- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 22, 2003

Hollings’ deal

Sen. Ernest F. Hollings, South Carolina Democrat, says he will not run for re-election next year if his party can find a strong candidate to replace him.

“I’d love to have a candidate that would run, a Democrat candidate,” Mr. Hollings told the State newspaper of Columbia. “I’ve been trying my best for 10 years to find one that will run.”

The 81-year-old Mr. Hollings, who was first elected to the Senate in 1966, has given state Democratic Party Chairman Joe Erwin permission to shop for another Senate candidate, reporter Lauren Markoe says.

“I told him, ‘You go ahead and look,’” Mr. Hollings said Tuesday outside the Senate chamber.

Asked whether his talk with Mr. Erwin and his hope that another Democrat would jump into the race mean that he would prefer not to begin a campaign for a seventh full term, Mr. Hollings referred to Mr. Erwin’s search.

“It would depend on who he would find,” the senator said.

Moseley-Braun’s plea

Democratic presidential candidate Carol Moseley-Braun says she might have to “fold my tent” unless she can raise more money.

“We need your help, we need your checks, we need your networking, we need your support,” the former senator from Illinois told delegates of EMILY’s List in Washington on Tuesday.

“Without it, it really will be a lonely effort to try to carry the burden of empowering women totally on the backs of a little campaign,” she said.

During the first quarter of this year, Mrs. Moseley-Braun reported collecting $72,000, putting her last among the nine Democratic presidential hopefuls.

In her speech to the members of EMILY’s List, which was formed to raise money for female candidates who favor abortion rights, Mrs. Moseley-Braun suggested that her campaign had implications for other female politicians with presidential aspirations, Agence France-Presse reports.

“I can make a showing and help advance the cause of women in higher office, paving the way for a woman president. Or I can fold my tent, go away and, of course, then it will be my fault.”

Blagojevich’s vow

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and a key Illinois lawmaker said yesterday they are undeterred by the governor’s vow to block any budget that would expand gambling in Illinois.

Mr. Daley said he wants the General Assembly to grant a special license that would allow Chicago to own a land-based casino and contract with a company to manage it.

The mayor said he was not disappointed by Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich’s announcement and will continue to make his case for a casino, the Associated Press reports.

“I’ll just actively seek it,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”

State Rep. Lou Lang said he still will push his proposals to allow slot machines at horse-racing tracks and let riverboat casinos add space, arguing those measures do not amount to an expansion.

Mr. Blagojevich, a first-term Democrat, said Tuesday that he opposes bills to expand gambling after suggesting earlier that more gambling revenue might help the state close a $5 billion budget gap.

“Gambling cannot be part of the solution until Springfield reforms its habits and learns to keep spending in check,” he said. “I will not sign this budget if it relies on any expansion of gambling.”

Illinois probe

Federal prosecutors subpoenaed records from the office of the Illinois Senate president for an investigation into whether campaign work was done on state time, Democrats in the state Senate said yesterday.

Cindy Davidsmeyer, a spokeswoman for Senate President Emil Jones Jr., said the U.S. Attorney’s Office subpoenaed records relating to campaigns from Senate Democrats but declined to elaborate.

“We really can’t say anything more than that we’re cooperating fully,” the spokeswoman said. “To say more than that might jeopardize the U.S. attorney’s investigation.”

Sen. Donne Trotter said Mr. Jones told fellow Democratic senators in a closed-door meeting Tuesday that federal investigators wanted to review records about state employees and campaign work.

He said Mr. Jones portrayed the subpoena as a routine outgrowth of investigations into other cases of mixing state work and campaigning.

Proud of fraud

Former New York Times reporter Jayson Blair laughed about his journalistic deceptions and “idiot” editors, according to an interview published yesterday, his first since resigning under fire.

Mr. Blair, whose falsifications shook one of America’s most prestigious newspapers, told the weekly New York Observer, “I was drunk on assignment,” and he described himself as a “former total cokehead.”

“Drugs and alcohol were definitely part of my self-medication,” Mr. Blair said.

He also seemed to take pride in his fraud, Reuters reports.

“From my perspective — and I know I shouldn’t be saying this — I fooled some of the most brilliant people in journalism,” he said.

The Observer also reported that Mr. Blair has prepared a five-page book proposal for a memoir that will focus largely on how his race and substance abuse played a significant role in his downfall.

David Vigliano, Mr. Blair’s literary agent, said Mr. Blair’s proposal first would be shopped as a film treatment, and then offered as a book.

Spitzer looks ahead

New York state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is weighing a run for governor, his spokesman said Tuesday.

The Democrat told the Middletown Times Herald-Record he was thinking about vying for the post now held by Gov. George E. Pataki, a Republican in his third term.

“Obviously, I am thinking about running for governor,” Mr. Spitzer was quoted in saying in the upstate newspaper. “But I’ve still got a job to do.”

Mr. Spitzer is considering a bid in the 2006 election, his spokesman confirmed to Reuters. He took office in 1999.

Looking like a candidate, Mr. Spitzer has started a “Spitzer 2006” Web site, complete with his positions on various issues and ways for the public to contribute support.

POW protection

The dramatic rescue of Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch electrified Americans during the war in Iraq. Now, Pfc. Lynch’s congresswoman is introducing legislation to protect U.S. prisoners of war from abuse.

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, the West Virginia Republican whose district includes Pfc. Lynch’s hometown of Palestine, is sponsoring the POW Protection Act of 2003.

Mrs. Capito and co-sponsor Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr., Virginia Republican, will announce the bill at 9:30 this morning at the Rayburn House Office Building.

The aim of the bill is “to halt the abhorrent practice, recurrent in war after war, of the torture of American POWs,” the sponsors say.

Back to work

Former President Gerald Ford has returned to his normal activities after a brief hospitalization for dizziness, his spokeswoman said.

Mr. Ford, hospitalized Friday and released Saturday, was back at his desk in Rancho Mirage, Calif., on Sunday, Penny Circle said.

“He’s doing very well. He’s back to his schedule,” the spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Mr. Ford, 89, became dizzy while golfing in hot weather Friday. He was examined at Eisenhower Medical Center and sent home, but then returned to the hospital and was admitted when the dizziness persisted.

The former president will return to his Colorado home in June, the spokeswoman said.

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

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