- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 13, 2003

Moseley-Braun back
Former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun plans to file papers for a presidential exploratory committee early next week, a spokesman said yesterday. Her entry into the 2004 presidential race will expand the Democratic field of candidates to seven.
"We are planning to file papers Tuesday for an exploratory committee," said Kevin Lampe, a spokesman for Mrs. Moseley-Braun.
The Associated Press cited the spokesman as saying the former senator will go to Iowa on Saturday, New Hampshire on Sunday and South Carolina on Monday as a guest of American Women Presidents, a political action committee.
Mrs. Moseley-Braun also plans to seek a speaking slot with other presidential candidates at the Democratic National Committee's winter meeting Feb. 20-22 an option available only to those who have publicly announced their intentions to run for president and those who have filed papers for an exploratory committee.
Party priority
Sen. John B. Breaux, Louisiana Democrat, sounds chagrined that his party has decided to filibuster Miguel Estrada's nomination to a federal appeals court.
"The country is at Orange Alert. People are stockpiling water and duct tape," Mr. Breaux told the Chicago Tribune in remarks published yesterday. "Who knows if we're going to war in two weeks, and we're going to shut down everything to filibuster a person the American Bar Association has unanimously said is well qualified?"
Shadow president
Bill Clinton left the White House more than two years ago, but a string of television appearances in the past week including CNN's "Larry King Weekend" and "Inside Politics" suggests that he is organizing a shadow presidency, something unprecedented in American history.
Just yesterday, Mr. Clinton appeared on NBC's "Today" show and sketched his own foreign policy concerning North Korea's bid to become a nuclear power.
The United States should hold high-level talks with North Korea and offer Pyongyang "a grand bargain," Mr. Clinton said.
"I don't think delay is good. I think we need an intense, exceedingly high-level engagement," he said. "I think we need to go to the North Koreans with a common position and we need to offer them a grand bargain. So I think we offer them a comprehensive settlement of all issues."
Mr. Clinton also said his wife would make a "great" president, and that the greatest regret of his presidency was not eliminating Osama bin Laden.
"We talked about bin Laden four out of five days for the last three years I was president," Mr. Clinton said. "I had the same level of obsession with bin Laden that I think a lot of the current administration has with Saddam Hussein."
Lashing out
Bill Clinton lashed out yesterday at CNN's Judy Woodruff for asking about actor Richard Gere's recent comments that Mr. Clinton did nothing to fight AIDS during his time in the White House.
"Let me turn to something, President Clinton, that you're also very involved in, and that is AIDS," Miss Woodruff said on the program "Inside Politics."
"As I'm sure you know, the actor Richard Gere made a comment the other day that you hadn't done anything about AIDS in your years in the White House. Obviously, that is not true.
"Given how much President Bush is now directing to the global fight against AIDS, do you, in retrospect, wish you had done a little more?" she asked.
Mr. Clinton replied: "I think that's the silliest question I ever heard, and I don't blame Richard Gere, because he is an actor. He doesn't know."
DeLay's question
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Texas Republican, says he was at a party back in his home district in Houston a while back when a Frenchman approached him.
"He started talking to me about Iraq, and it was obvious we weren't going to agree," Mr. DeLay said. "And I said, 'Wait a minute. Do you speak German?'
"He looked at me kind of funny and said, 'No, I don't speak German.'
"I said, 'You're welcome.' And he turned and walked off." Mr. DeLay told reporters Tuesday.
"The point is that France and Germany are losing credibility by the day and losing status in the world," Mr. DeLay said. "They are undermining the credibility of the U.N. and now they are undermining the credibility of NATO. They are walking a very fine line that is very dangerous that could make the U.N. and NATO irrelevant."
Democrats' nightmare
Al Sharpton's presidential campaign is "giving national Democrats nightmares," Michelle Cottle writes in the New Republic.
"Well aware of the havoc wreaked by the bomb-throwing reverend in many a New York election, party strategists are exceedingly nervous about Sharpton taking his racialist political theater to the national stage," the writer said.
"Many fear that, if not shown the proper obeisance by the party and its eventual nominee, he will use his oratorical gifts and trademark grievance politics to convince minority voters that they might as well stay home on Election Day. At the same time, Dems worry about what will happen if their party gets too snuggly with the reverend.
"In the early '90s, Bill Clinton helped erase his party's association with identity politics; a return to the old sectarian ways could drive itchy swing voters straight into the compassionately conservative embrace of George W. Bush. With Sharpton in the race, warns one Democratic player, 'the question is whether he will destroy the national party the way he did the Democrats in New York.'"
Kerry's surgery
Sen. John Kerry successfully underwent surgery yesterday to treat an early form of prostate cancer, his doctor reported, saying that "everything went well" and that the Democratic presidential hopeful can leave the hospital in a few days.
"Everything came out very nicely. Everything looked completely contained," said Dr. Patrick Walsh, the chief of urology at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, who performed the surgery.
Dr. Walsh said Mr. Kerry will not require follow-up radiation treatment and should be able to get on with his presidential campaign very soon, the Associated Press reports.
The 59-year-old Massachusetts Democrat, who disclosed Tuesday that he had prostate cancer, vowed to return to work within a matter of days and said the diagnosis would not derail his campaign for his party's presidential nomination.
Cleaning up
Education Secretary Rod Paige yesterday announced his department's "first clean" financial audit in many years and only the second since the Education Department was created as a Cabinet agency in 1979.
"This problem didn't happen on this administration's watch, but I promised [18 months ago] that it was something that was going to stop on our watch," he said of prior mismanagement, stealing of government funds and equipment by employees, false claims for overtime, and other problems.
"Not only had the department not had a clean audit in years, there wasn't even the expectation of one," the secretary told reporters. "I turned on the TV one night and there was Tom Brokaw doing a segment on the 'fleecing of America,' and he was talking about the Department of Education."
Mr. Paige said 19 federal employees and relatives have been convicted for stealing money intended for South Dakota schools to buy luxury cars and real estate. Four others have been indicted and await trial.

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