Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Tarnished silver?

Uneven military service records have proved toxic to John Kerry‘s campaign for president, prompting him to post his full military record on his Web site ( for critics to peruse.

But one sharp-eyed Washington Times reader — a former B-52 pilot and U.S. Air Force colonel — isn’t buying Mr. Kerry’s pre-emptive strike.

“I looked at that Web site and the first thing I looked at was Kerry’s Silver Star citation. Guess what? It is for an action that took place in 1969, but it is signed by Secretary of the Navy John Lehman. Strangely, Lehman was secretary of the Navy from 1981 to 1987,” he noted.

“How could Kerry have received a citation from an official that would not be in office for 12 years? This was NOT just a case of providing a new copy of a citation for the office to replace one that was lost (destroyed/thrown over a wall). This effort by Lehman & Kerry actually changed Kerry’s official Navy record, sometime in the 80s,” he continued.

“What other portions of his record did Kerry have Lehman sanitize or spiffy up? Evidently, Kerry did not think his original Silver Star made him look ‘heroic’ enough, so he provided ‘suggested’ words for a new certificate. This certainly calls Kerry’s entire Navy record into question.”

Who’s hue

Teresa Heinz Kerry‘s claim she is “African-American” is “a stretch,” says Virginia Walden-Ford, president of the District-based People of Color United.

Mrs. Kerry, who was born of European parents in Mozambique when it was a Portuguese colony, has mentioned her ethnic connection for more than a decade, once telling the press, “My roots are African. The birds I remember, the fruits I ate, the trees I climbed, they’re African.”

Enough already, say some.

“We must ask who is Maria Teresa Thierstein Simoes-Ferreria Heinz Kerry? Considering her claims to an African heritage, questions are asked about what she’s done for black communities, here and abroad. Teresa Heinz Kerry is among the wealthiest women in the world with an estimated fortune equal to nearly a quarter of Mozambique’s gross domestic product,” Ms. Walden-Ford said yesterday.

She is curious about “her privileged upbringing in a wealthy family in Mozambique. … There are questions concerning her servants, what were they paid and whether or not they could come in the front door.”

The group has bought newspaper ads about such matters, and urges black voters to take their vote to heart.

“We must not become politically impotent, where our vote can be taken for granted by one party or written off by another,” Ms. Walden-Ford said. “We’re merely asking our community to seriously examine what the Kerry campaign says to the black community. In short, what has he done lately to earn our votes? We must hold him accountable.”

Mawkish media

The line is already forming outside the door. Oprah, Katie, Barbara — the big guns are vying for one of those hushed, lugubrious, camera-in-the-face, damp Kleenex sessions with New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey.

Wife by his side, Mr. McGreevey announced on nationwide television last week he would resign from office after having a homosexual affair. According to the Newark Star-Ledger yesterday, the governor “has been besieged by media inquiries from across the nation.”

“His aides said they have received requests for interviews from producers for Oprah Winfrey, Diane Sawyer and Barbara Walters. CNN’s Larry King phoned personally, as did NBC’s Katie Couric, who made an appeal from the Olympics in Athens,” the paper noted. “One adviser also said People magazine was also ‘pushing very hard’ for an interview.”

But the moment must wait.

“The governor has no immediate plans to do an interview,” his staff said.

Word to the networks: Perhaps Mr. McGreevey is holding out for a miniseries — or at least a reality show.

Change of heart

Deal W. Hudson has quietly stepped away from his membership on President Bush‘s Council on Service and Civic Participation after a “liberal Catholic publication” investigated his “personal life.”

Mr. Hudson, the publisher of the conservative Catholic magazine Crisis and an adviser to the Bush team on outreach to Catholic voters, explained his decision in the National Review Online yesterday.

The publication questioned “my personal life — not my political beliefs,” he wrote. “Questions about past annulments for my marriages before my conversion to the Catholic Church, other Catholic organizations I have been involved with, and allegations from over a decade ago involving a female student at the college where I then taught.

“No one regrets my past mistakes more than I do.

“While I remain fervently committed to supporting President Bush’s re-election, I think it best that I no longer play a role as an adviser in this year’s campaign,” Mr. Hudson wrote. “While I have no intention of being dissuaded by personal attacks, I will not allow low-brow tactics to distract from the critically important issues in this election.”

Lloyd void?

Lloyd, Lloyd, say it ain’t so.

Rumors are afoot that New York Daily News gossip he-man Lloyd Grove — a former “Reliable Source” at The Washington Post — may lose his job if he does not deliver some delicious dish from the Republican National Convention next week.

Things are still apparently peachy, however.

“Grove dismissed rumors his tenure at the Daily News may be cut short. He also downplayed the pressure that he, as a veteran of the Capitol Hill gossip scene, faces to produce big scoops during the Republican National Convention,” Women’s Wear Daily noted yesterday.

“I think all eyes are going to be on the Republicans, not me,” Mr. Grove allowed.

Kerry hawk

“The membership of the Democratic Party is overwhelmingly opposed to the Iraq war. So why has the party nominated a man who supports the war even more enthusiastically than George Bush does?” Libertarian R.W. Bradford asked in a Seattle Times editorial yesterday.

Like many, he is mystified by John Kerry‘s flipping, flopping and fudging.

“In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on July 16, well after he had secured the nomination, John Kerry said he hoped that by ‘the end of my first term,’ the U.S. will have ‘reduced the number [of troops in Iraq] significantly.’ (Earlier this week, he said he might aim for some reductions within the first six months of taking office.),” Mr. Bradford observed.

“For the U.S. to withdraw from Iraq, he said in the interview, three conditions must be met: Iraq must be ‘stable’; ‘the outlook for the stability to hold’ must be good; and we must be assured that Iraq’s armed forces can provide ‘security sufficient for the government to stand on its own.’”

Mr. Kerry’s conditions “are far more stringent than any set by Bush. And until withdrawal, he is likely to increase the number of U.S. troops in Iraq. In short, Kerry is even more committed to the war than Bush,” Mr. Bradford concluded.

• Contact Jennifer Harper at or 202/636-3085.

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