- The Washington Times - Monday, October 13, 2003

Compounding an error

Presidential candidate Howard Dean insists he never said “the ends don’t justify the means,” in reference to the deaths of Saddam Hussein’s sons. But New York Times columnist William Safire did a Google search and found that Mr. Dean had indeed used those words.

The columnist said that amid the 368 hits was this Associated Press dispatch by Holly Ramer from Manchester, N.H., dated July 22:

“Questioned about the deaths of Saddam’s sons, Odai and Qusai, in Iraq, Dean dismissed suggestions that it was a victory for the Bush administration. ‘It’s a victory for the Iraqi people … but it doesn’t have any effect on whether we should or shouldn’t have had a war,’ Dean said. ‘I think in general the ends do not justify the means.’”

Mr. Dean’s remarks aroused the ire of Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, who said he was “astounded” by the Democratic candidate’s attitude.

Said Mr. Safire: “By repeatedly denying the words ever came out of his mouth — thereby imputing inaccuracy to the AP reporter and blatant dishonesty to McCain — [Mr. Dean] compounds the original blunder that all too tellingly revealed his mind-set.”

Strange spin

“Having missed the magnitude of California’s populist revolt, our media sages are now describing Arnold Schwarzenegger’s gubernatorial landslide as a sign that there’s a general anti-incumbent mood in America that threatens President Bush,” the Wall Street Journal observes.

“Our advice to the Democratic presidential candidates is that they heed this spin at their peril,” the newspaper said in an editorial.

“If there is any national political lesson out of California, it is that Democrats are delusional if they think they can win by moving left in order to mobilize and turn out their liberal base. This is precisely the strategy that Gray Davis tried in a desperate attempt to save his governorship, and it managed to sew up all of 45 percent of the electorate.”

The strategy didn’t work, alienating even many centrist Democratic voters, the newspaper said.

“Exit polls show that 25 percent of Democrats voted to oust Mr. Davis, as did half of union households. Among black voters, who comprise one of the party’s most loyal constituencies, 30 percent voted for the recall and 23 percent voted Republican. Forty-one percent of Latinos also sided with the GOP. Only a tremendous degree of wishful thinking in the press could spin these results as nationwide anti-incumbent sentiment rather than see them for what they are: an utter repudiation of liberal governance.”

Carson’s candidacy

Rep. Brad Carson, Oklahoma Democrat, plans to announce today that he’s running for the Senate seat that will be vacated next year by Sen. Don Nickles, Oklahoma Republican.

Mr. Nickles announced earlier this month that he will not seek re-election in 2004. That decision opened up a seat that was a sure thing for Republicans. Mr. Nickles, one of the most senior Republicans in Washington, won his last election with 66 percent of the vote.

Mr. Carson, who was re-elected to his second term in the House with 74 percent of the vote, hopes to flip the seat over to Democratic hands.

Robertson’s response

The Rev. Pat Robertson yesterday issued what he called “a correction to the State Department,” which last week condemned the televangelist for words he had used in reference to the department.

“A couple of weeks ago, I had a guest on with me named Joel Mowbray,” Mr. Robertson said on his nationally telecast “700 Club.” “He’d written a book called ‘Dangerous Diplomacy.’ It was so scathing about the State Department that I characterized it in rather graphic terms, and I want to issue a correction to the State Department. I mentioned the question of nuking the State Department. Mr. Mowbray did not use the term ‘nuke.’ He said it should be gutted, and I think we ought to make that clear.”

Mr. Robertson had Mr. Mowbray on the show again yesterday, and finished the interview this way: “And once again, I want to correct my remarks. Joel did not say ‘Nuke the State Department,’ so we’ve changed. We’re not going to nuke it; we’re going to gut it.”

Ford’s role

Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr. is in the HBO series “K Street,” but says he has no plans to become an actor.

The Tennessee Democrat played himself in the series about political consultants in Washington, D.C. The episode was taped Wednesday and aired Sunday night.

In the scene, Mr. Ford has lunch with an old friend, Francisco Dupre (played by actor Roger G. Smith), who recently was hired by a lobbying firm that includes James Carville and Mary Matalin, the real-life consulting couple from opposite political parties.

A theme of the episode is the investigation into the leak to a columnist that the wife of former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV was a CIA operative. Mrs. Matalin wonders whether she needs a lawyer. Mr. Dupre sounds out Mr. Ford.

Mr. Ford said he gave the same advice as he had on talk shows last week: that President Bush give his chief of staff 48 hours to turn over names.

The congressman said he didn’t pursue acting beyond elementary school and has no plans for it in the future. “I’m not anticipating any nominations for my performance, so I’m going to stay right where I am,” he told the Associated Press.

Sign of the times

Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura has been ordered to pay frequent critic Leslie Davis $258.40 for damaging Mr. Davis’ sign.

Mr. Davis was awarded the amount — the cost of the sign — last week for an incident outside the St. Paul studios of Twin Cities Public Television in July.

Mr. Davis, a frequent irritant of Mr. Ventura’s who has written a book critical of the former governor, said Mr. Ventura took his sign and destroyed it.

A long-standing feud between the two now includes a restraining order against Mr. Davis prohibiting him and fellow Ventura critic Bill Dahn from having any contact with Mr. Ventura or being within a block of the Twin Cities Public Television studio for the next year while Mr. Ventura works there.

Mr. Ventura has until Oct. 29 to appeal the sign ruling, the Associated Press reports.

Convention protesters

Adding the Internet and e-mail to traditional organizing techniques, protest groups say they are getting an early start in attracting tens of thousands of demonstrators to New York for next year’s Republican convention.

Opponents of the Iraq war, welfare reform and even those angered by the selection of New York City as the venue say they will seek protest permits and arrange travel for the four-day convention that begins Aug. 30, the Associated Press reports.

Steve Ault, a veteran activist helping organize a massive antiwar demonstration, said the events taking shape for next year are unprecedented.

“There’s a rather profound and unique opposition to Bush developing, and we see that in the early interest in these actions,” he said.

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

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