- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 16, 2003

The DNC speaks

An item called “Vitriol Patrol” in this column Friday described Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Terry McAuliffe as “openly critical” of President Bush on the second anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

The item was based in part on a press release posted at the DNC Web site that quoted Mr. McAuliffe saying that “the Bush administration seems to have engaged in a pattern of deceptions in their manipulation of intelligence.”

The DNC wants readers to know that the press release itself was posted September 10, not September 11.



“We have and we will be critical of President Bush every day of the year — except September 11,” Debra DeShong, DNC communications director, said yesterday.

Office gossip

Maybe he’ll run for president. Maybe he’ll run as his vice president. Maybe he won’t run at all. We’ll know by tomorrow, insiders say.

Fresh from launching a “blistering attack” on President Bush before a thousand supporters during the last weekend, retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark has called a political team to his hometown of Little Rock, Ark., for a strategy session today.

The team is heavy with Democratic players, including Mark Fabiani, former spokesman for the Clinton White House, and Ron Klain, a strategist in Al Gore’s 2000 campaign, the Associated Press reports.

Meanwhile, DraftWesleyClark.com — a grass-roots effort to induce Mr. Clark to run for president — has rented offices in Manchester, N.H., and Columbia, S.C.

“Only the general knows for sure, but we have grown incredibly optimistic that a Clark candidacy could be imminent,” said spokesman John Hlinko yesterday, who vows to have “space ready to offer the general from Day One.”

The group has taken in $1.4 million in campaign pledges and is stepping to a military theme — volunteer coordinators are called “platoon leaders.”

“Even the rental process itself showed how strong a Clark candidacy would be,” said Josh Margulies, another spokesman. “The guys we rented from in South Carolina are not only Republicans, they’re trial lawyers.”

Moore or less

Film director and vociferously outspoken Bush critic Michael Moore has a message for retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark:

“You may be the person who can defeat George W. Bush in next year’s election,” Mr. Moore wrote yesterday in an open letter at his Web site (MichaelMoore.com).

“This is not an endorsement. For me, it’s too early for that. I have liked Howard Dean (in spite of his flawed positions in support of some capital punishment, his grade ‘A’ rating from the NRA, and his opposition to cutting the Pentagon budget). And Dennis Kucinich is so committed to all the right stuff. We need candidates in this race who will say the things that need to be said, to push the pathetically lame Democratic Party into having a backbone — or get out of the way and let us have a REAL second party on the ballot.”

“This is war, General, and it’s Bush & Co.’s war on us. It’s their war on the middle class, the poor, the environment, their war on women and their war against anyone around the world who doesn’t accept total American domination.”

Mr. Moore, who signed his letter “Lottery # 275, U.S. military draft, 1972,” continued: “Michael Moore likes a general? I never thought I’d write these words. But desperate times call for desperate measures.”

Hate-free zone

Things are combative in Fresno, Calif., this week after the city’s Human Relations Commission issued a press release describing “the Free Republic” as a “hate group” and warning of plans for a “Free Republic Hate Rally Picnic.”

The Free Republic is a news Web site operated by Jim Robinson of Fresno, described as “an online gathering place for independent, grass-roots conservatism on the Web.”

Mayor Alan Autry seemed to agree with the more moderate description. According to yesterday’s Fresno Bee, he plans to suspend commission Chairwoman Debbie Reyes and accuses her of being “politically intoxicated.”

Mr. Autry called the commission’s news release “inflammatory, reckless, irresponsible and dangerous,” adding that “these comments are not a reflection of the city of Fresno.”

“It’s one thing to say someone’s a jerk or to say someone is off base, but the worst thing you can say is that they’re a hate group,” he said.

Mrs. Reyes said she had has seen evidence that the Free Republic was “antigay and anti-immigration.”

“When intolerance comes to the table, we need to answer that call,” she said.

And the big “hate rally” itself?

According to the Bee: “About a dozen people met at Shaw and Blackstone avenues Friday. They listened to country music, waved American flags and held signs asking drivers to honk their horns if they support U.S. soldiers.”

Lubby-dubby

Three decades ago, promotors expected Arnold Schwarzenegger to say that weightlifting was better than sex. “Over the top” comments to publicize his movies were a fact of life, the actor told Oprah Winfrey in an appearance on her TV show yesterday.

Democrats opposing Mr. Schwarzenegger in the California recall election have tried to use old remarks against him

But enough is enough. The actor’s wife, Maria Shriver, clapped her hand across his mouth at one point in the interview, advising her husband that his mother-in-law, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, was watching.

“Wherever Eunice is, don’t pay attention,” Mr. Schwarzenegger advised.

His wife assured Miss Winfrey that she had no doubts about her husband of 17 years, and that “Kennedy women” were not schooled to ignore marital infidelity.

“This woman here has been the most incredible friend, the most incredible wife and mother,” Mr. Schwarzenegger said. “I do love to make the coffee for her and wake her up with a little kiss.”

Okie not from Muskogee

One town is convinced that two letters will make a huge difference.

Mayor Ray Troxtell has announced that Agra, Okla., is now Viagra, Okla. City leaders and the Town Council officially put up a sign during the weekend announcing that the little town halfway between Oklahoma City and Tulsa was now named after a prescription drug used to treat impotency.

“Hopefully, it will have a positive effect on the town,” Mr. Troxtell told NBC affiliate KFOR in Oklahoma City.

But the mayor has something else in mind. He was answering a dare from country music station KTST to make the name change — with a big bonus. All 370 town residents would get to attend a special concert Saturday in Tulsa for free.

The mayor met the challenge, and his constituents can pick up their tickets at the “Viagra” minimart later this week.

Mr. Troxtell hopes the publicity will help boost attendance at the town’s 100-year celebration next spring. There was no comment from Pfizer Inc., the manufacturer of Viagra.

Contact Jennifer Harper at [email protected]washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085

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