- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 24, 2003

Barr ends candidacy
Former Georgia Rep. Bob Barr, a conservative Republican who rose to prominence as a House manager during the Clinton impeachment hearings, bowed out of a campaign to return to Congress yesterday.
"I was looking forward to getting back in there, but it was a decision based on some long conversations with Jeri, our kids and our grandkids. We concluded the time was just not right," Mr. Barr said.
Mr. Barr announced in February that he would run for Georgia's 6th District seat, which represents Atlanta's northern suburbs and is being vacated by Rep. Johnny Isakson, a Republican who is running for Senate.
"The numbers looked great," Mr. Barr's campaign spokesman, Bo Harmon, told the Associated Press. "He is considered by all political handicappers far and away the favorite to win. He just doesn't have the fire in the belly this time around."
Mr. Barr was voted out of Congress last year, losing by a wide margin to John Linder in the Republican primary. The Democrat-controlled General Assembly had redrawn congressional district lines after the 2000 census and stuck Mr. Barr in a district with Mr. Linder, a fellow incumbent.
Mr. Barr said he wasn't ruling out running for office in the future.
"The fact there were doubts in my mind and desires to do some other things, both professionally and familywise, were telling me this was not the time right now," Mr. Barr said. "There may be a time in the future."
The only other announced candidate for the 6th District is Republican state Sen. Robert Lamutt. State Senate Majority Leader Tom Price and state Rep. Robert Hines, both Republicans, have said they will enter the race next week.
Bush woos Edgar
President Bush called former Illinois Republican Gov. Jim Edgar to urge him to run for the state's open U.S. Senate seat, the White House said yesterday.
With Republicans holding a precarious majority of 51 seats in the 100-member body, the Illinois seat of retiring Republican Peter G. Fitzgerald promises to be one of the most prominent battlegrounds in the 2004 battle for control of Congress.
"The president has called Governor Edgar and urged him to run for the seat. I think it was yesterday," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters.
Mr. Edgar, 56, who was elected governor in 1990 and served two four-year terms, has said he will decide whether to run in about a month. A spokesman said Mr. Edgar continues to seriously consider a Senate bid.
Problem in Alabama
Unless Alabama's election law is changed, there could be one notable candidate missing from the state's 2004 presidential-election ballot: President Bush.
The problem is that the Republican National Convention is being held later than usual to avoid conflict with the Olympics, and the Republican Party won't choose a candidate until Sept. 2 two days after Alabama's Aug. 31 deadline to certify presidential contenders.
Republicans are asking the Democrat-controlled Legislature to change the law and extend the deadline until Sept. 5, the Associated Press reports. That bill is on today's work agenda in the House, but some Republicans say they are concerned the bill has been placed behind several contentious issues and may not come up for consideration.
"I don't think the people know that if this doesn't pass, they won't get to vote for President Bush," said state Rep. Mike Hubbard, a Republican.
He said if the bill doesn't pass, Mr. Bush could be forced to run as a write-in in Alabama.
Mr. Bush received 56.4 percent of the vote in Alabama in 2000 to 41.6 percent for Vice President Al Gore, a Democrat. Republicans have carried Alabama in the last six presidential elections.
Pipes' answer
A scholar nominated to a federal think tank on peace over the objections of Muslim groups said Tuesday that President Bush should not have characterized Islam as a peaceful religion after the September 11 attacks.
Asked by reporters whether he thought Mr. Bush should have made the statement, Daniel Pipes said "no." He said that presidents shouldn't talk about religion and that it was wrong to make generalizations about Islam.
"I never say Islam is this or Islam is that," Mr. Pipes told journalists attending a seminar at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism.
Mr. Pipes is a Harvard-trained scholar and the director of the Middle East Forum in Philadelphia. Mr. Bush has nominated him to the United States Institute of Peace, a think tank whose 15 board members are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate.
Saddam the feminist
"On the one hand, Saddam Hussein's 'regime brutalized women' with 'rape, torture, even beheadings,' but on the up side, reporter Mike Taibbi said on Tuesday's 'NBC Nightly News,' Saddam was a feminist pioneer in the Middle East since 'his secular government also gave women more rights than their counterparts in many other Islamic countries,'" the Media Research Center reports.
"Following the media habit in the early 1990s of lamenting the negative impact of the fall of communism on women because of the loss of the 'safety net,' including day care service and abortion access, NBC News seems to be first out of the box in fondly recalling the wonders Hussein bestowed upon women at least those he did not have raped, tortured or beheaded a feminist nirvana in the sand that could soon end, thanks to Shi'ite religious fervor unleashed by the U.S. invasion," the MRC's Brent Baker writes at www.mediaresearch.org.
"Taibbi's story, based around the fears of a Western-dressed woman who runs an Iraqi telecommunications firm, also aired on MSNBC's 'Countdown' with Keith Olbermann. Taibbi failed to address the wealthy woman's complicity or ties to the Ba'ath Party, a connection or approval that must exist at some level, given her high position and wealth."
Cronkite statue falls
"Some time in the morning of April 9, 2003, as the statue of Saddam Hussein was being hauled down in Baghdad, another statue of Walter Cronkite, famed CBS newsman hacked at with hammers by various bloggers, also came crashing down," Noemie Emery writes at the Weekly Standard Web site (www.weeklystandard.com).
"Cronkite, once called 'the most trusted man in America,' was believed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to have turned the American public against the Vietnam War. This time, Cronkite had done his best to turn the American public against the war in Iraq, but no one paid any attention. Of course, he had been out of public life for quite a long time, but this fails to explain it: His network successors did their best to turn the public against it, and no one had listened to them, either. In fact, as Cronkite's statue was falling, reports came in that millions of former supporters of Dan Rather and Peter Jennings had put their arms down and melted back into the populace, some finding shelter in the arms of Fox News," she said.
"At the same time, word came in from numerous generals embedded in networks that the New York Times, like the city of Baghdad, might also 'fall from within' in this case, meaning that it would continue to sell and publish, but few would believe a word in it. These experts explained that while the Times had been softened up by years of sniping by Andrew Sullivan and other bloggers, the main blows were inflicted by 'friendly fire' large bombs set off within its own fortifications, by R.W. Apple and by Maureen Dowd."
Ex-governor pays
Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott McCallum has reimbursed the state $13,000 for using a state airplane to bring himself and his son back from a Colorado soccer tournament, state officials said Wednesday. Mr. McCallum also paid a $500 fine for accepting a free boat, the Associated Press reports. State law prohibits public officials from using their positions for personal gain or accepting gifts that could influence their official decision-making. The payments were part of a settlement of a seven-month ethics investigation of Mr. McCallum.

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