- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Bush’s backing

President Bush, in previewing tomorrow’s inaugural speech during a private session yesterday with the full 165-member Republican National Committee, sent a clear signal that he backs pro-choice JoAnn Davidson of Ohio for the post of RNC co-chairman.

“He talked about the importance of the national committee’s electing Ken Mehlman as national chairman and JoAnn Davidson as co-chairman. He said they were philosophically attuned,” California RNC member Tim Morgan told reporter Ralph Z. Hallow of The Washington Times after the meeting.

“He cited her role in working with volunteers” for Mr. Bush’s campaign in Ohio, Mr. Morgan said.

“I have received 45 e-mails just in the last 20 hours from pro-life folks not on the committee,” Mr. Morgan added. “They’re complaining the president isn’t keeping faith with pro-life voters.”

Mr. Mehlman, highly popular with the RNC members, managed Mr. Bush’s presidential re-election campaign, and Mrs. Davidson, a former state House speaker, was a regional chairman. The RNC votes today.

On a lighter note, Mr. Bush pledged his inaugural address would be brief.

“You’ll be relieved to know my speech won’t be too long,” Mr. Bush said with a wink and a smile, according to other Republican officials who attended the meeting.

At one point, after discussing the philosophical merits of his proposed Social Security reforms, Mr. Bush paused and said, “I may be getting too far into the weeds.”

Standing nearby, his wife, Laura, nodded and laughed, whereupon Mr. Bush said, “I guess we’ll be getting out of here pretty quick.”

Targeting Soros

Left-wing billionaire George Soros violated numerous provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act during his failed effort to defeat President Bush, the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) charged yesterday in a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission.

In October, Mr. Soros undertook a media and speaking tour to swing states during which he called for the defeat of Mr. Bush. Mr. Soros’ appearances coincided with two-page newspaper ads and mass mailings to voters with the same theme.

Also named in the complaint was Fenton Communications, which assisted with the campaign, and two nonprofit organizations that hosted Soros speeches: the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia and the Metropolitan Club of Columbus, Ohio.

NLPC says Mr. Soros failed to report and disclose the following expenditures, among others, connected to his anti-Bush campaign, as required:

• Travel and administrative costs associated with a multicity political tour, including costs of transportation and lodging for the billionaire and his entourage, telephones, photocopying, commercial press-release services, subsidies for groups hosting Mr. Soros, and press luncheons.

• Costs to purchase or rent the mailing lists required for the 2 million-piece mailing of a brochure titled “Why We Must Not Re-elect President Bush.”

• Costs associated with Fenton Communications handling press relations for what one company release called “an intensive one-month campaign.”

NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm commented, “Soros has bankrolled the groups that have lobbied for limits on political giving and for disclosure. But he apparently believes that the law should only apply to other people, and not to himself.”

Support for Dean

The Florida delegation to the Democratic National Committee has voted unanimously to endorse Howard Dean for party chairman, the New York Times reports.

Florida’s backing derails efforts to orchestrate the simultaneous endorsement of one candidate by all 50 state party leaders later this month and gives a major lift to Mr. Dean, who is thought to have the support of a plurality of committee members. Most Democrats have held back from publicly endorsing any candidate in the crowded field.

Florida Democratic Chairman Scott Maddox said his state delegation had endorsed the former Vermont governor despite concerns that he might not be the best ideological symbol for the party.

“The only knock against Howard Dean is that he’s seen as too liberal,” Mr. Maddox said. “I’m a gun-owning pickup-truck driver, and I have a bulldog named Lockjaw. I am a Southern chairman of a Southern state, and I am perfectly comfortable with Howard Dean as DNC chair.”

He added: “What our party needs right now is energy, enthusiasm and a willingness to do things differently. I think Howard Dean brings all three of those things to the party.”

Kennedy vs. Cuomo?

“Environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., son of the assassinated Robert F. Kennedy, has told friends he may run for New York attorney general next year,” New York Post state editor Fredric U. Dicker reports, citing anonymous sources.

“This could put Kennedy, 51, on a collision course with his estranged brother-in-law, former federal housing secretary Andrew Cuomo, who also is expected to seek the job,” Mr. Dicker wrote.

“Cuomo, son of former Gov. Mario Cuomo, is getting a divorce from Kennedy’s sister, Kerry Kennedy. He failed to get the Democratic nomination for governor in 2002.

“A crowded Democratic primary for attorney general is expected with Cuomo facing challenges from former Public Advocate Mark Green, Assemblymen Richard Brodsky of Westchester and Michael Gianaris of Queens, and party activist Charlie King.”

King Day bash

“ABC’s Peter Jennings decided to use Martin Luther King Day to showcase how President Bush has a ‘difficult relationship’ with black Americans, as illustrated by how ‘he got only 9 percent of the black vote four years ago and 11 percent in this election,’” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker reports at www.mediaresearch.org.

“The piece by reporter Dan Harris featured blacks who denounced Bush. One man asserted: ‘If I was a schoolteacher, he’d have an F.’ Another complained: ‘We’re spending billions of dollars on that war. And then, we have citizens of our nation, our prosperous nation, who don’t have health care.’

“Harris elaborated: ‘In his first four years, Mr. Bush angered many blacks by supporting a lawsuit against affirmative action, and by refusing to speak to the NAACP.’ Harris failed to mention how the NAACP ran TV ads in 2000 blaming Bush for the dragging murder of James Byrd. Harris relayed how a former congressman contended that Bush’s appointments ‘matter far less than’ his lack of effort to combat discrimination.”

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

com.

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