The Hill stands by it's Thune Story. And it gives him an "atta boy" for his stance.
One of my favorite chronicles of the goings on in Washington, The Hill, editorialized a bit recently on remarks attributed to Senator Thune on distancing himself from the president. The point they're making is that since taking office, John has been his own man, and made no apologies for it.:
Upset with the Pentagon’s initial decision to shut down Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, Thune threatened to oppose the nomination of John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations.
At the time, Thune said, “I’m going to do what is in the best interest of South Dakota — always, first and absolutely. If I disagree with the president, I’m going to let him know that.”
Thune did just that last week by saying that Republican candidates should distance themselves from President Bush on the Iraq war. After the Associated Press and The Hill’s Jonathan Allen reported on Thune’s remarks, the senator quickly said his comments had been mischaracterized.
On “Meet the Press” this past Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten said Thune had told him that the press had taken his comments out of context.
Like the AP, The Hill is standing by our story.
But the intriguing aspect to Thune’s comments is that he regularly has bucked his party, and made no apologies for it.
He has backed a drug reimportation bill that is strongly opposed by the White House. He also voted against the Central America Free Trade Agreement — which was the administration’s top trade priority last year.
Thune, who is likely the next chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), has shown himself to be an effective legislator. His most significant accomplishment was getting Ellsworth off the Pentagon’s chopping block during its base-realignment process.
So, clearly, Thune is no rookie when it comes to politics.
Still, when lawmakers talk about Iraq so close to the midterms, their comments are going to be scrutinized.
Thune is an independent-minded senator who will likely be in the Senate for some time. Because he has previously made frank comments about the administration, Thune’s opinions carry more weight than senators who repeat the party mantra again and again.
Coincidentally, they bring up the NRSC thing with Thune. If just so happens I've had conversations with two people regarding their interest in the 2008 US Senate Race. One who had previously mentioned it to me noted to me that it's still a thought in the back of his mind, and fresh candidate who I hadn't imagined would be looking at it expressed an interest in exploring a possible run. (and Dems, neither one was the Gov before you start on that one.)
It sounds as if there's a fire starting to smolder for the 2008 election within the GOP. And if Thune takes the NRSC position, I imagine that flame is going to be fanned even more.
(and no, I'm not going to tell you who they are)