- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 21, 2004

Clint for president

Suffice it to say, John Kerry has a potty mouth.

Days after coming under sharp criticism for his inappropriate use of four-letter words, the Democratic presidential nominee has cursed a Secret Service agent whose job is to take a bullet for the politician.

It was a tough assignment from the start for Secret Service agents dispatched to guard the Massachusetts senator as he vacations for seven days in star-studded Sun Valley, Idaho.

“Hotel managers in the valley are aware of Kerry’s presence, only because the Secret Service personnel assigned to protect Kerry have had trouble finding a place to stay,” the Idaho Statesman reported the other day.

“They called and wanted rooms, but I had to tell them we’re full,” said Tamarack Lodge manager Jitka Sullivan.

Surely, Mr. Kerry could have found a couple of spare beds within the $8 million Sun Valley estate owned by his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry. According to the Statesman, the European country-style manor is the largest and most secluded of all the resort’s properties, with two huge stone fireplaces to keep the place cozy.

And if bunking down wasn’t difficult enough for Uncle Sam’s bodyguards, the New York Times buried way down in its story filed from the sun-splashed slopes: “His next trip down, a reporter and a camera crew were allowed to follow along on skis — just in time to see Mr. Kerry taken out by one of the Secret Service men, who had inadvertently moved into his path, sending him into the snow.

“When asked about the mishap a moment later, [Mr. Kerry] said sharply, ‘I don’t fall down,’ then used an expletive to describe the agent who ‘knocked me over.’”

Maybe the senator is sore because after months of his grueling campaign, few are paying him attention in Sun Valley — that is, if they know who he is.

“Most people aren’t even aware Kerry is here, and many don’t seem to care anyway,” observes the Statesman. “At the Roosevelt Bar and Grill on the corner of Main and Sun Valley Road, a young, curly-haired bartender named Ryan Parade had no clue that the man challenging President Bush was close at hand.

“Who’s that?” Mr. Parade said when asked if he knew Mr. Kerry was in town for a week.

Admitted vacationer Joyce Bavas of Chicago: “I see Clint Eastwood all the time. Now, he’s more my idea of a president.”

Fake photos

Renowned worldwide photographer Leif Skoogfors has written to Inside the Beltway regarding our latest column about graphic artist/political parody creator Richard Taylor, who admits to doctoring a photograph that places a young John Kerry right next to anti-Vietnam War activist Jane Fonda at a 1971 rally.

We’d written that the fake photo was not to be confused with a genuine Associated Press photo from the same rally.

“I took the original photograph of Fonda/Kerry,” Mr. Skoogfors writes. “I was a free-lancer at the time. It was and is distributed by my agent, Corbis. Frankly, its wide distribution has given me nothing but headaches. And while I’ve disagreed with some of the captions that ran with it, this is America and democracy reigns (Thank God!)

“I’ve had threats, e-mail bombing, and calls in the night,” he adds. “Also, another person has retouched the photo and it runs on the Free Republic [Web site] with a new communist flag and is presented as ‘real.’”

Fake leaders

Money will buy anything these days — including an imaginary foreign leader who will not only support your presidential candidacy, he will lie for you.

On the heels of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry insisting that numerous foreign leaders (whom he declines to name) have endorsed his bid for the White House, a politically motivated entrepreneur, who appears to be from India, has placed himself on the EBay auction block as the imaginary “leader of a foreign nation that supports your candidacy for president of the United States until the elections in November.”

“I’ll play along with you with whatever you want me to say,” says the pretend head of state. “If you want me to tell some pesky Republican who calls you out at a campaign stop that I support you, I’ll back you up. … Just like you, I’m willing to say anything it takes to get you elected. I won’t mean a bit of it, and I’ll change my stand on the situation when it is politically convenient.”

Last time we checked, the bidding, which started at $10, surpassed $15,099. The high bidder was a woman named Zelda.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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