- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Foreign agent?

“Is Bill Clinton serving as a lobbyist and public-relations guru to the government of Dubai? It sure looks like it,” New York Post columnist Dick Morris writes.

“Note, too, that he’s been paid a pretty penny by Dubai’s rulers — including some profit (amount not disclosed) off business relationships that include Dubai’s crown prince,” Mr. Morris said.

“The whole affair raises disclosure questions for Sen. HillaryRodham Clinton, too. While publicly opposing the port deal, she privately benefits from her husband’s Dubai-related income.

“Published reports indicate that Clinton has been directly advising top Dubai officials over the past two weeks on how to overcome negative public opinion and congressional resistance to the takeover of six U.S. ports by DP World — which is owned by a Dubai government holding company.

“A Clinton spokesman says it was Bill himself who suggested to Dubai leaders that they propose a 45-day delay to allow for investigation of the port deal. (Columnist Robert Novak also reports that the ex-prez pushed them to hire his former press secretary to spin the port story, but Dubai declined.)

“Should an ex-president be devising a strategy to help a foreign government deal with Congress on a sensitive political issue? It’s certainly not a routine undertaking for a former commander in chief,” said Mr. Morris, who suggested that Mr. Clinton should register as a foreign agent.

Swifties vs. Sanders

Navy veteran John O’Neill, who led the Swift Boat campaign that helped defeat Sen. John Kerry’s 2004 presidential bid, has a new target: Rep. Bernie Sanders, the left-wing Vermont independent who is now running for the Senate.

“Today I agreed to assist [retired Air Force] Lt. Col. Greg Parke … in his mission to prevent socialist candidate Bernie Sanders from entering the U.S. Senate,” Mr. O’Neill writes in a fundraising letter for Mr. Parke’s Republican campaign.

“Greg is a good friend of mine, and he will make an excellent U.S. Senator. … Greg loyally and bravely served our country through his 22 years in the United States Air Force as a front-line fighter pilot, flying the F-16 Fighting Falcon.”

Mr. Sanders and Mr. Parke are seeking the seat being vacated by the retirement of Sen. James M. Jeffords, who left the GOP and declared himself an independent in 2001.

In the letter, Mr. O’Neill said liberals “are all pouring money into [the Sanders] campaign. In fact, the radical far-left group Moveon.org raised more than $100,000 for Sanders in just one weekend.”

Brown-out

“Apparently there is something about being named Brown,” political analyst Stuart Rothenberg writes in Roll Call.

“In Ohio, the decision by Rep. Sherrod Brown (D) to enter the U.S. Senate race after first turning down pleas to run has divided Democrats. Party insiders rallied behind Brown, forcing Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett out of the contest, even though those same insiders had initially begged Hackett to run before Brown jumped in,” Mr. Rothenberg said.

“Now, in Rhode Island, another Brown seems to be in the middle of a major screw-up.

Secretary of State Matt Brown, who has fashioned himself as an outsider and reformer, miraculously received contributions from three state Democratic parties. One of those parties, the Massachusetts party, received a contribution from a Brown donor who had already ‘maxed out’ to the Senate hopeful, raising questions about whether the state party checks constituted ‘laundering’ of illegal contributions.

“The news, and the developing controversy, was first revealed by Roll Call, and while Brown’s campaign has denied that it did anything wrong, the whole situation smells like a week-old flounder left in the hot summer sun.”

Ford’s ad

Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr., Tennessee Democrat and U.S. Senate candidate, is using the ports controversy in a new campaign commercial, Mark Preston reports in the Morning Grind column at www.cnn.com.

“Filmed at the Port of Baltimore, the ad shows Ford standing on the waterfront and telling viewers that ‘President Bush wants to sell this port and five others to the United Arab Emirates, a country that had diplomatic ties with the Taliban, the home of two 9/11 hijackers, whose banks wired money to the terrorists.’

“‘I’m running for the Senate because we shouldn’t outsource our national security to anyone,’ Ford says. ‘I’ll fight to protect America and keep your family safe.’

“WithSenate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tennessee) retiring, it is not yet clear who Ford will meet in November as several Republicans are vying for their party’s nomination,” Mr. Preston said.

The primary is scheduled for Aug. 3. The Ford ad began airing statewide yesterday.

Pataki goes home

New York Gov. George E. Pataki was released from a hospital yesterday after 18 days of treatment for appendicitis and complications that followed surgery.

“It’s great to feel the fresh air and sunshine,” Mr. Pataki said as he walked out of New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical School.

“I’m not 100 percent, but I’m a lot better than I was a few days ago,” he said.

Mr. Pataki, who is weighing a run for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, was hospitalized in Westchester County on Feb. 16 and had his appendix removed. He was transferred to the Manhattan hospital on Feb. 21 and was operated on later that day to deal with a blockage of his intestine.

Mr. Pataki told reporters last week he was “champing at the bit” to go home and have a pizza and a cold beer, the Associated Press reports.

“I’m still waiting for that pizza and hamburger, but it’s still a few days off,” he said outside the hospital Monday.

Mr. Pataki, 60, has been in generally good health during his three terms as governor.

“He will still require some intravenous antibiotics at home,” said his doctor, Spencer Amory. “There is still a small possibility … of infection later.”

TV activism

“Liberal talking points are finding their way onto TV and movie screens. Case in point: Thursday night’s ‘ER,’ NBC’s long-running medical drama,” the Media Research Center reports at www.mrc.org.

“The March 2 episode saw the much-promoted return of ‘Dr. John Carter,’ played by Noah Wyle, who left the show at the end of last season. The episode had John volunteering at a refugee camp in Darfur, Sudan, where hundreds of thousands have died in a real-life humanitarian catastrophe.

“Even as they portrayed the Janjaweed militia as the chief villains, the ‘ER’ writers couldn’t resist taking a potshot at inaction by a supposedly racist U.S. Congress as a character declared: ‘Does not matter whether it is Somalia, Rwanda, Darfur, or New Orleans. When the faces are black, the world moves slow.’”

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

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