- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Honoring Norwood

The House paused its Iraq debate today to pay homage to the late Rep. Charlie Norwood, who died Tuesday after losing a battle with cancer. Services for the Georgia Republican will be held Thursday afternoon in Augusta. Rep. Joe Barton, Texas Republican, got choked up on the House floor a few minutes ago when honoring his colleague. “You will dearly dearly be missed,” Mr. Barton said when concluding his statement.

— Christina Bellantoni, Capitol Hill correspondent, The Washington Times

“Don’t tell Mama I’m for Obama”

That’s the logo on a fake t-shirt that is advertised at the end of a short YouTube clip promoting the new “fake news show” being started by Fox News.

The show, dubbed “The 1/2 Hour News Hour,” is being produced by Joel Surnow, who also produces Fox’s smash hit series, “24.”

Although the term “fake news” was created more by Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show,” Mr. Surnow’s show on the conservative Fox News Channel owes more, according to Variety, to “Saturday Night Live.”

The t-shirt joke is a reference to Sen. Hillary Clinton, New York Democrat, who is running for president in 2008, along with Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois Democrat.

The New York Times’ Carl Hulse tells me that certain political insiders who have supported Madam Hillary in the past are now being swept up in Obamamania. Thus the t-shirt.

The short segment begins with fake news anchor Kurt Long intoning, “Illinois Senator Barack Obama admits that as a teenager, he sometimes used cocaine. This news sent Obama’s approval rating among Democrats plummeting to an all-time low of 99.9 percent.”

The segment also featured a fake “BO” magazine, with such articles on the cover as:

• “A Life in Politics: My 18-Month Journey”

• “Things I Hope to Accomplish Someday”

• “About that Hussein Thing”

and

• “Should We Even Bother to Hold the 2008 Election”

— Jon Ward, Capitol Hill correspondent, The Washington Times

The truth squad

House Republicans set up a “war room on the war” to catch Democrats in contradictions or flat out false statements during the three-day debate on the war in Iraq.

Yesterday evening, House Republican Conference spokesman Ed Patru sent out the following quotes from freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy, Pennsylvania Democrat.

Mr. Murphy said in a speech on the House floor Tuesday: “I served in Baghdad from June of 2003 to January of 2004, walking in my own combat boots, I saw firsthand this administration’s failed policy in Iraq.”

That is true. Mr. Murphy, according to his Web site, served with the 82nd Airborne in Iraq.

However, Republicans dug up a quote from Mr. Murphy in the Widener University School of Law Magazine, Fall 2004 edition.

There, Capt. Murphy said: “We are really making a difference here in Baghdad. These people haven’t had a sense of justice in such a long time. We’re rebuilding schools and parks, and I am working with the Baghdad judiciary on rebuilding their court system … For those of us who joined the legal profession to make a difference, this sure is the place.”

I asked Mr. Murphy’s office for comment, here is the response from Murphy spokesman Adam Abrams:

“Congressman Murphy is absolutely proud of his service and the work done by the 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq. The right wing’s go-to move is to try and smear veterans. Fortunately, Pennsylvanians understand that it’s no contradiction that Congressman Murphy is both proud of his service and opposed to the Bush administration’s wrong-headed policies in Iraq.”

— Jon Ward, Capitol Hill correspondent, The Washington Times

Quotable

“On a personal note, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish my wife Connie, who is home in Ohio under several feet of snow, a happy Valentine’s day. I’m blessed to have you as my wife.” — Sen. Sherrod Brown, Ohio Democrat, earlier today after giving a speech on the economy on the Senate floor.

— Christina Bellantoni, Capitol Hill correspondent, The Washington Times

Give peace a chance, part 2

The plan by anti-war activists to stage a 1960s-style sit tomorrow at the office of U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski drew this response:

“Senator Mikulski was one of 23 Senators to vote against authorization of the war in Iraq in 2002,” said Mikulski spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz. She said the Maryland Democrat “has always been opposed to President Bush’s war in Iraq, and has called President Bush’s actions ‘reckless and irresponsible.’ Senator Mikulski has consistently said that she, and Congress, will not abandon our troops — on the battlefield or when they come home.”

Still, Miss Schwartz said the senator welcomes the protest. “As a lifelong grassroots advocate, Senator Mikulski believes that every person has a right to be heard,” she said.

Miss Mikulski’s recent statements on the war can be found online.”

Maryland peace activist and failed U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Zeese is joining the sit-in and has criticized Miss Mikulski for votes to fund the war. He said she is shortchanging Maryland taxpayers, putting U.S. troops in harm’s way and helping her supporters in the defense industry by continuing war funding.

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

Give peace a chance

Maryland peace activist and failed U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Zeese isn’t going anywhere. He’s staging a 1960s-style sit-in tomorrow at the office of Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski office to protest the Democrat’s continued funding of the Iraq war.

“Senator Mikulski cannot be against this war and continue to vote to fund this war,” said Mr. Zeese, who lost his Senate run as an independent to Democrat Benjamin L. Cardin.

He said Miss Mikulski, Maryland Democrat, is shortchanging Maryland taxpayers, putting U.S. troops in harm’s way and helping her supporters in the defense industry by continuing war funding.

“Sen. Mikulski does not support the troops by sending them to Iraq, she supports them by bringing them home,” said Mr. Zeese, director of DemocracyRising.US and co-founder of VotersForPeace.US.

Mikulski spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz said the senator might respond later today.

In the meantime, she noted Miss Mikulski’s recent comments on the Senate floor opposing President Bush’s “surge plan” for Iraq.

“The best way to support our troops serving in Iraq is to say ‘NO’ to the President’s escalation of the war,” Miss Mikulski said. “Let’s send in the diplomats and bring our troops home safely and soon.” Mr. Zeese plans to sit in Miss Mikulski’s office beside fellow activist from Peace Action Montgomery and the Occupation Project.

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

Sunday funnies?

Fishwrap favorite “The Daily Show is getting some

href=http://insidecable.blogsome.com/2007/02/13/inside-the-12-hour-news-hour/>competition.

“The 1/2 Hour News Hour,” a creation of Fox News and produced by 24 creator Joel Surnow, premieres Sunday.

Here’s a preview, devoted to Obamaramania.

— Christina Bellantoni, Capitol Hill correspondent, The Washington Times

It’s rough to be a freshman

Even though his win over incumbent Republican Rep. Richard Pombo of California helped shore up a new Democratic majority in the House, Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney was relegated to a late-night speech during the Iraq debate yesterday.

McNerney, who won in part because of his fierce war opposition, took it all in stride.

In an e-mail to constituents labeled as “Breaking News,” McNerney said he would speak “sometime between 6 and 9 p.m. PST.” The speech happened around 9 eastern, 6 pacific. McNerney invited his district folks to blog about his remarks on his Web site.

Dozens of folks took him up on his offer, with one woman posting: “Give ‘em hell, Jerry. NO MORE FUNDING. If you want to stop a war, you just supply no more money, as we did with Vietnam.”

— Christina Bellantoni, Capitol Hill correspondent, The Washington Times

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