- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 6, 2003

A two-man race

Howard Dean holds a 14-point lead over Sen. John Kerry in a poll of likely voters in New Hampshire’s Democratic presidential primary amid signs that the contest is evolving into a two-man race.

Mr. Dean, a former Vermont governor, had the support of 38 percent while Mr. Kerry of Massachusetts was backed by 24 percent, according to the American Research Group poll released yesterday.

Mr. Dean led Mr. Kerry by 10 percentage points in a similar survey conducted by the Manchester, N.H.-based organization in October. Then, Mr. Dean had the support of 24 percent of likely voters.

The survey found that the number of undecided voters has dropped from 32 percent in August to 21 percent this month, the Associated Press reports.

Others in the nine-candidate field remained in single digits. Wesley Clark, a retired Army general, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina and Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut had 4 percent each, while Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri had 3 percent. Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio, former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois and the Rev. Al Sharpton had 1 percent or less.

Mass resignation

All seven members of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin’s advisory committee on homosexual issues resigned yesterday after the mayor endorsed conservative Republican Bobby Jindal for governor.

The Advisory Committee on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues called Monday’s endorsement “unconscionable and incomprehensible,” the Associated Press reports.

“Mr. Jindal has ignored numerous requests over the last three months to meet with representatives of our community to discuss issues, including economic development and civil rights,” the panel’s chairman, Randal M. Beach, said in a letter.

The committee, appointed by the mayor, advises the mayor on how proposed city and state legislation would affect homosexuals.

Mr. Jindal, who faces a Nov. 15 runoff against Democrat Kathleen Blanco, has said he supports equal rights for homosexuals.

Warning to Arnold

California’s attorney general said yesterday that he warned Arnold Schwarzenegger that the groping accusations against him are “not going to go away” and that the governor-elect should cooperate with an investigation.

Bill Lockyer said he spoke with Mr. Schwarzenegger as recently as Wednesday about the accusations leveled against the action star during the closing days of the campaign, the Associated Press reports.

The accusations will not go away “until he is willing to have some form of independent, third-party review of those complaints to see if there’s any criminal liability or not,” Mr. Lockyer said.

The attorney general said he had no plans to open an investigation of his own because that is generally the jurisdiction of local district attorneys.

Speaking of insensitive

Sen. John Edwards, North Carolina Democrat, “had some strong words at Tuesday night’s presidential debate for what he says were insensitive remarks towards Southerners by fellow Democratic aspirant Howard Dean,” Sam Dealey writes in the Hill newspaper.

“But moments after attacking the former Vermont governor, Edwards presented a video clip touting his candidacy that featured Ashley Bell, a Louisiana State University law student. Bell was himself embroiled in controversy last month over allegedly insensitive racial remarks,” the reporter said.

“The student, who is president of the College Democrats of America, called the GOP’s gubernatorial candidate in Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, an ‘Arab American and the Republicans token attempt to mend bridges long burnt with the Arab American community.’”

The student further described Mr. Jindal, who is the son of Indian immigrants, as President Bush’s personal “Do Boy,” the reporter said.

The comments were condemned by the state’s Democratic Party.

Grassley’s question

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican, lost a fight recently and wants to know if the Department of Energy was part of the reason why.

Mr. Grassley, who sent a letter of inquiry to the energy secretary this week, fought unsuccessfully to transfer key parts of a Department of Energy program to the Labor Department. Mr. Grassley and others contend that Energy Department is doing a poor job processing the claims of sick nuclear workers.

He added a provision to the Senate’s Energy and Water spending bill that would transfer the claims processing to the Labor Department, but House and Senate negotiators this week dropped his provision from the final bill. Mr. Grassley wants to know whether the Department of Energy lobbied against his provision.

A Louisiana contractor, Science and Engineering Associates (SEA), helps the Energy Department administer the program, and did lobby against the provision, according to the Project on Government Oversight.

Among other things, Mr. Grassley wants the Energy Department to provide information on communications among department officials, SEA and congressional offices.

The South’s revenge

In the wake of the Republican gubernatorial victories in Mississippi and Kentucky on Tuesday, Democrats may want to reconsider the wisdom of their Senate judicial-filibuster strategy, the Wall Street Journal says.

“Republicans in Mississippi made much of the Democratic filibuster of appeals court nominee Charles Pickering Sr., a highly regarded Mississippian who has been unfairly labeled a racist. A Senate vote on ending the filibuster, conveniently timed for [Oct. 30], was big news in his home state,” the newspaper said in an editorial.

“Two other Southerners are on the filibuster list: Alabama Attorney General William Pryor and Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen. A third, Janice Brown, an African-American now sitting on the California Supreme Court, is the daughter of a sharecropper from rural Alabama. National liberal Democrats claim these popular Southerners are too ‘extreme,’ which is another way of saying ‘drop dead’ to the entire South. On Tuesday’s evidence, the South is returning the compliment.”

Texas closets

In the latest issue of the Nation, Molly Ivins writes that she was attending a meeting last year of the Texas Civil Liberties Union board, which was discussing “vicious hate crimes against gays in both Dallas and Houston.”

“I asked the board member from Midland if they’d been having any trouble with gay-bashing out there,” Miss Ivins writes.

The Midland board member replied that “there’s not a gay in Midland who would come out of the closet for fear people would think they’re a Democrat.”

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

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