- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 4, 2003

Zell’s book

Sen. Zell Miller, Georgia Democrat, has written a soon-to-be-released book that laments the downfall of the Democratic Party, arguing that it no longer represents the perspectives and values of a vast segment of the nation.

In the book, “A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat,” Mr. Miller examines what he call the growing chasm between the American heartland and the national Democratic Party over such issues as abortion, welfare, gun control, the environment, the arts, education, immigration and national security.

Through an analysis of the campaigns of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, Mr. Miller questions whether the Democratic Party can any longer field a serious presidential challenge.

“A National Party No More,” published by Stroud & Hall Publishers, based in Atlanta, will be released in November.

Clearing the way

Republican David McIntosh yesterday ended his campaign to become governor of Indiana as President Bush was set to endorse former White House Budget Director Mitchell E. Daniels Jr.

It was not clear whether Mr. Bush will make the endorsement today during a visit to Indianapolis, the Associated Press reports.

“We feel that would all but preclude us from raising money for the Republican primary,” said Jason Beal, Mr. McIntosh’s campaign manager. “I’m disappointed, but I think we both enthusiastically want to support Mitch.”

Mr. Beal said White House political adviser Karl Rove had told the campaign that Mr. Bush planned to formally endorse Mr. Daniels in the 2004 governor’s race.

Mr. McIntosh, 45, a former congressman who lost his bid for governor in 2000, has been teaching at Ball State University since leaving Congress.

Adamant governor

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson says he will not accept any offer to be the vice presidential candidate on the 2004 Democratic presidential ticket.

“I’m very firm,” the Democrat said Wednesday. “I’ll reiterate to anyone who asks. I’m committed to run for re-election” as governor in 2006.

Mr. Richardson, a former congressman who was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and energy secretary under President Clinton, has been mentioned as a potential vice presidential contender.

Mr. Richardson said Wednesday he was frustrated by the continuing speculation about his 2004 political ambitions.

“I’m not pushing for it,” he said. “I am pushing to get national visibility for New Mexico.”

Mr. Richardson has been tapped to chair the Democratic National Convention in Boston next July.

“I think running the convention rules out any spot on the ticket,” he said.

Asked whether he might run for president in 2008, Mr. Richardson said, “I’m planning to run for re-election as governor.”

House OKs raise

The House yesterday approved a 2.2 percent pay raise for Congress — slightly less than average wage increases in private business, but enough to boost lawmakers’ annual salaries to about $158,000 next year.

The House members decided to allow themselves a fifth straight cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) raise after rejecting them for several years during the 1990s. Their annual pay has risen from $136,700 in 1999 to about $158,000 in 2004, if the legislation clears Congress and is signed by the president. Their salary this year is $154,700.

As in past years, the congressional COLA was automatically included as part of pay increases that all federal civilian and military employees will receive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, wages among all nongovernment workers rose an average 2.7 percent from July 2002 through June 2003.

Both the House and Senate, ignoring a White House recommendation that civilian pay raises be held down next year, have decided on 4.1 percent raises for almost all federal workers.

Church registration

The Rev. Frank Pavone, the national director of Priests for Life and the president of the National Pro-life Religious Council, called upon the nation’s pastors to observe the second National Christian Voter Registration Sunday this weekend.

“Priests for Life, the National Pro-life Religious Council, and the Christian Coalition are moving forward with the project we announced in June,” Father Pavone said in a prepared statement.

“Members of hundreds of churches have been given the opportunity, after Sunday worship, to register to vote. This weekend, hundreds more churches will do the same. The reason is simple: Christian faith is not a private matter, it is a public proclamation, and it shapes society, its leaders, and its laws.”

Voter registration is an activity permitted under law to churches and tax-exempt organizations, as long as it is nonpartisan in nature. More Voter Sundays have been set for Nov. 9 and Jan. 18.

Day of remembrance

President Bush will attend a prayer service of remembrance and observe a moment of silence to mark the second anniversary of the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001.

While Mr. Bush will be in Washington, Vice President Dick Cheney will attend a memorial service at ground zero in New York City and Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld will take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, the Associated Press reports.

Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton will attend a ceremony at Shanksville, Pa., the site where one of the four terrorist-hijacked planes crashed.

Wednesday, on the eve of the anniversary, Mr. Bush will have a dinner at the White House and a screening of “Twin Towers,” an Academy Award-winning documentary of the attacks on the World Trade Center towers. The following day he will attend a prayer service at St. John’s Episcopal Church at Lafayette Square, which is frequently attended by presidents. He will be accompanied by the first lady.

Then, the president, wife Laura, and members of his staff will gather on the South Lawn to observe a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., the moment when the first plane hit the World Trade Center.

Drafting Hillary

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has said she is not interested in running for president in 2004, but a political activist from Florida has started a campaign to draft the New York Democrat into the race.

Bob Kunst of Miami has set up a Web site (https://www.hillarynow.com) to collect signatures on a petition urging the former first lady to run for president, Reuters reports.

Mr. Kunst, who also operates a Web site critical of the Bush administration (https://oralmajorityonline.com), says he is convinced his “Draft Hillary Now” campaign will produce the one candidate who can oust President Bush from the White House.

“We have a whole year to put this together. It doesn’t matter whether she decides to enter the primaries or not. It’s irrelevant,” he said.

Britney and George

Singer Britney Spears, in the nation’s capital to help kickoff the National Football League season opener, told CNN’s Tucker Carlson Wednesday that she backs the president.

“A lot of entertainers have come out against the war in Iraq. Have you?” Mr. Carlson asked.

“Honestly, I think we should just trust our president in every decision that he makes and we should just support that, you know, and be faithful in what happens,” Miss Spears said.

“Do you trust this president?” Mr. Carlson asked.

“Yes, I do,” Miss Spears said.

However, when Mr. Carlson asked whether she thinks Mr. Bush will win re-election, the singer hedged.

“I don’t know. I don’t know that,” she said.

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

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