Life in Junior’s World

Ex-Surgeon General Says He Was Muzzled
By KEVIN FREKING,AP
Posted: 2007-07-11 12:51:40

WASHINGTON (July 11) – President Bush’s most recent surgeon general accused the administration Tuesday of muzzling him for political reasons on hot-button health issues such as emergency contraception and abstinence-only education.

Dr. Richard Carmona, the nation’s 17th surgeon general, told lawmakers that all surgeons general have had to deal with politics but none more so than he.

For example, he said he wasn’t allowed to make a speech at the Special Olympics because it was viewed as benefiting a political opponent. However, he said was asked to speak at events designed to benefit Republican lawmakers.

“The reality is that the nation’s doctor has been marginalized and relegated to a position with no independent budget, and with supervisors who are political appointees with partisan agendas,” said Carmona, who served from 2002 to 2006.

Responding, the White House said Carmona was given the authority and had the obligation to be the leading voice for the health of all Americans.

“It’s disappointing to us if he failed to use his position to the fullest extent in advocating for policies he thought were in the best interests of the nation,” said Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto. “We believe Dr. Carmona received the support necessary to carry out his mission.”

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Ex-Bush Aide Rebuffs Congress’ Questions
By LAURIE KELLMAN,AP
Posted: 2007-07-11 10:49:35

WASHINGTON (July 11) – President Bush’s former political director says she will follow his directive and not answer questions about the administration’s firing of federal prosecutors — unless the courts say she must talk.

“While I may be unable to answer certain questions today, I will answer those questions if the courts rule that this committee’s need for the information outweighs the president’s assertion of executive privilege,” Sara M. Taylor, who left her White House job two months ago, said in remarks prepared for presentation to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

“Thank you for your understanding,” she added in the statement, made available in advance of the midmorning hearing.

Chairman Patrick Leahy urged Taylor, now a private citizen, to cooperate with the committee, saying, “The choice is hers.”

“It is apparent that this White House is contemptuous of the Congress and feels that it does not have to explain itself to anyone,” Leahy, D-Vt., said in prepared remarks. “I urge Ms. Taylor not to follow the White House down this path.”

Democrats insist that there are plenty of things about the firings that Taylor can discuss — and is compelled to reveal under a subpoena — that are not covered by Bush’s executive privilege claim.

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