- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Another debate

Democratic 2008 front-runners Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama said yesterday they will participate in a June debate in New Hampshire.

The two senators previously had opted not to attend because the forum was not one of the six debates sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee. But Mrs. Clinton, of New York, first announced she would take part in the June 3 debate, hosted by CNN, ABC affiliate WMUR-TV and the New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper. The Obama campaign soon after said the Illinois senator would attend as well, The Washington Times’ blog Fishwrap reported yesterday.

Mrs. Clinton is “excited to participate” in what is an “important part of the New Hampshire primary tradition,” said spokesman Mo Elleithee.

“We look forward to participating in the DNC’s schedule of six sanctioned debates that begins in July,” he said.

Mr. Obama, of Illinois, says the debate in the “home of the nation’s first primary is an opportunity too important to miss,” said his New Hampshire director, Matt Rodriguez.

“We had hoped that the DNC and the debate’s sponsors would agree to make this debate one of the DNC’s six sanctioned debates,” he said.

Mind-boggling’

Brian Williams asked a revealing question at the Democratic presidential debate in South Carolina last week,” Kirsten Powers writes in the Wall Street Journal.

“The NBC News anchor, who was serving as moderator, inquired whether criticism of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the federal partial-birth abortion ban put the Democrats on stage at odds with the majority of Americans who applauded the decision.

John Edwards, apparently missing the rhetorical nature of the question, responded, ‘No, I don’t believe it is.’

“Polls show between 60 percent and 70 percent of Americans oppose late-term abortions, except to save the life of the mother. The Democratic candidates — all of whom vocally criticized the ruling — are out of touch with most Americans, including many who are pro-choice, on this important issue. Even some Democrats who voted for the ban four years ago — such as Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Joe Biden (two of 17 Democrats to vote for it) — have dressed down the Supreme Court for upholding a law they voted for,” said Ms. Powers, who served in the Clinton administration from 1993 to 1998 and is a Fox News political analyst.

“It’s tragic that abortion rights have become synonymous with modern-day feminism. But it’s mind-boggling that late-term abortions now enjoy the imprimatur of every one of the presidential candidates of one of the two main political parties.”

Illiterate Democrats

“Maybe it was a slip of the tongue. But, when Nancy Pelosi confessed last year that she felt ‘sad’ about President Bush’s claims that al Qaeda operates in Iraq, she seemed to be disputing what every American soldier in Iraq, every al Qaeda operative, and anyone who reads a newspaper already knew to be true,” Lawrence F. Kaplan writes at the New Republic Online (www.tnr.com). “(When I questioned him about Pelosi’s assertion, a U.S. officer in Ramadi responded, incredulously, that al Qaeda had just held a parade in his sector.)

“Perhaps the House speaker was alluding to the discredited claim that al Qaeda operated in Iraq before the war. Perhaps. But the insinuation that al Qaeda’s depredations in Iraq might be something other than what they appear to be has become a staple of the congressional debate over Iraq. Thus, to buttress his own case for withdrawal,Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, ‘We have to change course [away from Iraq] and turn our attention back to the war on al Qaeda and their allies’ — the clear message being that neither plays much of a role there,” Mr. Kaplan said.

“What is going on here? There are two possibilities: First, Reid and Pelosi could be purposefully minimizing the stakes in Iraq. Or, second, they don’t know what they’re talking about. My guess is some combination of the two. Political maneuvering certainly contributes to the everyday pollution of Iraq discourse. But a lot of the pollution derives from legislators being functionally illiterate about the war over which Congress now intends to preside.”

War room

Senate staffers in Majority Leader Harry Reid’s war room put together some grim Iraq war statistics as the Democrats needled President Bush on the four-year anniversary of the “Mission Accomplished” moment.

“Four years after President Bush declared mission accomplished, Americans from all parts of the country continue to bear the burden of the president’s flawed Iraq policies,” read a release sent out by the Democratic leader’s press shop.

The release, first mentioned in our blog Fishwrap yesterday, directs voters to http://democrats.senate.gov/ma/.

The site brings Web surfers to an interactive map of the United States. Clicking on a state pulls up detailed statistics on troop deaths, with the Defense Department cited as its source.

Willing accomplices

Al Gore has complained that the media are biased against the inconvenient truth of global warming,” the Media Research Center’s Rich Noyes notes at www.mrc.org.

” ‘I believe that is one of the principal reasons why political leaders around the world have not yet taken action,’ Gore told a ‘Media Ethics Summit’ at Middle Tennessee State University back in February. Gore lectured journalists that any coverage of views opposed to his own was irresponsible, calling it ‘balance as bias.’

“It’s impossible to imagine the big TV networks actually accepting an edict from a conservative politician to report only their side of a major public policy issue, but a new Media Research Center study of ABC, CBS and NBC’s global-warming coverage finds the networks are giving Gore practically everything he demanded. Not only does nearly every global-warming story exclude any contrary voices, but the coverage of Al Gore personally has been exceptionally positive as well,” Mr. Noyes said.

“MRC analysts examined all 115 news stories that dealt with global warming from Jan. 1 through April 15 on NBC’s ‘Today,’ ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ and CBS’s ‘The Early Show.’ These morning news programs had a combined audience of more than 13 million during the first three months of 2007.

“Unlike the networks’ evening newscasts, the two- and three-hour morning shows have longer segments that should (in theory) make it easier to include multiple points of view on controversial topics. But MRC’s analysts found just four stories out of 115 (just over 3 percent) contained any mention of dissent from Gore’s approach to global warming — and even those stories were heavily stacked in favor of his ‘climate crisis’ position.”

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

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