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Inside Politics

- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 9, 2007

Last year's news

President Bush was treated for Lyme disease last August, the White House announced yesterday nearly a year after the diagnosis.

The treatment was revealed only when the White House made public all the results of Mr. Bush's annual physical exam. The disease showed up in the "past medical history" section and in the summary along with other skin conditions.

Mr. Bush was treated for what his doctors described as "early, localized Lyme disease" last August after developing the characteristic bull's-eye rash. The doctors said he has had no recurrence.

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said the disease was not disclosed earlier because it happened after he had his last physical, on Aug. 1, 2006, the Associated Press reports.

"It was a rash," he said. "It's not uncommon for the president to have tick bites when he's out biking."

Domino effect

South Carolina is poised to hold its Republican presidential primary earlier than Feb. 2, 2008, likely in mid-January, a move that is expected to push New Hampshire and Iowa to follow suit. Such shifts could mean the first Republican Party nominating contest could take place just four months from now.

South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson will announce the earlier date today during a joint press conference with New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner in Concord, N.H.

"We're going to protect this battleground," Mr. Dawson said of South Carolina's historic first-in-the-South primary status.

He and his aides declined to disclose the date. But several Republican officials with knowledge of probable scenarios say the most likely option is for South Carolina to hold its primary Jan. 19, a change they say would lead New Hampshire to schedule its first-in-the-nation primary on Jan. 7 or 8, and Iowa to hold its leadoff caucuses as early as mid-December, perhaps on the 17th.

Giuliani's critique

Republican Rudolph W. Giuliani said yesterday that the latest Democratic debate underscores the party's drift to the left, a move he said ensures that voters will have a stark choice in next year's presidential election.

Mr. Giuliani, who last month called Democrats the "party of losers," said the field of eight Democratic candidates is the most liberal in memory.

"It's beyond their just embracing loss in Iraq," Mr. Giuliani said. "It sounds to me like they want to repeat the Clinton administration."

Mr. Giuliani spoke at a diner in the western Iowa city of Council Bluffs, where he wrapped up a four-day trip to the state, the Associated Press reports. He ate an omelet and sausage breakfast with activists and took questions from reporters, who asked about the Democratic debate sponsored by the AFL-CIO.

On virtually every issue, Mr. Giuliani argued, Democrats have ceded the political middle and moved left to court party interest groups. "When you listen to their discussion, it's taxing the rich, penalizing corporations, creating socialized medicine, demilitarizing," Mr. Giuliani said.

True believers

"NBC has apparently abandoned any doubt about the formulation that bad or hot weather in the summer proves man-made global warming since just two years after 'NBC Nightly News' pointed out how 'three of the five warmest summers on record were in the 1930s,' Tuesday's newscast showcased a U.N. report to contend 'extreme weather' and an August heat wave demonstrate man-made global warming," the Media Research Center's Brent Baker writes at www.mrc.org.

"Back on the July 25, 2005, 'NBC Nightly News,' after a man on the street declared that 'it seems like each summer is a little warmer than the one before,' reporter Carl Quintanilla countered: 'Actually, that's not right.' He noted that 'three of the five warmest summers on record were in the 1930s. Climate experts like Kevin Trenberth say the one-degree increase in temperature this century is no reason to break a sweat.'

"Two years later, on Tuesday night, fill-in NBC anchor Ann Curry segued from a summer heat-wave story to how 'a new report out from the U.N. says we are in an extreme weather year all over the globe and the question tonight: Is global warming to blame?' Citing 'a worldwide path of destruction,' Anne Thompson asserted that 'global land surface temperatures in January and April were likely the warmest since records began 120 years ago, extremes scientists say are consistent with an increase in carbon dioxide, man-made global warming.' "

Fading whites

Whites are now in the minority in nearly one in 10 U.S. counties, the Census Bureau reports. As of 2006, non-Hispanic whites made up less than half the population in 303 of the nation's 3,141 counties, according to figures the bureau is releasing today. Whites were a minority in 262 counties in 2000, up from 183 in 1990.

The Census Bureau's report has population estimates by race and ethnicity for every county in the nation. They are the first such estimates since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, the Associated Press reports. The biggest changes in were in Orleans Parish, La., home to New Orleans. The share of non-Hispanic whites in Orleans Parish grew from 27 percent in 2005 to 34 percent in 2006, while the share of blacks dropped from about 68 percent to 59 percent.

According to the report, Slope County, N.D., is the whitest county in the country (99.3 percent non-Hispanic white), while whites are the smallest minority in Starr County, Texas, where 2.1 percent of the population is non-Hispanic white.

Many of the nation's biggest counties have long had large minority populations, but that diversity is spreading. Prince William County, Va., has seen its Hispanic population more than double since 2000, to nearly 70,000 last year. Non-Hispanic whites account for a little more than half the population, down from about two-thirds in 2000. By 2050, minorities will account for half of U.S. residents, according to Census Bureau projections.

Shot down

Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois Democrat, dodged a question at Tuesday's AFL-CIO debate about whether he would honor San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds at the White House should he be elected, reports Christina Bellantoni yesterday at her Washington Times blog "On the Democrats."

"Well, first of all, he's still got to hit one more, and it's been taking a while," Mr. Obama said. When Mr. Obama got the question around 7:30 p.m. Chicago time, Mr. Bonds — who has been under a cloud over steroid accusations — was tied with Hank Aaron for the home run record of 755. Mr. Obama praised Mr. Aaron as "what sports should be, and that is something that young people can look up to."

"Barry Bonds has been a remarkable baseball player, and I honor his achievements," the senator said. "But I hope that all of us are focused on making sure that sports is something that kids can look up to, not something that they start feeling cynical about."

When pressed by moderator Keith Olbermann, Mr. Obama said: "Well, like I said, he hasn't done it yet, so we'll answer the question when it comes."

Mr. Bonds hit the big 756 in San Francisco against the Washington Nationals just a few hours later.

Over to you, senator.

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