- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Edwards blogger update

The family-values promoting Family Research Council is not forgiving Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards for keeping two “anti-Catholic” bloggers on his campaign.

And the resignation of one of the bloggers, Amanda Marcotte, didn’t satisfy the group.

The council blasts Mr. Edwards for saying he believes Ms. Marcotte, his former blogmaster, and Melissa McEwen, his “netroots” director, didn’t mean to offend anybody with anti-religion rants on their personal blog sites.

“Given the level of obscenity and vituperation in the women’s words, Edwards should have taken them to the woodshed instead,” the council said in an e-mail to followers.

“When actor Isaiah Washington slandered a homosexual, he was institutionalized,” the council said. “When Mel Gibson lashed out against the Jewish community in a drunken tirade, he became a Hollywood outcast.”

Mr. Edwards said he was “personally offended” by the blogs but that “everyone is entitled to their opinion.”

The Family Research Council and the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights are still calling for Mr. Edwards to fire Ms. McEwan.

“It doesn’t change our position as to the reaction of Edwards himself that their words don’t mean anything and that it’s OK with him,” says Connie Mackey, senior vice president of FRC Action, the council’s political arm.

“What we are looking for is action by the candidate who could be president of the United States. … We’d be happier if Senator Edwards was taking the action.”

Some of the tamer entries on Ms. Marcotte’s personal blog Pandagon included, “The Pope’s gotta tell women who give birth to stillborns that their babies are cast into Satan’s maw. … The Catholic Church is not about to let something like compassion for girls get in the way of using the state as an instrument to force women to bear more tithing Catholics.”

Ms. McEwen in her personal blog, Shakespeare’s Sister, demanded “wing-nut Christo-fascist base [keep] your noses our of our britches, our bed and our families.”

— S.A. Miller, Capitol Hill correspondent, The Washington Times

A long week

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters this morning that debate on the war in Iraq will last until about midnight tonight, Wednesday and Thursday.

In addition, if the Senate does not approve a continuing resolution to sustain the current operating budget, then Congress might have to work into the weekend, Mr. Hoyer said.

Congress is out of session next week for President’s Day.

— Jon Ward, Capitol Hill correspondent, The Washington Times

Like losing in Vietnam

Minority Leader John Boehner got emotional this morning as he listened to Rep. Sam Johnson speak about his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

Mr. Johnson, Texas Republican, was a POW in Vietnam for almost seven years, and was released 34 years ago yesterday. He spoke to reporters about the effect of anti-war speeches and protests in the U.S., which his captors would play over loudspeakers in the prison camp.

“We did it before in Vietnam — we had that war won — yet Congress pulled the funding and the troops were forced out,” Mr. Johnson, 76, said. “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. We must support our troops”

As he spoke, tears began to stream down Mr. Boehner’s face, and he wiped them away with a white handkerchief.

“You can’t help but get emotional,” said Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican.

He said that Democratic aims to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq will “jeopardize the safety of Americans tomorrow and for decades to come.”

“Who doesn’t believe that the terrorists will just follow our troops home?” Mr. Boehner said.

— Jon Ward, Capitol Hill correspondent, The Washington Times

Dodd to New Hampshire again

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Christopher J. Dodd this week is making his fourth trip to New Hampshire, home of the country’s first presidential primary election n, Jan. 22, 2008.

“He loves New Hampshire,” said Beneva Schulte, campaign spokeswoman for Mr. Dodd, Connecticut Democrat.

“He likes the way the people come to small venues — people’s living rooms — and they ask questions that are thoughtful and engaged,” she said. “He really likes that aspect.”

Mr. Dodd plans to tour the critical primary state Thursday and Friday, starting with at visit to the Meals on Wheels Center at the St. Joseph’s Community Center in Nashua.

He also will lunch with Democratic leaders of the state legislature in Concord, pop by the nearby Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, and do a happy-hour meet and greet at the Red Hook Brewery in Portsmouth.

Mr. Dodd plans to start Friday with a “Politics & Eggs Breakfast” at the Bedford Village Inn in Bedford and finish the trip with a roundtable discussion on education at the public library in Keene.

— S.A. Miller, Capitol Hill correspondent, The Washington Times

Overlooked

Sen. Barack Obama’s final declaration at the end of his announcement speech Saturday morning received little press. In honor of Valentine’s Day tomorrow, we just wanted to note here how the Illinois Democrat closed the announcement: “I love you!”

— Christina Bellantoni, Capitol Hill correspondent, The Washington Times

Kudos

We here at Fishwrap appreciate our competitor Heard on the Hill’s explanation for why Rep. Phil Gingrey shaved his moustache over the weekend. The Roll Call gossip column reported this morning that the Georgia Republican finally ditched the look after 4 decades, quoting his spokesgal who said her boss “vowed years ago that he would shave his trademark ‘stache at the first sign of gray.”

“He kind of surprised us all. We sent him home Thursday with a mustache and he came in yesterday without one,” Becky Ruby told Fishwrap earlier.

The ‘stache was famously featured on the Colbert Report last year, when host Stephen Colbert offered to groom it on camera.

Ruby said Gingrey will have a new official Congressional photo taken this week so he can update his Web site, since “He plans to stay clean-shaven for awhile.”

— Christina Bellantoni, Capitol Hill correspondent, The Washington Times

Romney is in

Mitt Romney announced his bid for president at 9 a.m. in Dearborn, Michigan.

One of the notable points in the speech is the Republican’s emphasis on “innovation and transformation.” The former Massachussets governor apparently wants to make the small government versus big government debate part of the 2008 campaign:

“There are some who believe that America’s strength comes from government - that challenges call for bigger government, for more regulation of our lives and livelihood, and for more protection and isolation from competition that comes from open markets.

“That is the path that has been taken by much of Europe. It is called the welfare state. It has led to high unemployment and anemic job growth. It is not the path to prosperity and leadership.

“I believe the American people are the source of our strength. They always have been. They always will be. The American people: hard working, educated, innovative, ready to sacrifice for family and country, patriotic, seeking opportunity above dependence, God-fearing, free American people. When we need to call on the strength of America, we should strengthen the American people, not the American government!”

— Jon Ward, Capitol Hill correspondent, The Washington Times

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