- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 16, 2003

Michigan blockade

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, yesterday postponed the committee’s vote on Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Henry W. Saad, nominated to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Mr. Hatch continues to negotiate with Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, both Michigan Democrats, over how to smooth out their opposition to President Bush’s judicial nominees from Michigan.

Mr. Levin opposes Judge Saad and three other nominees, in retaliation for what he believes was the similarly poor treatment of President Clinton’s Michigan nominees at the hands of Republicans.

Negotiations faltered earlier this month when Judge Saad responded to an e-mail about Mrs. Stabenow’s involvement in the judicial blockade.

“We know, of course, that this is the game they play,” Judge Saad wrote. “Pretend to do the right thing while abusing the system and undermining the constitutional process. Perhaps some day she will pay the price for her misconduct.”

Possibly by accident, Judge Saad hit the “reply all” button, which sent the e-mail to a group of people that included Mrs. Stabenow herself.

Mrs. Stabenow and Mr. Levin complained to the White House, saying the “tone and content” of Judge Saad’s e-mail “are highly offensive.”

A vote on Judge Saad’s nomination by the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled, yet again, for Thursday.

Give ‘em Zell

Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia has harsh words for some fellow Democrats in his new book, “A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat.”

Writing in OpinionJournal.com — the Wall Street Journal’s Web site — John Fund chronicles these observations from Mr. Miller:

On former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean: “Clever and glib, but deep this Vermont pond is not.”

On the Democrats’ appeal to special-interest groups: “streetwalkers in skimpy halters and hot pants plying their age-old trade for the fat wallets of K Street.”

The money race

Democratic presidential hopeful Wesley Clark capped his first two weeks of fund raising by taking in nearly $1 million in a single day, tallying a flood of donations that helped put him on financial par with several rivals.

In all, the retired Army general collected $3.5 million from his entry into the race in mid-September to the end of the last fund-raising period Sept. 30, the Associated Press reports.

That’s well behind Democratic money leader Howard Dean’s $15 million, but firmly in line with the third-quarter fund raising of several others who have been campaigning for months.

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry reported about $4 million in receipts, Missouri Rep. Richard A. Gephardt raised $3.8 million, Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut took in about $3.6 million, and North Carolina Sen. John Edwards reported about $2.6 million, including $460,609 transferred from his Senate campaign fund, according to campaign-finance reports filed Wednesday.

Mr. Kerry, Mr. Gephardt and Mr. Edwards all spent far more during the quarter than they raised, depleting their cash reserves well in advance of the first presidential caucuses and primaries next year. Mr. Kerry’s expenditures totaled slightly more than $7 million; Mr. Gephardt’s, $4.2 million; and Mr. Edwards’ $5.9 million. Mr. Lieberman spent just $37,715 less than he raised.

Though much of the field was bunched together in contribution totals for July through September, clearer advantages appear when it comes to money in the bank.

Mr. Dean leads there, too, with about $12 million on hand, followed by Mr. Kerry with $7.8 million; Mr. Gephardt with about $5.9 million; Mr. Edwards, $4.8 million; Mr. Lieberman, $4 million; and Mr. Clark, $3.4 million.

Carter and Perdue

Recalling their childhoods in a segregated Georgia, former President Jimmy Carter and Gov. Sonny Perdue agreed their state has made strides in race relations, but still has vestiges of discrimination that must end.

Mr. Carter, Georgia’s governor from 1971 to 1975, and Mr. Perdue appeared together Wednesday at a special “racial reconciliation” forum attended by about 400 people, the Associated Press reports.

“We’re not where we’ve been,” Mr. Perdue observed, “but we have a long way to go.”

Mr. Carter called attention to disproportionate criminal sentences handed out to blacks and challenged Georgia to repeal its “two strikes” law, which requires life in prison for those convicted of a second felony. Mr. Carter termed it “the most severe in the nation.”

The former president said Mr. Perdue and top prison officials should meet regularly with black leaders to gain a better understanding of how penal issues affect blacks, and urged the governor to adequately fund a new law designed to provide better lawyers for poor people accused of crimes.

“We can do more and need to do more,” Mr. Perdue agreed.

California candidate

A leading California state lawmaker announced his candidacy Wednesday for the Republican nomination to run next year against U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Democrat.

Rep. Tony Strickland, chairman of the Assembly’s Republican caucus, formed an exploratory committee in August to consider a run against Mrs. Boxer, who is expected to seek a third term in 2004.

Mr. Strickland, 33, was first elected to the Assembly in 1998. Term limits prevent him from running again next year.

Former U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin has also formed a Senate exploratory committee, the first step toward formal entry into the campaign. Former Los Altos Hills Mayor Toni Casey is the only other announced candidate for the Republican nomination.

Former California Secretary of State Bill Jones, also a Republican, has said he is considering running. Mr. Strickland’s Assembly district covers part of Ventura County near Los Angeles.

Perry’s portrayal

Texas Gov. Rick Perry should be ready for his role in an upcoming movie starring Tommy Lee Jones. After all, he’s playing the Texas governor.

Mr. Jones and film crews were at the governor’s mansion Tuesday shooting scenes with Mr. Perry, who has a handful of lines in the film.

“With his Hollywood looks, he was typecast to play the governor of the great state of Texas,” Perry spokeswoman Kathy Walt joked.

The film, with the working title “Cheer Up,” also features the Texas Rangers and University of Texas cheerleaders.

Mr. Jones plays a hard-edged Texas Ranger named Roland Sharp, who goes undercover as an assistant cheerleading coach to protect five UT cheerleaders after they witness the killing of a federal informant, the Dallas Morning News reported in Wednesday’s editions. The UT campus in Austin also is being used for scenes.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected].

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