- The Washington Times - Monday, March 11, 2002

Tag team
"Move over, WWF. There's a new tag team hitting the road," Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.
"From Houston, by way of the White House, welcome first lady Laura Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush," Mr. Bedard said.
"Whispers learns the two will campaign together this year on behalf of GOP House and Senate candidates. Look for them to hit states where the women's vote is in flux."

DeLay's reply
House Majority Whip Tom DeLay is unfazed by negative remarks Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, made about him and Senate Republican leader Trent Lott, after they criticized Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle for his complaints and questions about the war on terrorism.
Mr. Kerry, a prospective presidential candidate, said of the two Republican leaders: "One of the lessions I learned in Vietnam, a war they did not have to endure, those who try to stifle the vibrancy of our democracy and shield policies from scrutiny behind a false cloak of patriotism miss the real value of what our troops defend and how we best defend our troops. We will ask questions, and we will defend our democracy."
In an interview on CNN's "Saturday Edition with Jonathan Karl," Mr. DeLay, Texas Republican, said: "The last I remember, Sen. John Kerry was against the war in Vietnam, even though he served in it, and went around the country undermining the military overseas in trying to fight this war and giving aid to those that were trying to run the war from Washington, D.C."
Mr. DeLay added: "If we had had the leadership of a George W. Bush back in the Vietnam War days, we probably would not have lost that war. We would have gone in and won it. We would have given our soldiers the kinds of weapons that they needed. We would not have the rules of engagement that the liberals put on them. We would have allowed them to win the war."

Lott's objection
Sen. Trent Lott explained yesterday why he has asked Erskine Bowles, the former chief of staff to Bill Clinton and a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate from North Carolina, to remove his picture from a television ad.
The ad, which touts Mr. Bowles' supposed ability to work with Democratics and Republicans alike, shows a smiling Mr. Lott next to Mr. Bowles on one of the Sunday morning talk shows.
Mr. Lott, Mississippi Republican and Senate minority leader, said he objected to the use of his picture because "the inference is or might be that I was in some way supporting him."
Mr. Lott added: "It's very curious to me. Here he is, the former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton. They didn't show him with Bill Clinton; it shows him with the Republican majority leader in the Senate. I thought that was very curious.
"You know, my question would be, you know, as chief of staff to President Clinton, where was he when Monica Lewinsky was in the Oval Office? Where was he when they should have been doing more on the war on terrorism? I don't think he's going to be able to hide from the fact that he was Bill Clinton's chief of staff by showing a picture with me. And I asked him to pull that off."

Ford's future
Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr., Tennessee Democrat, says he will decide "in the very near future" whether to seek the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Fred Thompson, Tenneseee Republican.
"One of the things we'll see in the coming days and weeks is that a number of politicians, including me, in this state will be initiating a conversation with all Tennesseans," Mr. Ford said on CNN's "Saurday Edition with Jonathan Karl."
"I plan to start here in my own congressional district, travel the state in the next week or so, and make a decision," he said, adding:
"Sen. Thompson's shoes are large and will be difficult to fill. He was independent, progressive and engaging, and that's the kind of leadership this state deserves."

Unhinged liberals
Liberals' hatred for Attorney General John Ashcroft has led them, at times, to become completely unhinged from reality, Jay Nordlinger writes in the latest issue of National Review.
"One veteran Washington reporter not particularly partisan shakes his head: 'The depth of the hatred that certain liberals have for Ashcroft is hard to fathom. It doesn't seem logical, even given all of Ashcroft's conservative views. It's like a prejudice, it's visceral. There's some Aschcroft mooma-jooma some mojo, some karma, some vibe that drives liberals nuts. It makes otherwise sane people say crazy things.'"
Among those cited: Richard Cohen, Al Hunt, Anthony Lewis, Hendrik Hertzberg, Bob Herbert, Garry Trudeau and the New York Times editorial page.

A new vision?
As the Rev. Al Sharpton ponders a run for president in 2004, pundit Robert Novak reminded him that 11 "prominent Democrats," including a former vice president, governors, and U.S. senators, are also considering such a bid.
"All, unlike you, have been elected to high office. What will you bring to the presidency that they won't?" Mr. Novak asked on CNN's "Novak, Hunt & Shields" Saturday.
The black activist, long associated with left-wing causes, said he "would bring a new vision" amid a "commitment for regular working-class people."
"And, just because one has been elected, I would argue that does not mean they have more experience with government. I have probably had more experience than most of them in framing and arguing and debating social policy nationally, than at least half of them," Mr. Sharpton said.
He also says he is undeterred by Democrats who argue that, to win, their party must have a middle-of-the-road image, a la Bill Clinton.
"Before you can determine what is middle of the road, you've got to deal with the fact that the road has shifted," said Mr. Sharpton, who added that the nation is "coming out of a recession" and has "higher unemployment" than it did a decade ago, when Mr. Clinton was elected president. [Mr. Sharpton was mistaken about unemployment today, which is lower than it was in 1992.]
"It's a different road. Therefore, the middle must shift," he told Mr. Novak.

Biting the bullet
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg makes it clear he is not pleased with President Bush's decision to impose a 30 percent tariff on foreign steel to help the beleaguered U.S. steel industry.
"I'm in favor of free trade. The president obviously felt the steel industry couldn't survive" without this action, the Republican mayor said Saturday on CNN's "Capital Gang."
"What we want to see from the president is him to tell us when the tariffs are going to come off and what he's doing to force this industry that has been in trouble for decades to finally face facts, become modern, downsize, become more efficient," Mr. Bloomberg said.
The mayor added he will "ride with" the president on this issue for the short-term.
"But I want to see him say something that he's going to force the industry to bite the bullet, so we're not always in the same situation," Mr. Bloomberg said.

Say what?
The New York Times has spearheaded the most determined attack on the First Amendment in modern times, ardently supporting legislation that would bar independent groups from running ads against federal candidates within 30 days of a primary and 60 days of an election.
Thus it was ironic that, in editorializing yesterday against the nominations of conservatives to the federal bench, the newspaper said: "Every nominee should be devoted to freedom of speech and the guarantees in the Bill of Rights …."


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