- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Hola, America

While trouble may be brewing for U.S. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, a statement to consider comes from the District-based Latino Coalition, which is taking CNN host Jack Cafferty to task for calling Mr. Gonzales “the president’s water boy” during a telecast of “The Situation Room” on March 12.

“This kind of rhetoric from a journalist is simply unacceptable and racist,” said the nonprofit’s president, Robert G. Deposada. “We cannot be hypocritical when it comes to racist statements in our national media. If the attorney general was an African American, and Mr. Cafferty would have called him a water boy, the entire media establishment and civil rights organizations from across the country would be calling for Mr. Cafferty’s firing.”

Mr. Deposada continued, “Attorney General Gonzales is a highly qualified and very accomplished professional. For anyone to call this highly respected Latino a water boy is simply outrageous and shows enormous amounts of prejudice.”

The group, which first aired its concerns April 20, suggests Mr. Cafferty be fired.

Hola, Alberto

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales is safe for now, according to the Washington Prowler. Previously, the White House was considering Texas Sen. John Cornyn and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Chris Cox to replace him.

“But after some initial internal discussion, according to White House insiders, plans to dump Gonzales were dropped,” the Prowler said yesterday.

“Even if we’d nominated someone like Cornyn, it wasn’t clear that we had the strategy or the chits to call in to get him confirmed in a timely manner,” a White House source said. “And Cox has been a disappointment at the SEC. He’s shown too much of a willingness to work with the Democratic members of the commission.”

The Prowler concluded, “As it stands, look for a cleaning of the house in lower ranks of the Justice Department’s political appointees, with Gonzales staying on for a period.”

That was quick

Journalists snipe at one another over rivals’ coverage, discussions continue on gun control in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre just over two weeks ago, but opportunity, apparently, has knocked. A book about the shootings is under way — already.

Publisher’s Weekly reported yesterday that Plume Books has bought world rights to “April 16: Heartbreak in Blacksburg,” now being penned by journalism professor Roland Lazenby. Three of his students will help him, with “a portion of the proceeds” to be given to the victims’ fund at Virginia Tech, and to “support journalism education” at the university.

Missing middle

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has jettisoned her maiden name, “Rodham,” in her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. She’s now just plain “Hillary Clinton” in campaign press releases and on her Web site, Hearst Newspapers reported yesterday.

The New York Democrat appeared surprised last week when asked about it, shaking her head and giggling, “I haven’t, I haven’t.” Her longtime communications adviser Howard Wolfson said, “There’s no plan behind it.”

Ninety-five percent of American women use their husband’s last name, according to Laurie Scheuble, a sociologist at Penn State University .

Mrs. Clinton is “doing the right thing politically to appeal to the most voters. She’s conforming to the social norm,” Ms. Scheuble said. When the Clintons moved into the White House in 1993 and the couple mapped an independent policy role on health care for Mrs. Clinton, she began to use “Hillary Rodham Clinton” — a moniker that she retained through eight years as first lady and in her two Senate campaigns in 2000 and 2006.

Liberal perception

Liberalism is in the eye of the beholder, perhaps. According to Rasmussen Reports, 52 percent of American voters overall view Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, as “liberal.”

Among Democratic voters, the numbers fall to 40 percent, according to a survey of 746 likely voters conducted April 23-26. The poll has a margin of error of four percentage points.

Meanwhile, her favorability ratings are in decline, the pollster reports. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois is now two points ahead of the former first lady. She led by 12 points in March.

Staying mum

“The last word on George Tenet?” asked Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds yesterday.

“An inept organization was led by a stupefyingly inept man. I can understand not firing him immediately after 9/11. We were in crisis mode and too much turnover might have been disruptive. But he should have been let go as soon as possible after the Afghanistan invasion was over. … I think he would have been better off keeping his mouth shut. That’s what spymasters are supposed to do, isn’t it?”

Li’l lawmaker

Congress has a new baby: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is the first lawmaker in more than a decade to give birth: Cole McMorris Rodgers was born at 3:14 a.m. on Sunday at Bethesda Naval Hospital, according to Mrs. Rodgers’ office yesterday.

Cole was four weeks premature, but is faring well, weighing in at 5 pounds, 9 ounces. The former Cathy McMorris, 37, married Brian Rodgers last year. This is her first child.

“Although he arrived early, both the baby and I are doing well and recovering at the hospital,” the Washington Republican said, adding that she will take a month off.

Mrs. Rodgers, a second-term legislator who will turn 38 on May 22, is just the fifth woman to give birth while serving in Congress. The last member of Congress to do so was then-Rep. Blanche Lincoln, Arkansas Democrat, who had twin sons in 1996. Mrs. Lincoln is now a senator.

Wardrobe malfunction

The May issue of Jane magazine features a “glowing” article on topless anti-war protesters, Debbie Schlussel writes at her blog (www.debbieschlussel.com).

Jane’s editors describe the Conde Nast publication as “a magazine built for the 20-something woman who is the ultimate front-row influencer.” Miss Schlussel is not impressed.

“They’re against the war, against our troops and against President Bush,” she notes. “Says their lawyer, the coincidentally-named Mark Tietig: ‘We prefer the term “top-free” since “topless” has a connotation of strip clubs.’ ”

Miss Schlussel comments: ” ‘Top-free.’ ‘Topless.’ I just call them what they really are: Brainless and witless. Brain-free and wit-free will do, though.”

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

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