- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 13, 2004

King’s response

A Republican congressman who is Roman Catholic said yesterday the Vatican has no right to criticize the United States for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners because of the Catholic Church’s history of abusing children and covering up its actions.

“If there’s anyone in the world who has no right to speak on sexual abuse, it’s the Vatican,” said Rep. Peter T. King of New York. “This is the height of hypocrisy.”

In an interview published Wednesday in the Rome daily La Repubblica, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo described the prisoner abuses as “a tragic episode in the relationship with Islam,” and said the scandal would fuel hatred for the West and for Christianity.

“The torture? A more serious blow to the United States than September 11. Except that the blow was not inflicted by terrorists but by Americans against themselves,” Archbishop Lajolo said.

“Whatever the United States has done to prisoners in Iraq is nothing compared to what priests and nuns did to Catholic kids for decades while the Catholic hierarchy covered it up,” Mr. King said in remarks reported by the Associated Press. “Think of the thousands of kids in the U.S. and Ireland who were abused by priests and nuns — you wonder where the Vatican’s moral compass is.”

Bush ideals

Conservative convictions, “once defended by a few,” will now be the principles that President Bush will uphold in a second term, he told an all-star gathering at the American Conservative Union’s 40th anniversary gala last night.

Ronald Reagan in the 1980s and Barry Goldwater in the 1960s “understood that power of ideas to change the world,” Mr. Bush said. And those ideas will transform the despotic Middle East, he told a crowd that hasn’t always been pleased with his domestic policy compromises, but heartily applauded him when his speech touched on the war on terrorism.

“On the fundamental issues of our time, conservatives have been right,” Mr. Bush said. “Conservatives were right that the Cold War was a contest of good and evil. And behind the Iron Curtain people did not want containment, they waited for liberation.

“These convictions, once defended by a few, are now broadly shared by Americans,” he said. “And I am proud to advance these convictions and these principles as I stand for re-election in 2004.”

Teddy’s tirade

“On Monday, Ted Kennedy took to the floor of the United States Senate and made this statement: ‘Shamefully we now learn that Saddam’s torture chambers reopened under new management, U.S. management,’ ” Hugh Hewitt notes at the Weekly Standard’s Web site (www.weeklystandard.com).

“Kennedy, of course, is the alter ego of John Kerry, and is his principal backer and original sherpa to power in Washington. When Kerry’s campaign was foundering, Kennedy dispatched his own chief of staff, Mary Beth Cahill, to stabilize and reorganize it. Kennedy has spared no effort on Kerry’s behalf because Kerry is Kennedy’s last chance for power on the national stage.” said Mr. Hewitt, who is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host.

“Given Kennedy’s closeness to Kerry and his inevitable prominence in a Kerry administration, it was surprising that of the country’s major newspapers, only the New York Post quoted the senior senator’s descent into near-madness in Monday’s speech. Last week, Los Angeles Times editor John Carroll lectured the rest of the media on the dangers of pseudo-journalism, but what is pseudo-journalism if not the protection of a major American figure from himself?”

A pro-Bush ad

The conservative Club for Growth launches a new television ad today that uses a September 11 theme to support President Bush’s handling of the war on terror.

The ad says: “The World Trade Center Towers were more than just buildings. They were symbols of hardworking people, economic freedom and opportunity — the American way of life. That’s why the terrorists attacked them. Our enemies want to destroy America’s freedoms. President Bush is fighting terrorism to save lives and protect liberty. George W. Bush: The vision to promote freedom and the courage to defend it.”

The television ad will begin running today in Ohio and Missouri and shortly thereafter in Arkansas, New Hampshire and New Mexico. The Club for Growth has budgeted $500,000 for this phase of the ad campaign.

Limbaugh’s ad

Conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh purchased full-page ads in two Florida newspapers to charge that local prosecutors are politically motivated in investigating him for “doctor shopping,” Reuters news agency reports.

Mr. Limbaugh’s company, EIB (Excellence In Broadcasting), said the ads, which ran yesterday in the Palm Beach Post and South Florida Sun-Sentinel, reprint a May 9 editorial from The Washington Times that accuses West Palm Beach State’s Attorney Barry Krischer, a Democrat, of political opportunism.

Mr. Limbaugh in October publicly admitted an addiction to prescription painkillers and checked into a drug-rehabilitation center.

The Times editorial cites as evidence of Mr. Krischer’s bias his stated policy against prosecuting those with addictions so that he could focus on dealers.

The editorial calls the case against Mr. Limbaugh “shaky” and based largely on the testimony of his former housekeeper and her husband, who sold their story to tabloid newspapers and were accused of trying to blackmail the talk-show host.

The editorial also said that the Florida attorney general, the Florida State Bar Association and the American Civil Liberties Union have criticized Mr. Krischer’s handling of the case.

Losing altitude

Air America has shut its sales offices in Los Angeles and Chicago and is recasting its business plan, the network’s president said Wednesday as troubles beset the liberal talk-show network.

With Air America not broadcasting in those two cities after a financial dispute in April, network President Jon Sinton said, “There’s not much sense in having sales offices in cities where you don’t control a station.”

About 15 to 20 people were laid off in the closing of the sales offices, the latest sign of problems for Air America, launched on March 31 as a liberal alternative to the country’s predominantly conservative talk-show culture led by Rush Limbaugh.

Since it started, Chairman Evan Cohen, Vice Chairman Rex Sorensen and head of programing David Logan have left while co-founder Mark Walsh has stepped down as chief executive to take a smaller role in the organization, Reuters news agency reports.

Bush’s jokes

President Bush tried his hand at comedy at the American Conservative Union’s 40th anniversary dinner last night — riffing on lines Vice President Dick Cheney first trotted out on the campaign trail some weeks back.

Mr. Bush noted that Americans for Democratic Action awarded Sen. John Kerry the “most liberal record of all 100 United States senators.”

“That’s a heck of a feat,” Mr. Bush said. “It isn’t very easy to make Ted Kennedy the conservative senator from Massachusetts.”

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

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