- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Apology sought

The national commander of the American Legion called on Rep.Charles B. Rangel, New York Democrat, to apologize for suggesting that American troops would not choose to fight in Iraq if they had other employment options.

“Our military is the most skilled, best-trained, all-volunteer force on the planet,” National Commander Paul A. Morin said yesterday. “Like that recently espoused by Sen. John Kerry, Congressman Rangel’s view of our troops couldn’t be further from the truth and is possibly skewed by his political opposition to the war in Iraq.”

According to Mr. Rangel, “If a young fellow has an option of having a decent career, or joining the Army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq. If there’s anyone who believes these youngsters want to fight, as the Pentagon and some generals have said, you can just forget about it. No bright young individual wants to fight just because of a bonus and just because of some educational benefits.”

Mr. Rangel was responding to a question during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”

Narrow victory

Republican Rep. Deborah Pryce, Ohio Republican, won re-election yesterday by a margin so slim that a recount will be required.

Unofficial results announced by Franklin County, the last to finish counting absentee and provisional ballots in central Ohio’s 15th District, showed Mrs. Pryce led Democratic challenger Mary Jo Kilroy, a Franklin County commissioner,by 1,055 votes.

Mrs. Pryce lost Franklin County, the district’s most populous, but she retained her lead thanks to votes she picked up in two other counties that announced results last week, Madison and Union, the Associated Press (AP) reports.

The race was one of a handful that had remained unresolved across the country since Election Day, when Democrats took control of Congress.

Mrs. Pryce ended up with 50.2 percent of the vote, compared with 49.8 percent for Mrs. Kilroy in the unofficial totals. An automatic recount is triggered if the difference between the two candidates is less than one-half of one percent.

Jersey barrier

Conservative groups in New Jersey are pushing a proposal that would grant the rights of marriage — but not the title — to homosexuals, siblings and others involved in domestic partnerships, the AP reports.

The plan comes in reaction to a state Supreme Court ruling last month that said same-sex couples in New Jersey should have the same rights and benefits as married couples. Whether to call those rights “marriages,” civil unions or something else was left up to lawmakers.

Under the conservatives’ plan, rights would be available to twosomes who are not eligible to marry, said Len Deo, president of the New Jersey Family Policy Council. Besides homosexuals, such couples would include blood relatives, or simply two unmarried friends of the same sex. Unrelated opposite-sex couples, who can legally marry, would not be eligible for the designation.

Civil war’ fight

NBC News yesterday began calling the Iraq conflict a “civil war,” adopting a phrase that President Bush and many other news organizations have avoided, the AP reports.

Matt Lauer said on the “Today” show that “after careful consideration, NBC News has decided that a change in terminology is warranted, that the situation in Iraq with armed militarized factions fighting for their own political agendas can now be characterized as civil war.”

The Bush administration said yesterday that it does not think Iraq is in a civil war, and that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki does not, either.

“You have not yet had a situation also where you have two clearly defined and opposing groups vying not only for power, but for territory,” White House press secretary Tony Snow said. “What you do have is sectarian violence that seems to be less aimed at gaining full control over an area than expressing differences, and also trying to destabilize a democracy.”

StopHerNow.com

A Dallas businessman has launched a Web site with a single, simple objective: prevent Sen. Hillary RodhamClinton from becoming president.

StopHerNow.com aims “to shed light on the REAL Hillary Clinton and the danger she and her ideas pose for America,” proclaims the site created by Dick Collins, a Texas newspaper publisher and Republican activist.

The site features links to news articles and commentary about the former first lady, as well as a humorous animated series, “The Hillary Show.”

The first installment of the cartoon series shows Mrs. Clinton sparring with potential 2008 rival Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat. Mr. Collins says he hopes to continue the series with new episodes reflecting the latest news surrounding Mrs. Clinton’s much-anticipated White House bid.

The cartoon was created by a group of artists who are “a bunch of libertarians, not really political, but they all dislike Hillary Clinton,” Mr. Collins said.

“The Republican Party over the last couple of decades has had the problem of appearing to be a party of anger, and we wanted our effort to be … one that would deliver a smile,” Mr. Collins tells Robert Stacy McCain of The Washington Times.

Mr. Collins says the site is “a grass-roots effort to define Hillary Clinton. She’s trying to be something that she’s not. She’s attempting to become a centrist Democrat, and in fact she’s an ultraliberal Democrat.”

Bad move, Alcee

When Rep. Alcee L. Hastings started naming names of his critics — and lashing out at “anonymous bloggers” — the Florida Democrat may have bit off more than he could chew.

“I hope that my fate is not determined by Newt Gingrich, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Michael Barone, [Matt] Drudge, anonymous bloggers, and other assorted misinformed fools,” Mr. Hastings wrote last week in a five-page letter to House Democratic colleagues, seeking support for his bid to become chairman of the House intelligence committee.

“The letter may have done more harm than good to Hastings’ cause, however, because Malkin answered in kind with a post that labeled Hastings a ‘fool’ and his letter to colleagues an ‘unhinged rant,’ ” K. Daniel Glover wrote at National Journal’s Web site (www.nationaljournal.com).

Mrs. Malkin’s response to Mr. Hastings at michellemalkin.com “included plenty of background links on the Hastings bribery case and current criticisms of his leadership bid,” Mr. Glover noted.

Other bloggers, not all of them conservatives, have joined in the anti-Hastings response, highlighting the facts of the former federal judge’s 1988 impeachment and removal from office for bribery, including the names of prominent Democrats who condemned Mr. Hastings as guilty of corruption.

The public-relations debacle unleashed by Mr. Hastings’ letter prompted Glenn Reynolds (www.instapundit.com) to observe that Mr. Hastings is “the perfect target for hostile bloggers — a guy with a really lousy record who’d rather people didn’t think about it, whose every complaint just provides an opportunity to remind people how lousy that record is.”

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

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