- The Washington Times - Friday, September 20, 2002

Hughes joins fray

Presidential confidante Karen Hughes joined the skirmish between the top two contenders for a U.S. Senate seat from Texas, calling Democratic candidate Ron Kirk's recent remarks on military service in Iraq "unconscionable," the San Antonio Express-News reports.

Speaking at a San Antonio campaign stop for state Attorney General John Cornyn, the Republican candidate for Senate, Mrs. Hughes said there is a distinct contrast between the candidates.

"Especially in San Antonio Texans will not appreciate anybody who tries to divide members of the military on the basis of income and race," Mrs. Hughes said Wednesday, noting the city's strong military traditions and her own background growing up in an Army family.

Mr. Kirk issued a statement Tuesday saying he regretted remarks he made last week suggesting that Mr. Cornyn might not be as likely to support a war with Iraq if wealthy offspring were more often required to serve on the front lines than minorities. At the same time, Mr. Kirk emphasized that he would support President Bush if he decides to take military action in Iraq.

Get it over with

"Iraq is starting to cut in this fall's campaign for control of Congress and insiders say that's why Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle did a quick switcheroo and decided he'd better have an Iraq vote. Fast," the New York Post's Deborah Orin writes.

"Why? Daschle now knows he can't stall until after the Nov. 5 election, so he wants to get the vote over by mid-October and try to turn the final weeks back to economic issues that could help Democrats," Miss Orin said.

"That will hurt the Dems who may vote against striking Iraq like liberal Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone but most up-for-re-election Dems will back President Bush, so a vote will actually let them snuggle up to him.

"But Iraq already may have blown up a Democratic Senate campaign in Bush's home state thanks to Texas wannabe Ron Kirk's racially inflammatory remarks, which forced him to issue a sort-of apology.

"Kirk, who is black, had charged that GOP rival John Cornyn would ask tougher questions about the war 'if his wealthy friends were on the front line' since soldiers are 'disproportionately minority.'

"Kirk, who'd been running in a near-tie, now says 'I regret the way I stated those concerns.'"

Rally for Israel

The Christian Coalition of America announced yesterday that it will hold a massive rally in support of Israel on Oct. 11 in front of the White House.

"We are redoubling our efforts to ensure that our rally in support of Israel will experience tremendous success, as Israel needs to know that they are not alone, and have friends all over the world," Christian Coalition President Roberta Combs said in a prepared statement. "We stand committed to Israel's survival."

The rally will be part of the Road to Victory Conference, the group's annual pro-family event. Invited speakers include President Bush, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert and House Majority Leader Dick Armey, the group said.

Judicial roulette

"Back in May 2001, when President Bush announced his first group of federal appeals-court nominees, some observers felt that Michael McConnell, the University of Utah law professor who has written dozens of strongly worded articles on hot-button issues like abortion and religious freedom, might have a real confirmation fight on his hands," Byron York writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

"On Wednesday, after nearly a year and a half of waiting, McConnell finally got a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. As it turned out, the predictions were wrong. Anyone who expected a High Noon showdown between McConnell and committee Democrats would have been sorely disappointed," Mr. York said.

"There is an atmosphere in the hearing room when chairman Patrick Leahy and his fellow Democrats are seriously considering killing a nomination. It wasn't there for McConnell's hearing, and all indications are that he will be approved by the committee and ultimately confirmed by the full Senate. "

Like father

The president's father is getting in on the act on Iraq.

In Sioux Falls, S.D., former President George Bush yesterday campaigned for Republican Senate candidate John Thune, telling a crowd that Mr. Thune would support the current president on Iraq.

"The answer is to stand with the president so the world sees that we're united in ending this," the former president said yesterday, the day that President Bush submitted a draft resolution to Congress seeking authorization to use force against Iraq.

"We need someone in the U.S. Senate who will stand there and say, 'I support you, Mr. President,'" the elder Mr. Bush said. "It is absolutely important that the U.S. Senate supports our president in these times."

Mr. Thune's opponent, Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson, in 1991 voted against authorizing the elder Mr. Bush to use force against Baghdad to reverse Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Chambliss' ad

Rep. Saxby Chambliss, in his first TV ad of the U.S. Senate campaign in Georgia, employs a testimonial from President Bush.

"Saxby Chambliss needs to be in the United States Senate," Mr. Bush says in the commercial. The president goes on to praise Mr. Chambliss' "sound, solid advice."

The commercial, which also features Mr. Chambliss and his family, was scheduled to begin airing last night in the Atlanta market, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Incumbent Sen. Max Cleland, a Democrat, has been running ads that include testimonials from Sen. Zell Miller, Georgia's other Democratic senator.

Tancredo under fire

A Colorado congressman who urged officials to deport a family of illegal immigrants after he read about the son's attempts to pay for college is now defending himself against claims he paid illegal immigrants to remodel his basement.

Two undocumented workers say they and other illegal immigrants from Latin America helped install a home entertainment center and a bedroom in Rep. Tom Trancredo's home in Littleton, the Denver Post reported yesterday.

Mr. Tancredo, a Republican and a vocal immigration critic, said he was unaware of the immigration status of the workers.

"I hired a reputable company. I don't hire their labor," Mr. Tancredo told the Rocky Mountain News.

Mr. Tancredo said he hired Creative Drywall Designs in Denver and Denver Audio Design because they were able to complete the work before the end of December. The $60,000 in renovations were a gift to his family, he said.

Heston in Alabama

Charlton Heston plans to visit three cities in Alabama to raise money for the state Republican Party.

Mr. Heston's visit today comes six weeks after the 78-year-old actor announced that he had been diagnosed with symptoms consistent with Alzheimer's disease.

Michael Davis, director of the Alabama Republican Party's Victory 2002 Campaign, said Mr. Heston's Alabama tour will begin with a breakfast at a Mobile hotel. Tickets are $100 per person for the breakfast, sponsored by Republican candidates.

At noon, he will be honored at a rally in Oxford, followed by a rally later that day in Huntsville. Both north Alabama rallies are free and open to the public, although separate private fund-raisers are planned in those cities, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Heston, who won an Oscar for 1959's "Ben-Hur," has been active in political causes since the early 1960s. He is serving his fourth term as president of the National Rifle Association.

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