- The Washington Times - Monday, August 2, 2004

Press poll

The New York Times’ John Tierney says that at a press party at the Democratic National Convention, he persuaded 153 journalists — about a third of them based in Washington — to anonymously give their opinion as to who would make the best president, George W. Bush or John F. Kerry.

The journalists from outside the Beltway “picked Mr. Kerry 3 to 1, and the ones from Washington favored him 12 to 1,” Mr. Tierney said in his Political Points column yesterday.

The columnist made much of the fact that a majority of the journalists — 77 to 67 — also said that, from a strictly journalistic point of view, they would prefer to cover a Bush administration. But even then the Washington contingent favored Mr. Kerry, 27 to 21.

Daschle’s bishop

The Catholic bishop of Sioux Falls, S.D., without mentioning Catholic Sen. Tom Daschle by name, has reiterated church teaching that no Catholic can vote for a pro-abortion candidate and remain a Catholic in good standing.

Mr. Daschle, a South Dakota Democrat and minority leader in the U.S. Senate, is pro-choice on the abortion issue. He is in a tight race for re-election this November.

The statement by Bishop Robert J. Carlson, to be published in today’s Bishop’s Bulletin, was posted on the Web site of the weekly conservative newspaper Human Events (www.humaneventsonline.com).

“Within the past few weeks, at least two people proclaiming membership in the Catholic Church wrote letters to the editor to daily newspapers presenting flawed thinking on the Catholic teaching of abortion and their particular political beliefs. As their bishop, I have no choice but to respond to their public action,” Bishop Carlson writes.

“In light of the letters to the editor, I want to present the church teaching in a straightforward manner: You cannot on the one hand support abortion rights and on the other be a Catholic in good standing. Likewise, you cannot offer personal opposition to abortion and then act differently in your professional life.”

The bishop said the teaching of the church, “which corresponds with reality and the natural law, is that all life issues are not equal or the same. In fact, there is one which is primary, life itself. It is so basic and foundational that if it is not upheld, all other issues and rights are meaningless. Opposition to abortion binds every Catholic under pain of mortal sin and admits of no exceptions.”

He added: “It was for this reason that I stated in October of 2000 that you cannot vote for a politician who is pro-abortion when you have a choice and remain a Catholic in good standing.”

Bullying the press

“Reporters, beware: The Democratic Party is revamping its lovey-dovey approach and telling campaign press secretaries to come down like a ton of bricks if you screw up or slip in a little attitude,” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.

“‘When it comes to the media,’ suggests Democratic strategist James Carville, ‘intimidation works.’ He offers a tactic: ‘Send e-mails to the press. They do respond to pressure.’ That message was part of the training new campaign secretaries were given in Boston last week during the party’s convention,” Mr. Bedard wrote.

“Hate a story? Either bully the reporter and cow the newsie into tossing you a bone, or hit hard and scare him into changing his tone and coverage. ‘Challenge them,’ encouraged David Brock of the new liberal Media Matters outfit, formed to police the press — especially the conservative media.

“A communications handbook from Democrats offers a softer approach. ‘If the error is minor,’ it says, ‘don’t make a big deal out of it and don’t demand a correction. The reporter is only human and will probably feel bad and apologize and perhaps feel as though he or she owes you one.’”

Cash in hand

“If you want to know just how the new campaign finance laws are transforming politics, look no further than a crowded press conference [in Boston] at the Four Seasons,” Wall Street Journal editorialist Kimberley A. Strassel writes.

Harold Ickes, the New York lawyer behind two new liberal fund-raising outfits, took time out of his Democratic convention duties to crow that the unlimited soft money he’d raised had made ‘Democrats competitive.’ He then turned over the mike to colleagues who promised to use the rest of the convention to rake in yet more cash,” the writer said.

“Thus was the last pretense at campaign finance ‘reform’ dumped into Boston Harbor. McCain-Feingold has proved more of an embarrassment than even its critics predicted, taking the ‘big money’ that previously flowed to answerable politicians and neatly diverting it to unaccountable, shadowy groups, as well as stripping Americans of their free-speech rights. But the farce hit an all-time low at the Democratic National Convention, where the groups that spent the past year quietly sidestepping the law felt confident enough of its loopholes to openly assume their place as the new fund-raising arm of the Democratic Party.”

Nader’s warning

Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader says Democrats are using “dirty tricks” to keep him off the ballot in key states and demanded that the party’s freshly anointed nominee Sen. John Kerry “call off your dogs.”

Mr. Nader, unpopular with many Democrats since he ran as a third-party candidate in 2000 and was seen as costing Al Gore the election, also dismissed accusations that he was heavily supported by Republicans, Reuters news agency reports.

Mr. Nader, speaking Friday at a campaign stop in Los Angeles one day after Mr. Kerry accepted the Democratic Party nomination, said the senator’s “underlings” were “harassing, obstructing and impeding” his efforts to get on the ballot in all 50 states.

“I say to Sen. John Kerry, call off your dogs,” Mr. Nader said. “Stop encouraging these dirty tricks or you will be held responsible.”

He said that despite those efforts, he expected to make it on the ballots in 43 states and the District of Columbia.

Arnold’s sales

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, have sold three properties in their posh Pacific Palisades residential compound, which is valued at about $18 million, and a fourth parcel is in escrow, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday.

The couple have not lived on the 5.3-acre property since they bought a new home in nearby Brentwood for about $11.9 million in 2002, the newspaper reported.

The four parcels in the compound were offered as three separate homes. Matthew Maxwell Taylor Kennedy, a son of Robert F. Kennedy and a cousin of Mrs. Shriver, bought one of them: a $3.4 million home with a pool and tennis court that sits on one acre of land. Mr. Schwarzenegger purchased that home for Mrs. Shriver in 2001 as a Valentine’s Day gift.

Two other homes in the compound were sold as one estate with a sale price believed to be $7.95 million, the newspaper reported.

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

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