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Utah’s big primary

“Timing is everything in politics. Late next month, just as the conference committee that will decide the fate of an immigration bill gets down to business, a GOP primary for a Utah House seat in the country’s most conservative congressional district may set the boundaries for any legislation that has a chance of passing both the House and Senate,” John Fund writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“Illegal immigration is the key issue in the race, and should five-term incumbent Rep. Chris Cannon of Provo lose to a restrictionist challenger, look for House Republicans to dig in their heels and block any bill that creates a path to citizenship for illegal aliens,” Mr. Fund said.

“‘House Republicans are already spooked about immigration, and should one of our own lose on the issue, you will see panic break out,’ one GOP congressman told me.”

“That’s why it’s good news that the glimmer of a workable compromise surfaced this week, courtesy of Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, head of the Republican Study Committee, a group of 115 conservative House Republicans. Mr. Pence, proud grandson of an Irish immigrant, says the only bill that can pass in this year’s hothouse environment may have to be one that couples stiffer border enforcement with a no-amnesty guest-worker program.”

Helen vs. Tony

Helen Thomas, the left-leaning dean of the White House press corps, tangled with White House press secretary Tony Snow at yesterday’s briefing over President Bush’s appointment of Karl Zinsmeister as domestic-policy adviser, Matt Drudge writes at www.drudgereport.com.

Here is a transcript of their conversation:

Miss Thomas: Why did the president pick a man who is so contemptible of the public servants in Washington to be his domestic adviser, saying, ‘People in Washington are morally repugnant, cheating, shifty human beings.’ Why did he …

Mr. Snow: Apparently an opinion that’s …

Miss Thomas: Why would he pick such a man to be a domestic adviser?

Mr. Snow: You meant contemptuous as opposed to contemptible, I think.

Miss Thomas: Pure contempt.

Mr. Snow: I’m not sure it’s pure contempt. I know Karl Zinsmeister pretty well, and he is somebody who expresses himself with a certain amount of piquancy. You’re perhaps familiar with that, aren’t you, Helen?

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