Rice defends Middle East legacy
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has told the BBC she believes the Middle East is a better place for the policies of President George W Bush. Asked to assess the outgoing US administration’s legacy, she said she was especially proud of the situation in the Palestinian territories. She insisted that what she called a US-inspired “freedom agenda” had taken hold in the Middle East. Ms Rice also said Iraq had become a “good Arab friend” of America. “The Middle East is a different place and a better place,” Ms Rice told BBC Arabic TV. Iraq, far from being destroyed, was fully integrated into the Arab world, she said. Elsewhere, Syrian forces were out of Lebanon and women had the vote in Kuwait, she noted. “Democracy is finally in the vocabulary of the Middle East in a way it was not before,” Ms Rice said. (Continue Reading…)

Google CEO Eric Schmidt to Stump for Obama
Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt, an informal adviser to Barack Obama for several months, is joining the Democratic nominee on the campaign trail. Schmidt will appear today with Obama in the tightly contested state of Florida to talk about the economy. Although Schmidt announced his backing of Obama in Monday’s Wall Street Journal, he has been advising the campaign on technology and clean-energy issues for most of the summer. For years, Schmidt was a major Democratic fundraiser and high-profile supporter of Democratic candidates, notably 2000 presidential candidate Al Gore, who now serves as a senior adviser to Google. (Continue Reading…)

Limbaugh defends comment about Powell
Conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh Monday strongly defended his recent remark that Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama largely because of race, and lashed out at members of the media and Democrats for appearing to take issue with his comment. “So what if it’s race?” Limbaugh said on his radio show. “Why is it so hard to admit that it’s race…What’s so problematic about admitting it?” Limbaugh’s original comments came in an email to Politico reporter Jonathan Martin Sunday, when the talk-radio host took issue with Powell’s contention that his endorsement of the Illinois senator did not have anything to do with the color of his skin. (Continue Reading…)

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