- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 17, 2002

Still hanging around

"Believe it or not: Republican tracking polls show GOP underdog Bill Simon within 3 to 6 points of incumbent Democrat Gray Davis," San Francisco Chronicle columnists Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross write.

"That may explain why Simon despite the hammering he's been taking in recent weeks still has a spring in his step," the columnists said.

"The main drive, it appears, isn't that Simon is gaining in popularity but rather Davis' continued decline in voters' eyes.

"That could easily change in the final weeks, however, as Davis opens up with a blitz of 'social' TV ads driving home the message that Simon is both anti-choice and pro-gun which are still poison-pill issues with California voters."

'I'm not bin Laden'

Sen. Jean Carnahan, Missouri Democrat, apologized yesterday for telling her supporters, "I'm the No. 1 target of the White House. They can't get Osama bin Laden, so they're going to get me."

Mrs. Carnahan, who trails former Rep. Jim Talent by more than 6 percentage points, was hit by a barrage of Republican criticism for her off-the-cuff remark, which was shown on CNN on Tuesday.

"For her to suggest that President Bush cares about her Senate race as much as avenging the loss of over 3,000 American lives is disgraceful," said Missouri Republican Chairman Ann Wagner.

Republican National Committee Chairman Marc Racicot called Mrs. Carhanan's remarks "unusually odd and inappropriate." But Mr. Talent had a softer response: "I'm sure Mrs. Carnahan didn't mean to say what she said. It was clearly a slip of the tongue and I'm sure most Missourians would accept a quick apology from Mrs. Carnahan."

In a written statement released by her campaign, Mrs. Carnahan said, "I understand that some people may have been offended by my comment. I certainly did not intend that, and I offer my apologies. I continued to be a strong supporter of the president's efforts to fight terrorism.

"In fact, my comment was born out of a bit of frustration that I have supported this president on several of his top initiatives, including his defense budget and his tax cuts, yet the White House is still very focused on defeating me," she said.

Harry's plantation

Left-wing celebrity Harry Belafonte, in a television interview late Tuesday, continued to compare Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to a house slave, despite Mr. Powell's demand for an apology.

Asked by CNN's Larry King if he would change the Oct. 9 statement he made in a radio interview in San Diego, Mr. Belafonte said, "No. I would perhaps put it in a context but in essence, I wouldn't change the statement."

Mr. Belafonte said his main objection was in having a black man serve an administration with which he, Mr. Belafonte, disagrees.

"It's not about the man," the singer said.

Mr. Powell had said Mr. Belafonte's earlier remarks were an "unfortunate throwback to another time and another place."

Mr. Belafonte, in Tuesday's interview, said his objections to conservative blacks applied even more strongly to Mr. Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice.

Bigotry at CBS?

Marvin Olasky, a journalism professor and editor of a conservative Christian magazine, says there is little doubt that CBS News correspondent Bob Simon is an anti-Christian bigot.

It was Mr. Simon who recently interviewed the Rev. Jerry Falwell for the CBS program "60 Minutes" and reported that Mr. Falwell had called the Muslim prophet Muhammad "a terrorist."

"Jerry Falwell spoke bluntly, but he is a plain-spoken Baptist preacher, not a diplomat. With him, what you see is what you get," Mr. Olasky writes in the latest issue of World magazine, of which he is editor in chief.

"My impression of '60 Minutes,' and Bob Simon in particular, is different. From what I've seen close-up, Mr. Simon is a bigot. Here's a personal note: Because of political activities and my colorful growing-up period, a lot of TV networks have done profiles of me. NBC, CNN, and the 'CBS Evening News' were all fair; not positive, but fair, and that was fine. '60 Minutes' was a hatchet job. Mr. Simon sneered his way through four hours of interviews, and the producer did not keep his promise not to run a scavenger hunt for exploitable side comments. The piece was so loaded that the week after it was televised Dan Rather, to avert a potential libel suit, read a semi-apology concerning one outrageous distortion."

The bitter truth

"Perhaps it's been making life easier for outgoing Rep. Cynthia McKinney, believing that Republicans were responsible for her loss to Georgia judge Denise Majette in the Democratic primary," the anonymous Prowler writes at www.americanprowler.org.

"Initial reports from the Atlanta suburbs had indicated that Republican votes had swung the election away from the ultra-left-wing black congresswoman and into the hands of the more moderate Majette.

"But now the flamboyant congresswoman doesn't even have that. Analysis of the votes in McKinney's district has revealed that she still would have lost (by a lot) even if no Republicans had voted in the Democratic primary. That kind of information wouldn't normally be a big deal, but it is for McKinney's supporters who have filed a federal lawsuit demanding that all Republican votes for Majette be disallowed.

"The reason? McKinneyites claim that Republicans 'took advantage' of Georgia's open primary system to vote for Majette. So much for voters' rights, eh Cynthia?"

Pennsylvania gamble

"In the [Pennsylvania] congressional redistricting process last winter, the Republicans who run Harrisburg went for the jugular," Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Larry Eichel writes.

"They could have played it safe. With Pennsylvania slated to lose two of its 21 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, they could have eliminated two Democratic districts and left it at that. Take a delegation that had been 11-10 Republican and make it 11-8," the columnist said.

"But state GOP leaders thought they could do better. Egged on by the White House, they pushed through a plan designed to produce 13 Republican seats, thereby helping the national party retain its narrow margin of control in the House of Representatives.

"So now the question arises: How's it working out? The party seems certain of winning at least the 11 seats it could have had from the outset. That's pretty much a given. And it retains a shot at 12 or 13."

However, Democrat Tim Holden holds what the columnist called "a modest lead" over Republican George W. Gekas in a battle of incumbents thrown into the same district. And Republican state Sen. James Gerlach finds himself in a battle with Democrat Dan Wofford.

"But no matter what, the Republicans don't figure to do any worse than if they'd played it safe," Mr. Eichel said.

Orderly retreat

"About the best that can be said about the Republicans on Social Security is that so far their retreat has been orderly," National Review says in its Oct. 28 issue.

"A few of their congressional candidates have repudiated private investment accounts. Most of them are instead trying to execute a too-cute maneuver: disavowing the word 'privatization' while leaving open the possibility of supporting private accounts," the magazine said.

"Amid all this cowardly evasion and demagoguery, one can easily forget that a majority of the public actually favors private accounts."

Man of principle?

"Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee has been making unsubtle threats to bolt the Republican party and give Democrats control of the Senate if the Republicans pick up a seat in the coming election," Mickey Kaus notes in his Kausfiles column at www.slate.msn.com.

"But here's a thought experiment: Suppose the Republicans were to pick up three Senate seats in the coming election, giving them a majority of two. Is there the slightest chance that Chafee would then bolt and become a Democrat which would involve leaving the majority party to join the minority? No, there is not a chance. What does that say about how principled Chafee's chafing is?"

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