- The Washington Times - Monday, August 16, 2004

Vern’s reality check

A Pakistani man charged with immigration violations after being arrested while videotaping Charlotte, N.C., skyscrapers is showcased in a new TV campaign spot for a North Carolina Republican.

Vernon Robinson, a Winston-Salem City Council member running for the 5th District House seat in a primary today, offers a message that includes Kamran Akhtar — arrested July 20. Mr. Akhtar also had videotaped buildings in Dallas, Houston and Las Vegas, the Associated Press reported yesterday.

Mr. Robinson’s ad shows a picture of Mr. Akhtar with the following advisory: “This is Pakistani terrorist Kamran Akhtar. He got arrested videotaping targets in Charlotte, North Carolina. He came here illegally, across our Mexican border.”

The candidate notes: “I’m Vernon Robinson, and I approve this message because Akhtar didn’t come here to live the American dream. He came here to kill you.”

Senora Kerry

“In a hokey attempt to help her husband score points with Mexican-American audiences, Teresa Heinz Kerry will now and then inform them that she’s ‘an immigrant, too.’

“Yeah, and I’m Pancho Villa,” Dallas Morning News columnist Ruben Navarette wrote yesterday.

“All this talk about how John F. Kerry wants to grow up to be John F. Kennedy, and here it’s Teresa who sets out to lay claim to Kennedy’s legacy of empathy. ‘Ich bin ein immigrant.’”

Mrs. Kerry’s attempts to be a woman of the people are “tacky and desperate,” Mr. Navarette says.

“People such as Heinz Kerry — with their piles of money, servants, and high-priced lawyers — live in an alternate universe. It’s one that bears no resemblance to the harsh reality that confronts most newcomers to this country.

“All the more reason for Teresa Heinz Kerry to drop the immigrant shtick and — along with the entire Kerry-Edwards campaign — start talking to Latino voters about issues that matter to them. … Doing that would show something that’s key to any successful outreach effort. Something more important than empathy. It’s called respect.”

More advice

Paul Contino, associate director for the Center for Faith and Learning at Pepperdine University, has campaign advice for Sen.John Kerry.

He should guarantee federal assistance to every woman with an unplanned pregnancy through “faith-based initiatives … that would help her consider her options, financial aid, adoption counseling and continuing material support after the birth if she decided to raise her child.”

Mr. Contino said that as a Catholic, Mr. Kerry “must understand that this is the right thing to do. After all, the immediate effect of his moral leadership in this matter would save lives, just as surely as young Lt. Kerry saved Lt. James Rassmann’s life on the uncertain day on the Bay Hap River.”

Options and support that limit the number of abortions “would appeal to the majority who believe that abortions should be avoided whenever possible,” Mr. Contino continued. “In a time of discouraging polarization, such a stand could create common ground that most can agree upon: Abortions are a catastrophe in our culture, not just another lifestyle choice.”

W is for winner

Well, President Bush is going to win in November with 57.5 percent of the major-party votes, according to Yale economist Ray C. Fair, who uses his own time-tested “econometric equation” to make that determination.

The equation positions the nation’s votes for a president as reflection of economic events and incumbency information.

It “has done well historically,” Mr. Fair said Sunday in the New York Times Magazine. “The average mistake of the equation is about 2.5 percentage points.”

Mr. Fair informed the Times that he was a Kerry supporter.

Convention makeup

Nearly one in five delegates to the 2004 Republican National Convention is a veteran of the U.S. armed forces or an active member of the military, the party announced yesterday.

“We appreciate their sacrifice and are grateful for their service, both to their country and to our democratic process,” RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie said.

Veterans will make up 15 percent of the Republican delegation, and active military personnel will make up 3 percent of the delegates traveling. In comparison, veterans made up 11.5 percent of delegates to the Democratic convention last month.

About 720 veterans and 140 active-duty personnel will attend the Republican convention, which also will feature a delegation that is 17 percent minority and 44 percent female — numbers that stood at 10 percent and 36 percent four years ago.

‘Coward’

Sen. Tom Harkin, Iowa Democrat, yesterday called Vice President Dick Cheney a coward for not serving in Vietnam, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Cheney, in campaign speeches, has been mocking a vow Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry made recently to conduct a “more sensitive” war on terrorism.

Mr. Harkin, a former Navy fighter pilot, said, “It just outrages me that someone who got five deferments during Vietnam and said he had ‘other priorities’ at that time would say that.

“When I hear this coming from Dick Cheney, who was a coward, who would not serve during the Vietnam War, it makes my blood boil,” Mr. Harkin said. “He’ll be tough, but he’ll be tough with someone else’s kid’s blood.”

Still so-so

New Jersey Gov.James E. McGreevey’s approval rating is holding up, according to a Star-Ledger/Eagleton-Rutgers poll released yesterday.

Mr. McGreevey’s approval rating was 45 percent, two points higher than it was in a poll conducted two weeks before he announced he would resign from office because of a homosexual affair.

Sixty percent think there is “more to the story,” 58 percent said the governor has been less than forthcoming about his personal life, and 41 percent said they weren’t surprised to learn that Mr. McGreevey is homosexual.

The poll found that 74 percent of Republicans said he should quit now, compared with 29 percent of Democrats. The poll of 400 adults was conducted Thursday and Friday and has an error margin of five percentage points.

Not born to run

The New York Conservative Party’s candidate for the U.S. Senate is launching a “Boycott the Boss” television commercial against rocker Bruce Springsteen.

“He thinks making millions with a song-and-dance routine allows him to tell you how to vote,” Marilyn O’Grady says in the 30-second spot. “Here’s my vote: Boycott the Boss. If you don’t buy his politics, don’t buy his music.”

Mr. Springsteen was among more than 20 prominent musicians who announced on Aug. 4 that they would hold a series of fund-raising concerts in 28 cities in October to try to oust President Bush.

In a statement, Mrs. O’Grady said Mr. Springsteen “has a right to say what he thinks, but … now that he’s moved onto the political stage to bash my president, it is entirely fair to respond.”

Contact Jennifer Harper at jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.

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