Former vice president Al Gore is announcing today his endorsement of former Vermont governor Howard Dean for president today in a move that surprised many campaign observers. Gore, who ran for president in 2000 and won the popular vote, will make his announcement in Harlem alongside Dean who is already seen as the frontrunner in the campaign. For Dean, the endorsement gives him the backing of one of the best-known establishment Democrats. Gore’s decision is being viewed as a major blow to Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman who ran as Gore’s presidential running mate in 2000. Tonight Dean will join the other Democratic candidates for a debate in New Hampshire, where the first primary takes place on Jan. 27.
In Afghanistan, the U.S. military has launched its largest offensive against Taliban and al-Qaida since the so-called fall of the Taliban nearly two years ago. 2,000 U.S. troops have entered southern and eastern Afghanistan in the operation.
On Capitol Hill, the House voted 242 to 176 to approve a $375 billion spending bill that will cut off overtime pay for up to 8 million workers, create a school voucher program in Washington D.C. and lower the number of days the FBI can hold gun purchase records from 90 to one. The bill will also increase the national tv ownership cap for networks in a move that significantly aids Rupert Murdoch’s New Corp. which owns the Fox network and Viacom which owns the CBS network. If the cap wasn’t raised from 35 percent to 39 percent both networks would have been forced to sell off several stations.
U.S. News and World reports that Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz may leave the Pentagon as earlier as February. According to the magazine Deputy White House National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley NASA chief Sean O’Keefe are two names that have been discussed as possible replacements. The Pentagon is reportedly seeking a strong manager who can repair relations with military.
41 U.S. troops have been injured in northern Iraq after a car bomb exploded outside a military base.
Newsweek is reporting that the families of troops killed in Iraq are upset with President Bush over the impersonal type of sympathy cards sent by the White House. Newsweek has found Bush essentially sends form letters to each family with the fallen soldiers name mentioned in the generic text. Maggie Caldwell, whose husband Todd died in Iraq, said “Something a little more personal would have been nice.” Newsweek notes that Bush is known for personally writing notes to friends and financial backers.
The United Nations General Assembly voted 90 to 8 to ask the International Court of Justice to determine the legality of the massive wall Israel is building through the West Bank. 74 nations abstained.
In South Dakota, Republican Congressman William Janklow has announced he is resigning from the House after he was found guilty of manslaughter Monday for a fatal car crash. He faces up to 11 years in prison.
On the eve of a visit from Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao to Washington, the White House Monday warned Taiwan not to take any steps toward independence and not to hold a referendum next year that bolster the independent movement. The New York Times described the warning to Taiwan as unusually blunt.
In Moscow, five people have died after a suspected suicide bombing near Red Square.
The Los Angeles Times reports that long-term unemployment reached a 20-year-high in November. 2 million Americans have now been unemployed for six months or more.
The city of New York has agreed to pay the Rev. Al Sharpton $200,000 to settle a 12-year-old lawsuit. Sharpton sued after he was stabbed at a rally to protest the killing of an African-American teenager. Sharpton sued claiming the city failed to protect him.
And The Associated Press is reporting that the National Rifle Association is looking to buy a television or radio station and claim it is a news organization in an attempt to exempt it from campaign finance laws. The NRA’s executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre said, “We’re looking at bringing a court case that we’re as legitimate a media outlet as Disney or Viacom or Time-Warner. Why should they have an exclusive right to relay information to the public, and why should not NRA be considered as legitimate a news source as they are?”