- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 4, 2004

Hitler no, Osama yes

Rep. Tom Cole, Oklahoma Republican, has strong feelings about President Bush’s re-election.

In an account published this week in the 7,000-circulation Yukon Review in Oklahoma, Mr. Cole told a group of local Republicans, “What do you think Hitler would have thought if Roosevelt would’ve lost the election in 1944? He would not have thought American resolve was strengthening. What would the confederacy have thought if Lincoln would have lost the election of 1860?”

Mr. Cole added, “If George Bush loses the election, Osama bin Laden wins the election, it’s that simple. It will be interpreted that way by enemies of the United States around the world.”

Mr. Cole clarified his remarks in an interview with KTOK radio in Oklahoma City yesterday, saying the Hitler remark was a misquote.

“He admits to saying if the president loses his re-election bid, it will be considered a victory for bin Laden in the eyes of U.S. enemies,” KTOK noted in an account yesterday.

“Cole says his references were not meant to be name calling of Democratic presidential candidates. In fact, he says Senator John Kerry is a very patriotic individual,” the account stated.

Still, his comments irked Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Robert Matsui of California, who called the remarks “disgraceful and must be repudiated by Republican candidates from President Bush on down the ticket.”

House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland said yesterday that Mr. Cole “ought to be ashamed of himself” and called for lawmakers to repudiate the remarks “as completely wrong, unacceptable and out of bounds.”

But this is not the first Hitler reference of the campaign.

Several weeks ago, the California-based, Democratic activist group MoveOn.org briefly featured a TV spot on its Web site that depicted Mr. Bush as Hitler — an image quickly denounced by Republicans.

Elvis, Part 2

Liberal media folks are snitching from each other.

In a saucy moment during the CBS presidential debate Sunday, newsman Dan Rather asked the Democratic candidates, “Does Senator Kerry have enough Elvis to beat George Bush?” Translated, he was pondering the senator’s charisma potential.

Turns out, Mr. Rather lifted the Elvis factor from columnist and Clinton apologist Molly Ivins — a fact that turned up on National Public Radio yesterday.

“Some NPR listeners’ heads were scratched after hearing CBS’ Dan Rather in a recent Democratic debate,” NPR ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin wrote yesterday.

He included a letter from listener Nancy Johnson to support his point: “I was sleepy this morning but not sleepy enough to miss Morning Edition crediting Dan Rather with the analysis that Kerry might not have enough ‘Elvis’ to get elected. The actual originator of this is Molly Ivins, who wrote an entire column about the field of Democratic candidates some months ago, and whether any of them had any Elvis. Dan Rather just pilfered the idea. Don’t your news writers keep up on what is out there?”

DNC shuffle

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, eager to place his imprint on the Democratic Party, plans to install a top official over at the Democratic National Committee to more closely coordinate the DNC’s work with his presidential campaign, Kerry strategists said yesterday.

Members of the DNC said yesterday that it is rare for a prospective presidential nominee to replace the party’s national chairman — Walter Mondale did it in 1984 — and officials said they did not expect Mr. Kerry to seek DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe’s ouster.

But the Massachusetts senator was expected to place a senior campaign official over at the DNC, perhaps in a general chairmanship or chief operating officer role during the coming campaign, said a Kerry strategist who did not want to be quoted by name.

“I think it is up to John. He will be the nominee. It is very important that he be able to do what is necessary to win,” said Massachusetts Democratic Party Chairman Philip Johnston, a Kerry adviser.

“I’m a close friend of Terry’s and think he can play an important role in electing John Kerry and that he wants to play a role,” Mr. Johnston said. “Everyone understands that Terry is the chief player in Democratic Party politics and will remain so.”

Wing nuts

The Traditional Values Coalition, an interdenominational public policy organization of 43,000 churches., is taking on NBC’s “West Wing,” the fictional prime-time show about the White House.

In a letter to the show’s producer, coalition President Andrea Lafferty complained about obvious references made to the “Traditional Values Alliance” in a broadcast Wednesday night.

“It was entirely by chance that I tuned into ‘The West Wing’ program last night. I know it is supposed to be amusing fiction, but the idea of a group of liberals running the White House is difficult for me to watch,” Mrs. Lafferty wrote in her opening volley yesterday.

“It is closer to horror than fiction for me. I remember the last time liberals were in charge there and it remains for me (and most Americans) far too vivid and frightening a memory.”

She continued, “The problem came as your script did some asides about the Traditional Values Coalition. The most fantastic was your attempt to smear us by linking us to a group which states ‘The Lord Hates Homosexuals.’ This sounds to me like the Rev. Fred Phelps who pops up in real life (way too often) arguing ‘God Hates Fags.’ The Traditional Values Coalition has publicly criticized Rev. Phelps for this outrageous distortion of the Gospel, particularly some of the stunts he and his followers have done concerning the death of Matthew Shepard.”

Parade rest

Florida Democrats are irked over the choice of Rep. Katherine Harris, Republican, as grand marshal of the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Venice, a city of 17,000 near Sarasota.

They want equal time.

Local Democrats have petitioned parade organizers to include a float for Jan Schneider, a Democrat who is opposing Mrs. Harris.

But parade sponsor Tom Carney vetoed the idea, saying, “What the Democratic Party wants us to do is have a car with a banner reading ‘Vote for Jan Schneider.’ That is not what the parade allows.”

But Mrs. Schneider insisted, “Of course it’s politics when [Mrs. Harris] is the grand marshal. We’re not going to spoil anybody’s St. Patrick’s Parade. We’ll abide by the rules. I just don’t think it’s fair.”

“Well, let’s face it, Venice is a Republican town,” noted Ardis Buch, a local Democratic volunteer. “It’s not news to me that when a town is as Republican as this is you get shut out if you’re a Democrat.”

For her part, Mrs. Harris has remained silent. But not Mr. Carney.

“We absolutely have nothing against the Democrats,” he said. “Katherine Harris is not going to have a banner. And, as far as I’m concerned it’s just a parade,” Mr. Carney told the Venice Gondolier, a local newspaper.

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

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