Minor Political Trivia: Udall, Bennet and Judd Gregg


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Former US Senator Tim Wirth (D-CO) who for many years has served as president of the United Nations Foundation hosted a very nice welcoming reception at the Metropolitan Club for incoming Colorado Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet.
The best back and forth joke of the evening was that Tim Wirth had told both Senators that he had gone to see the Senate historian to make sure that the Udall-Bennet duo was properly noted as the least senior team from any state in US history.
Mark Udall was sworn in with the incoming class of freshman Senators in the 111th Congress. And then Bennet, appointed by Colorado’s governor to succeed new Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, was sworn in five days later.
When Senator Udall spoke, he poked some fun at Tim Wirth — stating that Wirth had slyly gone to plead with Senator Judd Gregg not to resign his seat in favor of becoming Commerce Secretary (Gregg had pulled out of Barack Obama’s Commerce appointment just a couple of hours before) because that would steal from Colorado the record of being the most un-senior team and then give it to New Hampshire’s Jeanne Shaheen and whoever got appointed to succeed Gregg.
I found it really funny. But then again, I’m not all that good at humor.
Michael Bennet, who has a kind of endearing, bumbly style, told the story of how when he was prepping for his “interview” with Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, he ought to check in with his wife Susan Daggett on what she had been up to in her professional work.
Daggett, who was clearly better known to the assembled crowd of enviro-activists and Colorado green elite types as the former lead attorney for EarthJustice and has worked for both the Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club, gave according to Bennet a two hour run down of some very high-powered work on her Colorado-related and global environmental advocacy.
Bennet then told her, “Maybe you should go see the Governor for an interview [for the Senate seat].”
Lots of folks laughed — and then said, you know — she might be a pretty great Senator.
Other notables besides former Senator Tim Wirth and his wife Wren were former Senators Chuck Robb and Don Riegle. SEIU’s Andy Stern was there as was Council for a Livable World Executive Director John Isaacs and former US AID Deputy Administrator and presidential candidate spouse Hattie Babbitt. Also met up with Atlantic Monthly editor and brother to the Senate’s least senior member James Bennet.
I like that Susan Dagett has two t’s in the name. Hattie Babbitt has two pairs of two t’s.
But what’s up with Michael Bennet. Did someone add an “n” to Benet? or drop the “t” in Bennett?
— Steve Clemons


4 comments on “Minor Political Trivia: Udall, Bennet and Judd Gregg

  1. Steve Clemons says:

    Joe M:
    Many thanks for highlighting the fascinating interview with Elliott Abrams. I agree that no matter what one feels for Abrams and his views, much can be learned from this piece.
    Just wrote about it and thanked you in the postscript.
    best, steve


  2. Cee says:

    It was then that he published Faith or Fear: How Jews Can Survive in a Christian America.
    Abrams needs to know that some of us are asking how we can survive with people like him in America.
    After 9/11, we did see Palestinian terrorism in the context of all terrorism. And I think that one of the reasons Sharon was able to defeat the intifada was the very strong support that he had from president Bush when he took measures like building the fence, on the one hand, and carrying out targeted assassinations of terrorist leaders
    Bibi said 9-11 was good for Israel. This is the reason they killed Yassin
    Yassin was seen as a moderating force within Hamas. In July 2000, Sheikh Yassin offered Israel a truce. “If Israel withdraws completely from the West Bank and Gaza and it removes all of its settlements, I will make a truce with it. You have my word for it,” Yassin declared
    e also added that if Israel stops attacking Palestinian civilians, Hamas will stop attacking Israeli civilians. A few months before his death, Sheikh Yassin himself announced that the fight would be discontinued after the establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. Around that time, he offered a “hudna” (truce) for 30 years. There are also reports by Reuters that he offered a truce in 1997, after being released from prison, according to an Israeli official who helped carry out the prisoner exchange.
    A Time Magazine reporter managed to interview Sheikh Yassin personally before his death:
    No Hamas leader wants to go on record renouncing the organization’s strident charter, especially the hard-liners who now dominate Hamas’ board of directors. But last summer founder Sheik Yassin, in his elliptical way, sketched out for me how Hamas might consider a more accommodating solution. The sheik was cadaverously frail, and he had been ill for two weeks when I gained a brief audience at his house. His high-treble voice was so faint I had to lean awkwardly close to hear. But he remained the movement’s ultimate authority. While he leveled boiler-plate criticism at the “racist” Israeli state and the religious rationale for Hamas’ stand, he hinted there was room for compromise. In pursuit of Hamas’ goals, he said, “you don’t jump there in one jump.” Some can be achieved, he explained, through “stages, phases. We don’t have a problem reaching a phase suitable to the current situation and leaving the rest to history and future generations.”
    By January, Yassin had turned those vague words into an official position. Hamas would never say it accepts Israel’s existence. But the Koranic rules of hudna, or cease-fire, allow for an indefinite halt in the armed struggle: once the Palestinians gain a state in the pre-1967 territories, Hamas could decide to end the violent struggle and leave it to future generations to decide whether it should ever be resumed. In one of his last public statements, recorded on the Hamas website in January, Yassin even hinted that a Gaza pullout could reopen the door to negotiations, something Hamas previously had consistently tried to thwart. “If the Zionist entity completely evacuates the Gaza Strip,” he said, “we can start a new phase of calmness in order to discuss the issues of Jerusalem, the West Bank, the prisoners and the refugees”–references to the longstanding list of items that negotiations are supposed to settle.


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