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Inside Politics

- The Washington Times - Monday, June 18, 2007

First dad

It may have been a rainy day down in Crawford, but a warm time was had by the first family yesterday as Father's Day unfolded.

So what did the big guy get?

President Bush received several ties that wife Laura purchased during their recent trip to Europe, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel revealed yesterday. Twin daughters Barbara and Jenna gave him a compact disc they had made for him.

BBC unmasked

The British Broadcasting Corp. has "failed to promote proper debate on major political issues because of the inherent liberal culture of its staff," a report commissioned by the BBC itself has concluded. Coverage of single-issue political causes, such as climate change and poverty, can be biased — particularly Live 8 coverage, which it says amounted to endorsement. The report warned "that celebrities must not be pandered to and allowed to hijack the BBC schedule."

It concluded that BBC staff must be more willing to challenge their own beliefs.

"There is a tendency to 'group think' with too many staff inhabiting a shared space and comfort zone."

A staff impartiality seminar held last year is also documented in the report, at which executives said they would broadcast images of the Bible being thrown away but not the Koran, in case Muslims were offended.

"During the seminar, a senior BBC reporter also criticized the corporation for being anti-American," the London Daily Telegraph reported yesterday.

Commit Harry-kiri

"Democrats claim to 'support the troops,' but they never seem to tire of bashing them and their leaders in the field. Take Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Last week, he attacked outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter Pace as 'incompetent' and had similar disparaging remarks about Gen. David Petraeus, commander of Coalition forces in Iraq," said a New York Post editorial yesterday.

"What gall.

"In nearly six months' time, Reid and his House partner-in-crime, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have managed to plunge Congress' approval ratings below even the near-historic low levels that President Bush is registering. Yes, Reid is a duly elected leader of Congress. Yes, he has every right to weigh in on the effectiveness of America's military leaders.

"But in doing so, he is also undermining officers in the field — and, by extension, the troops that serve them. In the process, he does his country a disservice. That's especially true in his criticism of Gen. Petraeus.

"If Mr. Reid is intent on doing to the Democratic Party what he's already done to Congress — i.e., drive down its popularity — he's more than welcome. But to the extent that his comments embolden the enemy to kill American troops, they surely are not helpful. Words have consequences. Abroad, as well as at home," the Post concluded.

And George too

What has 24 live radio shows, a dozen TV-show tapings, 75 bloggers and two progressive magazines champing at the bit?

Everyone duck and take cover: The annual "Take Back America" conference sponsored by the District-based Campaign for America's Future gets rolling today, providing a showcase for all good progressives to gather at the Washington Hilton to feel all warm, cozy and connected to the cause. Oh, and shutting down the right, impeaching President Bush and other fun activities, they say.

Democrats are out in force, including Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Jon Tester of Montana, who will discuss "populist energy."

The leading 2008 presidential candidates — New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio, and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina — will be speechifying some time during the three-day conference.

Actor Jason Alexander, best known as George Costanza on "Seinfeld," hosts the Campaign for America's Future's gala awards dinner tomorrow night honoring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and civil rights leader Roger Wilkins.

Mitt channels liberals

"Who's that peering over Mitt Romney's shoulder? It's not John McCain. It's the Massachusetts liberal, " Joan Vennochi of the Boston Globe said yesterday. "Bay State lawmakers last week defeated a proposal to put gay marriage on the ballot for an up or down vote. From the Romney campaign perspective, the left-wing crowd is at it again, and that's not so terrible."

" 'It helps Mitt,' a Romney adviser said. That view could be correct, up to a point.

"The vote taken by Bay State lawmakers showcases the state's ultra-liberalism and gives the former Massachusetts governor another reason to kick Massachusetts around.

"Beyond that, it fires up opponents of same-sex marriage, who constitute a fierce conservative base. They are already expressing fears about what happens now that Massachusetts is the only state where same-sex marriage is legal: Gay couples will travel here, obtain a marriage license, then sue to strike down laws banning same-sex marriage in other states.

" 'It confirms what we have always said about trajectory of this debate. It's headed toward a national standard governing the social institution of marriage,' said Matt Daniels, president of the Virginia-based Alliance for Marriage. Instead of settling the debate, Mr. Daniels said the Massachusetts vote ensures it will be part of the 2008 presidential discussion.

" 'I think the issue is sufficiently important to most Americans and sufficiently advanced that it will be an inescapable part of our public discourse. ... I can't imagine it's going to fade away,' said Daniels."

Mitt channels Teddy

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said Saturday that if he's elected president, he wants "to carry the big stick" by increasing the size of the nation's military. The 2008 Republican hopeful said his plans include boosting the size of the military by at least 100,000 troops and increasing the military budget.

Mr. Romney recalled the words of President Theodore Roosevelt, who said the United States should "speak softly and carry a big stick" in its foreign relations.

"I want to carry the big stick," Mr. Romney told about 200 people at an event in Dubuque, Iowa, according to the Associated Press. "I hope I don't have to use it, but I want to make sure we have it so that people understand we are a nation of strength.

"If you look across the world you can recognize that there is terror going on," he said. "There is a worldwide effort of different people all intent on bringing down modernity and replacing it, in some respects, with barbarism."

Mr. Romney also defended President Bush, calling him a statesman who has shored up the nation's economy, expanded renewable-energy capabilities and chosen appropriate Supreme Court justices.

"Everything he does, he does from the standpoint of what is best for the American people," Mr. Romney said.

{bullet} Contact Jennifer Harper at jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.