- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 25, 2003

Straight, no chaser

Retired Gen. Henry H. Shelton, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark was recalled from his NATO command after the Bosnian war because of “integrity and character issues.”

Mr. Shelton said he would not vote for Mr. Clark.

Mr. Shelton’s remarks came at a forum in Los Altos, Calif., earlier this month. They were reported by Joan Garvin of the Town Crier, the local newspaper.

“What do you think of General Wesley Clark and would you support him as a presidential candidate?” the forum moderator, Dick Henning, asked the general.

Mr. Shelton hesitated, taking a drink of water, which led the moderator to remark, “I noticed you took a drink on that one.”

Mr. Shelton replied: “That question makes me wish it were vodka. I’ve known Wes for a long time. I will tell you the reason he came out of Europe early had to do with integrity and character issues, things that are very near and dear to my heart. I’m not going to say whether I’m a Republican or a Democrat. I’ll just say Wes won’t get my vote.”

DeLay condemns Dems

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay says that by his reckoning, national Democratic leaders simply don’t accept that the United States is, and should be, at war with terror.

“President Bush drew a line in the rubble at ground zero that day, and told the world that freedom and terrorism cannot coexist: ‘You’re either with us, or you’re with the terrorists,’” Mr. DeLay told the Heritage Foundation yesterday.

“The core leadership of the Democratic Party has no such policy for fighting and winning this war. More precisely, they do not believe we are even at war, and, therefore, do not believe we should be fighting one in the first place,” the Republican lawmaker said.

Mr. DeLay said in the blistering address that the Democratic Party is at a crossroads, and that it is choosing to regress to the antiwar politics of the 1960s.

He listed Democratic attacks on Mr. Bush — from presidential candidate Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri, who calls the president “a miserable failure,” to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, who said the statue of Saddam Hussein could have been brought down a lot cheaper — as evidence that “too many Democrats treat the war on terror like a political nuisance.”

“They have allowed their cause to be bullied by people who believe vandalizing Starbucks represents a legitimate foreign-policy issue,” he said.

Evidence vs. rhetoric

“The big news out of [Tuesdays] confirmation hearings for EPA nominee Mike Leavitt is the shoot-out that wasn’t,” the Wall Street Journal says.

“Democrats assailed President Bush’s environmental record, to be sure, but in the end they barely left a scratch on Mr. Leavitt,” the newspaper said in an editorial.

“The reason for this disconnect, we suspect, is that the critics simply don’t have the evidence to match their rhetoric. Even politics must eventually be rooted in some kind of reality, and the truth is that Mr. Bush’s environmental record is not producing dirtier air or water. If it were, maybe Senator Joe Lieberman would have shown up to support his recent claim that Mr. Bush is ‘the worst environment president in the history of America.’ He attended a fund-raiser instead.

“What really has the critics riled is that the Bush administration has broken with the left-wing green consensus on two issues: command-and-control from Washington and regulation by lawsuit. Those had combined to create a legal and political gridlock that is defeating the very goals the greens claim to support.”

Dean’s labor pal

The head of one of New York state’s most politically powerful labor unions helped Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean raise $30,000.

“We have been incredibly impressed with him and particularly his campaign,” Dennis Rivera told about 100 union members gathered in New York City on Tuesday evening at the headquarters of Local 1199, Service Employees International Union.

Officials said the union president’s fund-raising aid did not amount to a formal union endorsement for Mr. Dean.

Stressing his support for a national health insurance program and the need to create more jobs, Mr. Dean told those gathered that he shares many of their concerns.

“The SEIU is the labor union that has an intersection with the two things that I care about the most,” Mr. Dean said. “The first is health care, and the second is the rights and ability of low-income workers to earn a decent living.”

Censoring Hillary

The Chinese publisher of former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton’s autobiography altered the original manuscript to expurgate all criticism of the Beijing regime, her publisher says.

The New York Times quoted Mrs. Clinton as being “amazed and outraged” to learn that her book, “Living History,” had been cleansed for its Chinese readership.

“They censored my book, just like they tried to censor me,” the Democratic senator from New York told the newspaper.

“The Chinese edition of Hillary Clinton’s ‘Living History,’ published by Yilin Press, Nanjing, China, includes changes to the original text in various sections in the book,” U.S. publisher Simon & Schuster Inc. said in a statement.

It said 10 pages of the book had been changed, adding that the unexpurgated version, in English as well as in Chinese, were available on its Web site.

Reno’s rant

Former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno on Tuesday accused the Bush administration of abusing civil liberties through the antiterrorist USA Patriot Act, the Kansas City Star reports.

Speaking to a crowd of several hundred people at the University of Kansas’ Lied Center, Miss Reno said too many American citizens are being held in military brigs as enemy combatants without access to lawyers and without criminal charges being filed.

“This is not something that should be tolerated,” she said.

Miss Reno said she worries that America is heading down the same shameful path that marked the World War II era, when thousands of Japanese Americans were forced into internment camps as a precaution. The nation has since apologized for its conduct.

Traficant ends run

Former Rep. James A. Traficant Jr., Ohio Democrat, is no longer seeking to trade his prison cell for the Oval Office, campaign supporters said yesterday.

A group that formed a presidential exploratory committee for the ousted Democrat announced that it will end a two-month campaign because of lack of support, the Associated Press reports. Traficant is in prison for bribery and racketeering.

Marcus Belk, manager of the “Draft Traficant for President 2004” campaign from Jersey City, N.J., said the group was folding because it could not raise the $100,000 needed to qualify for federal matching funds. The group said it had Traficant’s permission to run the campaign, and that Mr. Belk communicated with him by mail.

The group had set an Oct. 1 deadline to raise the money. The third quarter ends Sept. 30, and campaign-finance reports must be filed with the Federal Election Commission by Oct. 15.

It was not clear how much money the campaign had raised. All donations will be returned, Mr. Belk said.

Star power

The star of “Frasier” may be ready to move to politics.

Kelsey Grammer says he might be interested in running for the U.S. Senate from California when he’s finished with acting.

“If you have the good fortune to become wealthy doing what you love to do, what happens is you now have an obligation to give back in some way,” Mr. Grammer said Monday on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity & Colmes.”

He won’t be joining Arnold Schwarzenegger on the campaign trail anytime soon. Mr. Grammer said he wouldn’t start in politics until he’s done acting, and there’s more he wants to do with that job. This is the final season of the NBC hit.

Mr. Grammer, 48, kept his political views vague during the cable news network appearance, the Associated Press reported.

“I would like to try to rid the country of the idea that it’s the rich against the poor,” he said.

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

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