Thursday, January 23, 2003

Marching orders
The three U.S. senators seeking the Democratic presidential nomination Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, John Kerry of Massachusetts and John Edwards of North Carolina received a blunt warning Tuesday night at NARAL Pro-Choice America’s celebration of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
“I fully expect pro-choice senators to filibuster any nominee who does not affirm a woman’s constitutional right to choose,” NARAL President Kate Michelman warned the senators, who were in attendance at the dinner in the nation’s capital, along with the three other announced presidential candidates the Rev. Al Sharpton, Missouri Rep. Richard A. Gephardt and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.
Odd definition
Hollywood actor Ed Harris on Tuesday questioned President Bush’s manhood, suggesting that real men are pro-choice on the abortion issue.
Addressing the NARAL Pro-Choice America celebration of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Mr. Harris declared:
“Being a man, I have got to say that we got this guy in the White House who thinks he is a man, who projects himself as a man because he has a certain masculinity. He’s a good old boy, he used to drink, and he knows how to shoot a gun and how to drive a pickup truck. That is not the definition of a man.”
The remarks drew “wild applause,” Marc Morano reports at
Caught in a box
When President Bush gave a speech touting tax breaks for small businesses yesterday, he stood against what appeared to be a backdrop of cardboard boxes stamped “Made in U.S.A.”
But the boxes in the south St. Louis warehouse had actually been painted on a large screen behind the president. The real boxes in the warehouse were stamped “Made in China,” although someone tried to obscure the stamps by plastering over them with blank white labels.
Asked about one of the labels by The Washington Times, Randy Shore, warehouse manager for J.S. Logistics, smiled and said: “I don’t know how it got there.”
He later explained that the labels would be filled in with numbers to identify their location on racks throughout the warehouse. Pressed on why the stickers were placed precisely over the “Made in China” stamps, he added: “That was as good a place as any.”
“Nobody instructed me” to obscure the stamp, he insisted.
But the White House later acknowledged that the stickers were affixed intentionally. Deputy Press Secretary Claire Buchan attributed the move to “an overzealous volunteer.”
“Obviously, it was not appropriate,” she added.
Asked if an overzealous volunteer was responsible for the “Made in U.S.A.” backdrop, she smiled and said: “No.”
Don’t forget Biden
“There are already enough Democrats jockeying for their party’s 2004 presidential nomination to make 1988’s selection of the ‘seven dwarves’ look like a small, tight field. But the current group of eight or nine competing aspirants could get even wilder with the addition of Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware,” Jim Geraghty writes at National Review Online (
“The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Biden, once chairman, now ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is ‘preparing to enter the presidential fray.’ Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed reports that the senator met privately with former President Bill Clinton in New York recently to discuss the possibility of entering the race.
“Of course, Biden told the Associated Press that he’s not going to make or at least announce a decision for a while, because a presidential campaign would change his current relationship with the administration,” Mr. Geraghty said.
“‘I’m no longer the Democrat who works with [Secretary of State Colin L.] Powell, the Democrat who works with this administration. I’m the Democrat who wants Powell’s boss’ job, and I’m not going to do that,’ he said. ‘If that means I can’t be the nominee, so be it.’”
Lehane joins Kerry
Al Gore’s spokesman in the 2000 campaign has been hired to lead the communications team for Sen. John Kerry’s presidential campaign, the Boston Globe reports, citing aides to Mr. Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat.
Chris Lehane, a native of Lawrence, Mass., and longtime resident of Maine, will be senior adviser for communications, and Robert Gibbs, most recently press secretary for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, will be press secretary for the Kerry campaign, the newspaper said.
Mr. Lehane, who is a partner in a private communications company in California, was said to be the subject of much competition among the Democratic contenders.
Mr. Lehane, 35, was been widely criticized by Republicans for holding a $30,000-a-month contract with California Democratic Gov. Gray Davis amid the state’s energy crisis.
“There’s a lot of good people running for president from the Democratic side, but of all of them, John Kerry has shown me that he’s the one that truly has what it takes,” Mr. Lehane said. “He’s taken on President Bush on foreign policy, and in this election, it will be important to have credibility on foreign policy.”
Rumsfeld’s apology
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld apologized to veterans for remarks he made about the military draft that he said had been misconstrued by some as disparaging their service and sacrifice.
Mr. Rumsfeld issued a written apology Tuesday evening just hours after three Democrats in Congress criticized his statement that draftees had added “no value, no advantage” to the U.S. military because they served for such short periods of time.
The letter signed by Sens. Tom Daschle of South Dakota and John Kerry of Massachusetts and Rep. Lane Evans of Illinois argued that Mr. Rumsfeld’s remarks at a Pentagon news conference were offensive to veterans.
Mr. Rumsfeld made his comments Jan. 7 in response to a reporter’s question about an effort by some in Congress to reinstate the draft. Mr. Rumsfeld, 70, who served in the active-duty Navy from 1954 to 1957, said he saw no need for a draft because the all-volunteer system that replaced conscription in the 1970s works better.
“If you think back to when we had the draft, people were brought in, they were paid some fraction of what they could make in the civilian manpower market because they were without choices,” Mr. Rumsfeld said.
“Big categories were exempted people that were in college, people that were teaching, people that were married. It varied from time to time, but there were all kinds of exemptions. And what was left was sucked into the intake, trained for a period of months, and then went out, adding no value, no advantage, really, to the United States armed services over any sustained period of time, because the churning that took place, it took enormous amount of effort in terms of training, and then they were gone.”
For the record
In an item yesterday about Harry Belafonte’s latest racial slur, this column said that no liberal civil rights leader or Democratic official had stepped forward last year to rebuke the left-wing crooner for calling Secretary of State Colin L. Powell a “house slave” of the Bush administration.
For the record, Rep. Charles B. Rangel, New York Democrat, and the Rev. Al Sharpton did in fact defend Mr. Powell at the time.
“Ninety percent of the black community wish that Harry Belafonte would have felt it and not said it,” Mr. Rangel told this newspaper back in November. “Blacks love anybody who is achieving. The fact is that Mr. Belafonte’s [comments] are not the consensus and you don’t get any more partisan than me. People are fond of Colin Powell.”
As for Mr. Sharpton, he declined to criticize Mr. Belafonte in November, but said he thought Mr. Belafonte could have chosen different language “in the assessment of Mr. Powell.” He added: “I respect Colin Powell’s achievements.”

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