- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Foley’s computer

Florida’s top law-enforcement official appealed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for help investigating whether disgraced former Rep. Mark Foley committed any state crimes, but has received no response.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey wrote last month to Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, asking for access to Mr. Foley’s House computer to advance its investigation. Mr. Foley, a Republican, resigned in September 2006 after reports that he sent sexually explicit messages to boys who served as congressional pages.

In the letter, Mr. Bailey acknowledged the House legal office earlier refused access to the computer.

“If we are not granted access to said equipment, I respectfully request a written response specifying the reason for the denial and direction to the court process or other procedure required to gain the requested access,” Mr. Bailey wrote to Mrs. Pelosi.

Eyes wide shut

“Over the past 12 months, U.S. troops in Iraq have risen every day and gone to work, dangerous work, implementing Gen. David H. Petraeus counterinsurgency strategy: The surge. Across the political spectrum, observers have announced the surge a success. This achievement must be a source of enormous pride to the U.S. soldiers and Marines who have pulled it off,” the Wall Street Journal says in an editorial.

“So what we take away from the four Democratic presidential candidates’ stunning display of misinformation and false statements about the surge Saturday evening is that they have simply stopped thinking about Iraq. They seem to have concluded that opposition to the war permits them to literally not know what the U.S. or the Iraqis are doing there. As the nation commences the selection of an American president, this is a phenomenon worth noting,” the newspaper said.

Barack Obama is all of a sudden the front-runner, so his view of the surge merits the closest look. His first assertion echoed what has become a standard line by the war’s opponents, that ‘we have not made ourselves safer as a consequence.’ What can this possibly mean? In more than six years, there hasn’t been one successful terrorist attack on the U.S., even as places elsewhere were hit or actively targeted.

“Then Sen. Obama placidly said that the Sunnis in Anbar Province began to help the U.S. ‘after the Democrats were elected in 2006.’ What’s more, the Democrats’ victory showed them they were ‘going to be left very vulnerable to the Shias.’ This obviously means the Democrats would abandon them.

“But the Sunni Awakening, as it is called, with its fall in bloodshed, occurred only after the Anbar Sunnis were convinced that the U.S. troops would not abandon them to al Qaeda in Iraq. Sunni sheiks have said explicitly it was the new U.S. policy of sustaining the offensive against AQI that made it possible for them to resist the jihadists. The U.S. military has supported the spread of these ‘awakening councils’ in other areas of Iraq. It is navel-gazing in the extreme for Mr. Obama to suggest U.S. congressional elections caused this turn.”

Keep on talking

Mike Huckabee says he has placed his political fate in the hands of David Letterman.

“If I win New Hampshire, it’s because I did this show,” the former Arkansas governor said Monday night on CBS’ “Late Show,” while taking a break from campaigning in the nation’s first presidential primary.

“If I lose New Hampshire, it’s because I did this show,” he added, to laughter and applause.

Unlike his appearance Jan. 2 on late-night rival Jay Leno’s NBC talk show, the Republican candidate didn’t anger striking writers by crossing their picket line. Mr. Letterman has a separate agreement with the writers for his show.

Meanwhile, fellow Republican candidate Ron Paul flew to Los Angeles for an appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” the Associated Press reports.

If Mr. Paul won the Republican nomination, Mr. Leno asked, which of his rivals would he choose as a running mate?

“The one that agrees with me on all the issues,” Mr. Paul replied. “But they don’t seem very agreeable right now.”

Fred’s bus tour

With his Republican rivals jockeying for victory in New Hampshire, presidential hopeful Fred Thompson sought yesterday to boost his support in South Carolina.

“I don’t know of any better place to stand my ground and test my case than in South Carolina,” Mr. Thompson told a couple of hundred people at a pancake house in the northern part of the state as he began an 11-day bus tour.

Several hours later, he said primary results in New Hampshire and in Michigan on Jan. 15 will factor into whether he stays in the race — but that South Carolina will be key, the Associated Press reports.

“This is where we make our stand — this is where I have chosen to make my stand,” Mr. Thompson told a crowd at a barbecue restaurant. He later told reporters he needs to do well in South Carolina, which votes Jan. 19.

“There’s no question about it. It could prove at the end of the day that South Carolina is determinative as far as I’m concerned, but we’re not there yet,” he said.

One-sided

“Are the two major political parties hosting primaries this winter? Or is it just the Democrats?” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker asks at www.mrc.org.

“Viewers who saw Monday’s edition of ‘Good Morning America’ might assume the latter,” Mr. Baker said. “The ABC program devoted a lopsided 14 minutes and 56 seconds to breaking down the race between Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. A scant 31 seconds were given to the competitive Republican race.

“Over the course of the two-hour program, GMA featured four segments on the Democrats and only a solitary [and brief] piece on the GOP contest. This included co-host Diane Sawyer interviewing Barack Obama twice. ABC anchor and former Bill Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos talked to Sen. Hillary Clinton. Kate Snow discussed the state of the New York senator’s White House bid.

“Aside from mentioning the latest GOP polls in the show’s intro, the only analysis of the Republicans resulted from Sawyer asking Stephanopoulos this banal question: ‘And what about the Republicans?’ The conversation that followed lasted 31 seconds.”

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

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