- The Washington Times - Monday, December 6, 2004

Edwards in 2008

Former Democratic vice presidential nominee and retiring North Carolina Sen. John Edwards insists he hasn’t given thought to seeking the White House in 2008.

Then again, until such time he does decide, he has no intention of dropping off the national stage.

Consider “the fuss over the flags,” writes Jim Schlosser of the Greensboro News & Record.

“For 45 minutes before the boyish, blue-suited Edwards entered the auditorium of the Greensboro Historical Museum for a farewell town meeting with constituents, his aides furled, unfurled and kept repositioning five American flags and a North Carolina flag on the stage.

“They’d move one flag forward, another backward. They twisted coat hangers and placed them inside two flags to make the fabric lean a certain way,” Mr. Schlosser says.

“An aide picked a place on the floor in front of the stage and marked it with white tape. This is where Edwards needed to stand for the flags to be centered in the background.”

Hold your flags, we’re not through yet.

“The aides then changed their minds and moved the tape to the second step leading up to the stage. One aide went to the back of the auditorium and folded his hands as if it were a camera lens. He squinted through his fingers and called for some more last-minute shifting of the flags.”

Why reach?

“From almost the very second that the state of Ohio was awarded to President Bush, he and his party have been solemnly warned that they must ‘reach out’ to their Democratic opponents. Much of this advice is beyond absurd.”

—David Frum, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, adding that as one contributor to the fiercely anti-Bush British newspaper the Guardian put it: “If this doesn’t add up to a mandate, it’s hard to know what the word means.”

Mail early

Thousands of pro-Bush Americans are already sending Christmas greetings to “Fahrenheit 9/11” filmmaker Michael Moore.

In fact, in less than 24 hours after www.MerryChristmasMichaelMoore.com was launched, more than 2,000 season-greeters signed up to send a traditional holiday card to the liberal Hollywood movie director.

“We couldn’t think of a better way for the majority of America to let Michael Moore know they are thinking about him over the holidays,” says site co-founder Michael Caputo. “We are shocked at the sheer volume of requests, but we’ve got our elves working on it day and night.

“It sure seems Michael Moore will have a bit of mail this holiday season.”

Cost of freedom

“Minimum number of bullets the U.S. military purchased for use this year: 1,500,000,000.”

Harper’s Index, December 2004

Lighthearted liberty

When Washington public relations writer Kevin McCauley picked up the New York Times last week, he didn’t like what he saw.

“I called Simon Properties, the big shopping mall operator, to ask why they were trashing the Statue of Liberty with the ad the company ran,” the editor of odwyerpr.com tells Inside the Beltway. “It featured an image of the statue with the tag line, ‘Very Inspiring. Now, where’s the mall?’”

And what became of the editor’s complaint?

“Simon,” Mr. McCauley tells us, “killed the campaign and apologized.”

The ad urged consumers to visit one of Simon’s 13 malls in metropolitan New York.

“Please understand that we meant no disrespect to this national icon of freedom,” said Les Morris, Simon’s corporate relations manager. “It was not our intent to be offensive; rather to promote our centers in a lighthearted manner. Please accept our sincere apologies.”

Mr. Morris told Mr. McCauley that the ad, which won’t appear again, was one in a series that used familiar landmarks not just in New York, but Boston, Philadelphia and here in Washington.

As Mr. McCauley notes, Simon Properties didn’t need any more controversy.

The Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group “is co-chaired by Melvin and Herbert Simon.”

“They own the Indiana Pacers basketball team that was involved in the recent brawl with the Detroit Pistons,” he says.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]

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