- The Washington Times - Monday, September 22, 2003

Bush and Kennedy

President Bush has run out of kind words to say about Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

Last year, the president said he surprised his Crawford, Texas, coffee shop buddies when he remarked that the liberal Massachusetts Democrat was “all right.”

“I’ve come to admire him. He’s a smart, capable senator. You want him on your side, I can tell you that,” Mr. Bush said at the time.



All that was before the senator accused the president of playing fast and loose with taxpayers’ money, as in: “My belief is this money is being shuffled all around to these political leaders in all parts of the world, bribing them to send in troops” to Iraq, where Mr. Bush, according to Mr. Kennedy, has failed miserably.

Oh, and this, on the threat posed by Saddam Hussein: “There was no imminent threat. This was made up in Texas, announced in January to the Republican leadership, that war was going to take place and was going to be good politically. This whole thing was a fraud.”

Mr. Bush, who upon taking office said he wanted to change the tone of discourse in Washington, took the high road yesterday.

“I mean Sen. Kennedy, who I respect and with whom I have worked, should not have said we were trying to bribe foreign nations,” Mr. Bush told Fox’s Brit Hume in an exclusive interview aired last night. “I mean, my regret is — I don’t mind people trying to pick apart my policies, and that’s fine and that’s fair game.

“But, you know, I don’t think we’re serving our nation well by allowing the discourse to become so uncivil that people say, use words that they shouldn’t be using.”

The Clinton candidate

“The Clintons decided that the Democratic primary campaign was getting out of hand,” New York Times columnist William Safire writes.

“Howard Dean was getting all the buzz and too much of the passionate left’s money. Word was out that Dean as nominee, owing Clintonites nothing, would quickly dump Terry McAuliffe, through whom Bill and Hillary maintain control of the Democratic National Committee,” Mr. Safire said.

“That’s when word was leaked of the former president’s observation at an intimate dinner party at the Clinton Chappaqua, N.Y., estate that ‘there are two stars in the Democratic Party — Hillary and Wes Clark.’

“In the meantime, the four-star general that Clinton fired for being a publicity hog during the Kosovo liberation has now been surrounded by the Clinton-Gore mafia. Lead agent is Mark Fabiani, the impeachment spinmeister; he brought in the rest of the restoration coterie. When reporters start poking into any defense contracts Clark arranged for clients after his retirement, he will have the lip-zipping services of the Clinton confidant Bruce Lindsey.”

Wrangling Rangel

Some key Democrats in New York “see U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel’s backing of former Gen. Wesley Clark’s presidential bid as orchestrated by a selfish Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton,” the New York Post’s Fredric U. Dicker writes.

“‘Rangel pushed Hillary for the Senate for Bill in 2000, and now he’s pushing Clark for both Clintons,’ said a prominent Democratic activist.

“‘The Clintons want [President] Bush to win again, because otherwise they’re no longer pre-eminent.’”

Slamming the media

A Democratic congressman said yesterday that misleading media reports on Iraq endanger the U.S. mission there and may even get some American troops killed.

“On Sept. 14, I flew from Baghdad to Kuwait with Sgt. Trevor A. Blumberg from Dearborn, Mich. He was in a body bag. He’d been ambushed and killed that afternoon. Sitting in the cargo bay of a C-130E, I found myself wondering whether the news media were somehow complicit in his death,” Georgia Rep. Jim Marshall said in an opinion piece in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Mr. Marshall said the media “are dwelling upon the mistakes, the ambushes, the soldiers killed, the wounded, the Blumbergs. Fair enough. But it is not balancing this bad news with ‘the rest of the story,’ the progress made daily, the good news. The falsely bleak picture weakens our national resolve, discourages Iraqi cooperation and emboldens our enemy.”

He added: “We may need a few credible Baghdad Bobs to undo the harm done by our media. I’m afraid it is killing our troops.”

Ashcroft bashers

“Frenzy mounts uncontrolled over John Ashcroft, now considered — in those quarters touched by the delirium — enemy No. 1 of the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and all that Americans hold dear,” Wall Street Journal columnist Dorothy Rabinowitz writes.

“What is the cause of these fevers? Is there a doctor in the house?” the columnist asked.

“We may exclude Dr. Howard Dean, running for the Democratic presidential nomination, who has already offered his findings, to wit: ‘John Ashcroft is not a patriot. John Ashcroft is a descendant of Joseph McCarthy.’

“Sen. John Kerry, once properly — and eloquently — infuriated over the campaign of cretinous slanders mounted against John McCain in the last Republican presidential primary, has in turn offered his views on the attorney general. During the Democrats’ debate in Baltimore, candidate Kerry said he saw before him ‘people of every creed, every color, every belief, every religion. This is indeed John Ashcroft’s worst nightmare here.’ Richard Gephardt, eyes similarly on the prize, has let America know which of our great national concerns he considered most pressing — a good thing to know about a candidate. The national priority looming largest in his mind is, Mr. Gephardt has let it be known, to fire John Ashcroft in ‘my first five seconds as president.’

“On the subject of the attorney general, no candidate has waxed more passionate than John Edwards, who warned, ‘we cannot allow people like John Ashcroft to take away our rights, our freedoms, and our liberties.’”

Candidate Klayman

Larry Klayman — well-known around Washington for his relentless pursuit of the Clintons during the 1990s and more recently for suing Vice President Dick Cheney — has decided he wants to join Hillary Rodham Clinton, one of his prime targets over the years, in the U.S. Senate.

Mr. Klayman, a Republican, tells the Associated Press that he will seek the seat occupied by Democrat Bob Graham of Florida. Mr. Graham is running for president, though he has not ruled out returning to the Senate for a fourth term.

Mr. Klayman has lived in Miami for the past nine years, shuttling back from time to time to the nation’s capital, where Judicial Watch, the watchdog legal group he founded in 1994, is based.

Mr. Klayman told this column yesterday that he has stepped down as leader of Judicial Watch.

“I have left Judicial Watch in good hands,” he said, referring to the organization’s president, Tom Fitton, and Paul Orfanedes in the legal department.

Corruption and government waste will be key issues of his campaign, Mr. Klayman said, as will security in the state.

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

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