- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 10, 2001

Foxman and Ashcroft

Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League, says he has met with Attorney General-designate John Ashcroft on several occasions and he respects him.

"This is a man at the peak of his public life, his career,' Mr. Foxman told the Kansas City Star. "I believe he will be fair, he will be just. I'm ready to give him his due."

But who's counting?

The National Jewish Democratic Council complains that George W. Bush has not appointed a single Jew to his Cabinet.

The group, in a press release yesterday, took the opportunity to print a long list of Jewish appointees in the Clinton administration.

"It's not just the precipitous drop from the Jewish political 'high-water mark' of Senator Lieberman's vice-presidential candidacy to the dearth of Jewish figures in the proposed Cabinet," said Ira N. Forman, executive director of the group.

"The American Jewish community of 2001 is the most politically active demographic grouping in America, out of all proportion to its numbers. Unlike our recent ancestors, American Jews today are top office holders, policy analysts, and political journalists, consultants and theorists on both the left and the right. It seems to me that the only explanation for this discrepancy between disproportionate Jewish political involvement and the stark absence of Jews in the coming Bush Cabinet is that President-elect Bush's Cabinet is comprised of a close circle of friends and trusted advisers, and Jews just aren't well-represented in that grouping."

Infidels and heretics

"What's worse than an infidel? A heretic," syndicated columnist James Pinkerton writes.

"An infidel is someone who never believed what you believe. A heretic is someone who believed what you believe but now has a different faith that's much more threatening. You fight war against infidels, you start inquisitions against heretics," Mr. Pinkerton said.

"From a liberal Democratic point of view, John Ashcroft, George W. Bush's choice to be attorney general, and Gale Norton, the president-elect's pick for interior secretary, are infidels they've been Republican conservatives all along. But Linda Chavez is a heretic. What's happening to her now the ferocity of the opposition to her nomination as secretary of labor, including the flap about her Guatemalan-born house guest nearly a decade ago flows from the infidel-heretic distinction," Mr. Pinkerton said in a column published yesterday, before Mrs. Chavez's withdrawal.

Politically incorrect

"I know Linda Chavez, President-elect Bush's pick for secretary of labor. She's a friend, and, more important, she's a decent and wholly honorable person. So it pains me to see the Politicians of Personal Destruction (Democratic-style) try to defame her in their idiotic effort to 'delegitimatize' the Bush administration," New York Post columnist Michael Meyers wrote in a column published yesterday, before Mrs. Chavez withdrew her candidacy.

"Of course, Chavez, a Latina, would be the darling of every Democrat and journalist, if only she were a politically correct Hispanic. But her detractors (who include the chieftains of organized labor and the so-called 'civil rights' establishment) see a foe of racial quotas and union lulus. To them, Linda Chavez is not an 'authentic' Hispanic because she doesn't advocate bilingual education and allegedly doesn't identify with 'her own people.'

"They privately point to her having 'married white,' and raising her children as Jews. Hence, she's not brown enough, and her critics think of her as narrowminded?"

Brother act

What man did President Clinton fear most, besides Colin Powell? William Bennett, the former education secretary, according to former Clinton adviser Dick Morris.

Mr. Morris, in an appearance on the Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor," said Mr. Clinton was afraid that 1996 Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole would choose Mr. Bennett as his running mate, and that Mr. Bennett's emphasis on moral values would weaken Mr. Clinton's support among so-called soccer moms.

Ironically, Mr. Bennett's older brother, Bob, was Mr. Clinton's lawyer, so the president "kept on the phone" with the latter, who told told him Mr. Dole had offered the veep spot to brother Bill, Mr. Morris recalled.

Bob Bennett "was giving us this play-by-play behind the scenes, surreptitiously, and Clinton was absolutely having a fit the day the offer was made until the next day when it was turned down," Mr. Morris told host Bill O'Reilly.

Powell's response

Secretary of State-designate Colin Powell yesterday defended his talk at Tufts University in November, which was subsidized by a senior Lebanese official, saying criticism of it was "sad."

Mr. Powell, making courtesy calls on senators on Capitol Hill ahead of next week's confirmation hearing, defended the Nov. 2 speech paid for through a Tufts endowment subsidized by Lebanese Deputy Prime Minister Issam Fares, Reuters reports.

"It is really quite sad that this gentleman's name has been sullied," Mr. Powell, the retired former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters before meeting with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph R. Biden, Delaware Democrat.

The speech occurred five days before the election, when it was widely assumed Mr. Powell would be named secretary of state if Mr. Bush won. Mr. Powell's speech was paid for by an endowment operated by the university to attract speakers. Mr. Fares, a top donor at Tufts, subsidizes the endowment.

Watchdog groups have criticized the lecture, saying concerns are raised whenever officials take money from sources they will be dealing with in their official function.

"It was a regular speech of the kind I give all the time. It is very unfortunate that there is some suspicion created that there was something untoward about the arrangement or something untoward about my participation," Mr. Powell said.

Carter and Gore

Former President Jimmy Carter says Vice President Al Gore's future as a presidential candidate in 2004 may hinge on the political clout of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and President Clinton.

Mr. Carter said he had spoken several times with Mr. Gore and his wife, Tipper, since Mr. Gore conceded the 2000 presidential race to Republican George W. Bush, but he said the vice president had not yet made a decision on his future plans.

"I don't think he's made up his mind what to do," Mr. Carter said Monday on CNN's "Larry King Live." "I understand he has had some possibilities to go to work in universities, which I've done… . That's always a promising career, if he likes it."

Asked if Mr. Gore could run for the White House again in 2004, Mr. Carter said: "I think it really depends to a large extent on what the Clinton family is going to do. You know, with Hillary in the Senate, she and her husband, maybe in the background, could very well be the dominant factors in the Democratic Party, which would kind of push Al to the side."

Mr. Carter did not elaborate on his comments, Reuters news agency reports, but said he felt a personal loyalty to Mr. Gore because "I feel like he didn't get a fair shake in this election."

Pro-abortion message

Before George W. Bush has even moved into the White House, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League has begun a major television advertising campaign warning that "the right" to an abortion "is being threatened."

The group said the ad will air during prime time and feature images of women of all ages and ethnicities underscored by messages scrolling across the screen with each image. One such message: "The greatest of human freedoms is choice."

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