- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Jesse to the rescue?

“If John Kerry manages to win the presidential election, it’s a good bet a lot of analysts will say that his performance in last week’s debate was the turning point in his campaign — and they’d be wrong,” USA Today columnist DeWayne Wickham writes.

“That moment came a day earlier, when the Kerry camp announced that the Rev. Jesse Jackson had answered its SOS and agreed to become a senior adviser to the Democratic presidential contender. In this role, Jackson will crisscross the battleground states, where it is expected the election will be decided, beating the bushes (pun intended) for black votes,” Mr. Wickham said.

“‘The black vote is the real swing vote,’ Jackson told me. ‘On most issues, whites are split down the middle. Our vote, or nonvote, will determine the outcome of this election.’

“Since 1964, at least eight of 10 black voters have cast their ballots for the Democratic candidate in presidential elections. But that trend seemed to be in jeopardy of ending, according to a poll last week by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, which found that 73 percent of blacks support Kerry, while 12 percent of blacks back Bush.

“Kerry didn’t need a pollster to tell him that he was lagging far behind the 90 percent level of support that black voters gave Al Gore four years ago. For months, he has struggled to assemble a team of black advisers that could help him answer the complaint that he isn’t doing enough to court black voters.”

Jackson’s charge

The Rev. Jesse Jackson said Monday that Republican Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell is trying to reverse gains made by the civil rights movement by limiting where some residents can cast their ballots.

Without specifically naming Mr. Blackwell, who is black, Mr. Jackson said at a press conference in Cleveland that some “beneficiaries” of voting rights gained by the civil rights movement are trying to undermine the gains, the Dayton Daily News reports.

Mr. Blackwell, the state’s top elections officer, later responded, “It’s nice for Mr. Jackson to drop in and show total disregard for the rule of law, a law that has proved to be just and reasonable, just to stir the pot.”

Mr. Jackson was referring to a federal lawsuit the Ohio and Sandusky County Democratic parties filed in Toledo last week, charging that Mr. Blackwell is limiting where some Ohioans may cast “provisional ballots” in violation of the federal Help America Vote Act.

Six-part series

A worldwide Roman Catholic TV network is urging U.S. voters to reject political candidates who are pro-choice on abortion — a position that puts it squarely against Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry.

The Eternal Word Television Network, available in 65 million U.S. households from its headquarters in Birmingham, Ala., is airing a six-part series leading to Election Day that focuses in part on the Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion. Mr. Kerry, a Catholic, favors an unrestricted right to an abortion, including partial-birth abortion.

On its Web site, the network has posted companion materials that says it’s virtually always against church teachings to vote for a candidate who supports abortion rights, even if the candidate follows church teachings on other issues, the Associated Press reports.

Catholics vs. Kerry

A Kerry Supreme Court would effectively disenfranchise Catholic voters, a coalition of Catholic lawyers and legal scholars said yesterday.

The coalition said Kerry-appointed Supreme Court justices would impose their personal opinions in striking down laws legitimately adopted by the political process that embrace traditional values.

“Catholics should understand the importance of this election and how the outcome could threaten core values of their faith. The next president may appoint two or even three of the nine sitting Supreme Court justices,” said Shannen W. Coffin, a former Bush administration lawyer who organized the coalition.

John Kerry has said he would apply a litmus test to his court nominees — and we believe him,” she said. “We hope this statement will make it clear what that litmus test will bring.”

The statement, “Supreme Hostility: How A Kerry Supreme Court Would Affect Catholic Values,” can be found at www.catholicaction.net/kerrycourtthreat.htm.

CBS to wait

An external review of how CBS News came to use fake documents in a report on President Bush’s military record probably will not be concluded until after the November election so as not to interfere with the presidential race, a top executive said yesterday.

Les Moonves, the co-president of CBS parent company Viacom, said the review of the CBS “60 Minutes” report being done by former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and retired Associated Press chief Louis Boccardi had no timetable for completion.

But he said he did not want it to interfere with the Nov. 2 election, Reuters news agency reports.

“Obviously, it should be done probably after the election is over so that it doesn’t affect what’s going on,” he told a Goldman Sachs press conference in New York.

Dems on the air

Washington state Republicans filed a complaint Monday accusing former radio talk-show host Dave Ross of violating federal election law by staying on the air for about two months after announcing plans to run for Congress as a Democrat.

In a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission, the state GOP accused Mr. Ross and radio station KIRO-AM of illegally using “The Dave Ross Show” to promote his candidacy. The party says KIRO violated campaign law by effectively giving Mr. Ross free airtime.

Mr. Ross, who is vying to succeed retiring Republican Rep. Jennifer Dunn, has said lawyers have assured him that he broke no laws by continuing to air his three-hour weekday morning show until he formally filed his candidacy.

Mr. Ross is running against King County Sheriff Dave Reichert, 54, a Republican best known for helping catch the Green River serial killer.

Happy birthday

Teresa Heinz Kerry celebrated her 67th birthday in St. Louis yesterday before meeting her husband on the presidential campaign trail in Colorado.

Mrs. Kerry, wife of Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry, was in the city to give a speech on health care at the North Central Community Health Center, part of a nationwide tour on the issue.

The Goody Goody Diner, often visited by politicians, baked Mrs. Kerry a birthday cake. As a joke, some pretended to pour ketchup on the cake — Mrs. Kerry’s late husband, Republican Sen. John Heinz III, is of the Heinz ketchup family, and Mrs. Kerry inherited the company’s fortune.

At the event, the crowd of about 150 sang “Happy birthday” to the blushing Mrs. Kerry.

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

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