- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 13, 2003

Six abandon Moran
Six Democratic congressman yesterday urged Rep. James P. Moran not to run for re-election.
The Virginia Democrat is in trouble for comments suggesting that Jewish leaders are pushing the nation toward war with Iraq.
Led by Rep. Henry A. Waxman of California, the members of Congress wrote House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, condemning Mr. Moran's comments, the Associated Press reports.
The letter says Mr. Moran's remarks crossed the threshold for acceptable conduct and violate the basic standards of the party.
They conclude by saying that if Mr. Moran decides to run again next year, they won't support his candidacy.
Mr. Waxman was joined by Reps. Martin Frost of Texas, Tom Lantos of California, Sander M. Levin of Michigan, Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland and Nita M. Lowey of New York.
From the Republicans' side, Rep. Eric I. Cantor of Virginia, the chief deputy whip in the House, called on Democratic leaders to kick Mr. Moran off of the Budget and Appropriations committees.
"The Democratic leadership must re-examine Rep. Moran's influence in his caucus and reassign him to positions and committees that limit the damage his beliefs can do. Their refusal to do this can only be seen as an endorsement of his views," said Mr. Cantor, who is also Jewish.
'Heroic ambivalence'
"The American commentariat is gravely concerned," David Brooks writes in the London Times.
"Over the past week, George W. Bush has shown a disturbing tendency not to waffle when it comes to Iraq. Naturally, questions are being raised about President Bush's leadership skills," Mr. Brooks said.
"Time magazine is disturbed by 'the blinding glare of his certainty,' as one headline referred to Bush's unwillingness to go wobbly on Iraq. 'A questionable certainty' was the headline in the Los Angeles Times. 'Moral certainty … is a luxury of a closed mind,' observed William Lesher, a Lutheran theology professor, who presumably preserves a subtle open-mindedness about the Holocaust and other such matters.
"The liberal columnist E.J. Dionne [said] that he is uncomfortable with the pro- and anti-war camps. He praised the doubters and raised his colors on behalf of 'heroic ambivalence.' The New York Times, venturing deep into the territory of self-parody, ran a full-page editorial calling for 'still more discussion' on whether to go to war."
Not worth mentioning
"A CBS News/New York Times poll released on Monday night discovered that even 'if the U.N. Security Council votes against the U.S.-sponsored resolution to take military action against Iraq,' 55 percent of the public would still approve of the U.S. taking that military action. But you wouldn't know that from watching CBS News. Neither the 'CBS Evening News' on Monday or Tuesday night, nor 'The Early Show' on Tuesday, cited that poll finding," the Media Research Center's Brent Baker writes at www.mediaresearch.org. "CBS competitors CNN and CNBC, however, both highlighted that particular finding and the New York Times put it into the subhead of a front-page story."
Early leader
"A new poll from … 7News and Suffolk University shows Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry with a 15-point lead over his closest rival in the [New Hampshire] Democratic presidential primary," United Press International reports in its Capital Comment column.
"The survey of 496 voters likely to participate in the primary including a heavy bloc of self-identified independents has Kerry leading among men, women, Democrats and independents," the wire service said.
"In second place among all voters is Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the party's 2000 vice presidential nominee, at 17 percent among all voters. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who has a surprisingly low 63 percent name identification given the proximity of his state to New Hampshire, is in third place at 10 percent.
"If the survey is correctly measuring the trend, then it likely set off alarm bells inside the campaign of former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, Missouri Democrat, who finished fourth with 6 percent of the vote. The low number itself is not cause for concern but, when measured against Gephardt's 90 percent name-identification measure among the participants, it could spell trouble for the veteran candidate."
Kill that primary
Republican-led legislatures in five states believe they've found a way to ease the budget crunch eliminate the costly 2004 presidential primaries.
President Bush is unlikely to face any serious opposition in the Republican run-up to the election, so any budget-driven change to the primary would affect the growing field of Democratic candidates, the Associated Press reports. State Democratic lawmakers are crying foul, arguing that their Republican colleagues' motivation is political.
In Arizona, Kansas, Missouri and Utah, Republican lawmakers have taken the initial steps either to replace the primary with a caucus that would involve party delegates or to scrap the primary completely.
In three of the four states Arizona, Kansas and Missouri Democratic governors would likely veto a Republican-crafted bill to change the election system.
A measure in Utah, with Republican Gov. Michael O. Leavitt, has a better chance of becoming law.
Colorado was first out of the chute. Elimination of that state's presidential primary was among a dozen budget-cutting bills aimed at slashing $800 million from the state's 2002-03 budget.
Oklahoma scandal
The longest-serving member of the Oklahoma Legislature resigned Tuesday amid a growing scandal over campaign violations during a 1998 congressional race.
"I feel it is time to leave the Senate and concentrate on other pending matters," state Sen. Gene Stipe said in a statement.
The 76-year-old Democrat from McAlester in southeastern Oklahoma is at the center of a federal investigation into Walt Roberts' unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. House.
Mr. Roberts, Mr. Stipe's political protege, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate federal election laws and felony conspiracy to obstruct a Federal Election Commission investigation. He awaits sentencing.
Residency challenge
A lawsuit filed Tuesday claims the running mate of the leading Republican candidate for governor of Kentucky should be kept off the primary ballot because he doesn't meet residency requirements.
Lieutenant governor candidate Hunter Bates is a native Kentuckian, but the lawsuit, filed by a student at the University of Louisville, contends his residence was in Alexandria, Va., as recently as 1997, the Associated Press reports.
The state Constitution requires lieutenant governor candidates to live in Kentucky for the six years preceding the election. W. Curtis Shain's lawsuit contends that makes Mr. Bates ineligible for the May 20 primary.
If the courts agree, Rep. Ernie Fletcher would have to choose another running mate. He leads Steve Nunn and Rebecca Jackson in the race for the Republican nomination to replace term-limited Gov. Paul E. Patton.
Mr. Bates is a protege and former staff employee of Sen. Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican.
Connecticut scandal
Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland said Tuesday he knew nothing about a bribes-for-contracts scheme to which a former top aide has pleaded guilty, but vowed to cooperate fully with investigators.
Lawrence Alibozek, Mr. Rowland's deputy chief of staff from 1997 to 1999, pleaded guilty Monday to federal charges of accepting payoffs from people doing business with the state.
Mr. Rowland asked state auditors Tuesday to review all contracts between the state and a New Britain contractor, the Tomasso Group, and its subsidiaries.
"I want to make sure everything is done aboveboard, by the book," the Republican governor said in an interview.

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