- The Washington Times - Monday, September 9, 2002

Clinton, then and now
Vice President Richard B. Cheney, in his appearance yesterday on NBC's "Meet the Press," was shown a film clip of former President Bill Clinton on Thursday advising against a military attack on Iraq.
"Saddam Hussein didn't kill 3,100 people on September 11th; Osama bin Laden did," Mr. Clinton said. "And as far as we know, he's still alive. We might do more good for America's security in the short run, and at a far less cost, by beefing up our efforts in Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere, to flush out the entire network and to find him. We know they still have a terrorist network around the world. And we're already kind of changing the subject here, looking at Saddam Hussein. He's not going anywhere."
This prompted Mr. Cheney to pull out a piece of paper, from which he read the following words of a certain former president:
"What if Saddam Hussein fails to comply, we fail to act or we take some ambiguous third route which gives him yet more opportunities to develop his program of weapons of mass destruction and continue to press for the release of sanctions and ignore the commitments he's made? Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on doing more to build an arsenal of devastating destruction.
"If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow. The stakes could not be higher. Some day, some way, I guarantee you he'll use that arsenal."
Mr. Cheney then revealed that he was quoting Mr. Clinton from 1998.
Said Mr. Cheney: "Now this was for him, supposedly, a top priority four years ago. There was a great deal of scurrying around, a lot of debate, resolutions passed by the Congress. Tom Daschle talking about the need to use military force to deal with the threat that Saddam Hussein represented. Of course, what happened is nothing happened.
"Now, four years later, we find ourselves in a situation where the situation has gotten worse; [Saddam Hussein] has gotten more capability. And we're going to have to deal with this situation."

The Owen mugging
"Appellate court nominee Priscilla Owen went down to defeat [Thursday] in the Senate Judiciary Committee, 10-9, as Democrats bowed once again to liberal feminist interest groups," the Wall Street Journal says.
"The 10 liberals refused even to send her nomination to the Senate floor, where Democratic moderates would have voted to confirm her. They may be smiling now, but come November watch for a different expression on their faces. On Election Day they may find that the price of [Thursdays] victory will be a Republican Senate seat in Judge Owen's home state of Texas," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"The Owen mugging has become a key issue in the tight Senate race between former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, a Democrat, and Republican Attorney General John Cornyn. Not long after Mr. Kirk came out against Judge Owen's nomination this summer, Mr. Cornyn started running TV and radio ads accusing him of joining the 'liberal crusade' to kill her nomination. Another ad says Mr. Kirk has joined the 'East Coast liberal gang' riding into Texas 'gunning for our judge.'
"Mr. Kirk was running ahead in the polls for a while. But the latest survey from Democratic pollsters Anzalone-Liszt finds Mr. Cornyn edging ahead, 45 percent to 39 percent.
"Judge Owen is hugely popular with her fellow Texans, 84 percent of whom voted for her in the last state Supreme Court election. Judicial nominations aren't typically an issue in Senate campaigns, but Democrats have made them one this year. If Mr. Cornyn's election means that Republicans regain Senate control, then President Bush would certainly renominate her. Texas voters would get the judge they want, and Senate liberals the justice they deserve."

Dealing with Feinstein
Now that Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have shot down the judicial nomination of Priscilla Owen, Republicans would like to retaliate. But there is not much they can do, Byron York writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).
"If they feel constrained in what they can do, some Hill Republicans nevertheless want to see the White House strike back," Mr. York said.
"Privately, some in the GOP say they would like to see the White House scrap its judicial-selection deal with California Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. Early in the administration, the president entered into a cooperative arrangement with the two senators in which they and the White House would have near-equal voices in the selection of federal district-court judges in California. The process has been cordial but has irritated both conservatives and defenders of presidential prerogatives, who argued it gave the senators too much say in the process.
"Now look at what has happened. The president went out of his way, Republicans say, to give Feinstein a voice in judicial selection, and what did he get in return? He got Feinstein killing one of the White House's top judicial appointments. And it didn't help that Feinstein tried to soften the blow by telling everyone it was a very hard decision for her. 'I've never voted against a female nominee,' Feinstein told the committee Thursday. 'I've met Priscilla Owen, I've talked to her and I like her very much.' Nevertheless, Feinstein pulled the trigger, and some Republicans in Congress believe it is time for the White House to quit accommodating her on judicial selection matters."

Unfair truth-telling
In his Democratic primary campaign for Massachusetts governor, Robert Reich is now complaining about "gutter politics" after an opponent committed the dirty trick of using Mr. Reich's own words.
Former state Sen. Warren Tolman has introduced a Web site called ActuallyBob.com, which compares Mr. Reich's statements with well, with the truth.
The Web site whose logo features Mr. Reich's head spinning around was introduced along with a series of ads that the Tolman campaign says highlight the former labor secretary's "habit for misrepresenting the facts."
ActuallyBob.com quotes a 1997 Chicago Tribune story about "Locked in the Cabinet," Mr. Reich's memoir of his tenure in the Clinton administration: "On examination, it turns out that one scene after another in 'Locked in the Cabinet' bears no resemblance to reality. Reich's habit of misrepresentation is so pervasive as to seem downright pathological."
The Web site also focused on Mr. Reich's promise to limit contributions to his campaign a pledge that he apparently has broken.
The 4-foot-9 Mr. Reich denied telling tall tales and said he was the target of "gutter politics" by Mr. Tolman.
"I'm frankly surprised that he would stoop to this," Mr. Reich said in a conference call with reporters. "This is the worst form of old-style dirty politics."

'Totally inappropriate'
Rep. Porter J. Goss, Florida Republican and chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, says he and Sen. Bob Graham, Florida Democrat and chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, have admonished staffers who were quoted in press reports as saying one of their goals in a joint probe of pre-September 11 intelligence failures is to "get" CIA Director George J. Tenet.
Mr. Goss, interviewed Saturday on CNN's "Novak, Hunt & Shields," called such staff conduct "totally inappropriate." He said he and Mr. Graham have "both taken steps to make sure that staff understands this is a factual investigation there's no partisanship in it there is no room for a personal vendetta."
Asked if he still has confidence in Mr. Tenet, the chairman said, "I have confidence in Director Tenet, yes. I think he's served the nation very well. And, more important, the president has confidence in him, and that's what matters."

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