- The Washington Times - Monday, February 25, 2002

Wellstone's health
Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone announced yesterday that he has a mild form of multiple sclerosis, but he said it wouldn't stop his bid for a third term in Congress.
"Nothing's changed at all," the 57-year-old Democrat said. "I'm ready to go."
Mr. Wellstone's doctor diagnosed the disease a month ago and said the senator probably had it for about 15 years.
In Mr. Wellstone's case, the chronic, and sometimes disabling, disease of the nervous system affects only his right leg.
His physician, Dr. J.D. Bartleson of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, said yesterday that Mr. Wellstone would not need to take any medication and could proceed with his normal day-to-day activities.
He said the stress of a campaign shouldn't pose a problem.
Mr. Wellstone faces a strong challenge from Republican Norm Coleman, the former mayor of St. Paul, in his bid for re-election this fall.
Mr. Coleman issued a statement yesterday that said he wished Mr. Wellstone well in his battle with the disease and that his "thoughts and prayers" were with the senator and his family, the Associated Press reports.
Mr. Wellstone said he decided to go public about the diagnosis because he wanted to be honest with people.
For years, people have wondered about his limp; he always told them it was an old athletic injury.

As the left sees it
Congressional members of the far-left wing of the Democratic Party made it clear recently that, in their opinion, President Bush, not Osama bin Laden, is the real threat to the world.
In fact, Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, Ohio Democrat, seemed to suggest that the Bush administration may have been behind the anthrax letters mailed to Congress, according to an article by Edgar B. Anderson at www.FrontPageMagazine.com.
Mr. Kucinich and his cohorts lashed out at the Bush administration during a forum at the University of Southern California sponsored by the local chapter of Americans for Democratic Action. The forum's title: "Our Democracy after 9/11: Can We Save It?"
"Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Cleveland, Ohio, drew cheers and whistling, often bringing the crowd to its feet, as he denounced the Patriot Act and accused President Bush of 'canceling, in effect, the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments.' He spoke ominously of Congress being forced to abandon Washington and its investigation of the administration 'during the anthrax scare when anthrax, possibly from a government lab, arrived in the mail.'
"The trappings of a state of siege trap us in a state of fear," he continued. The crowd lost control of itself when Kucinich excoriated 'the patriot games, the lying games, the war games of an un-elected president.'"
The writer added: "Another firebrand speaker was Los Angeles Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who brought down the house as she proudly declared, 'I am a liberal,' and launched into a bitter attack on President Bush's conduct of the war on terrorism. 'Some of us, maybe foolishly, gave this president the authority to go after the terrorists. We didn't know that he too was gonna go crazy with it.' …
"Waters all but apologized for her vote in support of Bush's response to the events of September 11 as she saluted the sole Congressional holdout: 'The only person who should be celebrated and honored and revered is [California Democrat] Barbara Lee.'"

Edwards comes calling
"A chastened Sen. John Edwards, North Carolina Democrat, has already made plans to meet with trial lawyer extraordinaire Richard 'Dickie' Scruggs in Scruggs' hometown of Pascagoula, Miss., within the next two weeks to hash out differences over the nomination of federal court judge Charles Pickering," according to the "Prowler" column at www.americanprowler.org.
"The judge is a close friend of Scruggs', as well as a longtime friend of Sen. Trent Lott, Scruggs' brother-in-law. Scruggs happens to be one of America's most influential trial lawyers, a group Edwards (a trial lawyer himself) has pinned his fund-raising hopes on if he is to make a serious presidential run in 2004.
"Scruggs's hackles were raised over Edwards's treatment of Pickering during the judge's confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Edwards, using notes and information provided by Democratic staffers on the committee, belittled and berated Pickering for his role in a Mississippi cross-burning case. Before the hearing several Democratic senators on the committee, including Dianne Feinstein and Joseph Biden, were given the same information and declined to take on that line of questioning for fear of bringing on the ire of Scruggs and the trial lawyers.
"'This was a hot potato,' says a Democratic staffer on the Judiciary Committee. 'Everyone sensed that this subject would be hot and would be embarrassing to the Pickering family, to Lott and to Scruggs. A lot of our people wouldn't touch it. Edwards jumped at it. I think he realized this could make him a star.'
"What Edwards apparently hadn't banked on was Scruggs' ire. 'Edwards blew off Scruggs' calls before the hearing and now he's probably sorry he did,' says another Judiciary Committee staffer. 'Scruggs controls so much money within the trial lawyer community that if Scruggs were to say so, Edwards would probably have a hard time getting much money or support from that group.'
"So now Edwards is scrambling to make peace with the man who may hold his political future in his wallet. 'He's going to Mississippi like a puppy who missed the newspaper,' crows a Lott staffer. 'I don't know what would be better for us, pictures of Edwards getting rejected, or Edwards and Scruggs kissing and making up.'"

Tipper's solution
The military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding homosexual members of the armed services is a compromise measure that isn't working, according to Tipper Gore.
"I have a better solution," said the wife of former Vice President Al Gore. "Let's rip it up."
Mrs. Gore was the keynote speaker Saturday night in Cary, N.C., at a dinner sponsored by the North Carolina Human Rights Campaign, the state chapter of the nation's largest advocacy group for homosexuals, the Raleigh News & Observer reports.
Mrs. Gore told the audience of 650 that she and her husband believe that the "true family values" include all families "no matter what size, no matter what shape they come in."
She spoke in favor of several measures that would make homosexuals equal to other Americans under the law, including protection under federal hate-crime law; the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act; and recognition of the parental rights of same-sex couples, not just the biological mother or father.
"We cannot rest until Congress adopts federal hate-crime legislation that includes sexual orientation. Period," she said.

Gore's 'balance'
Al Gore told a cheering group of young supporters Friday night that it's important to work for Democratic candidates for Congress to provide "checks and balances" on a government that has grown increasingly conservative.
Addressing about 600 people at a rally and fund-raiser, Mr. Gore said "2002 is a critical year for our country" and urged them to support candidates who will take solid positions on the economy, the environment and a wide range of social issues.
"I'm getting worried about the economy," he told the young supporters, who paid $25 each to attend the event. "I was the first one laid off last year."
The 2000 Democratic presidential nominee told the enthusiastic crowd at a downtown Washington restaurant that they should support Democrats for Congress to help "keep it in the middle."

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