No one getting 'whacked', but still...

December 15, 2010 11:22:45 AM PST
There's a great scene in The Godfather II, where Frank Pantangeli is in federal prison after betraying the Corleone family and after committing perjury to Congress. The Corleone family lawyer visits Pantangeli behind bars, where the two men talk about betrayal and how, long ago, those who betrayed the Roman Empire would, after they were caught, sit in a bathtub and slit their wrists. This, as a sign of honor and repentance. Their families, however, would be taken care of.

The family consigliore, Tom Hagen, assures Pantangeli that his family will be taken care of. Cut later to the prison bathtub, and the former Mafioso has taken his own life.

I thought of that scene today, as several key Democrats have, figuratively speaking, plopped into the bathtub and taken their political lives.

Veteran Senators Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Byron L. Dorgan of North Dakota say they're going to retire and not seek re-election. Ditto for Colorado Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter (no relation), who was seen as something of a rising star in the Party part of the moderate-Democrats-movement gaining ground over the Mountain States.

Each was facing a tough re-election campaign, thanks in no small part to the non-stop and blistering attacks on Pres. Obama by conservatives.

The only difference between the political drama playing out today and the big-screen drama of three decades ago is that these pols' families won't be taken care of.

At least as far as we know.

You don't need a degree in political science to sense that this will be a tough year in politics. But it would be a mistake to think that it only applies to Democrats (although their 60-member majority is very much in question in the fall). Republicans, too, will have a tough time. This may now be Obama's recession to fix, but it was a recession started under a Republican administration, and the pain is still felt across the country. "Throw the bums out" isn't aimed at a particular party these days it's a general war cry aimed at anyone in office or in power.

We'll have the latest on the political turmoil, tonight at 11.

We're also following several fronts in the war on terror. The chaos for passengers last Sunday at Newark now giving rise to calls for better security. How did a man manage to walk into a secure area, unchecked and unstopped? And why weren't surveillance cameras rolling? And why did a TSA workers simply walk away from his post, allowing the man to get in? All questions on the table tonight.

We're also learning more about the suicide bomber who killed several CIA agents in Afghanistan last week. It appears he was a triple agent deceiving the CIA and the Jordanians, and in reality loyal only to Al Qaeda. Tonight, his wife is speaking out, and we're getting our first look at his picture.

And finally in the terror fight front, a federal grand jury today indicted the suspected terrorist who tried to blow up a Detroit-bound plane on Christmas Day. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was indicted on six charges, including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted murder.

The indictment alleges that in addition to having the highly explosive PETN on him, he also had another highly explosive compound, TATP. The plane would have blown up had Abdulmutallab's underwear not caught fire, alerting passengers and rendering the bomb useless.

And I just exhaled deeply. What a world we live in and we'll have the latest on these developments, tonight at 11.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports.

I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.