- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 29, 2009

HARDBALL

“Not long after news leaked last month that Andrew Romanoff was determined to make a Democratic primary run against [Colorado] Sen. Michael Bennet, Romanoff received an unexpected communication from one of the most powerful men in Washington,” Michael Riley reports in the Denver Post.

Jim Messina, President Barack Obama’s deputy chief of staff and a storied fixer in the White House political shop, suggested a place for Romanoff might be found in the administration and offered specific suggestions, according to several sources who described the communication to the Denver Post.

“Romanoff turned down the overture, which included mention of a job at USAID, the foreign aid agency, sources said.

“Then, the day after Romanoff formally announced his Senate bid, Obama endorsed Bennet.

“It is the kind of hardball tactics that have come to mark the White House’s willingness to shape key races across the country, in this case trying to remove a threat to a vulnerable senator by presenting his opponent a choice of silver or lead.”

The White House denied making any job offer to Mr. Romanoff, the reporter said.

“Yet several top Colorado Democrats described Messina’s outreach to Romanoff to the Post, including the discussion of specific jobs in the administration. They asked for anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.”

FULL-TIME JOB

“Whew, I’m pooped,” P.J. O’Rourke writes in the Weekly Standard.

Jimmy Carter has got me run ragged with all the hating I’m supposed to do. Jimmy says I’m a racist because I oppose President Obama’s health care reform program. Even Jimmy Carter can’t be wrong all the time. And since Jimmy Carter has been wrong about every single thing for the past 44 years, maybe - just as a matter of statistical probability - he’s right this time,” Mr. O’Rourke said.

“I hadn’t noticed I was a racist, but that was no doubt because I was too busy being a homophobe. Nancy Pelosi says the angry opposition to health care reform is like the angry opposition to gay rights that led to Harvey Milk being shot. Since I do not want America to suffer another Sean Penn movie, I will accept that I’m a homophobe, too. And I’m a male chauvinist due to the fact that I think Nancy Pelosi is blowing smoke - excuse me, carbon neutral, biodegradable airborne particulate matter - out her pantsuit. …

“I’m a 61-year-old man with three young children and a yard to rake. While I appreciate the attention from our most ex- of ex-presidents, I’m really too busy to properly accomplish all this loathing and detestation. I quit smoking so I don’t even have a lighter to set crosses on fire.”

LIGHT MY FIRE

“California has been burning up as result of raging forest fires, but Congress doesn’t seem to know that. The Senate was all set last week to award $2.8 million of stimulus money for forest fire management to … the District of Columbia,” the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore writes at www.opinionjournal.com.

“Hold on! Washington, D.C. doesn’t have any forests, let alone forest fires. So Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming brought an amendment to the Senate floor to wipe out the funds and reassign the money to the U.S. Forest Service to spend where fires actually are a risk. The amendment passed unanimously so if any senators favored the original funding plan, they apparently didn’t feel like speaking up,” Mr. Moore said.

“In an interview, Mr. Barrasso said he was ‘amazed’ when he saw where the funding was going. ‘The last time Washington, D.C., faced a catastrophic fire,’ he quips, ‘is when the British burned down the White House in 1814.’

“Mr. Barrasso’s aggravation is understandable. Wyoming, with its huge acreage of national forest land, was allotted zero dollars of stimulus money, even as its forests have been ravaged by the pine beetle. What’s more, Mr. Barrasso won an ally in Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who was equally miffed that emergency forest fire abatement money was diverted to places where there are no forests. …

“The original plan called for giving the money to a local D.C. non-profit called Washington Parks & People. What was the group planning to spend the money on? Answer: planting trees and vegetables and ‘green education projects.’ Mr. Barrasso adds: ‘I’ve only been in Washington for a short time, but I’m continually shocked at how this town wastes money.’ At least he won a victory for taxpayers and the environment last week. Meanwhile, the only smell of burning in Washington is evidently tax dollars going through the pockets of our legislators.”

BAD AIR

“Earlier this month, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, voiced his support for allowing women on submarines, and now he’s facing a challenge from a group eager to keep women off the boats that stay some six months under the ocean’s surface,” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column at www.usnews.com.

“The Center for Military Readiness says that there is a bigger issue at stake: Bad air on subs - not the proximity to nuclear materials - could cause birth defects for women sailors’ children. ‘The problem is not nuclear power, it is the air, which is constantly recycled in the undersea environment. Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide levels in the air are safe for adults but a high-risk cause of birth defects in unborn children - particularly in the early weeks of gestation when a woman may not even know she is pregnant,’ CMR’s Elaine Donnelly said in a statement [Monday].

” ‘By thoughtlessly pushing for co-ed submarines, apparently to please military and civilian feminists, Admiral Mullen has demonstrated an appalling unawareness of the health hazards involved, and a callous disregard for quality-of-life hardships that are difficult enough for sailors in the Silent Service.’ ”

IN THE BAG

“Some people seem to think that the president is taking time away from more important things to go to Copenhagen to lobby for Chicago to get the 2016 games. They’re wrong,” Ramesh Ponnuru writes in a blog at www.nationalreview.com.

“He is taking time away from more important things to go get the credit for bringing the Olympics to Chicago. Does anyone seriously believe that the president would take a quick trip to Copenhagen with the possibility of coming back empty-handed? If the president is going, it’s because he knows that Chicago has already won. He’s going.”

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

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