Skip to comments.Frist Changes Position, Says He Now Supports Port Security Plan
Posted on 02/26/2006 5:18:03 AM PST by JackQuickFrost
LEXINGTON, Ky. - U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Saturday night that after recent briefings, he is now comfortable with an Arab-owned company running port security for six American cities and backed off a pledge to pass legislation to stop the deal.
But Frist, a Tennessee Republican who was in Lexington for a state GOP dinner, told reporters that the next few days will be crucial for other members of Congress to press intelligence officials about the details of such an arrangement.
"My comfort level is good, but I have 99 other United States senators who need the opportunity to ask their questions," he said before speaking to 900 Kentucky Republicans at Lexington Center.
"We're behind the president 100 percent. We believe the decision in all likelihood is absolutely the right one," Frist added.
Last weekend, it became public that the Bush administration had approved the sale of a port operations company to Dubai Ports World.
On Tuesday, Frist initially criticized the move and threatened legislation to stop it. Friday, aides to Frist told The Washington Post that he would wait to be briefed by the company before taking a stand. He said Saturday night that many of his fears were allayed by briefings by his aides.
While he said Saturday night that legislation may not be necessary now, he said having "30 to 45 days" to step back and evaluate the deal still could be necessary. A first deadline comes Thursday when the contract with Dubai Ports World is expected to be consummated.
"If there's some question about the diagnosis, then maybe we need to get a second opinion,"said Frist, a former heart surgeon.
Frist, following a host of Kentucky Republican politicians, then went on to give a stock political speech with an angle toward the 2006 elections to the audience who paid $75 per plate to attend Saturday night's statewide Lincoln Day Dinner. Scores of them also wrote $1,000 checks for a pre-dinner reception. All the money goes into the Kentucky Republican Party's coffers.
Frist hammered on the notion that grass-roots efforts must be the GOP's strength.
The Kentucky Democratic Party, in a pre-emptive strike, issued a statement Friday saying Frist had "failed the American people" by allowing "tax cuts for the wealthy, record deficits and I outsourcing of American jobs overseas."
Frist included his own dig at Democrats in his remarks. "What do they really believe? What do they really stand for? Do they really know where they're going?" he asked. "That's the difference between us and them."
Other top Kentucky GOP officials, including Senate President David Williams and House minority leader Jeff Hoover, rallied the faithful in preparation for this fall's legislative election.
And as they took turns at the podium, the health of Gov. Ernie Fletcher became a recurring topic. He is recovering from pancreatitis and the removal of his gallbladder and did not attend.
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell noted that he spoke with Fletcher by phone Saturday and said, "He sounded strong."
First lady Glenna Fletcher then read to the crowd a lengthy letter written by the governor that largely echoed his statewide policy speech last month.
One notable addition, however, got some chuckles. "Working with partisan Democrats has been bitter, but I didn't realize it was having such an effect on my gallbladder," Glenna Fletcher read.
Too bad the MAJORITY LEADER of the Senate couldn't do his homework before his Presidential ambitions decided he needed to get infront of a camera.
Don't waste your time and money running for the Oval Office Frist, ain't gonna happen.
Good for him!
Makes him look pretty unpresidential.
He really should learn to do a tad of research first. He is definitely not presidential material.
February 21st, 2006 - WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D. (R-TN) today made the following statement on the deal proposed by Dubai Ports World of the United Arab Emirates that would give the company day-to-day management of six major U.S. sea ports:Note the multiple comments, including one that Congress should be more involved in the process in the long run. LOL.
"Recent reports that a company based in the Middle East is seeking to purchase the operating rights to several U.S. ports raise serious questions regarding the safety and security of our homeland. The decision to finalize this deal should be put on hold until the Administration conducts a more extensive review of this matter.
"It is important for Congress to be involved in this process. I have requested a detailed briefing on this deal.
"If the Administration cannot delay the process, I plan on introducing legislation to ensure that the deal is placed on hold until this decision gets a more thorough review.
"This is not the first time questions have been raised about the Executive Branch's review process, led by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, for these types of transactions. These deals could have a major impact on America's security, the protection of which is our greatest responsibility. The CFIUS process needs to be more transparent and include a role for Congress that includes reviewing these deals, and possibly voiding them if necessary."
I wonder if he'll put a new press release up this week.
http://frist.senate.gov/ <- check here
I'm still unclear as to who ever thought he was presidential material to begin with, outside of Frist himself, of course.
This Tennessean is glad he won't be running again for the Senate. I hope he takes Lamar! with him......
No matter which side he came down on in the end, his completely uninformed statements were ridiculous.
Good Lord, Frist is a spineless weasel. Now neither side of the argument respects him.
Why is the party leadership getting behind an issue which is wildly unpopular?
Just 17% of Americans believe Dubai Ports World should be allowed to purchase operating rights to several U.S. ports. A Rasmussen Reports survey found that 64% disagree and believe the sale should not be allowed
This is a shining example of Congress overstepping it's authority. There was a process, and it was followed.
FReepers learded about this while everyone was orgasmic over Cheney shooting his buddies face off with a Howitzer. To bad our Congresscritters and their staff don't cruise by here once in a while to see what's happening in the World.
Why are you parroting the schumer/MSM lies, you know the incessant lie that the UAE was "taking over" the ports, when they are not.
Even something like 61% of the American people don't know that foreign firms already operate container terminals.
If the press had been truthful and not hyperbolic, the polls would be different, IMO.
Of course the Port Critics love to quote the Polls that were conducted while their hysteric lying was still going on. Now that the facts are coming out and people understand that this has NOTHING to do with Port Security or "running our ports" and are rapidly switching their positions. It is only the knee jerk Bush haters who still refuse to admit how clueless they were on this issue.
Because leadership is about doing the correct thing NOT whoreing after the Polls. You need to switch sides. Whoring after the Polls is what the Democrat Leadership does.
"cruise by here once in a while to see what's happening"
I must say that my first reaction to this deal was much like the rest of the population that relies on nothing but the lsm. Fortunately, I DO have FR come cruising to ifor the truth.
Any bets on when Hannity (or others) will begin to back pedal? Put me down for Tuesday, 1:14PM MST.
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