FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
"President Obama's Watergate" is how some critics describe the growing controversy over the "Fast and Furious" gun walking program.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa wants Attorney General Eric Holder to appear before his committee early next year. Issa says the hearing will focus on what Justice Department officials should have done to stop the program.
Operation Fast and Furious started in 2009 and allowed illegally purchased guns to "walk" from Arizona gun stores over the border to Mexican drug cartels. The program was meant to monitor the flow of weapons, but it went horribly wrong.
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of weapons went missing... and they've been linked to the deaths of hundreds of Mexicans along with U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
In light of the botched operation and what some see as the Justice Department's botched response, dozens of leaders are calling for holder to resign. More than 75 House members have signed a resolution expressing "no confidence" in his leadership.
Washington Times columnist Jeffrey Kuhner suggests this scandal is President Obama's Watergate. He writes there's been systematic coverup, and that Holder and his aides are guilty of high crimes including perjury, obstruction of justice and abuse of power. Kuhner believes this is even worse than Watergate, since no one died during the scandal that brought down Pres. Nixon.
For his part, Holder insists he's not going anywhere. In testimony before the Judiciary Committees earlier this month, Holder acknowledged mistakes were made but said he won't resign. He also said he doesn't think any of his top aides should step down.
Holder played the race card in an interview with the New York Times. He said some of his critics are motivated by racism, since both he and President Obama are black.
Here's my question to you: Could "Fast and Furious" eventually become President Obama's Watergate?
Tune in to "The Situation Room" at 5 p.m. ET to see if Jack reads your answer on the air.
And we'd love to know where you're writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.
From Jack Cafferty, CNN
Two weeks from now we'll know the answer, but as of this moment, Ron Paul is the odds-on favorite to win the Iowa caucuses. And that has many mainstream Republicans positively apoplectic.
Despite being largely ignored by the mainstream media, the 76-year-old congressman from Texas is at - or near - the top of polls in Iowa entering the homestretch in the first 2012 GOP race for the White House.
What's refreshing is Paul has done it the old-fashioned way, with a consistent message and the best outreach operation in Iowa.
Andrew Sullivan writes for The Daily Beast that Paul is generating enthusiasm and support among young voters and Democrats and independents ... in other words, voters who could help Republicans defeat President Barack Obama in November.
You would think that's just what the Republican Party is looking for - someone who could defeat Obama next year.
Not so fast. Republicans are already set to spin a Paul win in Iowa by basically ignoring it.
A Washington Examiner column by Timothy Carney suggests the primary contest will get "downright ugly" if Paul wins in Iowa.
Carney points to Pat Buchanan's New Hampshire victory in 1996, saying both the Republican establishment and the media rallied to end his campaign.
Carney says if Paul wins, his critics will imply he is "a racist, a kook, and a conspiracy theorist."
Whether the GOP establishment likes it or not, Paul has the power to shake things up if he wins in Iowa.
People in Iowa are rallying around someone who, for the first time in a long time, represents real change. And that has to scare the hell out of both parties.
Here's my question to you: What will happen to the Republican field if Ron Paul wins the Iowa caucuses?
Tune in to "The Situation Room" at 4 p.m. ET to see if Jack reads your answer on the air.
While voting in the 2012 elections hasn't even started yet, most Americans wish it were already over.
A new USA Today/Gallup Poll shows 70% of those surveyed say they can't wait for the campaign to be over. That's compared to 26% who say they can't wait for it to start.
People living in 12 of the key swing states - places like Colorado, Florida and Pennsylvania - are dreading the election even more. Three-quarters of them say they can't wait for it all to be over, probably because they'll be the target of even more TV ads, mailers and robo-calls than the rest of us.
This negative attitude crosses party lines, with 67% of Democrats and 66% of Republicans saying they can't wait for the campaign to be over.
When it comes to age, senior citizens are the least likely to be looking forward to the campaign. Probably because they've been to enough of these rodeos to last them a lifetime.
Gallup pollsters suggest there are several reasons why Americans are already so negative about this presidential election.
For one - campaigns last too long. Republicans have already been at it for most of this year, and the general election is still 11 months away.
Also, politics and politicians in general are not very popular - to put it mildly. A recent poll found less than half of Americans say they trust the people who either hold or are running for political office.
Lastly, with the campaign come all those negative ads. Even though they work, a lot of people just don't like them.
And it's not just the ads. For the next 11 months get ready to eat, breathe and sleep this campaign... from the debates to the polls, the interviews, the pundits, you name it.
Here's my question to you: Do you wish the election were already over?
While the Democrats wait to see whether President Obama faces off against Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich come November, a lot of them think Gingrich would be easier to beat. They may be very wrong. The latest CNN-Opinion Research Corp. national poll has them tied at 28%.
But as one Democratic adviser tells Politico: "Romney is playing not to lose, and Newt thinks he has nothing to lose."
Sure, Gingrich has his weaknesses and his dirty laundry: like his lack of discipline, no campaign infrastructure, his infidelities and three marriages, and the $1.6 million he took from Freddie Mac.
But when you get past all that, what you have is a more dangerous, talented and unpredictable rival than Romney.
Politico points to several reasons why team Obama should not take Gingrich for granted:
- For starters, Gingrich is smart. Very smart.
While Romney is no dummy, Gingrich knows his stuff. Gingrich has risen to the top of the Republican pack mostly based on his dominant debate performances. He has even offered to debate Obama, saying the president could use a teleprompter.
- Next, Gingrich fires up the base. He leads Romney when it comes to support from self-described conservatives. And Gingrich can reach out to the GOP’s wealthy donors while still taking swipes at Washington.
- Then there's Newt's mouth. Republicans love the way he attacks Obama. True, there's always the chance he'll go too far, come off as arrogant or self-destruct.
- Finally, Gingrich would be harder to target on Medicare or immigration, since his policies are more moderate than Romney's.
Here's my question to you: Should President Obama be more afraid of Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney?
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
I don't know about you, but I'm a little tired of being treated like a mushroom by my government. You know... kept in the dark and fed fertilizer.
President Obama is hailing the end of the Iraq war as though the enemy had signed the terms of surrender on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri. What hogwash.
This is the same war Obama referred to as dumb nine years ago, but now it's "Hail to the Chief," marching bands and rah-rah-rah. Look what we did.
What we did was invade a country that had done nothing to us, killed hundreds of thousands of their people as well as thousands of our own, bankrupted the Treasury in the process - all in the search for weapons of mass destruction that a cynic might suggest we knew didn't exist in the first place.
The Iraqi government told us a few months ago to get the hell out of their country. That's why we're leaving. We're being kicked out. Nothing noble about that.
Before we were told to take a hike though, we built the largest embassy in the world along with more than 500 military bases at the height of the war. All at taxpayers' expense.
We had every intention of occupying. We had no intention of going anywhere. See there's all that oil over there.
As it is, we will leave behind some 17,000 people at that embassy compound. Yes, some will be members of the diplomatic corps, but there will also be contractors and intel folks who can keep an eye on things. Just in case those weapons of mass destruction turn up. Or Iran tries to fill the power vacuum, which it will.
What garbage. And the government has the gall to paint this as some sort of military triumph.
This isn't the end of anything. It's the beginning of a long-term occupation not unlike Japan and Korea and Germany.
Here’s my question to you: Why after all these years can't our government bring itself to tell us the truth about Iraq?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Fewer Americans are getting married than ever before.
A new pew survey shows barely half of adults in this country - 51% - are married.
That's a 5% drop from just a year before and down from a whopping 72% in 1960.
The marriage rate has gone down among all age groups in the U.S. - but most dramatically among young adults:
Only 20% of those younger than 30 are now married, compared with nearly 60% back in 1960.
The survey also shows Americans are getting married at older ages than ever before. For women, the average age of a first marriage is 26.5 years; for men it's 28.7 years.
Researchers say it's unclear if people are simply delaying marriage - or abandoning it. They point to similar trends of putting off marriage in other developed countries, especially in Europe.
And - experts say the sharp drop in marriages from 2009-2010 "may or may not be related to the sour economy." They point out that marriage has actually been on the decline for the last 50 years.
Also, this drop in marriages reflects an increase in other kinds of living arrangements - including couples living together without getting married and single parenting.
Some suggest there's been a huge cultural shift when it comes to getting married. For example, around 40% of people say marriage is becoming "obsolete."
And as one sociologist tells the Washington Post, "In the 1950s, if you weren't married, people thought you were mentally ill. Marriage was mandatory. Now it's culturally optional."
Here’s my question to you: Do you think marriage is becoming obsolete?
It's the kind of thing you'd expect to hear from Republicans, but not Democrats.
Congressman Dennis Cardoza - a Democrat - is blasting President Obama as being more like a professor who is arrogant and alienating.
The five-term congressman from California, who's retiring at the end of this term, writes in "The Hill" that it's become obvious that the president might prefer to be a university professor.
Cardoza says the Obama administration suffers from something he calls idea disease: They roll out new programs weekly - and sometimes daily - without any priorities and often with little follow up.
Cardoza also writes that President Obama has an "I'm right, you're wrong" attitude. He says this arrogant demeanor has alienated many potential allies.
The Democratic congressman suggests the president avoids personal contact with members of Congress and people outside the beltway - it's not the first time we've heard this critique.
Although President Obama gives speeches to big crowds, he avoids individual contact. This sounds like the polar opposite of Bill Clinton, who fed off contact with "regular people."
This "arms length" attitude extends to top Obama officials. Cardoza describes a senior housing official who crafted policies for the foreclosure crisis - but who never bothered to personally meet with a homeowner who had been foreclosed on. Pretty shocking.
Despite this disparaging picture of the president, Cardoza says he would still take "Professor" Obama over the "goat rodeo clowns" the Republican field offers."
But he worries the voters might give the president a failing grade in November if he doesn't improve his performance.
Here’s my question to you: How damaging is it when a Democratic congressman criticizes President Obama as a "professor" who is arrogant and alienating?
He probably wouldn't appreciate the comparison - but Mitt Romney just might turn out to be the Hillary Clinton of 2012.
Politico talked to veterans of the Clinton campaign who pointed out "eerie" similarities between the two campaigns.
"Romney has followed the Clinton playbook so closely ... you'd think she won her party's nomination," the former aides told Politico. Another former Clinton adviser talks of suffering "PTSD" when an Iowa poll showed Romney in third place.
Both Clinton in 2008 and now Romney in 2012 were "supposed to" be their party's nominees - both well-funded and establishment-blessed candidates. Clinton lost to Barack Obama in that bruising, drawn-out battle, while Romney faces a more-than-serious threat from Newt Gingrich.
Here are some other similarities:
Where Clinton took a stand on her vote to authorize the Iraq war, Romney has refused to apologize for the health care mandate in Massachusetts, which some Republicans see as a fatal flaw.
Both Clinton and Romney initially ran cautious campaigns, trying to stay above the fray. When it didn't work - they went negative.
And both suffered a major debate gaffe: For Clinton, it was a muddled answer she gave on driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. For Romney, it's the now-infamous $10,000 bet.
But there are also differences.
While Romney has faced a series of opponents, from Michele Bachmann to Rick Perry, Herman Cain and now Gingrich, the Clinton team battled what they saw as a Kennedyesque, once-in-a-generation politician - Barack Obama.
Another difference that could work in Romney's favor: Clinton's rival, Obama, had an extensive organization in the later-voting states. Romney doesn't have to worry about that.
Lastly, there is that chance for Romney to win this thing if Gingrich self-destructs, something Clinton's people never expected Obama to do - and he didn't.
Here’s my question to you: Is Mitt Romney the Hillary Clinton of 2012?
With three weeks to go until the Iowa caucuses, the pressure is squarely on Mitt Romney. It wasn't supposed to go this way at all. The Republican presidential nomination was supposed to be a coronation for Romney. But instead, Romney finds himself chasing Newt Gingrich, and Gingrich is pulling away.
In New Hampshire, Romney and Gingrich took off the gloves, throwing direct jabs at each other. Romney can no longer simply remain above the fray. The fray has frayed his lead rather badly.
New Hampshire was once considered a sure thing for Romney. Now it could be a make-or-break contest for him.
One New Hampshire pollster tells The New York Times that expectations are so high for Romney there that Gingrich could lose by 10 percentage points and still spin it as a win.
Gingrich – who is leading in the national polls as well as in Iowa, South Carolina and Florida – has narrowed the gap in New Hampshire to just 9 points in one recent poll.
What's working in Romney's favor is that New Hampshire voters think he's much more likely to beat President Obama than Gingrich is.
But these voters don't appear excited by Romney ... and the momentum is clearly with Gingrich.
For example, Gingrich held a town-hall-style meeting for a 1,000-person overflow crowd at a New Hampshire high school on Monday night. The applause was described as "deafening."
Meanwhile, Howard Kurtz writes in the Daily Beast that it's not time to rule out Romney just yet. Kurtz suggests that Romney is still a plausible president in these tough economic times and that his campaign is financed for the long haul. Maybe so, but remember, Romney already lost this race once. He's the same guy voters rejected four years ago.
Kurtz says Romney needs to demonstrate real passion and can't simply wait for Gingrich to self-destruct.
Oh, and he should probably stop making $10,000 bets.
Here’s my question to you: What does Mitt Romney have to do to recapture his front-runner status?
Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.
And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.
Fear of big government is close to record highs here in the U.S.
According to a new Gallup poll, 64% of those surveyed say big government is the biggest threat to the country. That's one point off the all-time high.
Compare that to 26% who are most worried about big business... and only 8% who say the biggest threat comes from big labor.
Americans have always been more concerned about big government than about big business or big labor since this question was first asked in 1965.
But what's interesting here is that Democrats actually lead the increase in concern about big government... this during the term of a Democratic president, Barack Obama.
Almost half of Democrats now say big government is the biggest threat to the U.S. That's up significantly from two years ago And more significantly, it's higher than the number of Democrats who worry about big business.
These poll numbers may also suggest that the Occupy Wall Street movement isn't catching on.
Despite the movement's targeting of corporate America, most Americans don't view big business as the greatest threat to the country.
In fact, the public's concerns about big business are down since 2009. Worries about big business actually peaked in 2002 - after the scandals at Enron and Worldcom.
But what the American people are worried about is big government and the role it plays in their day-to-day lives.
A government that has only gotten bigger under a president who's running for re-election.
Here’s my question to you: What do you fear most: big government, big business or big labor?
Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.
Jack Cafferty sounds off hourly on the Situation Room on the stories crossing his radar. Now, you can check in with Jack online to see what he's thinking and weigh in with your own comments online and on TV.
About Jack Cafferty
Subscribe | Send Feedback