- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Thompson’s take

Republican Fred Thompson yesterday reported raising nearly $3.5 million in one month for his expected presidential bid, lagging behind his backers’ original $5 million goal.

The “Law & Order” actor and former U.S. senator from Tennessee filed documents with the Internal Revenue Service that provided the first glimpse of the White House hopeful’s financial situation.

Mr. Thompson spent only $625,745 of the $3.46 million he raised in June, the first month of his preliminary campaign committee, the report showed. Still, the total raised fell short of the $5 million target his backers initially set in a one-month showing for his committee “testing the waters” of a presidential bid.

Nevertheless, Mr. Thompson praised the take in a statement, saying: “The level of support and enthusiasm from people across this country is inspiring.”

Bashing taxers

Republican presidential hopeful Rudolph W. Giuliani on Monday accused Democrats of favoring a controlling “nanny government” as he continued his bashing of the rival party.

The former New York mayor, opening a two-day campaign trip in New Hampshire, also said that Democrats would raise taxes between 20 percent to 30 percent.

“Democrats are kind of falling over each other seeing who can raise taxes faster,” Mr. Giuliani said. “It looks like they’re going to raise taxes anywhere between 20 to 30 percent.John Edwards just said he’s going to raise the capital gains tax double that. Last time we did that, we lost 40 percent in revenue. The last time we did what John Edwards is discussing, the United States lost revenue by basically discouraging people from making investments.”

Last week, Mr. Giuliani called the Democrats the “party of losers” and singled out Mr. Edwards and DemocraticSen. Barack Obamafor criticism on economics and foreign policy.

Obama’s new ad

Democratic Sen. Barack Obama yesterday tried to distance himself from the city where he works, airing a new television ad in Iowa.

The ad, “Take it Back,” features the Illinois senator speaking in Springfield, Ill., when he formally announced his candidacy and vowed to take back power from special-interest groups in Washington if he’s elected president.

“They think they own this government,” Mr. Obama says in the ad. “But we’re here today to take it back.”

The ad also includes Mr. Obama delivering one of his biggest applause lines, one that confronts his biggest weakness — that’s he too inexperienced to be president after just 2½ years in the Senate.

“I know that I haven’t spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington,” Mr. Obama says. “But, I’ve been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change.”

The ad is meant to draw a distinction with Mr. Obama’s chief rival for the nomination — New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Associated Press reports.

Date auction

In an unusual twist on presidential fundraising, supporters of Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois Democrat,are holding a date auction tonight.

“Over 100 young professionals from all over the DC-Metro area will meet on Wednesday night for an event to change America … and possibly their love lives,” organizer Jim McBride wrote in a press release announcing the event at MCCXXIII’s “Spank” event in Northwest.

Organizers will “auction” off 20 dates at the fundraiser, billed as: “Bid on your crush for Obama” and first reported yesterday on The Washington Times’ blog Fishwrap.

Barack Obama is the rare candidate that inspires young people to get involved and fun themes like a date auction are a great way to harness their enthusiasm toward supporting the campaign,” said Mr. McBride, president of Arlington Young Democrats who also founded a group for Democrat James H. Webb Jr. in Virginia last year during the U.S. Senate race. He said he plans to start “Generation Obama in DC” on Aug. 25 to mobilize young voters.

“We need [to] move on from this ‘Obama Girl’ hype and translate it into something meaningful that can help Obama win the nomination,” Mr. McBride said in the release, which had typos and misspelled the word “environment.”

Voter ID required

Georgia voters will be required to show a photo ID at the polls for a special election in September, following several years of court and legislative battles, the secretary of state said yesterday.

Opponents claim the photo ID law will disenfranchise minorities, the poor and the elderly who don’t have driver’s licenses or other valid government-issued photo IDs. Supporters say it is needed to prevent voter fraud.

A lawsuit contended the 2006 law was an undue burden on voters, and a Fulton County judge agreed, ruling the law unconstitutional. The Georgia Supreme Court threw out the case, though, finding the plaintiff lacked legal standing to challenge the law. On Friday, the high court denied a motion to reconsider.

Secretary of State Karen Handel said yesterday that the refusal to reconsider cleared the way for Georgia to implement the law for its Sept. 18 special election.

A lawyer challenging the law in federal court said he will ask a judge to block it yet again, the Associated Press reports.

Religious spat

Republican presidential hopeful Sam Brownback said rival Mike Huckabee should apologize for a supporter’s “prejudiced whisper campaign” against him for being Catholic.

The supporter, a pastor in Windsor Heights, Iowa, sent an e-mail to Brownback supporters pointing out that Mr. Huckabee is an evangelical Protestant and Mr. Brownback is not. Mr. Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, is an ordained Baptist minister.

“I know Sen. Brownback converted to Roman Catholicism in 2002,” the Rev. Tim Rude, pastor of Walnut Creek Community Church, wrote in the e-mail. “Frankly, as a recovering Catholic myself, that is all I need to know about his discernment when compared to the governor’s.”

In the e-mail, Mr. Rude calls Mr. Huckabee “one of us.”

Mr. Rude apologized yesterday, saying he never meant to sound critical of Catholicism, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Huckabee’s campaign did not apologize. Spokesman Eric Woolson said Mr. Rude is not a campaign staffer and was expressing a personal opinion in what he believed was a private e-mail.

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