- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 4, 2003

Kerry moves left“Over the past few weeks, we’ve been noticing an ever-so-slight shift by Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, to the left,” Hotline’s Chuck Todd writes at www.nationaljournal.com.”At first, it appeared anecdotal: a waffling on the war, a Roe vs. Wade litmus test for judges, greater invoking of Ted Kennedy in Iowa, more frequent reminders of the Supreme Court’s role in the 2000 election, and more confronting of Howard Dean,” Mr. Todd wrote.”Then we witnessed Kerry’s performance last week at the Children’s Defense Fund cattle forum, where he dropped references to Jesse Jackson (positively), BCCI (negatively), Ollie North (negatively) and the Contras (yes, THOSE Contras). Finally, we came across this quote from Kerry over the weekend, and it all started to make sense: ‘I’m not running against George Bush yet. I’m running for the nomination of our party.‘“According to a Spartanburg (S.C.) Herald-Journal report, Kerry uttered the quote in response to a South Carolinian who queried the senator about whether his message of ‘affordable’ health care and rolling back Bush’s tax cut was good enough to beat Bush.”Kerry, clearly improvising, revealed what we thought we were starting to notice about the Kerry strategy — run left in the primaries, but leave enough wiggle room to re-center in the general.”Edwards defections“Despite his impressive fund-raising performance, the presidential campaign of Sen. John Edwards, North Carolina Democrat, has suffered a rash of defections to rival candidates and lost key endorsements in recent weeks,” the Hill newspaper reports.”The defections and missed endorsements since late March suggest that despite outward appearances, including netting $7.4 million in the first quarter, all may not be well inside the Edwards campaign,” reporter Sam Dealey writes.”The latest blow came Sunday when Alex Sanders, a prominent South Carolina Democrat and former president of that state’s Trial Lawyers Association, endorsed Sen. John Kerry. A former judge, college president and politician, Sanders ran unsuccessfully for the Senate last year against Republican Lindsey Graham.”That came on top of what the reporter described as “several upheavals” among Mr. Edwards’ campaign team.”On March 24, media consultant Bob Shrum and partners Tad Devine and Tom Donilon left the Edwards campaign for that of Kerry. Although Shrum has worked for Kerry in the past, the departures came just three weeks after the high-powered team signed on.”One week later, on March 30, rural strategists Steve Jarding and David Saunders left the Edwards campaign for that of rival candidate Sen. Bob Graham. Jarding and Saunders ran Edwards’ New American Optimists leadership PAC.”The next day, Edwards’ political director, Katreice Banks, resigned for family reasons. Banks was a deputy finance director for Vice President [Al] Gore’s 2000 bid and a deputy political director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Washington.”California competitivePresident Bush, trounced in California in 2000, would win the country’s most populous state if the next vote were held today, according to a poll released yesterday.A Field poll of 695 registered voters found that 45 percent of Californians would support Mr. Bush, with 40 percent backing the Democratic Party nominee, Reuters reports.In his 2000 victory, Mr. Bush attracted 41.6 percent of the vote in California, compared with 53.4 percent for Vice President Al Gore.Among California’s Democratic voters, the poll completed between April 1 and April 6 found that 22 percent preferred Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut as their party’s nominee, followed by 16 percent for Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.The poll had a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points for the overall sample and 5.8 percentage points for findings on the Democratic candidates.Dream candidateWithin hours of Sen. Peter G. Fitzgerald’s surprise announcement that he will not seek re-election, top Illinois Republicans were courting former two-term Gov. Jim Edgar to become the party’s standard-bearer in 2004.”He’s clearly our dream candidate,” said Bob Kjellander, an Illinois member of the Republican National Committee, who spoke with Mr. Edgar early Tuesday before Mr. Fitzgerald publicly confirmed his decision.Mr. Edgar, whom the Associated Press described as a moderate, has twice rejected party appeals to run for Senate after he retired as a popular incumbent in 1999.”I don’t want anybody to think I am doing this at this point,” Mr. Edgar said yesterday. “What I have done, at the request of party leaders, is said I would not say no and I would listen.”Former state Attorney General Jim Ryan and state Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, who heads the state party, were not ruling out the possibility that they could become candidates, the AP said.Mr. Fitzgerald, who poured millions of his own banking fortune into a narrow 1998 victory against Democratic incumbent Carol Moseley-Braun, announced Tuesday he would not seek a second six-year term.”It’s not lost on me that this state I know so well has become increasingly and overwhelmingly Democratic,” Mr. Fitzgerald said.Kuwait ChrisRep. Christopher Shays, Connecticut Republican, ignored requests from the U.S. military and the State Department by crossing over the Kuwait border into Iraq yesterday and complaining that humanitarian aid isn’t getting to the Iraqi people fast enough.Mr. Shays, the first member of Congress to get into the war-torn country, traveled across the border with a convoy of aid workers from the Connecticut-based charity Save the Children. But other U.S. lawmakers meeting with military leaders in Kuwait were told they could not go, Mr. Shays told the Associated Press in a phone call from Kuwait.Aid organizations are frustrated, he said, because the military, citing security concerns, is limiting their activities to just one community, Umm Qasr, where Mr. Shays spent yesterday.”When I get back I am going to have hearings on how we are engaging” aid organizations, said Mr. Shays, who is vice chairman of the House Government Reform Committee. “Danger is part of their job. They know how to deal with it, and they are ready and willing to do it. I think they need to be engaged a bit more.”Mr. Shays traveled to Kuwait with a congressional delegation and later attended briefings with war commander Gen. Tommy Franks and other Defense officials. He said he was disappointed the U.S. military and the State Department did not want him to go into the battle-scarred country.”I had to use the Save the Children’s network to get in. And [the State Department] led me to believe I was doing something that they didn’t want me to do,” he said. “I just wish other members of Congress had seen what I got to see.”Palestinian terror“When Palestinians whooped it up on September 11, Yasser Arafat had the presence of mind to tamp down on the dancing in the streets,” James Taranto writes in his Best of the Web Today column at www.OpinionJournal.com.”But the Palestinian Authority’s response to the capture of Abu Abbas seems almost calculated to whip up anti-Palestinian hatred on the American street. ‘We demand the United States release Abu Abbas,’ Palestinian Cabinet minister Saeb Erekat tells Reuters of a man who murdered an American. ‘It has no right to imprison him.‘“Erekat cites a 1995 interim agreement pursuant to the Oslo accords, which provided amnesty for pre-1993 crimes committed by Palestine Liberation Organization terrorists. Because Bill Clinton signed the agreement, Erekat argues, America cannot prosecute Abbas. It’s a tendentious argument, since Abbas’ crimes weren’t against Israel, and, as a U.S. official tells Agence France-Presse, the agreement ‘does not apply to the legal status of persons detained in a third country.’ ”

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