- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 14, 2006

Gilmore, too

“Not a few conservatives take a look at the current presidential field and ask, ‘Is that it?’ Surely, they say, there is a candidate in the wings sans the personal or ideological baggage that each of the prospective hopefuls seems to carry,” Jonathan Martin writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

Jim Gilmore, the former Virginia governor and chairman of the Republican National Committee, is one of these not-fully-satisfied Republicans,” Mr. Martin said.

” ‘There is a need for a conservative who’s electable,’ Gilmore argues emphatically in a conversation with National Review Online at his Georgetown law office.

“And Gilmore has somebody in mind who could fit that bill.

“Jim Gilmore.

” ‘I’m considering a national candidacy,’ he says bluntly.

“He’s been to Iowa four times, South Carolina twice in just the last month, and was in California in August to speak to their state party’s convention. He’s also reached out to longtime GOP activists in some of these key states, sounding them out about a potential White House bid.”

An odd moment

“On Saturday, Dec. 2, incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asked Jim Wallis, the liberal religious activist, to give the Democrats’ official response to President Bush’s weekly radio address. It was a curious, odd moment — the equivalent of Republicans inviting Jerry Falwell to respond on their behalf to a Democratic president,” Mark D. Tooley writes at www.weeklystandard.com.

” ‘The senator thought a nonpartisan religious leader could speak to the moral values our nation needs,’ Wallis explained beforehand to his Sojourners constituency. Wallis, author of the best-selling ‘God’s Politics’ and a once angry-toned 1960s street activist has in recent years attempted to become the chief spokesman for the evangelical left. His radio stint in the place of congressional Democrats suggests he may have finally succeeded,” said Mr. Tooley, who directs the United Methodist committee at the Institute on Religion and Democracy.

“In the 2004 elections, evangelical voters were the Republican Party’s largest and most reliable constituency. Since then, Democrats have focused on peeling away the GOP’s advantage among conservative Protestants.

“Democratic efforts to refocus evangelicals away from gay marriage and abortion in favor of the environment and poverty seem mostly to have failed. In 2004, the Republican advantage among evangelicals was 74 percent to 25 percent. In 2006, it slipped only a few points, to 70 percent to 28 percent. (White evangelicals accounted for a quarter of the electorate in both 2004 and 2006.)”

A low bid

Call it a sign of the times for Louisiana’s embattled governor: A chance to dine with Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco fetched a winning bid of $1 at a recent fundraising auction hosted by a group of business leaders.

The president of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce, in northeastern Louisiana, said she called Mrs. Blanco’s office Tuesday to apologize for a “poor joke gone awry,” the Associated Press reports.

“It’s something we deeply regret,” chamber President Sue Edmunds said yesterday. “Our organization has worked very well with the governor. We have been pleased with her efforts on behalf of this community.”

Dinner with Mrs. Blanco was the last item up for bid at the fundraising auction last week. Miss Edmunds said the bidding opened at $1,000 and dropped to $500 before the auctioneer accepted a $1 bid from bank executive Malcolm Maddox, a regional chairman for Capital One.

Others were trying to bid on the dinner when the bidding abruptly closed, Miss Edmunds said.

Miami blues

Rep. Tom Tancredo, the Colorado Republican who has led the fight against illegal immigration, said his speech before the Miami Rotary Club scheduled for tonight was canceled after “credible threats” were made against the Rotarians and the restaurant where the speech was to be held.

“I appreciate the problem presented to the Miami Rotary Club and the restaurant at which I was to speak by the threats of thugs,” said Mr. Tancredo, who is chairman of the Congressional Immigration Caucus. “I certainly do not wish to provide radical separatist groups with an excuse for violence.”

Charles Hurt of The Washington Times reports that the speech, which was to be delivered at the Rusty Pelican tonight, was titled: “Renewing America: The Need for Assimilation.”

“I knew speaking your mind could be dangerous in Havana,” Mr. Tancredo said. “I guess it’s equally dangerous to do so in Miami. Apparently, there isn’t much of a difference between the two any more.”

He added that he hoped to “some day return to Miami when it has been able to extricate itself from the clutches of the radical multiculturalists.”

3 groups fined

Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and the MoveOn.org Voter Fund, two outside groups that played key roles in the 2004 presidential election, reached an agreement with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to pay nearly $450,000 for various violations.

The groups, along with the League of Conservation Voters, settled charges that they failed “to register and file disclosure reports as federal political committees and accepted contributions in violation of federal limits and source prohibitions,” the FEC said in a statement yesterday.

The commission approved the three settlements on a vote of 6-0, the Associated Press reports.

The FEC concluded that the three 527 organizations violated campaign-finance laws because they expressly stated their desire to influence the presidential election in their fundraising, their public statements or their advertisements. Such activity, the FEC said, could only be conducted by political committee registered with the FEC that abide by contribution limits and public disclosure requirements.

Mrs. Dole’s surgery

Sen. Elizabeth Dole underwent hip-replacement surgery but expected to resume work after the congressional holiday recess, her spokeswoman said.

Mrs. Dole, 70, had her right hip replaced in a procedure that took about an hour Tuesday, spokeswoman Katie Norman said.

“There were no complications, and she’s doing very well,” the spokeswoman said. “It was a planned surgery, but finding time to do it was a challenge. She plans to resume her Senate duties after a few weeks of recuperation.”

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

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