- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Whistling Dixie
Gov. Don Siegelman, Alabama Democrat, gave up his bid for a second term yesterday and conceded the nation's last undecided governor's race to Republican Rep. Bob Riley, the Associated Press reports.
Mr. Riley, 58, will become just the third Republican governor in Alabama since Reconstruction when he is inaugurated in January. The GOP now holds a 26-24 gubernatorial advantage.
Mr. Siegelman, who announced his decision at the state Capitol, said a victory would have taken months of legal wrangling.
"So for the good of the state of Alabama, for the good of our people, I am dropping my request for a recount," he said.
The governor called Mr. Riley to inform him of his decision.
"The governor was very gracious and offered his support in the transition," the Republican winner said.
Mr. Riley won by 3,117 votes out of 1.3 million cast, or by 0.23 of a percentage point. Mr. Siegelman had sought a statewide recount, complaining about the accuracy of the optical scanners used to read ballots.
The state attorney general rebuffed the attempt, and the state Supreme Court had been considering a Siegelman appeal when he conceded.

The big losers
"A big thing happened in the elections that you won't read about much in the papers, and the fact that you won't be reading about it is one of the reasons it did," Noemie Emery writes in the Weekly Standard.
"The big story is that the pro-choice extremists took a widespread whipping, which is the one thing the press doesn't want to acknowledge, much less trumpet abroad to the troops. Nevertheless, the big-picture facts are astounding. NARAL, the nation's premier abortion-rights lobby, won two of its 11 targeted runs in the Senate, and went six for 26 in the House. As the third-worst performing political action committee in the country, NARAL took a back seat to the absolute loser, EMILY's List, the much lauded PAC that promotes pro-choice women Democrats, which won one of 10 key runs in the Congress.
"By contrast, the National Right to Life Committee won eight of 10 races. In three Senate states in which abortion emerged as a visible difference New Hampshire, Colorado and Missouri pro-choice candidates lost to pro-lifers," Miss Emery said.
"It is not possible to say just how the issue played out in all of these races, but it is safe to say nobody lost in the big-ticket races for liking abortion too little."

Sore losers
"In the wake of last week's Senate defeat, prominent Democrats and their media acolytes are spinning misinformation about the way Saxby Chambliss defeated Democratic incumbent Max Cleland in Georgia. We thought we'd set the record straight, before the tale becomes one more liberal political legend," the Wall Street Journal wrote in an editorial.
"Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy told a radio talk show last week that President Bush 'supported a man, for example, in Georgia who was, well, the best way to put it, was a draft-dodger who attacked Sen. Cleland on his patriotism. And the president joined in that.' John Kerry of Massachusetts took the same line on ABC's 'This Week': 'What they did to Max Cleland, you know, a veteran, a guy who lost three limbs in Vietnam, left them on the battlefield, and they challenge his patriotism that sickens everyone in our country.'
"The phrase 'sore loser' comes to mind here. A four-term congressman who heads the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security, Mr. Chambliss never dishonored Mr. Cleland's Vietnam sacrifice. We doubt Georgia's patriotic citizens would have stood for it if he had," the newspaper said.
"Mr. Chambliss won by exposing Sen. Cleland's voting record on the issues that mattered most to Georgians, such as taxes, missile defense and especially homeland security. Chambliss campaign ads noted that Mr. Cleland recorded 11 votes against the president on homeland security and 22 votes to gut or delay the Bush tax cut. 'He says he supports President Bush [in the war on terror] at every opportunity,' said one TV spot, 'but that's not the truth.'
"It didn't help Mr. Cleland that he opposed a homeland-security bill co-sponsored by Zell Miller, Georgia's more popular Senate Democrat. Mr. Miller bent over backwards trying to bring Mr. Cleland aboard, even getting him invited to the White House to go over the specifics with Mr. Bush. Instead, Mr. Cleland stuck with the John Kerry-Pat Leahy obstructionist line against any homeland bill that didn't pass muster with the AFL-CIO. Maybe the two senators should blame themselves for Mr. Cleland's defeat, all the more so because the Senate is about to pass Zell Miller's bill this week after all."

Whispering losers
"Democrats are whispering that the CIA Hellfire missile attack in Yemen Nov. 3 that killed six al Qaeda bigs was a political ploy for good war news on the eve of the election," Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.
"They claim the CIA had several prior chances to hit the convoy but waited, under orders from the White House, for the best political moment. 'Horse hockey,' says one administration official."

Powell's disloyalty
"Colin Powell should have been fired yesterday literally," David Frum writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).
"The Washington Post [on Sunday] posted its first excerpt from Bob Woodward's new book, 'Bush at War.' Like Woodward's book on the Gulf War, 'The Commanders,' 'Bush at War' is essentially an edited transcript of Powell leaks, all of them calculated to injure this administration and undermine its policies on the very eve of military action against Iraq," Mr. Frum said.
"For more than a year, we've been reading nasty little stories in the papers about Karl Rove, Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld, and condescending stories about President Bush, Vice President [Richard B.] Cheney and Condoleezza Rice. Careful readers have understood that these stories emanated from the State Department but until now, Powell has taken care to protect his personal deniability. Now he has abandoned that polite pretense.
"In the Woodward piece, Powell scorns the president for his 'Texas, Alamo macho.' (I guess Powell thinks Col. Travis should have negotiated.) Powell complains with Senate Democrats that acting against Iraq 'would suck the oxygen' out of the anti-terror campaign. He denigrates Rice, snidely observing that 'she had had difficulties' keeping up with what Bush was doing. When the president overrules him, Powell complains that he thought he had a 'deal' as if Cabinet members bargain with their president rather than taking orders from him."

Nadler's weight loss
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat, has shed 61 pounds as a result of stomach-reduction surgery, and he says that's just the beginning.
Mr. Nadler, 55, said he decided to undergo the surgical procedure after decades of unsuccessfully battling obesity, the New York Times reported.
"I can't tell you how many people complete strangers have come up to me and said, 'Congressman, you're doing a great job, and I want you to continue to be my congressman, so you have to lose weight,'" Mr. Nadler told the Times for its Saturday editions. "Imagine how that makes you feel."
Before the surgery in August, the 5-foot-4 congressman weighed as much as 338 pounds. He said he couldn't climb a flight of stairs before, but he recently surprised himself by walking 40 blocks from his office in Lower Manhattan to Penn Station. Now, he said, he hopes to reach his ideal weight of 160 pounds.

Hillary's next gig
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, is expected to be named the new head of the Steering and Coordination Committee, a midlevel Senate Democratic leadership post, Roll Call reports.
Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts holds the job now, but is expected to step down to run for president. The job involves tuning the party message and acting as a liaison to outside groups. Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota, the Democratic leader, makes the appointment.


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