Second Acts
March 28, 2014

Former President George H.W. Bush is set to receive the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation's prestigious Profile in Courage Award for breaking his "read my lips" pledge not to raise taxes — and for being "pilloried by conservatives for doing so."

To be sure, conservatives weren't happy when he broke the pledge. Many still aren't. Upon hearing the news, Americans for Tax Reform's Grover Norquist issued a statement saying: "Courage would have been standing up to the spending lobbyists in Washington and saying, 'No.' Doing what official Washington and its spending lobbies want is not courage. It is a failure of nerve."

While it's fair to say that Bush went against his base, there are additional facts worth considering. First, Bush later said it was a mistake. And second, it wasn't just conservatives who "pilloried" the president. Let's not forget that Clinton strategist James Carville called it "the most famous broken promise in the history of American politics."

Political courage requires doing the right thing — even if it costs you an election. You need both parts of the equation. Merely losing an election is not a qualification. And since when did breaking promises become noble?

Exit question: If Jeb Bush is really considering a presidential run, what are the odds he shows up for the awards ceremony in Boston? Now that would be a profile in courage.

2016 Watch
1:45 p.m. ET
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Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina on Sunday crept closer to a White House bid, saying in an interview with Fox News there is a "higher than 90 percent" chance she will run.

"As other potential candidates are doing, we need to make sure we have the right team in place, that we have the right support," she said, adding that an announcement would likely come in late April or early May.

A political neophyte, Fiorina ran for Senate in California in 2010 but lost by a 10-point margin. A CNN poll earlier this month found her with less than one percent of the vote in a hypothetical GOP primary. —Jon Terbush

2016 Watch
12:57 p.m. ET
Screenshot / ABC

Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley on Sunday took a none-too-subtle swipe at Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, the presumptive frontrunners for their parties' 2016 nominations.

"The presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families," O'Malley, himself a prospective White House candidate, said on ABC's This Week. "It is an awesome and sacred trust to be earned and exercised on behalf of the American people." —Jon Terbush


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The hunters become the hunted
12:27 p.m. ET
Screenshot / NBC

What would Bambi look like with bulging muscles and an entourage of woodland gunmen? That's the question Saturday Night Live answered with a The Fast and the Furious meets Disney reboot staring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as the titular orphaned deer.

"When I was a boy, they took away my mother," Johnson says in the faux trailer. "Now it's time for them to pay — dearly." —Jon Terbush

Iran and the bomb
11:51 a.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday assailed the emerging details of a nuclear agreement intended to curb Iran's nuclear program.

"This agreement, as it appears, confirms all of our concerns and even more so," he said.

The U.S. and Iran have three days left before the deadline to reach a framework deal.

This just in
11:21 a.m. ET
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Arab leaders on Sunday announced a tentative agreement to create a joint military force to combat violence and extremism in the region.

"We recognize the clear challenges in the Arab world and the need to take measures to combat them," Nabil al Araby, chairman of the Arab League, said on the final day of the group's summit in Egypt.

The announcement came days after a Saudi-led coalition began launching airstrikes in Yemen against the Houthi rebels who have overrun the country and forced President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee.

Developing story
10:27 a.m. ET
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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) said Saturday his state would move to "clarify" the intent of a controversial so-called religious freedom law that critics contend will allow businesses to discriminate against gays.

"I support religious liberty, and I support this law," Pence told the Indianapolis Star. "But we are in discussions with legislative leaders this weekend to see if there's a way to clarify the intent of the law."

The law, which will go into effect in July, bars the state from enacting legislation that could "substantially burden" the ability of people and businesses to practice their religious beliefs. Several high-profile businesses and figures have expressed concern over the law, or threatened to boycott the state.

Developing story
8:54 a.m. ET
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Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot believed to have deliberately crashed a Germanwings airliner last week, sought treatment for a vision problem that could have been psychosomatic and impacted his ability to fly, according to investigators. In addition, investigators on Saturday revealed they found antidepressants while searching Lubitz's home earlier in the week, though it was not clear whether the medication factored into the crash.

Also this weekend, a woman who identified herself as an ex-girlfriend of Lubitz told a German newspaper that the 27-year-old co-pilot once vowed to do something so dramatic that "everyone will know my name and remember."

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