- The Washington Times - Monday, August 26, 2002

A Keyes supporter

Denise Majette, who defeated Rep. Cynthia A. McKinney in Georgias Democratic primary last week, says she voted for conservative Republican Alan Keyes in the 2000 presidential primary.

"Yes I did," Mrs. Majette answered when asked about her vote for Mr. Keyes on Sundays edition of the BET cable networks "Lead Story." But the former state judge emphasized that "the way I vote as an individual will be very different from my capacity of representing people from my district."

The race in Georgias 4th District attracted attention - and campaign contributions - nationwide. Mrs. McKinney, an outspoken critic of the Bush administrations war on terror, got money from Arab and Muslim donors, while Jewish donors contributed to Mrs. Majettes campaign.

"We had zero dollars on Feb. 5 and raised half a million in the district without outside assistance," said Mrs. Majette, who will face the winner of a Sept. 10 runoff between two Republicans. "The fact that we received contributions from outside the state had more to do with people wanting a voice of moderation in the state and in the country."

Mrs. Majette said she was glad to have the support of Republican voters who crossed over into the Democratic primary. "The idea of building coalitions is one that is very important and it will be an important part of my success in Washington," she predicted.


New York Times columnist Bill Keller seems to agree that his own newspaper made a mistake in labeling Henry Kissinger an opponent of war against Iraq, although he does not mention the Times by name.

"The three Republican foreign policy luminaries who have been identified in the press as skeptics - [Brent] Scowcroft, Lawrence Eagleburger and Henry Kissinger - spend much of their time courting well-paying clients who would rather not rock boats in the Middle East," Mr. Keller wrote in Saturday editions of the newspaper.

"I say 'identified as skeptics, but in the case of Dr. Kissinger that should be 'misidentified. The uber-realists recent commentary in The Washington Post, which some have construed as cautionary, seems to me to be as forceful an endorsement as Mr. Bush could want of a pre-emptive military ouster in Iraq - and sooner rather than later. Among the many blessings Dr. Kissinger sees in a Saddam-free Iraq, he even offers some consolation for possibly anxious business clients: 'a better balance in oil policy within OPEC."

Back to the center

Racial provocateur Al Sharpton says he is a centrist who is trying to drag the Democratic Party back to the middle of the political spectrum.

A recent poll by Zogby International found that 5 percent of Democrats would like to see Mr. Sharpton as their presidential nominee in 2004, putting Mr. Sharpton ahead of such Democrats as Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota (3 percent) and Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina (2 percent).

Interviewed yesterday on NBCs "Meet the Press," Mr. Sharpton said he believes the poll shows "there are a solid group of Americans that believe there needs to be a new direction in the Democratic Party."

The black Baptist minister from Harlem held that "in the last decade, basically led by the Democratic Leadership Council, [the Democratic Party] has moved too far away from the basic principles that a lot of its constituency had historically depended on it for." He cited support for labor and opposition to big business and the death penalty as some of those principles,Host Tim Russert asked Mr. Sharpton if he believes the party has moved "too much to the center, and you want to push it back to the left."

Mr. Sharpton said he believes the party is on the right and he is trying to move it to the center. "I think that where I am, many Americans are, and I would argue, most Democrats are," he said.

Sloppy journalism

The New York Times declined an invitation by "Fox News Sunday" to send an editor or some other spokesman to discuss the newspapers apparent opposition to war against Iraq, and especially its labeling of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger as a foe of such action.

However, Seymour Topping, former managing editor of the Times and former administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes, did appear on the program and offered a limited defense of the newspaper.

While conceding that the newspaper probably did err in suggesting that Mr. Kissinger opposed pre-emptive military action against Iraq, Mr. Topping added: "However, I should say that Dr. Kissinger, as a diplomat and as a business consultant, has been sometimes quite ambivalent. And I think that article that he had in The Washington Post, that op-ed piece, was ambivalent and led to a certain amount of confusion. Certainly the Times seems to have been somewhat confused by it, but also a lot of other people."

Although the newspaper has declined to print a correction - and, in fact, later repeated its misrepresentation of Mr. Kissingers position - Mr. Topping absolved the Times and its editor, Howell Raines, of intentionally distorting the news.

The newspaper made a mistake, "But I dont think that its part of a deliberate effort upon the part of the Times to take a biased position. I dont believe thats true. It might have been a case of sloppy journalism, but thats as far as it goes," he said.

New strategy

"Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has a new strategy in her bid to challenge Pakistans military government in upcoming elections: Pressure the United States to quietly help her," Kevin Whitelaw writes in the Web version of U.S. News & World Reports Washington Whispers column.

"Her party is running in the October parliamentary elections and is leading in some internal government polls. But if she returns from self-exile, she faces arrest after having been convicted, in absentia, of corruption last month in a trial she calls politically motivated," the writer noted.

"Now she wants Washington to lean on Pakistans President Pervez Musharraf to keep the election fair and let her run. This all puts the United States in a dicey spot. Given Washingtons rhetoric about democracy in neighboring Afghanistan and that Musharraf took power in a military coup, it will be hard pressed to ignore her demands. But Musharraf, who is expected to remain president for some time, has been a key ally in the war on terrorism, and nobody wants to jeopardize his cooperation. Bhutto hopes to force Washington to make a choice early.

"Her supporters say that if she becomes prime minister, her level of support for the U.S. war on terrorism will depend in part on how much help she gets now."

Although she faces arrest, Miss Bhutto "plans to return to Pakistan next month aboard a U.S. commercial airliner in one more attempt to draw America into the fray," the writer said.

DeLays prediction

The man expected to become House majority leader if Republicans retain their control of that chamber after the November elections says he expects the Republican majority to widen."We really believe were going to grow our majority," Majority Whip Tom DeLay, Texas Republican, said yesterday on "Fox News Sunday."

Republicans hold 223 House seats to 210 for the Democrats. Rep. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is an independent who caucuses with Democrats.As for how much the Republican advantage will grow, Mr. DeLay said; "In a worst-case scenario, it would be three to five seats. In the best-case scenario, it would be 10 to 15 seats."

He said his optimism is based on the fact that Republican congressional candidates hes been stumping for around the country are "some of the best" hes seen.

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