- The Washington Times - Friday, September 13, 2002

Dejected liberals

"While some Republicans are privately relieved, some liberals are downright dejected" by the defeat of New Hampshire Sen. Robert C. Smith in Tuesday's Republican primary, the New York Times reports.

Mr. Smith lost to Rep. John E. Sununu, who will face Democratic Gov. Jeanne Shaheen in November.

"Despite his conservative stands on many issues, Democrats found Mr. Smith unexpectedly sympathetic to their causes as the senior Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee," reporter Carl Hulse writes. "The senator now in line to be the ranking Republican on the panel is James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, no friend of environmentalists."

Anna Aurilio, legislative director for the liberal U.S. Public Interest Research Group, was quoted as saying this about Mr. Inhofe: "He's a ringleader on so many bad things."


Wellstone pulls ad

Sen. Paul Wellstone, Minnesota Democrat, has withdrawn a fund-raising ad from a Web site that denigrates President Bush's response to the terrorist attacks on September 11.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Democrats.com, a Web site co-founded by a former staffer in the Clinton White House, reproduced a picture of Mr. Bush talking on the phone on September 11, and sponsored a contest for the best caption indicating what Mr. Bush may have been saying.

The first entry in the caption contest has Mr. Bush saying: "But Dick, I soiled my pants when I learned about the attacks, so please just let me come back to Washington for a change of underwear."

"The 30 other published entries are similarly derogatory," Star Tribune reporters Eric Black and Greg Gordon said.

The Web site has raised "a considerable amount of money" for Mr. Wellstone's campaign, one of its founders told the newspaper.

The political Web site began experimenting with a pop-up Wellstone ad during the past 10 days, but Wellstone aides had it yanked Wednesday after Republicans drew attention to it, the newspaper said.

Wellstone spokesman Jim Farrell said the campaign, which paid $3,371 for services from the site, knew nothing about the offensive content and pulled the ad as soon as it was brought to their attention.


Jersey polls

Two new polls show New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert G. Torricelli trailing his Republican opponent, businessman Doug Forrester, although the contest remains close.

An Eagleton Institute poll of likely voters showed Mr. Forrester ahead, 44 percent to 39 percent. A Quinnipiac University survey also gave the edge to Mr. Forrester, 48 percent to 44 percent.

"Eagleton and Quinnipiac have now confirmed the Forrester surge first discovered by SurveyUSA several weeks ago," Forrester campaign manager Bill Pascoe said in a prepared statement. "The two new polls show a remarkable movement to Doug among the New Jersey electorate the last time Eagleton was in the field, in early June, the survey showed Mr. Torricelli with a 14-point lead, now evaporated; the last time Quinnipiac was in the field, in early August, the survey showed the race tied."


On notice

Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, a liberal Republican from New York, barely defeated an unknown conservative on Tuesday, John Fund notes at www.opinionjournal.com.

Mr. Boehlert won by fewer than 1,500 votes against David Walrath, an Auburn physician who ran a drug-treatment center. Dr. Walrath entered the race just 10 weeks before the primary, when no one else stepped forward to challenge Mr. Boehlert in a district drawn up to ensure his re-election, Mr. Fund said.

"Moderate Republicans are celebrating this week's primary results. Not only did Mr. Boehlert win, but a well-funded challenge to GOP Rep. Wayne Gilchrest of Maryland failed, with Mr. Gilchrest winning 60 percent of the vote. But both Messrs. Boehlert and Gilchrest probably have a more sober view," Mr. Fund said.

"They know how well their opponents did given the enormous advantages of incumbency. Both are on notice that if their voting records veer too far away from the Republican mainstream, they may not be able to endure more difficult primaries in the future."


Maria Shriver's waiver

"Among the celebrities pressing the flesh on behalf of [Democrat] Mark Shriver in the final days of his House campaign was none other than his sister, Maria Shriver, the NBC News correspondent," Ed Henry writes in the Heard on the Hill column in Roll Call.

"While blood is thicker than water, Hill staffers were still surprised to run into the journalist at a Metro station in the D.C. suburbs, getting involved in one of the most hotly contested congressional races in the nation," Mr Henry said.

"The 'Dateline NBC' star was urging people to get out and vote for the candidate, who narrowly lost his battle with Chris Van Hollen for the right to face Rep. Connie Morella, Maryland Republican. Shriver, the niece of Sen. Edward Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, has also helped raise money for her brother."

A "Dateline" spokesman told the columnist that although NBC does have rules against its journalists working on political campaigns, Mrs. Shriver asked for and was granted a waiver because the politician in question was a family member.


Greening of McKinney

Green Party activists who worked on Georgia Rep. Cynthia A. McKinney's unsuccessful primary re-election campaign say she is strongly considering bolting the Democratic Party before she leaves office to seek the Green Party's presidential nomination in 2004, the Associated Press reports.

Mrs. McKinney has not revealed her plans, but Green Party officials say many of her views make her a perfect fit either to lead the ticket or serve as 2000 nominee Ralph Nader's vice presidential choice, should he decide to run again, reporter Jeffrey McMurray said.

More than 50 Green Party activists from across the nation traveled to Georgia to help Mrs. McKinney in the final days of her primary campaign against Denise Majette.


Comforter-in-chief

"President Bush had that faraway look in his eyes [Wednesday], sad and solemn and grim all at once," the New York Post's Deborah Orin writes.

"It's the grim look that came on 9/11 and makes it hard to remember how once, not so long ago, he was 'Dubya' the lighthearted and puckish jokester whose critics ridiculed him as 'frat boy,'" Miss Orin said.

"'The murder of innocence cannot be explained, only endured,' he said at the Pentagon, at once commander-in-chief and comforter-in-chief.

"He kept clutching wife Laura's hand as he went to all the places marked by terror. The TV close-up focused on her bright red nails, eerily matching all those thousands of American flags flapping in the wind.

"'I wish his mouth didn't go down at the corners when his face is in repose, but it's a heavy load,' said one of his White House aides."


Really concerned

Bill Clinton, in an appearance Wednesday night (September 11) on CBS' "Late Show With David Letterman," continued to insist that he was really, really concerned with terrorism when he was president.

The instant the second plane hit the World Trade Center, "I just blurted out, 'bin Laden did this.' I just knew," Mr. Clinton said, adding that during his last three years in office "several times a week we talked about bin Laden in our security meetings."

Asked if when he heard about the attack he wished he were "still running the show," Mr. Clinton insisted: "I didn't really think about me, one way or the other."

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