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Inside Politics

- The Washington Times - Friday, August 17, 2007

Giuliani's plea

Republican Rudolph W. Giuliani said yesterday that people should "leave my family alone" when asked by a New Hampshire woman why the 2008 presidential candidate should expect loyalty from voters when he doesn't get it from his children.

Mr. Giuliani has a daughter who has indicated support for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, a Democrat, and a son who said they didn't speak for some time. His ugly divorce from their mother, Donna Hanover, was waged publicly while Mr. Giuliani was mayor of New York. Mr. Giuliani has since remarried.

Answering questions at a town hall meeting in Derry, N.H., the Associated Press reports, Mr. Giuliani was asked why he should expect loyalty from Republican voters when his children aren't backing him.

"I love my family very, very much and will do anything for them. There are complexities in every family in America," Mr. Giuliani said. "The best thing I can say is kind of, 'leave my family alone, just like I'll leave your family alone.' "

Shirt suit ends

A couple arrested at a rally after refusing to cover T-shirts that bore anti-President Bush slogans settled their lawsuit against the federal government for $80,000, the American Civil Liberties Union announced yesterday.

Nicole and Jeffery Rank of Corpus Christi, Texas, were handcuffed and removed from the July 4, 2004, rally at the West Virginia Capitol, where Mr. Bush gave a speech. A judge dismissed trespassing charges against them, and an order closing the case was filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Charleston, W.Va., the Associated Press reported.

White House spokesman Blair Jones said the settlement was not an admission of wrongdoing.

"The parties understand that this settlement is a compromise of disputed claims to avoid the expenses and risks of litigation and is not an admission of fault, liability, or wrongful conduct," Mr. Jones said.

The front of the Ranks' homemade T-shirts bore the international symbol for "no" superimposed over the word "Bush." The back of Mrs. Rank's T-shirt said "Love America, Hate Bush." On the back of Mr. Rank's T-shirt was the message "Regime Change Starts at Home."

Boos at MSNBC

"Joe Scarborough has pulled back the curtain on the liberal bias at MSNBC, describing an incident in which people in its newsroom ceaselessly booed President Bush during a State of the Union address," Mark Finkelstein writes at Newsbusters.org.

"The revelation came on 'Morning Joe' [yesterday]. ... Joe was discussing a recent episode at the Seattle Times in which reporters and editors cheered the news that Karl Rove had resigned. ... Joe went on to describe a similar incident at MSNBC," Mr. Finkelstein said.

Mr. Scarborough said that "my first night here at MSNBC was the president's State of the Union address in 2003, and I was shocked because there were actually people in the newsroom that were booing the president actually from the beginning to the end."

Friend of Padilla

A blogger at Democrats.com expressed outrage that Jose Padilla was convicted yesterday on terrorism charges.

"Jose Padilla Trial Adds Another Urgent Reason for Impeachment," said the headline over Bob Fertik'sblog.

President Bush'sdesignation of Padilla as an illegal enemy combatant, not entitled to the protection of United States law,"was an entirely dictatorial act," Mr. Fertik said.

He added: "It took 3½ years for his lawyers to get him transferred to a Miami jail to face actual criminal charges. By then he had basically lost his mind.

"The trial was a travesty, as meticulously blogged by Lewis Z. Koch. Yet Bush's Justice Department won a conviction anyway.

"If this could happen to Jose Padilla, it could happen to any United States citizen. Any one of us could be designated an 'enemy combatant' without any court review and locked away in isolation until we went insane. ...

"It's time for every American to demand Bush's impeachment — before we all become Jose Padilla."

Democrat roulette

The folks at GOP.com have come up with an Internet game called "Show of Hands" where online visitors can ask questions about the top six Democratic 2008 presidential candidates — Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton,New York; Barack Obama,Illinois; Joseph R. Biden Jr., Delaware; and Christopher J. Dodd,Connecticut;former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards andNew Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

Here's an easy question from the game: "Who would, without precondition, meet with leaders of terrorist nations in their first year in office?" And if your answer is Mr. Obama, you get one point.

We won't tell you the answer to this one: "Who had more earmarks in the 2008 defense authorization bill than all the other 2008 Democrat hopefuls?"

Players should be aware that there are several questions that have multiple correct answers, such as: "Who voted to deny employees a secret ballot and allow labor unions to organize without a vote?" and "Who has received a grade of 'F' from the National Taxpayers Union?"

Stressed out

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III noted in 2004 that then-Attorney General John Ashcroft was "clearly stressed" after being visited in intensive care by then-White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales, reporter Jon Ward writes in Fishwrap at www.washingtontimes.com.

Mr. Mueller was called to the hospital by Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey, who told him that Mr. Gonzales and then-White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. were going to visit Mr. Ashcroft, who was recovering from emergency gall bladder surgery.

Mr. Comey had been designated acting attorney general and was worried that Mr. Gonzales and Mr. Card were going to pressure Mr. Ashcroft into authorizing a top-secret government surveillance program that Mr. Comey objected to on legal grounds.

Mr. Mueller's notes, which were released yesterday afternoon by the House Judiciary Committee after being turned over in heavily redacted form by the FBI, add some small details, but no big revelations, to the story of what happened on March 10, 2004.

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