- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 7, 2003

Mislabeling Edwards
"Time magazine and [Fox News Channel] both described Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards as a 'moderate,' though he earned the same liberal vote rating as Senators Barbara Boxer, Chris Dodd, Barbara Mikulski, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton," Brent Baker writes at the Media Research Center's Web site (www.mediaresearch.org).
"On the January 2 'Special Report with Brit Hume,' but anchored by Tony Snow, FNC reporter James Rosen contended: 'He spent $3 million of his own money to win his Senate seat four years ago. Since then, the boyishly handsome freshman has won notice with his sponsorship of patients' rights and prescription-drug bills. A moderate, Edwards also bucked his state's textile lobby and voted for permanent trade relations with China.'
"Time online made Edwards its 'Person of the Week' on Thursday, the MRC's Rich Noyes noticed. Time's Jessica Reaves maintained: 'Edwards, 49, worked as a trial lawyer before entering politics, and when he moved to Washington in 1998, he left behind a very successful and wildly lucrative practice in his native North Carolina. He has since built a reputation for moderate political views and a self-described commitment to defending "regular people," a theme he sounded repeatedly in his formal announcement Thursday morning.'"
Calling Mr. Edwards a "moderate," is ludicrous," Mr. Baker said.
"His career rating from the American Conservative Union through 2001: a measly 12 percent. On the left, the Americans for Democratic Action approved of his votes in 2001 an astounding 95 percent of the time."
That was the same rating as the aforementioned liberal senators, Mr. Baker said. "In fact, Clinton and Edwards voted identically on the 20 votes evaluated in 2001 by the ADA. Their only vote with which the ADA disapproved: Against a commission to recommend further military base closings, an issue of jobs in both their states," Mr. Baker said.
A 'top target'
Republicans are "salivating" over the prospect of a potential pickup in North Carolina now that Democratic Sen. John Edwards is actively exploring a bid for the presidency, Roll Call reports.
"Up for re-election to a second term in 2004, Edwards has made no decision on whether he will attempt to run for both offices, which he is allowed to do under North Carolina law," reporter Chris Cillizza writes.
"Asked when Edwards would reach a decision on the matter, a spokesman said only, 'in the future.'
"Republicans were much clearer about their hopes for Edwards' political future.
"Run, John, run,' urged North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Bill Cobey. 'The more [Mr. Edwards] runs for president, the harder it is for him to get elected to the Senate down here.'
"National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Dan Allen said that 'Edwards' ambition has always been more for running for president than representing the people of North Carolina.'
"Regardless of what Edwards chooses, his seat will be a 'top target' for Republicans, Allen added."
A hard-earned lesson
"Most Americans celebrated as the ball fell in Times Square New Year's Eve. But for auto dealers this new year is especially sweet. January 1 marked the expiration of the federal luxury tax on cars, the last vestige of the destructive luxury tax package in the infamous 1990 budget deal," the Wall Street Journal says.
"Starting in 1991, Washington levied a 10 percent tax on cars valued above $30,000, boats above $100,000, jewelry and furs above $10,000 and private planes above $250,000. Democrats like Ted Kennedy and then-Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell crowed publicly about how the rich would finally be paying their fair share and privately about convincing President George H.W. Bush to renounce his 'no new taxes' pledge," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"But it wasn't long before even those die-hard class warriors noticed they'd badly missed their mark. The taxes took in $97 million less in their first year than had been projected for the simple reason that people were buying a lot fewer of these goods. Boat building, a key industry in Messrs. Mitchell and Kennedy's home states of Maine and Massachusetts, was particularly hard hit. Yacht retailers reported a 77 percent drop in sales that year, while boat builders estimated layoffs at 25,000. With bipartisan support, all but the car tax was repealed in 1993, and in 1996 Congress voted to phase that out too. January 1 was disappearance day.
"The end of any federal tax is such a rarity that it's well worth celebrating. And the luxury-tax lesson of economic damage is worth keeping in mind as politicians begin to wail that President Bush's new tax proposals aren't punitive enough on the rich."
First man
Michigan's first man, Dan Mulhern, says it's difficult but important for men to take on the kinds of support roles that wives of high-profile men have filled for years.
"We hear the phrase that behind every great woman is a great man, and I truly hope that is the case," Gov. Jennifer Granholm's husband said Saturday at a First Man's Forum, part of his wife's inaugural celebration.
Mr. Mulhern moderated a discussion by a 14-member panel. About 300 people attended the event at the Detroit Science Center, the Associated Press reports.
Mr. Mulhern is a Harvard Law School graduate who now works full-time as a political spouse and parent to the couple's three children.
"It's not always easy but an incredible door has been opened for us to take part in things our fathers never got to do," the Detroit News quoted him as saying.
Robert Haisha, husband of Southfield City Council President Nida Samona, said the role reversal is a welcome change.
"My father never changed a diaper," Mr. Haisha said. "In my household, I get the kids up and dressed in the morning. And I think I have the best job because I get to be with our kids. I'm very proud to be Mr. Samona."
Ventura's bash
Celebrities and politicians were among the 500 persons who attended Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura's farewell bash at a downtown hotel in Minneapolis.
Several wore feather boas to honor the former professional wrestler before he exits public office this week. The Saturday-night party was an invitation-only event and reporters, or "media jackals" as Mr. Ventura calls them, weren't allowed inside.
Ventura spokesman John Woedele would not divulge the names of any celebrities in attendance, but several were seen walking in, including former basketball star Charles Barkley and "Young and the Restless" actor Eric Braeden, the Associated Press reports.
A number of Ventura administration mainstays, including interim U.S. Sen. Dean Barkley, Independence Party Chairman Jack Uldrich, and Steve Bosacker, the governor's chief of staff, also attended.
Other Minnesota notables included pianist Lorie Line and businessman Harvey Mackay, as well as Mr. Ventura's son, Tyrel.
The party, which first lady Terry Ventura organized, doubled as a fund-raiser for a scholarship fund at Minneapolis Roosevelt High School and the Jade Foundation.
Dunn to stay
United Press International says it was incorrect in reporting that Rep. Jennifer Dunn was set to leave Congress. The report was picked up in this space last week.
The wire service now says: "A Capital Comment item Thursday that Rep. Jennifer Dunn, Washington Republican, plans to leave Congress to take a job with a trade association is incorrect, her spokesman said Thursday. It was widely reported she was considered for the position as head of the Air Transport Association, but there has been no job offer or plans for her to leave office, the spokesman said."

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