- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 29, 2004

The black vote

For weeks, there have been rumors about Sen. John Kerry’s losing support among black voters. And now the Pew Research Center poll confirms that is exactly what is happening.

The Massachusetts liberal now leads President Bush by 73 percent to 12 percent among black voters, according to the latest Pew poll. That compares with 83 percent to 6 percent in August and 83 percent to 5 percent just last week.

No wonder the Kerry campaign announced yesterday that the Rev. Jesse Jackson has taken on the title “senior consultant.” The campaign also is sending black surrogates into key urban areas in Pennsylvania, Missouri and Minnesota, where his support has nose-dived.

Probe sought

Fifty-two members of Congress yesterday called on the Texas attorney general and a federal prosecutor to investigate the origins of a forged document used by CBS News to question President Bush’s service in the National Guard.

Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican, gathered the signatures for a letter that was sent to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and U.S. Attorney Richard B. Roper.

The letter noted that the document was given to CBS by Lt. Col. Bill Burkett, a retired Texas Army National Guard officer.

“However, many of the facts and circumstances surrounding the document are unknown,” the lawmakers said.

“A crime may have been committed to influence the outcome of a presidential election while our commander in chief leads the war on terror. This is a grave offense that demands the attention of the appropriate law enforcement and investigative authorities.

“Based on the information available about the creation and transmittal of the document, we request an immediate criminal investigation, and prosecution, if warranted.”

CBS strikes again

“Apparently, the fraudulent memo scandal has taught CBS News absolutely nothing.” Charles Johnson wrote yesterday at littlegreenfootballs.com. He was referring to a “CBS Evening News” story on Tuesday that suggested that the Iraq war and other military actions might force the government to resume the military draft — a line being promoted by Sen. John Kerry’s presidential campaign.

Mr. Johnson quoted another Web site, RatherBiased.com:

“In a story that was a textbook example of slipshod reporting, CBS reporter Richard Schlesinger used debunked Internet hoax e-mails and an unlabeled interest group member to scare elderly ‘Evening’ viewers into believing that the U.S. government is poised to resume the draft.

“At the center of Schlesinger’s piece was a woman named Beverly Cocco, a Philadelphia woman who is ‘sick to my stomach’ that her two sons might be drafted. In his report, Schlesinger claimed that Cocco was a Republican and portrayed her as an apolitical (even Republican) mom worried about the future.

“Schlesinger did not disclose that Cocco is a chapter president of an advocacy group called People Against the Draft (PAD), which, in addition to opposing any federal proscription, seeks to establish a ‘peaceful, rational foreign policy’ by bringing all U.S. troops out of Iraq. Like Schlesinger’s Cocco, the group portrays itself as ‘nonpartisan’ although its leadership seems to be entirely bereft of any Republicans.

“The group’s domain is registered to a man named Jacob Levich, a left-wing activist who in a 2001 essay compared the Bush administration to the totalitarian government portrayed in George Orwell’s ‘1984.’”

Littlegreenfootballs’ Mr. Johnson added this postscript: “CBS News also reported that there are two bills in Congress to reinstate the draft, but failed to mention that they were both introduced by Democrats.”

The comeback story

“A sure bet in this campaign is that the media will write a big October comeback story for John Kerry,” Mike Murphy writes at the Weekly Standard Web site (www.weeklystandard.com).

“It is inevitable for three reasons. First, the media works in a pack that is happiest when following a simple narrative. Second, from moribund to miracle campaigner is Kerry’s tiresome myth turned worn-out cliche. Third, this is indeed a tight race and — as with any incumbent seeking re-election — the undecided vote will break heavily against Bush, which will make Kerry look like he is surging late. (Even hapless Michael Dukakis had such a late surge.)

“The signs of this pending story line are already apparent in the coverage of Kerry’s new team of savvy advisers. Their decision to bet the entire Kerry campaign on a debate over the Iraq war — a strategic suicide note in my view — is the required ‘big move’ such stories demand and is being applauded as a masterstroke. This is where narrative and reality truly differ,” said Mr. Murphy, a political and media consultant.

Bush’s advantage

“Oftendebate coaches pester candidates with detailed advice as a confrontation approaches. With mammoth briefing books, they cram facts, figures and the nuances of positioning into the candidate’s head. But George W. Bush should need none of this prep,” Dick Morris writes in the New York Post.

“To win [tonight’s] debate — decisively — all he has to do is state his position on the issues of terrorism, Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, Iran and the myriad threats we face,” Mr. Morris said.

“Bush enters the debate empowered by three fundamental facts:

• “Virtually all of his own voters agree with his positions on these vital issues.

• “About one in three Kerry voters also approves of Bush’s policy in these regions.

• “[Sen. John] Kerry, for some inexplicable reason, has chosen to attack Bush on these very issues — his strongest point.

“So Kerry endangers his hold on his own voters every time he attacks Bush’s conduct of the War on Terror and the battle in Iraq. …

“And while Kerry is alienating his supporters no matter what he says, Bush will appeal to the swing voters he needs simply by defending the policies and positions he has enunciated so frequently and with such consistency in the past.”

Reporter accused

The Justice Department says a New York Times foreign-affairs reporter tipped off an Islamic charity that the FBI was about to raid its office.

The accusation was disclosed Tuesday in Manhattan federal court, where the Times was seeking to block subpoenas from the Justice Department for phone records of two of its Middle Eastern reporters, Philip Shenon and Judith Miller, as part of a probe to track down the leak, the New York Post reported.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald of Chicago charged in court papers that Mr. Shenon blew the cover on the Dec. 14, 2001, raid of the Global Relief Foundation, which was suspected of funding Islamic terror operations.

Times lawyer George Freeman told the Post that the newspaper denies there was any tip-off and would fight the request for phone records.

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

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