From Mark Murray, Huma Zaidi, Lauren Appelbaum, and Carrie Dann
Unidentified attackers struck the US embassy in Athens late last night (Eastern Time), but there are no reported injuries or casualties. Greek police say the attackers fired a rocket from the street, and it went through a window on the embassy's third floor. Per the AP, "Greece's Public Order Minister said the blast was probably an act of domestic terrorism -- raising fears of resurgent violence by far-left Greek militants."
Much of the rest of today's news focuses on the grilling that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates received yesterday on Capitol Hill -- particularly from senators either running for president or up for re-election in 2008 -- over Bush's new Iraq plan. Gates returns to Capitol Hill today, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
As President Bush faces widespread criticism for his decision to send more troops into Iraq, another batch of low poll numbers, and even several GOP senators who appear to be jumping ship, it's worth revisiting a question we've asked in the past: Would things be any different if Bush's vice president were actively seeking the presidency? With Cheney's disinterest in the top spot, this upcoming presidential election will be the first time since 1928 when neither a sitting president nor a vice-presidential heir apparent is running for the office.
If Cheney were running, however, would he want to be making his bid in this particular environment? Would he actually favor sending more troops to Iraq? And would he want an unpopular war to extend throughout his election? They're interesting questions -- and the very same questions that several Republican senators up for re-election in 2008 are facing.
There's plenty of movement today and this weekend from those who are running for president. Fresh off his presidential announcement, Sen. Chris Dodd is in Iowa, where he attends Chet Culver's inauguration as Iowa governor and does two other events there. On Sunday, he heads to South Carolina, where he'll stay through Martin Luther King Day. Dodd will also appear on NBC's Meet the Press with fellow Sens. Chuck Hagel, Jon Kyl, and Joe Lieberman.
Joe Biden also spends the MLK weekend in South Carolina, while John Edwards delivers a Martin Luther King Day sermon on Sunday at the Riverside Church in New York City. On the Republican side, Rudy Giuliani today headlines a fundraiser for the Delaware GOP. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney today attends a shooting/hunting/outdoor trade show in Orlando, FL, and returns to Boston to attend an MLK service at the First Holiness Church on Monday.
And the Democrats finally have picked their convention site: Denver. It took them a while to make a decision -- due to a host of labor and logistical questions -- but the Democratic National Committee selected a city and state that symbolizes the gains the party has made in the West, as well as Howard Dean's 50-state strategy. Dean most likely will talk about all of that when he appears today on MSNBC's Hardball, as does Democratic New Mexico Gov. (and possible presidential candidate) Bill Richardson.