- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 2, 2004

Kerry’s finger

“Democratic senator — and certain presidential nominee — John F. Kerry, gave the middle finger to a Vietnam veteran at the Vietnam Memorial Wall on Memorial Day morning,” NewsMax.com reported yesterday.

Ted Sampley, a former Green Beret who served two full tours in Vietnam, spotted Kerry and his Secret Service detail at about 9 a.m. Monday morning at the Wall. Sampley walked up to Kerry, extended his hand and said, ‘Senator, I am Ted Sampley, the head of Vietnam Veterans Against John Kerry, and I am here to escort you away from the Wall because you do not belong here.’

“At that point, a Secret Service officer told Sampley to back away from Kerry. Sampley moved about 6 feet away and opened his jacket to reveal a HANOI JOHN T-shirt,” NewsMax reported.

“Kerry then began talking to a group of schoolchildren. Sampley then showed the T-shirt to the children and said, ‘Kerry does not belong at the Wall because he betrayed the brave soldiers who fought in Vietnam.’

“Just then, Kerry — in front of the schoolchildren, other visitors and Secret Service agents — brazenly ‘flashed the bird’ at Sampley and then yelled out to everyone, ‘Sampley is a felon!’

“Kerry was referring to an incident 12 years ago when Sampley confronted Sen. John McCain’s chief aide, Mark Salter, in a Senate stairwell after McCain repeatedly offended POW families at a Senate POW hearing. Sampley, whose father-in-law at that time was MIA in Laos, followed Salter into the stairwell and, when they emerged, Salter had a bloody lip and a broken nose.”

Black and white

Black preachers and white conservative activists came together yesterday in support of a constitutional amendment to ban homosexual “marriage,” Cox News Service reports.

“Same-sex marriage is not a civil rights issue,” declared the Rev. William Owens, president of the Coalition of African American Pastors, based in Memphis, Tenn. “You cannot have a civil rights issue for something that is wrong.”

“Marriage is a black-and-white issue. It is between one man and one woman,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.

In announcing their alliance, the participants vowed to campaign within their different constituencies for a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman. They also back similar provisions that will be on the November ballot in several states.

At a press conference in the Capitol, the ministers and political activists warned that candidates, members of Congress and the president would be held accountable for their stances.

Wisconsin surprise

“It was amazing. Had I not been there to see it and hear it, I never would have believed it. But I, and thousands of others, witnessed it in Madison, Wis.,” Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Laney writes, referring to the reaction to the commencement address at the University of Wisconsin.

“The school had chosen an actor for the honor because he had grown up in Madison. He began his speech with this: ‘I bring you greetings from the acting president of the United States!’

“The throng of graduates erupted in cheers,” the columnist said.

“The actor-speaker, you see, was none other than Bradley Whitford, who is seen weekly on the television series ‘The West Wing.’ And he was on a roll … or so he thought.

“He followed his message with a question: How was he asked to speak at the University of Wisconsin in Madison when the real president of the United States spoke the day before at a small college of 5,000 students in Mequon near Milwaukee?

“This is where the amazing thing happened. When Whitford said, ‘President George Bush was at Concordia [University] yesterday,’ the students erupted with applause and cheers. They were cheering for George W. Bush! The University of Wisconsin — where Students for a Democratic Society, SDS, was born; the place known to be so far left it’s off the charts — had students cheering for a Republican president!

“It appeared to surprise the speaker as his speech abruptly turned to a list of suggestions — a formula, so to speak — on how to achieve their goals in life.”

The columnist added: “Later, I asked some of the graduates what they thought of the commencement address and why they had cheered the president. Their answers came quickly. They didn’t like Whitford’s remarks about the president. They didn’t think the time was right to attack a president who was leading the country in a war against terrorism.”

Knowles and Kerry

The campaign wing of Senate Republicans apparently thinks that Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry could drag down Tony Knowles, the Democratic candidate for a U.S. Senate seat from Alaska, on the issue of allowing limited oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

The National Republican Senatorial Committee campaign has purchased television time for ads that will begin airing in Alaska on Tuesday, the day of the filing deadline for the U.S. Senate race, according to a press release by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

The ads attempt to link Mr. Knowles to Mr. Kerry’s fervent opposition to oil drilling in ANWR, echoing a theme of Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the Democrats said. Mr. Knowles says he supports oil drilling, a popular position in Alaska.

“Alaskans don’t need anyone from Washington, D.C., telling them how to think or vote,” Mr. Knowles said in a statement included in the Democratic press release. “If these people lived in Alaska, they would know that I have always fought to open ANWR and am independent enough to have publicly taken on my own party over this issue.”

Columnist Dean

Howard Dean is writing a syndicated weekly column, Editor & Publisher reports.

“The first piece by the former Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont governor appeared [Monday]. In it, Dean called for electronic voting to be shelved until 2006 or until it’s ‘reliable and will allow recounts,’” the newspaper trade magazine said at its Web site (www.editorandpublisher.com)

Mr. Dean’s column is being distributed by Cagle Cartoons, which also carries columns by Michael Reagan, son of the former president, and Dick Morris, the former political adviser to President Clinton.

Applause-o-meter

The New York Times, in an article by Marc Santora, said Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s graduation address Saturday at West Point “drew polite applause,” seeming to suggest that the graduates and guests were unenthusiastic but mannerly.

A Pentagon aide tells us that the Associated Press came closer to the truth when it said that Mr. Rumsfeld spoke to “a cheering crowd” and that he received “sustained applause.”

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

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