- The Washington Times - Friday, June 29, 2007

Money race

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign staffers have been saying for weeks they thinkSen. Barack Obama will outraise their boss this quarter and bring in $30 million or more. It’s the typical expectations-lowering game, but Mr. Obama, Illinois Democrat, announced yesterday he received even more donations this cycle than last time around.

The two senators were neck and neck in dollars raised last quarter, though Mr. Obama, in second place in most polls, had nearly double the number of donations made to his campaign.

The Obama campaign had 341,000 donations from more than 248,000 people as of 5 p.m., reporter Christina Bellantoni wrote yesterday on The Washington Times’ blog Fishwrap.

Mrs. Clinton, New York Democrat, leading her rivals in all the national polls, has been making her own major fundraising push — including a big-dollar dinner featuring mega-investor Warren Buffett this week — before Saturday’s filing deadline.

A few hours after Mr. Obama’s announcement, Clinton campaign guru Howard Wolfson told reporters in a detailed memo, “Simply put, this has been a great quarter for us,” and predicted the campaign will raise about $27 million this period.

“To put that figure in some perspective, it is more than any Democrat has ever raised in the second quarter of the ‘off’ year. While that figure is record setting, we do expect Senator Obama to significantly outraise us this quarter,” Mr. Wolfson wrote. “Bottom line is that both campaigns will raise a great deal of money and that we will have all the resources we need to compete and win.”

Exerciser-in-chief

President Bush, an avid mountain bike rider, says rigorous exercise is great for the mind and body.

Asked in a network broadcast interview about people who say they’re too busy to exercise regularly, Mr. Bush said, “I don’t buy that. I think you set priorities in life, and if exercise is one of your priorities, then you do it.”

“I’m amazed at how young I feel,” Mr. Bush, 60, told CBS’s “The Early Show” in an interview broadcast yesterday. The president, who regularly goes mountain biking, said, “I wisely have convinced a bunch of youngsters here in the White House and Washington to ride with me.”

He also said he was heartened by the advance of women’s athletics in the United States. “I’m a big backer of Title IX,” Mr. Bush said of the federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs.

“I think the progress, though, has been startling from the day when there were hardly any women’s teams,” said the president, once a part owner of the Texas Rangers of baseball’s American League.

He said a fitness culture “starts with families” and that “I exercise a lot because it’s good for my mind, and it’s good for my soul.”

“I feel great,” he said, “and I think most 60-year-olds feel good if they take care of their body and be careful of what they put in their body.”

Dishonest reporting

Some leading national media are misreporting conservative Ann Coulter‘sremarks about liberal Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, including the “NBC Nightly News,” CNN’s “American Morning,” The Washington Post’s “Reliable Source” and MSNBC’s on-the-hour announcer, the Media Research Center (MRC) reports at www.mrc.org.

MRC President Brent Bozell issued the following statement:

“When I first heard the sound-bite of Ann Coulter’s remarks calling for the assassination of John Edwards, I was appalled. Then I read the entire quote, and was doubly appalled — at the media themselves. I have never seen a person’s words so blatantly, and dishonestly distorted. When one reads, or listens to Ann’s entire statement, it is immediately apparent that she was wishing for no such thing.”

Here is the quote being run by some of the top media:

Miss Coulter: “If I’m gonna say anything about John Edwards in the future, I’ll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot.” (ABC, Good Morning America, Monday.)

Here is the entire quote:

Miss Coulter: “But about the same time, you know, Bill Maher was not joking and saying he wished Dick Cheney had been killed in a terrorist attack. So, I’ve learned my lesson. If I’m gonna say anything about John Edwards in the future, I’ll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot.”

Said Mr. Bozell: “Ann Coulter was making the point that (a) a leftist like Bill Maher made the serious statement that it might be a positive thing to have Vice President Dick Cheney killed by terrorists, and (b) it received no condemnation from the national press; and therefore (c) she would escape negative media scrutiny in the future were she to take that line against John Edwards.

“It is an inescapable truth that Ann Coulter was dripping with sarcasm when she made her remark. It is also an inescapable truth that every TV, radio and print outlet that has run the shortened version of her remarks is distorting her words — deliberately. Some have run the full quote, such as the morning shows on CBS, ABC and NBC. Good for them.

“But Ann Coulter is owed an apology from those outlets, including NBC’s ‘Nightly News,’ The Washington Post and CNN’s ‘American Morning,’ which have misreported her comments. And conservatives, take note: Today it’s Coulter, tomorrow it may be you. The left has demonstrated that it will stop at nothing, including flat-out dishonesty, to undermine our leaders.”

Bloomberg’s health

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who recently left the Republican Party and declared himself an independent, underwent heart surgery before he ran for mayor in 2001, a procedure that he had not previously disclosed.

The billionaire media mogul had two coronary arterial stents inserted to relieve blockage in his heart in 2000. The surgery was first reported by Newsweek this week and confirmed yesterday by a person close to the mayor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Bloomberg, 65, is said to be in excellent health. He has said he takes an aspirin each day, often mentions that he smoked long ago and frequently jokes about watching his waistline.

Last week, Mr. Bloomberg switched his party status from Republican to unaffiliated, increasing speculation that he would pursue the presidency as an independent. He denies any interest in running but has increasingly been traveling outside New York and speaking out on national issues.

Mr. Bloomberg was not yet a declared mayoral candidate for the 2001 campaign when he underwent the procedure. The person familiar with Mr. Bloomberg’s health said he did not have the operation because of a heart attack or major cardiac event but because he had been experiencing mild discomfort in his chest.

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