- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 2, 2004

Targeting Target

Some are probing the political underpinnings of Minneapolis-based Target Corp.’s decision to ban Salvation Army bell ringers from its 1,272 stores nationwide — at a loss of about $9 million to the charity.

“Christian shoppers and others of good will can also decide to take their business elsewhere. Why reward a company that appears to favor the values of homosexual activists over those of the families that do most of the Christmas shopping?” asks Robert Knight of the Virginia-based Concerned Women for America.

Target, he said, “has been under pressure from homosexual groups to kick out the Salvation Army because of the charity’s refusal to subsidize homosexual relationships.”

Mr. Knight adds that “Target gives millions to charities, but only if the recipients are deemed ‘politically correct’ by the ACLU, homosexual activists and other bullies.”

Some retailers are championing the Salvation Army, however.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen reported yesterday that two local malls — Old Capitol Town Center and Sycamore Mall — presented Johnson County Salvation Army Capt. Terry Smith with $11,000 they raised for the charity — the amount bell ringers took in last year at a Target store in nearby Coralville.

Male-strom

Two lady journalists are piqued that NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw was replaced by look-alike Brian Williams.

“The country must endure the prolonged departure of Dan Rather, which is already the subject of headlines and dramatic commentary. You’d have thought justices William Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia had abandoned their seats in tandem,” wrote Margaret Carlson in the Los Angeles Times yesterday.

“There’s one big difference: When Rehnquist and Scalia go, the list of potential replacements will include women and African Americans. … We’re likely to have a woman president before we have a woman anchor on the networks.”

Does cable count? Perhaps only CNN’s Paula Zahn and MSNBC’s Lester Holt would know.

Meanwhile, the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd weighed in.

“White men are ascendant in Red State America. … The networks don’t even give lip service to looking for women and blacks for anchor jobs — they just put pretty-boy clones in the pipeline,” she wrote yesterday.

The right thing

The success of values as an issue for President Bush in the presidential election has gotten the other political parties equally value conscious, it seems.

According to a Gallup survey released yesterday, 70 percent of Republicans rate the overall state of moral values in America as “only fair or poor.”

But surprise: Democrats and independents are even more critical of American values than the GOP these days.

The poll says 72 percent of Democrats and 75 percent of independents also rate the values climate as “fair or poor.” The survey of 1,015 adults was conducted Nov. 19 to 21.

Accuracy at a price

“Note to Gregoire: Concede already,” advised John Carlson to Washington state Attorney General Christine Gregoire, a Democrat who wants a recount in her bid for governor against Republican Dino Rossi, who won by 42 votes.

Mr. Carlson was the Republican nominee for governor in 2000. Mrs. Gregoire, in the meantime, has received $200,000 from Sen. John Kerry from his unused campaign contributions to help her recount efforts.

“Rossi won it fairly, he won it squarely and he won it twice. Yet Gregoire is calling for a third count done by hand because she wants ‘accuracy.’” Mr. Carlson wrote in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer yesterday.

He continued, “Gregoire is no longer acting like someone who wants ‘every vote counted’; she’s acting like someone who wants the votes counted again and again, in different ways if necessary.

“More than a political race is at stake here. Washington long has been known as a clean place in which to do politics, but that reputation evaporates if Rossi becomes the only candidate in state history (and one of the only ones in U.S. history) to win an election on the first count, win it again on the second and then be denied the oath of office by a third count that used a less reliable method for counting the ballots.”

A little math

When all was said and done, President Bush had some cash left in his campaign war chest: He has consequently donated $11 million to the Republican Party and a tidy $1,680 to the White House Historical Association.

Mr. Bush collected a total of $273 million in private fund raising, spent mostly on TV ads. He finished with $4.4 million left in a $75 million, taxpayer-financed general election campaign fund, with $1 million in bills to pay. He had $15 million in a legal compliance fund he could have used had there been a recount fight, according to reports Mr. Bush filed yesterday with the Federal Election Commission.

Boxer’s book

Yes, but will it make it to film? Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, has sold her first novel to San Francisco-based Chronicle Books, to be published in November.

According to the publisher, though the book has no title yet and will be written with women’s fiction author Mary-Rose Hayes, it already is quite a potboiler:

“The novel of personal friendships and betrayal, political infighting and pragmatism, follows Ellen from her days as an idealistic college student, through romantic entanglements, to a difficult marriage to a rising political star. When her husband is killed, she steps into his campaign for the Senate and is elected. On the eve of a crucial Senate vote, her personal and political worlds collide when her right-wing adversaries recruit her former lover to sabotage her credibility and career,” the publisher noted yesterday.

El presidente

President Bush’s nomination of two Hispanics to his Cabinet — White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales as attorney general and Carlos Gutierrez as secretary of the Commerce Department — has brought his outreach to Hispanic Americans into sharp focus.

In the election aftermath, Mr. Bush’s strongest Hispanic support nationwide came from suburbs, small towns and rural counties, noted Ana Maria Arumi, NBC News election coverage manager, according to Scripps Howard yesterday.

“Republicans have made significant increases in the Latino vote,” she said.

An analysis found that 72 percent of Protestant Hispanics — who make up a third of the nation’s Hispanics — voted for Mr. Bush.

But Miss Arumi also said that network exit polls on Election Day overestimated Mr. Bush’s support among Hispanic voters: Revised figures show Mr. Bush received 40 percent of the Hispanic vote, not 44 percent, as previously reported.

That still would be a 5 percent gain for Mr. Bush over Democratic Sen. John Kerry compared with the 2000 race against Al Gore.

Contact Jennifer Harper at 202/636-3085 or jharper@washingtontimes.com

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