- The Washington Times - Monday, December 8, 2003

Kerry’s language

Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, running to be the Democratic presidential nominee, used X-rated language to express his frustration over Iraq.

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Mr. Kerry said he was not blindsided by the poll success of fellow Democrat Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont, United Press International reports.

“I mean, when I voted for the war, I voted for what I thought was best for the country. Did I expect Howard Dean to go off to the left and say, ‘I’m against everything’? Sure,” Mr. Kerry said. “Did I expect George Bush to [expletive] it up as badly as he did? I don’t think anybody did.”

With Mr. Dean as the Democratic front-runner, Mr. Kerry has spent a lot of time explaining his vote for the war in Iraq.

“I voted to protect the security of our country, based on the notion that the only way to get inspectors back in was to have a legitimate threat of force and the potential of using it,” he told Rolling Stone. “They took that legitimacy and bastardized it. If I were president, we would not be in Iraq today — we would not be at war. This president abused the process.”

Dean’s solution

Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean said yesterday that he will let a judge determine which of the sealed records from his years as Vermont’s governor should be made public.

Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” Mr. Dean said he has decided to use a lawsuit by the government watchdog group Judicial Watch, suing to open the records, as a mechanism to determine which records should be released and which should be kept sealed.

“What we think the best thing to do is to let the judge go through every single document and decide for himself what ought to be revealed and what not to be revealed,” Mr. Dean said.

At issue are 145 boxes of documents that Mr. Dean gave to the state archives when he left office in January with the provision that they not be opened for six years. Mr. Dean, who served 11 years as governor, gave the state 190 boxes without restrictions on use.

“Clearly, our campaign can’t review the documents, because nobody would believe that we weren’t doing something political,” he said. “So let an independent third party — and I think the Judicial Watch suit gives us the opportunity to let a judge go through every single document.”

Patton’s farewell

Kentucky Gov. Paul E. Patton, a Democrat who tumbled from political prominence to political pariah after acknowledging an extramarital affair, will end his second term today, and a Republican will take the office for the first time in 32 years.

Mr. Patton, barred by term limits from running for re-election, had aspired to run for the U.S. Senate before news of the two-year affair derailed his career and led him into retirement.

He said the fallout from the scandal probably at least partly accounted for Democrat Ben Chandler’s loss last month to Republican Rep. Ernie Fletcher, now governor-elect, though Mr. Patton also said the lengthy domination of state government by Democrats had contributed to their fall, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Patton said he was planning a leisurely final day at the Capitol — no mass pardons or appointments — before he returns to his hometown of Pikeville in the mountains of eastern Kentucky.

Showman Sharpton

Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton portrayed lawyer Johnnie Cochran, a sushi salesman and one of the three Wise Men searching for Jesus during his host stint on “Saturday Night Live.”

He was also confronted with a track-suit-wearing vision of his former self, even singing a few verses of “I Feel Good” during a respectable James Brown imitation, the Associated Press reports.

The presidential candidate’s appearance wasn’t seen everywhere. All four NBC affiliates in Iowa refused to air “Saturday Night Live” for fear it would activate federal equal-time provisions and compel them to offer time to the other eight Democrats running for president.

“For me, it’s a wonderful opportunity,” Mr. Sharpton said in his opening monologue. “Maybe tonight, people can finally get to know the real Al Sharpton. President Al Sharpton.”

Comic Tracy Morgan appeared next to him dressed as the “old” Mr. Sharpton, with wilder hair, track suit and medallion.

“I never looked that bad,” Mr. Sharpton said. Then, remembering his days spent on the road with Mr. Brown, he sang and even attempted some of the Godfather of Soul’s footwork.

Favorite son

The Florida Democratic Party paid tribute Saturday to its most popular figure — Bob Graham — and the senator took the opportunity to criticize President Bush.

Mr. Graham lashed out at Mr. Bush for the budget deficit, his environmental policies and the war on Iraq, the Associated Press reports. His speech at the party convention was interrupted by a thunderous chant of “No more Bush.”

Mr. Graham, who is retiring next year after three terms in the Senate, dropped his presidential campaign two months ago.

“During my presidential campaign, I was frequently accused of being too passionate,” Mr. Graham said. “I am passionate about the fact that today we are continuing a war in the wrong place against the wrong enemy for the wrong reason. I am passionate about the fact that this president is clueless — clueless — as to our economic future. I am passionate about the fact that even in this feeble recovery, we still are not creating the jobs that the American people need.”

Mr. Graham’s speech was preceded by a tribute video featuring his wife, Adele, singer Jimmy Buffett and former Gov. Reubin Askew. When Mr. Graham finished, state party Chairman Scott Maddox gave him the first annual Bob Graham Award for Excellence in Public Service.

Mr. Maddox said later that he is promoting Mr. Graham as a vice presidential candidate “every chance I get.”

“Bob Graham would be an outstanding presidential choice,” Mr. Maddox said. “He is a lock on 27 electoral votes in my opinion. If Graham is on the ticket, then I think Florida will absolutely vote for the ticket.”

Houston results

Businessman Bill White has defeated City Council member Orlando Sanchez in the race for Houston mayor.

In unofficial returns from Saturday’s runoff, Mr. White received 62 percent of the vote in the race to replace Mayor Lee Brown, who was prohibited from seeking re-election by term limits, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Mr. White will take office Jan. 2.

Although Houston city elections are nonpartisan, there were strong overtones of partisan politics in the race, United Press International reports.

Mr. White, a former deputy energy secretary during the Clinton administration, was once chairman of the Texas Democratic Party. Mr. Sanchez, a Republican, tried to cast Mr. White as a liberal Democrat who would raise taxes.

Mr. Sanchez received support from Republican groups locally and nationally who raised funds to remind voters of Mr. White’s background in Democratic politics, the Chronicle reported.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]

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