The Buzz

TheChat: Cheney defends aggressive interrogations

Good morning.

▪ “Torture, to me … is an American citizen on his cellphone making a last call to his four young daughters shortly before he burns to death in the upper levels of the Trade Center in New York on 9/11.” — former Vice President Dick Cheney on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday defending the CIA’s harsh interrogation techniques in the wake of the Sept. 11th attacks.

Unsurprisingly, Cheney remains unapologetic for his role in creating the interrogation program. In fact, he said he’d “do it again in a minute.” It’s fair to say that anyone expecting Cheney to moderate his views is wasting his time.

▪ “Some of the people in Washington — Claire McCaskill and others — may have been involved in some of those calls, but it wasn’t any of our shop.” — Kansas Democratic Party chair Joan Wagnon talking about who pressured Democrat Chad Taylor to drop out of this year’s U.S. Senate race.

We still don’t know who got to Taylor. McCaskill, the Missouri Democratic senator, has acknowledged talking to him shortly before he exited the race, but the content of that conversation is unknown. Just days before he withdrew, Taylor was telling reporters to their faces that he was in for the long haul. Wagnon made her remarks at the Dole Institute’s post-election roundtable last week. (link via

▪ “I don't believe there are enough black people on the jury. I believe that they are stricken and are not allowed to serve.” — Missouri NAACP president and Columbia resident Mary Ratliff.

Others, though, say it’s tough to get African Americans to serve on juries. The debate was over the execution of Leon Taylor last month for shooting and killing 53-year-old Robert Newton in a 1994 robbery at an Independence gas station.

▪ “This is Elizabeth Warren’s moment.” — Ben Wikler, MoveOn’s Washington director, during a “Draft Warren” panel at RootsCamp, a gathering last week of some 2,000 progressive activists in Washington.

The push is on to get Warren to run for president, which would likely mean a primary with Hillary Clinton.