- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 16, 2006

McKinney’s remarks

Rep. Cynthia A. McKinney, in her first public appearance since losing her re-election bid last week, said yesterday that blacks need to oppose electronic voting machines, which she said are designed to steal elections.

Mrs. McKinney also said Georgia should not allow crossover voting among political parties in primary elections. The fiery Democrat who scuffled with a Capitol Hill police officer earlier this year and has accused the Bush administration of having advance knowledge of the September 11 attacks said she considers herself a “black political paramedic,” and the “black body politic is near comatose.”

Mrs. McKinney made the remarks during the National Dialogue and Revival for Social Justice in the Black Church. It was sponsored by the Rev. Al Sharpton’s group, the National Action Network.

Last week, she lost her bid for a seventh term in Congress to challenger Hank Johnson, a former DeKalb County commissioner. Mr. Johnson defeated Mrs. McKinney 59 percent to 41 percent in the Democratic runoff.

The crowd in Augusta, Ga., estimated at fewer than 200 people, gave Mrs. McKinney a standing ovation when she was introduced and again when she finished speaking. She refused to answer reporters’ questions after her speech, the Associated Press reports. A woman in Mrs. McKinney’s entourage got between the representative and a reporter. A male bodyguard said Mrs. McKinney would not take questions.

The war vote

Anti-war Democrats have put their party in an uncomfortable position, Brendan Miniter writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“After Sen. Joe Lieberman lost his Democratic primary to anti-war challenger Ned Lamont, Vice President Dick Cheney held a conference call with reporters to make a simple point: Elections this fall will be a referendum on the war. In stumping for GOP candidates, ‘I certainly plan to talk about [the war] a lot,’ Mr. Cheney told reporters. ‘I expect the president will, too.’

“If it wasn’t already, the war is now the dividing political issue of our time,” Mr. Miniter said. “And it’s not just Iraq. Last week brought news of a foiled terror plot that aimed to knock out a group of airliners, and murder thousands, over the North Atlantic. [Monday] brought a cease-fire in Lebanon that almost certainly will not hold. Confronting the realities of these two events will require political solutions that may have moved beyond the capabilities of our two-party system. When one of the two major political parties is no longer willing to fight the protracted, hard-fought military campaign the nation desperately needs to win, whether to wage that war in a serious way will come to define the nation’s elections.

“If Republicans have turned a corner in the past week, it’s likely because, although wars are often unpopular in America, losing a war is rarely a winner at the ballot box. It is here that the Vietnam experience may prove to be pivotal. After more than a decade of a hard-fought (if often restrained or ill thought out) military campaign, America withdrew from Vietnam to watch it collapse under communist control. Many Democrats seem untroubled by this history. But few of the nonpartisans alive then or who grew up in the political aftermath of that withdrawal can be happy with the results: insurgent communist forces abroad and economic malaise and a loss of national confidence at home.”

A close race

Democrat Bob Casey holds a small lead over Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican, in one of the nation’s hottest Senate races, according to a Quinnipiac University poll that includes the Green Party candidate who is considered a spoiler for Mr. Casey.

In a three-way contest, the poll found Mr. Casey leading Mr. Santorum 45 percent to 39 percent, with Green Party candidate Carl Romanelli picking up 5 percent. Eleven percent said they were undecided or did not plan to vote, the Quinnipiac University poll found.

As a two-way race, without Mr. Romanelli, 47 percent of the same respondents favored Mr. Casey to 40 percent for Mr. Santorum, with 13 percent undecided or expressing another opinion, the Associated Press reports.

The results of the poll, based on telephone interviews with 1,384 Pennsylvania registered voters from Aug. 8 through Monday, carry a sampling margin of error of 2.5 percentage points. A June Quinnipiac poll showed Mr. Casey leading Mr. Santorum by 18 points, 52 percent to 34 percent.

Santorum campaign spokeswoman Virginia Davis said, “It’s hard to ignore that some of these polls are showing a trend in favor of Santorum.”

An apology

A Republican congressman apologized yesterday to U.S. Marines under investigation in the deaths of two dozen Iraqi civilians in Haditha in a statement his office said spared him from a libel lawsuit.

Rep. John Kline of Minnesota, a retired Marine Corps colonel, issued a three-paragraph statement under a deal with attorneys for Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, one of the Marines under investigation, Reuters news agency reports. Sgt. Wuterich’s attorneys filed a libel lawsuit against another congressman, Rep. John P. Murtha, Pennsylvania Democrat, on Aug. 2 after his comments on the case.

“Some news outlets have promoted incomplete statements attributed to me that gave the false impression that I have concluded those involved committed unlawful acts,” Mr. Kline said. “I am, of course, very concerned regarding any allegations surrounding misconduct by U.S. troops in Iraq … but we should never rush to judgment before all the facts are known and the military criminal justice process is completed.”

Mr. Kline added, “I want to express my sincere apology” to the Marines in the unit that was in Haditha on Nov. 19. Sgt. Wuterich and several other Marines are suspected, but have not been charged, in the killing of two dozen unarmed civilians.

Mark Zaid, an attorney for Sgt. Wuterich, said, “We are completely satisfied” with Mr. Kline’s statement.

Primary set

The Ohio Republican primary to choose a replacement for Rep. Bob Ney on the November ballot will take place Sept. 14, the secretary of state’s office said yesterday.

Mr. Ney announced last week that he was quitting the race, citing the strain of an intensifying corruption investigation that has focused for months on his dealings with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Mr. Ney denies wrongdoing and has not been charged.

State Sen. Joy Padgett of Coshocton is the only person to have announced. The winner of the primary will face Democrat Zack Space in the Nov. 7 general election. Hopefuls have until tomorrow to collect 50 valid signatures of registered Republican voters in the district to qualify for the ballot, the Associated Press reports.

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

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