- The Washington Times - Monday, November 17, 2003

Limbaugh’s zinger

Talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh did not wait long yesterday — his first day back on the air after five weeks in drug rehabilitation — to zing Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, and ESPN, Mr. Limbaugh’s politically correct former employer.

“Now, I came out, and I’ve been cramming since Thursday,” Mr. Limbaugh said. “What’s gone on here since I’ve been gone? So I see that Ted Kennedy called a bunch of highly respected minorities ‘Neanderthals.’ The fact that Ted Kennedy is still in the Senate and hasn’t been forced to resign means that nothing’s changed.”

Mr. Kennedy said the Senate would “continue to resist any Neanderthal” nominee President Bush might name while filibustering the nominations of, among others, Hispanic lawyer Miguel Estrada and California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown, who is black.

Mr. Limbaugh added: “It’s just a good thing Senator Kennedy didn’t say it on ESPN, or he might have resigned.”

Mr. Limbaugh resigned from ESPN’s football pregame show four weeks into the NFL season after making politically incorrect remarks about black quarterbacks.

Jindal’s defeat

Many analysts attributed Bobby Jindal’s defeat in the Louisiana governor’s race Saturday to the Republican’s failure to respond to a negative ad in the closing days of the campaign. But Fred Barnes, writing yesterday at the Weekly Standard’s Web site (www.weeklystandard.com), had a different explanation.

“Why did Jindal lose after leading his Democratic opponent, Kathleen Blanco, in statewide polls in the weeks before the election? In a word, race,” Mr. Barnes said.

“What occurred was the ‘Wilder effect,’ named after the black Virginia governor elected in 1989. Wilder, a Democrat, polled well, then won narrowly. Many white voters, it turned out, said they intended to vote for a black candidate when they really didn’t. Questioned by pollsters, they were leery of being seen as racially prejudiced.

“Jindal’s advisers worried that he might lose the ‘Bubba vote,’ rural whites unwilling to vote for a black candidate or even a dark-skinned Indian-American. The Jindal camp’s fears were realized. A Republican normally needs two-thirds of the white vote to win in Louisiana to compensate for losing nearly all of the black vote. But Jindal got only 60 percent of whites, according to an analysis by GCR & Associates Inc., a political consulting firm. Its findings were reported in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. …

“Jindal, whose parents moved to Baton Rouge from India shortly before he was born, won 70 percent of the white vote in the New Orleans area. But outside that urban hub in the more rural and poorer parts of the state, only 48 percent of whites voted for Jindal, according to the GCR analysis.”

Dean’s Iowa ad

Former Gov. Howard Dean of Vermont, in a close battle with Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri for the Iowa Democratic presidential caucuses, aired a TV commercial yesterday that takes his rival to task for backing President Bush on the war against Iraq.

In the first ad to mention a Democratic opponent by name, Mr. Dean questions Mr. Gephardt’s work last fall with the Bush administration in drafting the congressional resolution authorizing the president to use force in Iraq, the Associated Press reports.

“October 2002, Dick Gephardt agrees to co-author the Iraq war resolution — giving George Bush the authority to go to war,” the ad says. “A week later, with Gephardt’s support, it passes Congress.”

Amid the words are the photographs of Mr. Gephardt and Mr. Bush in the White House Rose Garden announcing agreement on the details of the resolution.

“Howard Dean has a different view,” the ad says. “I opposed the war in Iraq, and I’m against spending another $87 billion there.”

New Hampshire poll

Howard Dean extended his double-digit lead over rival Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts among likely voters in New Hampshire’s Democratic presidential primary, according to a poll that showed Wesley Clark losing ground.

Mr. Dean, the former Vermont governor, was favored by 39 percent of Democrats and independents planning to vote in the Jan. 27 primary and Mr. Kerry had the backing of 23 percent in the poll by Marist College’s Institute for Public Opinion. The survey was conducted Nov. 11-13, and the results were released yesterday.

The other candidates were in single digits and 14 percent were undecided, the Associated Press reports. Mr. Clark’s support had dropped to 4 percent from 11 percent in September.

All-purpose smear’

“One obligation of editors is to distinguish phony political scandal from the genuine article. On that standard, any number of writers and editors owe Richard Perle an apology,” the Wall Street Journal says.

“The noted defense intellectual voluntarily resigned in March as chairman of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee after his enemies pumped up a few anecdotes into allegations about ‘conflicts of interest.’ The Pentagon’s inspector general has been investigating those charges and last week issued a report absolving Mr. Perle of even the ‘appearance’ of impropriety,” the newspaper said in an editorial.

“The accusations, fanned by Michigan Democrat John Conyers, had received especially prominent coverage in the New Yorker magazine and the New York Times. They boiled down to the all-purpose Washington smear that Mr. Perle has exploited his position for personal financial gain. But Pentagon investigator Donald Horstman concluded in a letter to Mr. Perle that ‘all of your activities with respect to those private entities complied with statutory and regulatory standards.’ There were no ‘quid pro’ offers or attempts to leverage his (unpaid) Pentagon access.

“Mr. Horstman says he also examined that ‘more elusive issue’ and concluded that Mr. Perle’s ‘activities did not create such an appearance’ under the ‘perspective of a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts.’ Mr. Perle’s accusers knew all the facts, so the only conclusion is that they are not ‘reasonable persons,’ which will not come as news to most of our readers.”

A big payday

Advertisers paid top dollar to be a part of conservative guru Rush Limbaugh’s return to the radio airwaves yesterday, according to industry analysts.

“There’s been a lot of anticipation upon Rush’s return,” said Chris Berry, president and general manager of WMAL-AM (630), the ABC-owned news-and-talk station that carries the show in the Washington area. “Interest by advertisers has been very high.”

“America is all about celebrities,” said Howard Bomstein, owner of the Bomstein Agency in the District. “It’s huge publicity. Everybody is interested to hear what he has to say.”

Advertisers expected to reach listeners who don’t usually tune in as well as Mr. Limbaugh’s regular fans, Mr. Bomstein told reporter Donna De Marco of The Washington Times.

A steel message

Nucor, one of the country’s top two steel makers, is kicking off an advertising campaign today in Washington newspapers that plays on the theme “Texans keep their word.”

The industry is lobbying to maintain steel tariffs, in place since March 2002 but now under review.

The World Trade Organization recently ruled the tariffs illegal, the European Union has threatened to retaliate and many U.S. manufacturers that use steel to make finished products say the tariffs have increased their costs and eliminated jobs.

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

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