- The Washington Times - Monday, July 28, 2003

Lieberman’s critique

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Lieberman yesterday assailed his rivals for opposing the war in Iraq, saying “they don’t know a just war when they see it.”

Critical of his competition for the party nomination but reluctant to name names, the Connecticut senator defended his strong support for U.S.-led military action, arguing that 12 years of Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime warranted the military campaign to oust him, the Associated Press reports.

“Congress did the right thing in authorizing the war,” Mr. Lieberman said in a Capitol Hill speech.

He expressed concern about his rivals’ “disquieting zeal” in seizing on questions of shaky U.S. intelligence that President Bush used to justify the war and the inability of coalition forces to find weapons of mass destruction, particularly those lawmakers who supported the war but “seem to have forgotten why.”

“There’s a danger there will be a misimpression sent about the historic Democratic Party record of being strong on security,” Mr. Lieberman said, “going back to Wilson and Roosevelt and Truman and Kennedy and Clinton.”

Asked whether he was losing the debate within the party about the war, reflected in the recent rise in popularity of antiwar candidate Howard Dean, Mr. Lieberman said: “The battle has just begun. It won’t officially begin until next year when the primaries begin. That’s why I’m speaking out now.”

Asked repeatedly to cite his rivals by name, Mr. Lieberman finally mentioned Mr. Dean, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri. Mr. Dean has remained a staunch opponent of the war. Mr. Kerry and Mr. Gephardt supported the congressional resolution authorizing force but have pointedly questioned Mr. Bush’s statements and policies since.

Ace in the hole

“While some observers focus on Rep. Richard Gephardt’s surprisingly weak fund-raising numbers and even go so far as to wonder whether the former Democratic leader will be long for the presidential race, Gephardt has gone to his ace in the hole to solidify his position in the top tier of candidates. He’s returned to the issue of trade,” political analyst Stuart Rothenberg writes in Roll Call.

“It’s a smart move. The question, however, is whether it will produce the desired results,” Mr. Rothenberg says.

“By attacking Sen. John Kerry and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean for supporting the North American Free Trade Agreement, Gephardt reinforces the idea that Kerry and Dean are coming from the same ideological corner and competing for the same voters.

“Gephardt’s efforts to lump the two New Englanders together, if successful, could ultimately encourage Kerry and Dean to turn their guns on each other. If that happens, it can only help Gephardt.”

Union endorsement

Democratic presidential candidate Richard A. Gephardt is picking up another union endorsement — his seventh.

The International Alliance of Stage Employees, Theatrical Stage Employees and Moving Picture Technicians, or IATSE, will officially announce its support for the Missouri congressman today in New York, the Associated Press reports. The union has more than 100,000 members in the United States and Canada.

Union President Thomas C. Short said yesterday that Mr. Gephardt “has demonstrated through words and most importantly his actions, that he supports working families. He has fought to protect the rights of unions to organize, bargain and represent their members.”

The AFL-CIO’s executive council will meet next week in Chicago to gauge the political temperature of its 65 affiliate unions and whether a single labor endorsement is even possible. An endorsement likely won’t happen unless a candidate can receive the backing of unions representing two-thirds of all rank-and-file members.

Looking ahead

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, already is looking ahead to her 2006 re-election bid.

Friends of Hillary launched its Web site yesterday, complete with a Spanish version, voter-registration forms and interviews with the senator and her mother, Dorothy Rodham, the Associated Press reports.

“This isn’t the official launch of her re-election, but obviously we’re gearing toward that,” said Patti Solis Doyle, executive director of HILLPAC, Mrs. Clinton’s political action committee.

Mrs. Clinton is also trying to harness the success of her memoir, “Living History,” to raise money for her future in politics.

Visitors to www.friendsofhillary.com are offered a signed copy of the book if they make a contribution of $150; for a $1,000 donation, a supporter will receive a limited edition, specially bound volume of “Living History” with a personal inscription from the former first lady.

The Web site also asks supporters to join “Hill’s Angels” to help fight off personal attacks from her political opponents.

Edwards’ plan

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards wants to require parents to buy health insurance for their children.

The North Carolina senator proposes $25 billion annually in tax credits to help parents pay the cost of enrolling their children in private or government plans.

Mr. Edwards’ plan is an alternative to costlier and more widespread proposals to cover the uninsured being offered by several of his rivals for the Democratic nomination, the Associated Press reports. The senator said the nation’s 12 million uninsured children should be the first priority in reforming the health care system.

The amount of the tax credit for children’s insurance would vary depending on income and family size. The credit would be available to families with fewer than four members earning up to $75,000 and families of four or more earning up to $100,000.

Mr. Edwards said a typical family of four with income of about $60,000 that is already insuring children through a parent’s job would get a tax break worth roughly $300.

Parents would have to provide proof of their children’s insurance when filing tax returns.

Dean’s fund raising

Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean asked his supporters to match the fund-raising prowess of Vice President Dick Cheney, and they came through with more than $400,000 over the Internet in a single weekend, the Associated Press reports.

The effort began Friday, when the former Vermont governor’s campaign Web site challenged donors to match the $250,000 that Mr. Cheney was slated to raise at a single luncheon in South Carolina. Mr. Dean’s campaign set a deadline of midnight yesterday to reach the goal.

More than 7,700 donors helped Mr. Dean surpass his goal by Sunday, and contributions continued to come in throughout the day yesterday.

“Let’s show Dick Cheney that the grassroots have the power to take on the special interests that have bought the Bush administration,” the campaign urged in an e-mail. “Let’s show George W. Bush and Dick Cheney that we will not let our government be sold to the highest bidder.”

Mr. Dean’s Web site used a baseball-bat icon to track the amount of money donated online, showing updated totals every half hour.

Kucinich’s proposal

Democratic presidential candidate Dennis J. Kucinich has called for $60 billion to provide universal preschool and proposes paying for the plan with a 15 percent cut in Pentagon spending.

“The Pentagon budget has just gone through the roof,” the Ohio congressman said at a forum in Ottumwa, Iowa, on Sunday. “We need a critical analysis and a real effort to claim back money from the Pentagon.”

The Democratic presidential candidate from Ohio didn’t specify all the spending cuts he would push, but did single out missile defense, the Associated Press reports.

“I’m not talking about trimming around the edges here,” he said.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.


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