- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 11, 2005

GOP hangs together

One of the liberal Republicans who has been wavering on the nomination of John R. Bolton to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said yesterday he will support the nominee.

The decision by Sen. Lincoln Chafee, Rhode Island Republican, gives a huge boost to Mr. Bolton ahead of tomorrow’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote. Mr. Chafee said he decided to support Mr. Bolton because he is President Bush’s choice.

“I won’t deny a lot of the information certainly brings great pause, but I fight the administration on so many issues, this is one of those that I’ve been with them on — to appoint their team,” Mr. Chafee said in an interview with the Associated Press.

Other Republicans yesterday predicted unified Republican support for Mr. Bolton when the committee votes, which would send Mr. Bolton’s nomination to the full Senate on a 10-8 vote.

“I think our team will be together,” said Sen. George Allen of Virginia.

Request narrowed

At the State Department’s urging, Senate Democrats narrowed their request for internal government documents bearing on John R. Bolton’s fitness to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have threatened to force a delay in the panel’s planned vote tomorrow on Mr. Bolton unless they get the information they want. They planned a private strategy session yesterday and were hoping to receive more material from the State Department later in the day, said Norm Kurz, a spokesman for the committee’s senior Democrat, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware.

The movement on the documents could be a sign that the two sides were steering away from a new clash that would further delay the committee’s vote, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Biden intends to go ahead with the vote, “so long as the other end of that bargain is held up — namely to provide the information, the documents, in a timely way,” Mr. Kurz said.

Not so nonpartisan

“Amid the many attacks onHouse Majority Leader Tom DeLay, some of the loudest come from an organization called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“To the average listener, that sounds like a nonpartisan group interested only in good government.

“But it isn’t that simple,” reporter Brody Mullins said.

“The ‘Citizens’ behind the group have strong partisan ties. Board members of the group, including former Clinton White House pollster Mark Penn, have contributed $340,000 to Democratic causes in the past four years and $6,000 to Republicans. Melanie Sloan, executive director of the group, is a former aide to Democratic Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan and Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware.

“Details like that don’t typically appear when news organizations quote Ms. Sloan’s attacks on Mr. DeLay, as they have done some 140 times in the past two years.”

Dean backs Sanders

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean says he supports Rep. Bernard Sanders‘ bid for a U.S. Senate seat from Vermont, even though Mr. Sanders is not a Democrat.

Mr. Sanders, a self-described socialist, would make a “strong candidate,” Mr. Dean told reporter Evan Lehmann for an article that appeared in yesterday’s Bennington (Vt.) Banner

“A victory for Bernie Sanders is a win for Democrats,” Mr. Dean said in a telephone interview Monday.

Sen. James M. Jeffords, the Republican-turned-independent, who caucuses with the Democrats, announced last month he would not seek re-election, clearing the way for what is expected to be a crowded race in fall 2006.

But Mr. Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, added that his support is not unconditional.

“We’ve got a few things to work out with Bernie,” he said, adding, “Bernie’s not a Democrat.”

Media spin

“According to a recent Washington Post/ABC poll, President Bush’s plan to restructure the Social Security system has lost public support. What the poll doesn’t tell you is that the network news has focused so much on the liberal side of this debate that the result isn’t a surprise. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Herman Cain writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“The Post story stated, ‘58 percent of those polled this time said the more they hear about Bush’s plan, the less they like it.’ And what are they hearing about Bush’s plan? That it’s a bad idea, of course. The networks have been beating up the idea of restructuring Social Security for months,” said Mr. Cain, former U.S. Senate candidate in Georgia and now national chairman of the Media Research Center’s Free Market Project.

“A new study by the Media Research Center’s Free Market Project finds that the evening news shows delivered liberal talking points on the Social Security debate more than twice as often as points from the conservative side advocating restructuring Social Security. The idea of personal retirement accounts doesn’t stand a chance with numbers like those. …

“CNN and CBS battled it out for the honor of being the most biased. Fifty-six percent of the CBS stories had a liberal leaning, compared with just 20 percent conservative. Over at CNN, it was 61 percent liberal and 22 percent conservative. Although the tally was close, CBS won by undermining conservative positions whenever possible.”

Bizarre accusation

Rep. Maxine Waters, California Democrat, charged yesterday that Pat Robertson and other religious conservatives were supporters of the Taliban in Afghanistan. But a top Justice Department official appeared puzzled by the accusation.

“Do you have conservative religious organizations in the United States who supply resources to the Taliban?” Mrs. Waters asked Barry Sabin, chief of the Counterterrorism Section for the Criminal Division, Department of Justice.

“I don’t know what you’re specifically referring to,” said Mr. Sabin, who was appearing before the House Judiciary crime, terrorism and homeland security subcommittee.

“Well, I’m talking about Pat Robertson and some of the organizations that were involved with support of the Taliban before 9/11, and I’m told that still there may be some connections to them. Do you know anything about this at all?”

Mr. Sabin: “I don’t know what you’re referring to.”

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

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