- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 5, 2002

A grudging 'note'

The New York Times and its editor, Howell Raines, came under intense criticism recently when the newspaper inaccurately listed former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger as an opponent of military action against Iraq. Yesterday, the newspaper admitted its mistake sort of.

An Aug. 16 article "should have made a clearer distinction between [Mr. Kissingers] views and those of [former National Security Adviser Brent] Scowcroft and other Republicans with more categorical objections to a military attack," the newspaper said. "The second article [on Aug. 17] listed Mr. Kissinger incorrectly among Republicans who were warning outright against a war."

However, the newspaper's clarification called an "Editor's Note" rather than a correction was grudging, to say the least, and likely to lead to further argument.

After noting that, among other things, Mr. Kissinger had urged diplomatic consultation, the newspaper added: "Most centrally, Mr. Kissinger said that removing [Saddam] Hussein from power Mr. Bush's justification for war was not an appropriate goal. He said an attack on Iraq should be directed toward a more limited aim, eradicating weapons of mass destruction."

However, as some pundits were already pointing out yesterday, the eradication of weapons of mass destruction is, in fact, President Bush's argument for why Saddam must be removed.

Clintons trump Cuomos

Political insiders are buzzing over Bill and Hillary Clinton's role in forcing Andrew M. Cuomo, the former Clinton administration housing secretary, to abandon his bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in New York and over the political impotence of Mr. Cuomo's father, Mario, the former governor.

Democratic Party observers "say that just as interesting as Andrew Cuomo's failure to rise to the challenge of a statewide race, is his father Mario's seeming inability to help him," the anonymous "Prowler" writes at www.americanprowler.org.

"'This is a former governor, a man who is still connected in this state,' says a Democratic operative in Albany. 'How does a guy have that much influence and not get his son past the primary? Neither man was popular inside the party at the end [of Gov. Cuomo's administration], but I think many of us are surprised that the Cuomo family could do so little. It isn't that time passed the family by. It's that another family has moved into the neighborhood.'

"Cuomos meet the Clintons. 'They are in control of the state now,' says the Albany Dem. 'The fact that Bill was such a visible part of Andrew's demise sends a message loud and clear. If you're a Democrat and want to succeed in this state, there's one guy you have to win over first. And it isn't Mario. And knowing that just has to be the worst.'"

Tax-cut vote fails

The House last night voted down a bill to make permanent several 10-year education tax breaks that were part of the tax cut President Bush signed into law last year.

The vote was 213-188 in favor of the measure far short of the two-thirds majority needed under the special rules under which the bill was brought to the House floor.

Republicans backed the bill that would have made permanent several education tax breaks, including a $2,000 deduction for education savings accounts. Only four Republicans voted against the measure, while 10 Democrats voted in favor of the bill.

House Republicans have held a series of votes on making permanent the more popular provisions of last year's $1.35 trillion tax cut.

Arming pilots

The Bush administration plans to adopt a small-scale test program of arming commercial pilots, reversing its previous opposition to guns in the cockpit.

The administration is modeling its plan after similar proposals that circulated in Congress this summer, according to the Associated Press. One such plan would have armed as many as 1,400 pilots, about 2 percent of those flying.

NBC first reported the administration plan last night.

The airlines have opposed arming pilots, while the pilots union and the National Rifle Association backed the idea as do a majority of Americans, according to polls.

GOP ahead in Texas

Republicans lead in all statewide races in Texas, although the U.S. Senate contest remains tight, according to the latest Scripps Howard Texas Poll.

In the Senate race, state Attorney General John Cornyn, the Republican nominee, leads his Democratic opponent, former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, by 5 points, 37 percent to 32 percent, among likely voters, with 30 percent undecided.

The margin is identical to the lead Mr. Cornyn had in the Texas Poll in June, the Houston Chronicle reports.

In the race for governor, the poll indicates Democrat Tony Sanchez gained ground on Republican Gov. Rick Perry during the summer's exchange of televised attack ads, but Mr. Perry still holds onto a double-digit lead.

Mr. Sanchez, a multimillionaire Laredo businessman who so far has invested more than $27 million of his wealth in his bid to unseat Mr. Perry, has narrowed the 20-point lead that Mr. Perry enjoyed in a similar poll published in June. But Mr. Perry still leads by 14 points, 42 percent to 28 percent, with one-fourth of likely voters undecided.

Mr. Perry led by only 6 points, 47 percent to 41 percent, in a competing poll released Tuesday by the political arm of the Texas Medical Association, which has endorsed Mr. Sanchez. That poll was conducted by Anzalone-Liszt Research Inc.

The Scripps Data Center conducted the Texas Poll by telephone Aug. 7-27. The sample of 756 likely general-election voters included 32 percent Republicans, 27 percent Democrats and 30 percent independents. The rest declined to characterize their leanings.

The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

A Saudi vacation

James Taranto, in his Best of the Web Today column at www.opinionjournal.com, quoted the Asia Times report on an entourage of Saudi princes vacationing in Spain:

"When they were received by the chairman of the Saudi parliament, Salih bin Abdullah bin Humaid, the [female European Parliament deputies] were 'denied the honor of a handshake or eye-to-eye contact,' said [Italian member Emma] Bonino, while explanations that Islam considers women to be different from men were addressed to the male deputy guests.

"Several Spanish media outlets reported that a British agency has provided a large group of women to accompany the Saudi men during their vacations in Spain, on two conditions: the women must be young and blond, and must be replaced every 15 days.

"Although prostitution is legal in Spain, procuring is punishable by law. Nevertheless, no authority or organization has moved against the British agency, even though the contract was made public."

No go on show

Former President Bill Clinton said he has no plans to start a new career as a television talk-show host at least not in the near future.

Asked on CNN's "Larry King Live" if he wanted to be a talk-show host, Mr. Clinton said: "I don't think so." But he did not rule out completely such a career move.

"Maybe sometime later in my life I'd like to do it," the 56-year-old former president said. "It would be intriguing to me because I like to talk to people."

Mr. Clinton suggested a television job would take too much time away from other projects in which he is involved, Reuters news agency reports.

"You have to be here every day, and a lot of the work I do requires me to travel," Mr. Clinton said. "I really believe I should always spend more than half my time on public service, so I just don't see how I can do it."

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