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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.

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