- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 27, 2002

Simon's new ads

In a pair of bitingly funny TV ads that debuted yesterday, Republican businessman Bill Simon lampoons California Gov. Gray Davis as the denizen of a dusty office jammed with campaign cash, visited by a parades of dollar-laden constituents.

The new 30-second spots aim to use parody to stick in the minds of voters while skewering Mr. Davis the Democratic incumbent who has raised more than $30 million for his re-election campaign on the fund-raising issue, where Republicans believe he is most vulnerable, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

"We've chosen to poke a little fun," said Sal Russo, Mr. Simon's chief campaign strategist, at a Tuesday news conference. While Mr. Russo said voters "seem to be a little sensitive to negative advertising" in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, he argued that using humor is an effective way to reach voters who believe that Mr. Davis' money raising is "over the top."

Mr. Davis' campaign immediately dismissed the ads as "a complete distortion" and a gimmick that voters will summarily reject.

The commercials were shown on a day the Simon campaign announced it had added as senior advisers veteran Republican consultant Ed Rollins who managed President Reagan's 1984 re-election campaign and Lyn Nofziger, who worked for Mr. Reagan in California and Washington.


Brotherly love?

Radicals are planning to protest Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's July 4 appearance in Philadelphia. The city plans to bestow its Liberty Award on Mr. Powell at an Independence Day ceremony.

An organization known as Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal dedicated to the defense of a convicted cop-killer has announced plans "to protest the hypocrisy of bestowing that award on Colin Powell, because he is part of an administration that is hated as the world's most belligerent warmonger and is assaulting civil liberties at home.

"In addition to his current support for Israel's war against Palestine, Colin Powell has a long and bloody history in the service of U.S. imperialism," Betsy Piette writes in Workers World, a Marxist weekly. "He was a Pentagon military adviser in Vietnam and later attempted to cover up reports of routine U.S. brutality against civilians, including the My Lai massacre. Powell's only criticism of the Vietnam War was: 'Politicians should not have restrained the military high command.'

"As chair of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989-93, Powell oversaw the murderous bombing of Iraq during Operation Desert Storm."

"The July 4 protest will gather at 10 a.m. at City Hall and march to the Liberty Bell. Because of Powell's presence, the rally will raise opposition to the Bush administration's policy of 'endless wars,' call for freedom for Palestine and no new war against Iraq."


Point-counterpoint

Geoff Nunberg, the Stanford researcher who challenged Bernard Goldberg's claim that the media is quick to label someone or something "conservative," has responded to a Media Research Center study earlier this week that backed up Mr. Goldberg's claim.

The center's study corroborated ex-CBS reporter Mr. Goldberg's charge, finding that ABC, CBS and NBC are four times as likely to label someone conservative as they are to label someone liberal, based on a Nexis search of transcripts.

"In fact it shows no such thing," Mr. Nunberg responded to us by e-mail from Edinburgh, Scotland. "Not unless the names of liberal and conservative politicians and groups occurred with equal frequency on the broadcasts. But in my own data, I found, for example, that the Heritage Foundation was mentioned in press stories five times as much as the [Americans for Democratic Action], and that Jesse Helms was mentioned five times as often as Barney Frank.

"By choosing not to report the use of labels as proportions of the frequencies of the names of groups, or to report those frequencies at all, the MRC loaded the results in fact, it implies that the fact that the networks generally talk about conservatives more than about liberals is evidence for their liberal bias!"


Ralph's way

"When it's Ralph Neas, you can bet it's all about creating smoke where there is no fire," the Wall Street Journal says.

"The president of People for the American Way announced [Tuesday] that his group had filed a complaint against five Milwaukee school board members who not coincidentally support that city's progressive voucher program," the newspaper said in an editorial.

"Like most of Mr. Neas' handiwork, this one is all about political timing. For it comes on the eve of the Supreme Court's decision on the constitutionality of Cleveland's voucher program the most important Supreme Court education decision since it struck down 'separate but equal' in public schools in 1954. Even the allegation is frivolous: That by sending a jointly signed letter last month urging state senators not to roll back the state's voucher law, the five board members violated Wisconsin's open meetings law.

"We've been here before. In January, Wisconsin's high court angrily threw out a lawsuit that questioned the integrity of a judge involved in that court's 1988 ruling affirming vouchers. The noteworthy aspect of that suit was that it was filed on the eve of oral arguments in the Cleveland voucher case.

"We suppose this is Ralph's way of admitting that he's a long since lost the substantive argument."


Helms pays a visit

Sen. Jesse Helms, now using a walker as he recovers from heart surgery, returned to the U.S. Senate for a few hours to meet with colleagues and catch up on some business, a spokesman said.

"It wasn't very long," spokesman Jimmy Broughton told the Associated Press. "He was just getting back."

Several senators dropped by Mr. Helms' office during Tuesday's visit, Mr. Broughton said. The senator also met with fellow members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, including Sen. Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican. Mr. Helms, North Carolina Republican, is the ranking member of the committee.

The 80-year-old had an operation April 25 to replace a worn-out pig valve installed in his heart 10 years ago. The original pig valve was used to replace Mr. Helms' mitral valve, which guards the opening between the upper and lower chambers of the heart.

He moved June 10 from a hospital to a rehabilitation center in Northern Virginia. The center has a "model village," where Mr. Helms will "go through the type of things he'd encounter in a normal day," Mr. Broughton said.


Delay on debt

House Republican leaders won't bring legislation raising the U.S. debt limit to the floor until next month, a decision that will force the Treasury to move funds between accounts to forestall a default on the government's obligations.

The Treasury has said it will run out of borrowing authority tomorrow. House leaders have decided to put off debate until lawmakers return from next week's Fourth of July break, John Feehery, a spokesman for House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, told Bloomberg News Service.

Mr. Feehery said House Republicans expect Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill to shuffle funds to meets U.S. obligations until then.

"We're confident the full faith and credit of the United States will be preserved," Mr. Feehery said.

House Republican leaders want to attach the measure to a bill funding the war on terrorism, and negotiations on that measure won't be completed this week, he said.


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