- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Wrong guy

Another veteran of the Nixon administration has denied that he was the mysterious "Deep Throat" who helped bring down a president.

CNN Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre yesterday addressed Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, saying: "Mr. Secretary, today is the 30th anniversary of the Watergate break-in, and on CNN today they were engaging in a discussion of 'Deep Throat' who 'Deep Throat' might be. And one viewer e-mailed in to CNN suggesting that you were 'Deep Throat.' Any comment?"

When reporters' laughter died down, Mr. Rumsfeld replied: "You really are scraping the bottom of the barrel."

"So you don't deny it, sir?" Mr. McIntyre asked, prompting more laughter.

"Oh, that is wonderful." Mr. Rumsfeld said. "That is amusing. I'd heard every name in the world, except no, I was kind of busy running the Economic Stabilization Program and was not really engaged in that process."

"I'll take that as a no," Mr. McIntyre volunteered.

"That's a safe assumption," Mr. Rumsfeld said. "I would not want the record to show that I even bothered to deny it, however. It doesn't even merit a no."

Low profile

Rep. Bob Clement, Tennessee Democrat and U.S. Senate hopeful, is focusing on fund raising while Rep. Ed Bryant and former Gov. Lamar Alexander battle it out for the Republican nomination, Roll Call reports.

"Democrats familiar with the race attribute Clement's approach to the necessity of raising the millions needed for a competitive general election and to the already-combative contest between Alexander and Bryant," reporter Chris Cillizza writes.

Tom Hayden, a communication director for the Tennessee Democratic Party, told the reporter: "Just because [Mr. Clement] is not actively attacking Bryant or Lamar right now doesn't mean he is shying away from any of this."

However, Republicans "believe that Clement will be hard-pressed to get his message out after the GOP primary concludes Aug. 1," the reporter said. "Conversely, however, a bitter Republican primary three months before the general election is not beneficial for the party."

Dan Allen, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said that "Democrats are being totally overshadowed" and "that bodes well for us with a campaign that is less than five months out."

Bono's think tank

"News flash: Fresh from touring Africa with Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill, Irish rock star Bono is about to open his own Washington think tank," the Wall Street Journal observes in an editorial.

"This pro Bono outfit will be called DATA, alluding to its agenda of Debt, AIDS and Trade for Africa, and will play backup inside the Beltway for Bono's efforts to influence U.S. policy. Plans are rock-'n-rolling right along to set up shop before the end of the summer, with more than $3 million already donated by George Soros, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and investor Ed Scott, according to spokesman Bobby Shriver.

"It all sounds so totally cool that we can't help wondering if we'll soon see such rival think-tankers as the Heritage Foundation's Ed Feulner or Cato's Ed Crane donning their own wraparound shades, the better to compete for a voice at the White House and on the Hill. And there's no question that as celebrity crusaders go, it could all be a lot worse than Bono, who does his homework and is one of the few policy-wonk celebrities to couple his caring with such concepts as democracy, accountability and trade which are also part of the DATA mantra for Africa," the newspaper said.

However, the Journal said it worried that Bono's think tank would emphasize foreign aid instead of free trade as a way to lift Africa.

A-list guests

"The administration's campaign to punish or reward Sunday talk shows with A-list guests and its bid to warn likely new 'This Week' host George Stephanopoulos that it won't tolerate any lefty bias has overshadowed a remarkable fact: The real Bush favorites are the cable shows," Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.

"While Bushies sing the praises of Tim Russert, host of NBC's 'Meet the Press,' it's CNN's Wolf Blitzer and Fox News' Tony Snow who get the most administration guests by far. According to our calculations, 'Fox News Sunday With Tony Snow' [which actually appears on Fox network affiliates and is rerun later on the Fox News Channel] is the leader with 56 Bush officials. 'Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer' has had 52. Russert's 44 tops the network numbers. Officials tell Whispers why: Their shows act as 'bookends' with Snow starting the news of the day and Blitzer providing a final parting shot. 'And,' says Snow, 'they see Wolf and me as fair.'

"It's that credibility that could hurt Stephanopoulos, says Blitzer, recalling how George used to scream at TV reporters when he was spinning Clinton whoppers. 'It does matter who the host is.'"

Dobson vs. Daschle

James Dobson, president of Focus on the Family, criticized Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle in his daily broadcast yesterday for blocking what Mr. Dobson referred to as critical pro-family legislation, most recently a cloning ban offered by Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican.

Mr. Dobson, heard by 7.5 million listeners each week, urged listeners to bring pressure to bear on Mr. Daschle, South Dakota Democrat.

The Brownback bill is the only legislation that would prevent the cloning of human embryos for any purpose medical research or a live birth. Other cloning bans have been introduced in the Senate that still allow human embryos to be cloned and destroyed for their stem cells.

Last week, Mr. Dobson encouraged concerned citizens to phone Mr. Daschle's office, but the calls, normally answered by office staff, were forwarded to a number that required an access code to leave messages. Mr. Daschle's South Dakota office said the change was made because of the volume of calls received in the Washington office on Friday.

Curbing bureaucrats

"The Bush administration's moves on global warming are puzzling friends and foes alike," National Review says in an editorial in its latest issue.

"In early June, the EPA issued a report that emphasized the more alarmist theories on the subject. Conservatives became rather heated themselves, and a day after the report was made public, Bush dismissed it as a 'report put out by the bureaucracy.' Around the same time, Japan ratified the Kyoto accord on global warming, Australia announced that it would not, and the government of Alberta said it would fight the accord if Canada ratified it," the magazine noted.

"The administration said nothing about any of these developments. Rather than make the case for his policies, Bush appears to prefer that environmental issues just go away. They won't, so he had better find a way to engage on them with a consistent, conservative and defensible position. Taking control of his bureaucracy would be a good start."

Weekend getaways

"The same June 28 weekend that Al Gore is staging his Memphis [Tenn.] retreat to boost his 2004 presidential claims, one of his potential rivals is hosting a similar get-together on Georgia's St. Simon's Island," New York Post columnist Neal Travis writes.

"John Edwards, the young and personable Democratic senator from North Carolina, now has some of Gore's former big contributors backing him and his weekend getaway may bring in some more. At this stage, you have to think Gore is still the front-runner for his party's nomination, but if he falters, Edwards would have a good shot at it."

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