly $27,000, according to recently filed financial-disclosure forms. The most generous present: a $14,000 custom-made shotgun from Roy Weatherby, a California gun manufacturer.Leisure-time features heavily among the gifts. Bush, an avid biking fan, also accepted a $2,700 mountain bike from Trek Bicycle Corp., as well as more than $500 in biking accessories from the company. Nike gave the president a set of warm-ups valued at $305. Bush also received several thousand dollars in fishing equipment, including a rod, three caps and fishing bait valued at more than $200 from former Commerce Secretary Don Evans. A longtime Bush pal, Evans also gave the president a $149 sweater and a hardcover book called "Longhorn," priced at $240.But it wasn't just the president on the receiving end. First Lady Laura Bush received a $1,300 gold bracelet from close friends Tom and...
  • THE WHITE HOUSE: PREACHING PATIENCE

    In the Oval Office last week, George W. Bush was explaining his theory on growing a democracy to Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif. "It's the evolution of a baby," Bush said, according to a senior aide who was present but declined to be named because the meeting was private. "First you crawl, then you walk, then you sprint. Sometimes people want to go straight to sprinting." That evening, at a foreign-policy dinner, Bush counseled patience, especially in the newly free countries of the Middle East and former Soviet Union. He also spelled out details of a new office for reconstruction and emphasized his commitment to nation-building.With this more nurturing approach, Bush is trying to flesh out the lofty rhetoric of his second Inaugural Address, in which he pledged to spread liberty and end tyranny. The aide says the president wants to show he can be a realist--as well as an idealist. "It's a systematic effort to show it's not a simplistic foreign policy," the aide says. "It's not...
  • The Oval: The Race Never Ends

    It was the classic picture of a politician seeking votes: a gray-haired man in a dark suit holding and kissing a baby. Yet the man surrounded by gurgling babies (21 in all) wasn't running for office. It's been little more than six months since George W. Bush won re-election by what turned out to be a relatively comfortable margin. But whether he's staging rallies about Social Security or kissing babies for photo ops about stem-cell research, he still looks and sounds like a man on the campaign trail.Bush's overt campaigning is a sign of the tough--and unpopular--positions he has staked out early in his second term. According to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, 63 percent of voters support stem-cell research, including 58 percent of Roman Catholics. A recent Gallup poll showed that 53 percent want to see either no restrictions or fewer restrictions on government funding of stem-cell research. Those numbers are not so different from Bush's polling on Social Security (64 percent...
  • The Oval: Bush's Palestinian Tightrope

    It's hard to overstate how much the White House is betting on the next several months of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. President George W. Bush's national-security officials suggest that if all goes well with Israel's withdrawal from Gaza--and if an effective and peaceful Palestinian state emerges there--the administration will find new diplomatic openings across the region, the broader Muslim world and even across Europe.That's not entirely wishful thinking, even if it relies on two big "ifs." On Bush's recent trip to Europe, it was Palestinian politics that featured more prominently than any subject other than Russia itself. In Moscow, President Vladimir Putin recounted at length his recent trip to the region, agreeing with Bush on the need to support both the Palestinian and Israeli leaders. Even in Maastricht, Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende mentioned the Middle East peace process ahead of the broader war on terror and the prospects for Iraq.Those sky-high...
  • The Oval: Shake, Rattle and Roll

    He came, he wiggled his hips, he conquered. For many people back home (and around the world), the pictures of George W. Bush trying to dance in Tbilisi, Georgia, looked ridiculous. But to many, many Georgians (and there were throngs of them welcoming Bush), they were an impossible dream come true: an American president, the most powerful man in the world, enjoying their hospitality and their history.Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was positively giddy with the reaction of his people to Bush's arrival: mile after mile of schoolchildren holding welcome signs, and an enormous crowd of more than 150,000 in the capital's Freedom Square. "This is not North Korea here; you cannot tell people to go out if they don't feel like it," Saakashvili told reporters. But he was also elated at Bush's enjoyment of a night on the Old Town--from their meal at a restaurant to the whirling-dervish dancers that enticed the American president. Even the next day, Bush was still moved by the night...
  • THE PROBLEM WITH PUTIN

    She was supposed to be smoothing the way for President George W. Bush's trip to Moscow, a celebration of Hitler's defeat 60 years ago this week. But instead of rekindling the spirit of wartime allies, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice only provoked the Russians, who were offended by Bush's plans. Why, they wanted to know, was Bush also traveling to Latvia and Georgia, two countries that were once part of the Soviet Union? "Bush going to Latvia and Georgia will make them think they have carte blanche to do whatever they want," Sergei Lavrov, Russia's blunt foreign minister, complained to Rice. Welcome to Moscow, Mr. President. Please leave your democratic ideals at home.As he tries to build a legacy of promoting democracy around the globe, Bush has run headlong into Fortress Russia. Increasingly, he's fending off the kind of Russian accusations that once dominated the Soviet era of geopolitics: of covert action on Russia's borders, competing spheres of influence and zero-sum games....
  • A WHITE HOUSE ADRIFT

    George Voinovich is not your typical Bush loyalist. A self-styled deficit hawk, the former Cleveland mayor and Ohio governor is so frugal that he once fished a penny out of a urinal in the Statehouse. To the White House, his independent spirit should have come as no surprise: he split with his party over the estate tax in 2000 and he opposed the size of Bush's tax cuts three years later. Yet when it came to the prickly question of John Bolton's nomination as U.N. ambassador, the president's team assumed Voinovich would fall into line.The warning signs were there if anyone had looked for them. About two weeks before senators were set to vote on Bolton's nomination, Voinovich "grilled" Bolton for an hour in private, according to officials familiar with the session, asking "tough questions" about allegations that Bolton sought to force out an intelligence analyst who disagreed with him. Yet in subsequent days, nobody at the White House asked the senator directly about Bolton. Others...
  • The Oval: Delicate Dances

    After 60 days on the road, and a prime-time press conference complete with new proposals last week, the White House believed it was finally making progress on Social Security. George W. Bush's aides argued that the new details of "progressive indexation" (or means-tested Social Security) would finally expose the weakness of their Democratic opponents. The Bushies' theory is that the Democrats are going to crack under the pressure of having to propose their own policies for the future of Social Security.Yet the initial result of Bush's proposals has been to expose divisions among Republicans in Congress about how to deal with any legislation to overhaul the program. Administration officials were thrilled last week when House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas announced plans for a May 12 hearing on Bush's Social Security plan, with the goal of drafting a bill by early June. "That's serious progress," a senior administration official told NEWSWEEK.Not everyone was so happy, though. A...
  • Nothing Special

    "I wouldn't expect anything special," said one senior aide to President George W. Bush. "It's standard practice." So went the planning for Bush's travels with embattled House Majority Leader Tom DeLay this week. But for DeLay, at least, there was nothing standard about the event in Galveston, Texas, and the flight that followed on Air Force One back to the nation's capital.In the brick-walled auditorium at the medical facility in Galveston--close to DeLay's home district--the highly partisan crowd turned one of Bush's regular Social Security events into an impromptu rally for DeLay. "We love you Tom!" shouted one member of the invitation-only audience. The representative of the 22nd district of Texas turned around, beamed a big smile and flashed a single thumb into the air. As the reaction turned into a cheer, DeLay stood up and waved at his fans. "All those reporters," said another DeLay fan, pointing to the White House press corps in front of him. "You're in Texas now."In fact,...
  • The Oval: Oil Dilemma

    "I wish I could simply wave a magic wand and lower gas prices tomorrow," George Bush told Latino business leaders at the Ronald Reagan building in Washington on Wednesday. "I'd do that." Yet what followed--a speech previously described by his aides as a major policy address--said nothing about how to lower prices any time soon, with or without a magic wand. Instead, Bush focused his attention on his long-delayed energy bill, which includes plenty of long-term strategy about the future of America's energy supplies.That's a considerable gamble for a White House that believes the reason Bush's poll numbers have dropped sharply is almost entirely because gas prices have risen sharply. According to the latest poll by the American Research Group, Bush's approval rating stands at a low 44 percent, while his handling of the economy is rated at an even lower 38 percent. More than 60 per cent of those polled say the economy is bad, very bad, or downright terrible.Bush's aides say the...
  • POLITICS: BUSH'S ENERGY PLAN--START TALKING

    Two numbers have dominated White House discussions about the president's domestic agenda in recent days: rising gas prices and the president's falling approval ratings. While much of Washington has been trying to forecast the political impact of the Terri Schiavo case and the struggle to overhaul Social Security, Bush's aides maintain there is a pocketbook explanation for the downward slide in the president's polls. "Schiavo didn't drop the numbers," says RNC senior adviser Matthew Dowd, who was Bush's top strategist in last year's campaign. "It's gas prices primarily." Two polls last week gave Bush just 41 percent approval on his handling of the economy and an overall approval rating of 48 percent. Whether their concern is political or economic, Bush's advisers are looking for a way out. "They are very concerned," says one administration official.While his aides concede there is little they can do to shift prices quickly, Bush has been grappling with the issue in recent internal...
  • The Oval: Summit Talk

    Prompted by reporters, the president and the prime minister left no one in any doubt about their sharp differences over Israeli plans to expand a handful of settlements in the West Bank. Speaking outside George Bush's Texas ranch after their Monday meeting, the president insisted the situation was simple. "Israel has obligations under the Roadmap," he said, standing beside Ariel Sharon. "The Roadmap clearly says no expansion of settlements." Sharon, for his part, insisted that the settlements in question were already major population blocs and would remain part of Israel under any final agreement with the Palestinians.But while the rest of the world focused on the tension between Bush and Sharon, behind the scenes the mood among White House aides was far more upbeat. Sharon first discussed his disengagement plan--and the annexing of parts of the West Bank--with Elliott Abrams, Bush's hawkish White House adviser on the Middle East, in November 2003. At the time, the security...
  • Presidents and the Pope

    Inside St. Peter's Basilica late Wednesday night, Vatican officials briefly blocked the massive line of people that had been waiting hours to view the body of Pope John Paul II. The move prompted slight outrage among many individuals who were anxious for their chance to view the late pontiff, but within an instant, that displeasure was replaced by stunned surprise, as onlookers caught their first glimpse at the people Vatican officials had moved to accommodate.There, less than five feet away from the pope's body, stood a solemn President George W. Bush, clasping the hand of his wife, Laura, who wore a traditional black mantilla. Behind him stood two former presidents, including his father, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. Also on hand: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and White House chief of staff Andrew Card.In an unscheduled stop, the group had proceeded to the Vatican directly upon their arrival in Rome late last night to view the pope's body. Escorted by Italian security...
  • The Oval: Picking Up Steam

    The White House claims that it's gaining momentum in its never-ending quest to overhaul Social Security. But judging from the battle on the ground, it looks like the opposition can also claim to be on a roll. As George W. Bush took his Social Security tour to Iowa on Wednesday, he found his message countered by an increasingly organized group of opponents who have been on the ground for days.The AARP, True Majority (a group founded by Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's ice cream) and several other groups who oppose Bush's plan for personal accounts began running TV, radio and newspaper ads on Monday in advance of Bush's visit to Cedar Rapids. Other groups staged protests of the president's Social Security "conversation," which was held at a local college. AARP took out full-page newspaper ads in The Des Moines Register, the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Quad City Times condemning White House efforts to alter the program. It also held two press conferences near the site of Bush's town...
  • A SLY CHARM OFFENSIVE

    The talk was small for Dick Cheney: the virtues of duck-hunting, the recent renovation of his mansion and the history of conservatism in Congress. Yet the reception for 40 members of the conservative Republican Study Committee was also unusually personal for the veep. Munching on mini-cheeseburgers in his official residence, Cheney chatted with small groups of lawmakers, saying he understood their position--after all, he was once a member of the RSC when he served in the House. "It was very casual," says Kevin Brady, a five-term Texas Republican, "or as casual as you can be at the vice president's house." Casual enough for some frank talk about Social Security--what one guest called the elephant in the room. One lawmaker bluntly told the veep the party wouldn't support lifting the cap on payroll taxes. Others warned of the budget-busting cost of the transition to private accounts. Cheney, on the verge of his own town-hall-style sessions, listened carefully. "We still have a long way...
  • The Oval: Not Such Good Neighbors

    Call it Bush's law of unexpected diplomacy. Four years ago, nobody could have predicted just how difficult relations would become across North America. And a year ago, nobody could have predicted just how improved relations would become across the Atlantic.How difficult are George Bush's relationships with Mexico and Canada? They're not the kind of tension that was so visible between the U.S. president and Russia's Vladimir Putin in Bratislava, Slovakia, last month. But the awkwardness between Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin and Mexico's President Vicente Fox, was on full display at their joint press conference at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, on Wednesday. Martin bluntly ruled out ever joining Bush's long-held vision for a missile-defense system to protect North America--the first significant breach between Canada and the United States in terms of defending the continent in recent years. "The file is closed," Martin told reporters. "But our cooperation in terms of...
  • Tricks Of The Trade

    The White House likes to call them "regular folks"--people with real-life questions about the president's agenda. Only some are more regular than others. Carlos Huertas was billed as a concerned grandfather and hard-working engineer when he sat onstage next to President Bush to talk about retirement accounts in downtown Tampa, Fla., last month. "The thing I like about the proposed reforms in Social Security," Huertas said, "is that, just like I do on the 401(k), I can invest in the market where I get a better return." The president nodded his head in agreement. "We're not talking about, you know, needing to become a great financial analyst in order to make decisions," Bush told his town-hall-style audience.Small wonder that Bush found Huertas so convincing. The Florida granddad is an activist for FreedomWorks, a conservative group founded by former vice presidential nominee Jack Kemp and Dick Armey, the former House GOP leader. FreedomWorks campaigned heavily for Bush's re-election...
  • Woman Power at State

    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reinvigorated the State Deparment's flagging role in foreign-policy making in a matter of months. Now, State is about to gain even more firepower when long-time Bush adviser Karen Hughes is nominated as Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. And NEWSWEEK has learned that Hughes will be given the rank of ambassador, a title that will grant her formal access to President Bush.Not that Hughes needs anybody's okay to see Bush. She has spent years crafting the president's domestic message, but left the White House in 2002 to spend more time with her family in Texas (where she continued to advise the president from afar). If Karl Rove has been described as Bush's brain, Hughes is Bush's voice: she has been shaping and directing his message since his first days as Texas governor.Hughes's new appointment is part of an effort to help bolster America's image abroad, particularly in Arab world. Hughes, who is also close to Rice...
  • The Oval: On the Social Security Battlefield

    The more you hear White House officials talk about Social Security, the more it sounds like Iraq. Of course it's not a violent, bloody conflict leading to huge loss of life and limb. But the political strategy and the test of leadership carry the same mix of calculated risks and reckless gambles, of stubbornness and compromise.First the strategy. It may look chaotic on the ground, with no one really in charge. But that chaos is something the White House claims to be happy with, not unlike the giant shake of the chessboard in the Middle East. "This is a complicated issue, with a complicated legislative strategy, particularly in the sense that there's no vote set on a specific plan," said a senior White House official. "You're going to have this kind of churning going on in the process. You've got to expect chairmen of committees to explore a lot of different things. We're not going to hyperventilate every time there's a comment from a congressman."That may be wishful thinking, given...