- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 29, 2003

Dowd’s ‘correction’

“In her Wednesday column [in the New York Times], Maureen Dowd perhaps comes as close as she ever will to admitting she dishonestly quoted President Bush in her May 14 column on al Qaeda and the terror threat,” Clay Waters writes at www.TimesWatch.org.

“In [yesterdays] column on what Dowd considers White House cynicism regarding the war on terror, Dowd finally provides what Bush actually said on May 5: ‘“Al Qaeda is on the run,” the president said in Little Rock, Ark. “That group of terrorists who attacked our country is slowly, but surely, being decimated. Right now, about half of all the top al Qaeda operatives are either jailed or dead. In either case, they’re not a problem anymore.” But Al Qaeda, it became horrifyingly clear a week later in Riyadh, was not decimated; it was sufficiently undecimated to murder 34 people, injure 200 and scare the daylights out of Americans everywhere.’

“But Dowd’s May 14 column elided this vital part of the above Bush quote: ‘Right now, about half of all the top Al Qaeda operatives are either jailed or dead. In either case …’ By doing so, Dowd made Bush appear to say Al Qaeda was no longer a problem, when he clearly said that only those members that were ‘jailed or dead’ were no longer a problem. …

“The Dowd deletion, broken on this page by Times Watch reader Robert Cox, is gaining media attention,” Mr. Waters said. “Brendan Nyhan of SpinSanity notes Dowd’s ‘distorted quotation has since been repeated by MSNBC “Buchanan and Press” co-host Bill Press, CNN’s Miles O’Brien and others, including numerous foreign press outlets.’

“Most ominous, New York Daily News columnist Zev Chafets [yesterday] morning notes ‘New York Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis says the paper is “looking into” the column.’”

Davis strikes back

California Gov. Gray Davis’ allies are starting a campaign to thwart Republican-led efforts to recall him — the first public sign that the Democratic governor could be taking the drive seriously after months of playing it down.

The Taxpayers Against the Recall movement, scheduled to be announced yesterday outside a Sacramento fire station, will be run by longtime senior Davis adviser Steve Smith, the Associated Press reports.

Political consultants have viewed the recall effort more seriously since the involvement earlier this month of Republican U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, who donated $445,000 to the effort and formed a committee to raise money to replace Mr. Davis.

The involvement of Mr. Smith, a top adviser during Mr. Davis’ gubernatorial campaigns and former political director of the California Democratic Party, suggests Mr. Davis is taking the recall seriously, political commentators say.

Mr. Davis, who can not seek re-election because of term limits, has the lowest approval rating of any California governor in 55 years.

He was re-elected last year over underfunded Republican opponent Bill Simon. His term ends in 2007.

Recall backers began collecting signatures two months ago and must collect 897,158 by Sept. 2 to get the recall on the ballot. As of Tuesday, the secretary of state reported receiving 18,590 signatures.

Hillary’s ghosts

“In her new book, ‘Living History,’ Hillary Rodham Clinton acknowledges — in opening pages — three women for their assistance and contribution to the project,” Matt Drudge reports at his Web site (www.drudgereport.com).

“Clinton, who is scheduled to receive an $8 million advance for the book, thanks author Maryanne Vollers, former Clinton speechwriter Lissa Muscatine and writer Ruby Shamir, sources reveal.

“Clinton raised eyebrows in 1996 when she failed to acknowledge a single person in her bestseller, ‘It Takes a Village.’ Not even ghostwriter Barbara Feinman [who was paid $120,000] was mentioned. Clinton claimed she wrote the book entirely on her own. The omission created bad publicity, and according to press reports, it also prompted Feinman to strike back by telling Bob Woodward about Clinton’s ‘seances’ with Eleanor Roosevelt,” Mr. Drudge said.

“‘Living History’ is being held in strict embargo by publisher Simon and Schuster for a June 9 release.”

Blumenthal’s ghost

Hillary Rodham Clinton is the real voice behind Sidney Blumenthal’s book “The Clinton Wars,” Dick Morris charges.

Mrs. Clinton’s own book is due out next month.

“The platitudes that are likely to festoon the former first lady/presidential wannabee’s book are not the real Hillary: Sidney’s book is her true voice,” Mr. Morris writes in the Hill newspaper.

“In a world in which ghostwriters assist celebrity authors in their memoirs, this book is an odd role reversal. Here, Hillary is the ghost putting her prejudices, animosities, biases, resentments, fulminations, and paranoid mutterings in Sidney’s mouth,” said Mr. Morris, who, like Mr. Blumenthal, served as a political adviser in the Clinton White House.

“Anything that needs doing, Blumenthal does in this book, like he did in the White House. This 800-page application for a job in a Hillary White House shows his willingness to buy any line she hands out and treats it as gospel.”

Mr. Morris added: “Blumenthal is incredibly bright. He knew that he was going to leave journalism after the [1996] election and work for the Clintons. Every week or two, he and I would meet and discuss the latest spin to put on events and the campaign debate. He was in regular contact with me and with the Clintons, writing speeches, throwing out ideas, formulating slogans throughout the 1996 campaign. He would even ask Bob Dole key questions and report back his answers. Since I worked with him first hand, it’s hard to believe that he suddenly turned dumb.”

Defense of marriage

Texas has joined more than 30 states in refusing to recognize homosexual unions.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law Tuesday, saying, “Like the vast majority of Texans, I believe that marriage represents a sacred union between a man and a woman.”

The Texas Family Code defines marriage as being solely between a man and a woman, but the latest legislation prevents any Texas state agency from extending the legal protections, rights and benefits afforded heterosexual couples to homosexual couples who have been through a civil ceremony in any other state.

Vermont is the only state to establish civil unions between homosexuals, although some observers think the highest court in Massachusetts will go even further and soon mandate the recognition of homosexual “marriages” in that state.

Dean’s letter

Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean wants the Federal Communications Commission to delay next week’s vote to change rules governing ownership of newspapers, and TV and radio stations.

Mr. Dean, former Vermont governor, on Tuesday sent a letter to FCC Chairman Michael Powell criticizing his move to allow companies to own more TV stations in local markets and eliminate many restrictions on one company owning combinations of newspapers, and TV and radio stations in the same city, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Dean said the proposal would severely limit the diversity of viewpoints, news sources and programming that is critical in a democratic society. He asked Mr. Powell to delay Monday’s vote, testify before Congress about his plan and consider additional public input.

Shula backs Graham

Former Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula is helping Florida Democrat Bob Graham in the senator’s bid for the White House.

Mr. Shula and his wife, Mary Anne, will hold a fund-raiser for Mr. Graham at their Miami Beach home today, one of several private fund-raising events Mr. Graham has planned this week in his home state, the Associated Press reports.

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

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