- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Democratic idol

“Do the Democrats really want to join forces with Michael Moore? It sure looks like it,” Michael Barone writes in U.S. News & World Report.

“Last week, Moore’s documentary film ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ opened in Washington with an audience that included Democratic National Chairman Terry McAuliffe, Sens. Tom Daschle, Barbara Boxer, and Tom Harkin, CongressmenHenry Waxman, Charles Rangel, and Jim McDermott (who before the war said that he believed Saddam Hussein more than George W. Bush), and the 9/11 commission’s most partisan member, Richard Ben-Veniste. The film received a standing ovation,” Mr. Barone said.

“In Manhattan, Democratic National Committee Treasurer Maureen White hosted a showing of the film for local big contributors. Seldom have leaders of a political party promoted a commercial film so shamelessly. …

“It’s amazing that any politician, however opposed to Bush, would want to be associated with this film or its maker, a man who said shortly after the 9/11 attacks: ‘We, the United States of America, are culpable in committing so many acts of terror and bloodshed that we had better get a clue about the culture of violence in which we have been active participants.’ As for the current situation in Iraq, Moore has written: ‘The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not “insurgents” or “terrorists” or “The Enemy.” They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow — and they will win.’ Are these messages the Democrats really wish to embrace?”

The McCain ad

President Bush’s re-election campaign has a TV ad in the works featuring former Republican rival John McCain, and advisers are weighing whether to air it when Democrat John Kerry announces his vice presidential pick.

Mr. McCain, the Arizona senator who rejected Mr. Kerry’s overtures to be No. 2 on the Democratic ticket, campaigned with Mr. Bush in Fort Lewis, Wash., last month. Mr. Bush’s ad-makers filmed the appearance and the footage is being included in an ad, according to Republican sources, who spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the plans remain incomplete.

Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt would neither confirm nor deny that the ad, which is unfinished, is being cut, the AP said.

The Bush campaign has not run ads for more than two weeks in local media markets in 20 battleground states where it had been on the air. It had spent $83 million on advertising over three months.

Last month, Mr. McCain — Mr. Bush’s rival for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000 — rejected the notion of a bipartisan ticket with Mr. Kerry, and shortly thereafter appeared on the campaign trail with Mr. Bush.

The big bounce

The Bush-Cheney campaign yesterday sought to lower expectations about the impact of John Kerry’s selection of a running mate and the effect on public polls.

In an e-mail, Matthew Dowd, President Bush’s chief strategist, predicted that the race will “swing wildly” in Mr. Kerry’s favor within a month.

Mr. Dowd’s memo included a chart showing that the challenger typically has gained a 15-point bounce in polls when the running mate is announced and the spotlight of the convention shines on the nominee, the Associated Press reports.

These two developments “can have a dramatic (if often short-lived) effect on the head-to-head poll numbers,” Mr. Dowd wrote. “In fact, historical analysis suggests John Kerry should have a lead of more than 15 points coming out of his convention.”

The new Kerry

John Kerry is making nice with the corporate world. And the message is hardly subtle: ‘I am not a redistribution Democrat. Fear not,’” Wall Street Journal editorial board member Hugo Restall writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“Campaign aides of the presumptive Democratic nominee told the Wall Street Journal that he wooed business leaders by saying, ‘I don’t want to lead a party that loves jobs and hates the people who create them,’” Mr. Restall said.

“The love-in seems to be paying off. Titans of capitalism such as Warren Buffett, Steve Jobs and Lee Iacocca have given their endorsements. A Washington Post/ABC poll released last month showed that the public trusts the senator from Massachusetts to do a better job handling the economy than President Bush by a margin of 5 percent.

“Such a reversal of the conventional wisdom favoring Republican management of economic affairs is all the more surprising given the accelerating job creation of the last four months.

“Give credit where it’s due, Mr. Kerry has backpedaled from his populist rhetoric of the primary season. But just how much of a business-friendly New Democrat is he really? On closer examination, his policy proposals suggest that he hasn’t decided between the paleoliberal worldview of Teddy Kennedy and the free-trade, pro-growth policies of Bill Clinton. In fact, the old Democrats seem to be winning the battle for John Kerry’s soul,” Mr. Restall said, citing among other things Mr. Kerry’s opposition to new free-trade deals and his plan to roll back the Bush tax cuts.

Reagan exhibit

An exhibit displaying items and images from President Reagan’s funeral opened Sunday at the hilltop library in Simi Valley, Calif., where he is buried.

Close to 6,000 people visited the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, some dressed in red, white and blue for the Fourth of July opening of “Mourning in America,” said Duke Blackwood, executive director of the library and the Reagan foundation.

Mr. Reagan died June 5 after battling Alzheimer’s disease for a decade.

The new exhibit, on display through Nov. 11, draws upon the public outpouring of sympathy for the Reagan family and the elaborate funeral events held in California and the nation’s capital.

Among the items on display Sunday were dozens of photographs, the black velvet-draped bier that supported Mr. Reagan’s mahogany casket in Simi Valley, riding boots that were placed backward in the stirrups of the riderless horse led to the Capitol on June 9 and the flag that flew over the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan on June 5.

A lot of slots

Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell signed laws yesterday authorizing 61,000 slot machines in Pennsylvania — more than any other state except Nevada — and using most of the state’s share to pay for a $1 billion cut in property taxes a year.

Revenue from the slot machines, which would be located at 14 sites, including seven horse tracks, would be used to cut property taxes by an average 20 percent, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Rendell, a Democrat who had made slots-for-tax-relief the centerpiece of his 2002 election campaign, signed the bills at Philadelphia Park, the thoroughbred track that produced Kentucky Derby-winner Smarty Jones.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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