- The Washington Times - Monday, August 9, 2004

Selective memory

It’s not easy to tease out the truth of Sen. John Kerry’s much-ballyhooed Vietnam tour. But some try.

“Pity the poor guy who has to reach back 35 years to show America just how great he is. And he does so very selectively,” writes San Francisco Chronicle op-ed writer Adam Sparks.

“There’s no mention of all his medal ribbons tossed with contempt over the White House fence for the same war he now fondly remembers. He brought a cast of sailors out with him on the convention podium and keeps a contingent with him at all times while campaigning, either to show Americans just how patriotic he is or to remind us incessantly that he served a grueling four months in Vietnam. For whatever reason, it’s pathetic.

“The peaceniks know all about his antiwar theatrics; he needn’t highlight those attributes. He’s now going after the swing voter who respects America military strength … . In Kerry’s world, you really can be all things to all people.”

Mr. Sparks noted that retired Rear Adm. Roy Hoffmann, who ran the swift boat campaign in Vietnam, said: “Only one of his 23 fellow officers in charge from Coastal Division 11 supports John Kerry. Overall, more than 250 swift boat veterans are on the record questioning Kerry’s fitness to serve as commander in chief. That list includes … every single officer Kerry served under in Vietnam.”

Disbelief in America

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry and running mate Sen. John Edwards need to get their tickets punched next time.

A thousand townsfolks from Lawrence, Kan., stood in the driving rain in the wee hours of Saturday morning, hoping the two Johns would at least wave when they whooshed by on their “Believe in America” campaign train. But no dice.

The train didn’t even slow down on its way through the station, which campaign spokeswoman Candace McAdams categorized as “a mix-up.”

“The conductor just didn’t stop,” she said.

A sheepish Mr. Edwards — but not Mr. Kerry — returned to the town yesterday to make amends at an impromptu rally, according to the Lawrence Journal.

“About the other night. You may not have seen us, but we could see you, and you looked beautiful,” Mr. Edwards told the crowd.

Candidates in brief

A new Associated Press poll released yesterday asked 798 registered voters nationwide what words described President Bush and his Democratic opponent, Sen. John Kerry. Among the findings:

The same share — 67 percent — found both Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry “likable.” Another 68 percent found Mr. Bush “decisive,” while 46 percent thought the same about Mr. Kerry. Seventy percent found Mr. Bush “strong,” against 59 percent for Mr. Kerry.

Both men generate good feelings: 51 percent said the president made them feel “optimistic,” 50 percent said the same about Mr. Kerry.

In addition, 53 percent felt Mr. Bush was “honest,” while Mr. Kerry rated a 60 percent; 76 percent said Mr. Bush was “stubborn,” while just 43 percent thought the same about Mr. Kerry.

The poll, taken from Tuesday to Thursday, has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

Camelot, part deux

Jack and Jackie have surfaced again, at least according to Harper’s Bazaar, which is billing San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and his wife, Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, as “the New Kennedys.”

Mr. Newsom garnered much press earlier this year by granting “marriage” licenses to same-sex couples. His wife is a former prosecutor who now appears as an analyst on CNN and Court TV.

They are swanky Democrats, however.

The magazine showcases the couple in opulent surroundings — lying on a carpet together in the mansion of philanthropist Ann Getty, the mayor sporting a $995 Hugo Boss tuxedo, his first lady arrayed in a $1,998 gown and $575 pumps by Ralph Lauren.

Harper’s Bazaar writer Nancy Collins notes that the couple “promises to be one of the most glamorous political unions since Jack and Jackie.”

Ballot ballet

Ralph Nader did not collect enough signatures to make the ballot in California as an independent presidential candidate, gathering just 85,000 signatures by Friday’s deadline — not the 153,035 signatures needed to put him on the ballot.

“We have four or five other options to get his name on the ballot, none of which I can disclose,” Nader spokesman Kevin Zeese told Reuters yesterday. “We expect to be on the ballot in November.”

Strategists hope to persuade Green Party members in California to replace their presidential nominee with Mr. Nader, their candidate in 2000. Mr. Nader, meanwhile, has accused Democrats of mounting legal battles to block him from state ballots in fear that he’ll siphon votes from Sen. John Kerry.

Perhaps they don’t need legal maneuvers.

“Nader was a failure. He did not collect enough signatures,” said Bob Mulholland, a California Democratic Party adviser.

Already on it

Amid all the hubbub over the September 11 commission’s report and subsequent recommendations about domestic terrorism, White House Homeland Security adviser Frances Townsend made a very clear point yesterday.

Above and beyond everything, she told Fox News, “is all the work the president’s done since 9/11.”

“You know, when you look at the recommendations, there’s about 41 — 36 of which might have been fully enacted or are in the process of being enacted by the president,” she said.

Same old story

The New York Times devoted 5,000 words to only one day’s worth of coverage about the terrorist threat on Manhattan.

But not one word was written about the morale-raising visit of Laura Bush and her two daughters to a targeted building, according to a New York Post editorial yesterday.

“We simply had more news than we could accommodate,” a Times spokesman told the Post. “There was no calculated decision to omit that event.”

The Post’s reply: “Yeah, right.”

“Always room in the Times, it seems, to bash Bush — whether for being too cautious or not cautious enough,” the Post noted. “But a positive piece on the Bushes? It’s just not ‘fit’ for the ‘paper of record.’”

Values voters

Liberal initiatives to snag and register new voters have some competition.

“Traditional values are being trampled by people who are working hard to promote their beliefs over the long-standing values held by the majority of people in America,” say the founders of I Vote My Values, an online effort to register voters who support youth abstinence and other traditional causes.

The effort is “an action-oriented broadside at today’s temple of moral relativism,” the South Dakota-based group promises. The Web site is located at www.ivotemyvalues.com

“The reality is that if people who support abstinence do not get educated and vote their values, then funding for abstinence education may be reduced,” said Leslee Unruh, president of the National Abstinence Clearinghouse.

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

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