Husband-and-wife Dan Senor (Republican spokesman) and Campbell Brown ("Today" show), on global affairs

February 15th, 2007

Power couple bring views to WPB

Daily News Staff Writer

Friday, February 09, 2007

Learning to disagree without getting personal is a valuable skill.

Today Show weekend co-anchor Campbell Brown and Fox News regular Dan Senorseem to have learned that lesson in less than a year of marriage.

The couple shared their views on some of the most pressing world events Wednesday at the Kravis Center, during the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County's “Pride of our Lions” luncheon.

The annual event recognizes the organization's top female contributors.

Senor, a Republican strategist, served as senior adviser to Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq from May 2003 to July 2004.

Brown worked for two years as a White House correspondent for NBC News before joining Today in 2003.

The two met in Baghdad and began dating months later.

Senor acknowledged there is “tremendous resistance” in America to maintaining an American military presence in Iraq, nearly four years after the conflict began, and to President Bush's plan to send 21,500 more troops there to try to quell the deadly, escalating sectarian violence.

The policy thus far has been to hunt insurgents, primarily in the “Sunni Triangle,” and to train Iraqi security forces, not provide security for Iraqi citizens, Senor said.

“Iraqis are getting slaughtered every day,” Senor said. “We can preach democracy and free markets and a civil society and all these ideals we hope to export to that part of the world, but if an Iraqi can't walk out the front door without fear of getting blown up, it doesn't matter how many jobs programs you have, it doesn't matter how many times you offer them an election to vote. It doesn't matter.”

Extremists in the Middle East have learned that the American public gets uneasy once U.S. casualties start to mount, he said. Setting a deadline for withdrawal sends a signal to those determined to destabilize Iraq.

“I am concerned, however, that the president's surge is a little too little, a little too late,” Senor said.

Brown views politicians' attempts to set a deadline for troop withdrawal as posturing ahead of the next presidential election.

“Everyone is positioning with a focus on 2008,” she said. “It's frustrating, I think, for many Americans.”

The two hold discordant views on the administration's unwillingness to commit to reductions in pollutants responsible for global warming.

Senor agrees with Bush's stance that the United States shouldn't commit to mandatory emission decreases via the Kyoto treaty. The administration has argued that the United States shouldn't participate because the treaty requires industrialized countries to bear more responsibility for reducing greenhouse gases than developing countries such as China and India.

Brown, however, said the Bush administration has done “not much – nothing” to stop global warming, although the vast majority of the world's scientists agree the phenomena is happening and that human activity is responsible for it.

“It was pretty extraordinary that the first time the president's talked about climate change or acknowledged the existence of climate change was in his most recent State of the Union address,” Brown said. “I don't know how great a step it is to say they are finally acknowledging that it exists. I think that political debate is over. I hope it's over.”

She challenged her husband to deny humans' role in climate change.

“I dare you!” she said to applause from the crowd.

To more laughter, Senor suggested that his wife ask him his opinion, rather than urge him not to oppose hers.

“Is this just a drop in the bucket if the United States unilaterally decides to do something about it?” Senor asked, citing the administration's argument that participating in the Kyoto treaty would damage the U.S. economy. “If we are going to take these steps, we better not be doing it alone.”

But Brown said change must start somewhere.

“I think that's all fine and good, but I also don't believe that you can't begin taking steps just because China and India are not taking steps,” Brown said to more applause.

Senor is comfortable being labeled a conservative. Brown, however, the daughter of a former Louisiana Democratic senator, said she is not a liberal, rebutting those who brand all journalists as such.

“It's much more about the pursuit of the story and getting beyond the spin,” Brown said.

The Today regular said the Clinton White House was more receptive to the media, while the Bush administration has viewed the press as its enemy.

Senor offered a supportive statement on his wife's role as a journalist.

“Her job is to hold everyone accountable,” he said, showing his diplomatic side.

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