- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Nancy backs Bush

Nancy Reagan says she strongly endorses President Bush’s re-election, contrary to an Internet report that asserted she was not backing his run for a second term.

Joanne Drake, the chief of staff for former President Ronald Reagan’s office in Los Angeles, said in a statement on behalf of the former first lady, “Mrs. Reagan supports President Bush’s re-election 150 percent,” NewsMax.com reports.

Published reports have suggested that Mrs. Reagan was unhappy with Mr. Bush for his opposition to taxpayer-funded stem-cell research that destroys human embryos, which Mrs. Reagan has supported after her husband’s long bout with Alzheimer’s disease.

Miss Drake, however, noted in her statement on behalf of Mrs. Reagan, “I think everyone would understand that while she may not agree with the president on every issue, this campaign is more than just one issue — it’s about leadership, and she believes that President Bush is the right man for the job.”

Mrs. Reagan’s statement contradicted a report Friday on the Web site capitolhillblue.com, which claimed Mrs. Reagan was adamantly opposed to Mr. Bush’s re-election, NewsMax reporter Phil Brennan said.

Bouncing a poll

“Four years ago, on the Monday after the Democratic convention, August 21, ‘CBS Evening News’ anchor Bob Schieffer introduced a story by trumpeting how ‘a CBS News poll out shows that Al Gore got a big boost from the Democratic convention. He’s up 10 points and is now in a dead heat with George W. Bush.’ But this year, after a CBS News poll found no bounce for John Kerry as he held at 49 percent, the ‘CBS Evening News’ didn’t find their discovery to be newsworthy,” the Media Research Center reports.

“Not a syllable about it on Monday’s ‘CBS Evening News,’ though a Monday headline on CBSNews.com declared: ‘CBS Poll: No Bounce for Kerry,’ the MRC’s Brent Baker writes at www.mediaresearch.org.

“ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas passed along how an ABC News/Washington Post poll found ‘one of the smallest bounces for a challenger in 32 years,’ but in his story on the poll, Dean Reynolds stressed how Kerry ‘has gained ground on a number of issues.’

“Near the very end of the 10 p.m. EDT CNN ‘Sunday Night,’ anchor Carol Lin introduced CNN political analyst Bill Schneider for ‘a look at the bounce that didn’t happen’ for Kerry. Indeed, in the poll conducted July 30-31 Bush actually gained 3 points while Kerry lost a point. Monday’s ‘Inside Politics’ devoted a segment to the phenomenon with Schneider stressing how few undecided voters there are to be bounced.”

Franks’ book

Retired Army Gen. Tommy Franks defends President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in an autobiography released this week and asserts that Saddam Hussein’s regime did pose a threat to international security, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

“While we may not have found actual WMD stockpiles,” Gen. Franks writes in “American Soldier” (ReganBooks, $27.95), “what the coalition discovered was the equivalent of a disassembled pistol, lying on a table beside neatly arranged trays of bullets.”

In a conference telephone interview with several newspaper reporters Monday, the general who led coalition forces in Iraq said that everyone from top White House and military officials on down believed Saddam would use chemical or biological weapons. Weeks before the war, Gen. Franks said he personally received warnings from Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Jordan’s King Abdullah II, advising him to be prepared for the use of such weapons by Saddam.

Obama’s book

The surge of interest in Barack Obama after his speech to the Democratic National Convention is spilling over to a book he wrote a decade ago, with a first-edition copy going for $255 on EBay and prerelease orders for a new edition already putting it on best-seller lists.

The first edition of the U.S. Senate candidate’s “Dreams From My Father,” published in 1995, had started at $20 on EBay, but after 28 bids on the Internet auction site, it was up to $255 Monday evening.

At a campaign stop, Mr. Obama noted that a new edition is coming out Aug. 10 — “not a moment too soon. I don’t want people spending that much for my book.”

That new edition is making its way onto the Internet best-seller lists. Prerelease orders had pushed it into the top 50 at Amazon.com, and it was at No. 9 in the biography category at Barnesandnoble.com.

Making sense’

Conservatives in Illinois may get the opportunity to vote for one of the most charismatic figures in the conservative base.

State Republican Party Chairman Judy Baar Topinka announced last night that the state party had picked Alan Keyes as one of the two finalists for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate race against Democratic state Sen. Barack Obama.

Former Bush administration deputy drug czar Andrea Grubb Barthwell was the other finalist, the Associated Press reports.

The nearly six-week search came after primary winner Jack Ryan dropped his Senate campaign in late June over embarrassing charges about his sex life.

The party will interview Mr. Keyes and Miss Barthwell today and then choose one to take on the heavily favored Mr. Obama, who drew national attention when he gave the keynote address last week at the Democratic National Convention.

Mr. Keyes ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate twice from his home state of Maryland and sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1996 and 2000. He has never lived in Illinois, but state law only requires him to take up residence by Election Day, Nov. 2.

Tight race

Missouri state Auditor Claire McCaskill held a solid lead over embattled Gov. Bob Holden on Tuesday in a Democratic primary that has made Missouri the site of the most closely watched gubernatorial race in the country.

With nearly half of precincts reporting, Mrs. McCaskill had 244,993 votes, or 52 percent, compared to Mr. Holden’s 206,784 votes, or 44 percent, the Associated Press reported.

Mrs. McCaskill led throughout most of Missouri, but Mr. Holden was ahead in the vote-rich, Democratic stronghold of St. Louis, which lagged well behind in reporting results.

“It looks good,” Mrs. McCaskill said to the cheers of supporters in Kansas City. “But it’s a little early to go any further than saying, ‘It looks good.’”

Mr. Holden’s turmoil-filled first term resulted in his party losing the state Senate and his having three vetoes overriden in one year, matching the total for all previous Missouri governors since the Civil War. No sitting U.S. governor has lost a primary since 1994.

The road will not get any easier for the Democratic nominee. The winner will take on Republican Secretary of State Matt Blunt, who easily defeated several lesser-known candidates. Mr. Blunt is the son of Rep. Roy Blunt, the third-ranking House Republican.

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

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