- The Washington Times - Monday, May 17, 2004

Kerry scoffs

Sen. John Kerry, responding to a new book that lays out President Bush’s re-election strategy, called the plan “pathetic” and vowed not to be “pushed around” by Mr. Bush’s adviser, Karl Rove.

“Karl Rove has decided the only way he can win is to try to attack John Kerry,” the Massachusetts Democrat told Alan Colmes on the Fox News Channel late Thursday. “The American people want something better.”

Mr. Kerry, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, was responding to Mr. Rove’s plan to paint him as a condescending elitist who is exploiting his Vietnam War record and is “fundamentally wrong” on issues of war, taxes and the culture.

Mr. Rove detailed the strategy in an interview with Bill Sammon of The Washington Times for the book, “Misunderestimated: The President Battles Terrorism, John Kerry, and the Bush Haters.” Excerpts the book were published in the Times last week.

“If all they want to do is attack me, have at it,” he told Fox News. “They spent $70 million in seven weeks in the most unprecedented attack in American political history. … And yet, today, we’re ahead in the polls. I think we’re doing just fine.”

Still waiting

Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader says he has contacted John Kerry’s campaign three times in the past two weeks but has received no reply.

Speaking on CNN’s “Late Edition” with Wolf Blitzer, Mr. Nader said he has called both Mr. Kerry and Kerry campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill and is still hopeful that a get-together can be arranged.

Mr. Nader told the Associated Press in March that a meeting with the Democratic presidential candidate was set for April.

Mr. Kerry told Reuters news service in early April that a meeting with Mr. Nader was “in the works.”

Jerry, Jerry

Ohio Democrats have chosen talk-show host Jerry Springer to be an at-large delegate for the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

“He’s made 50 appearances at Democratic events this year. He’s been an outspoken advocate for the party,” said Dan Trevas, spokesman for the Ohio Democratic Party.

Mr. Springer, who was the mayor of Cincinnati before hosting the raunchy “Jerry Springer Show,” was named Democrat of the Year by the state party recently. He was named Friday as one of 159 delegates and 24 alternates from Ohio at the convention on July 26 to 29, when Sen. John Kerry is expected to be chosen as the party’s candidate for president, the Associated Press reports.

“We welcome all delegates,” said Jennifer Palmieri, Ohio spokeswoman for the Kerry campaign.

State Republicans said Democrats have sunk low by naming Mr. Springer as a delegate.

“They ought to be absolutely embarrassed and ashamed of this guy, but obviously standards take a back seat to power in the party of Bill Clinton,” Ohio Republican Chairman Robert T. Bennett said.

Zell wows ‘em

Sen. Zell Miller skewered fellow Democratic U.S. senator and presidential hopeful Sen.John Kerry on Saturday as a man out of touch with Main Street and “dangerous” to the nation’s security.

Georgia’s lame-duck senior senator, speaking to a Bush-Cheney organizational meeting at the Georgia Republican Convention in Columbus, used some of his most heated rhetoric to date in an attack on his fellow lawmaker, Cox News Service reports.

“This man wants to be the leader of the free world. Free for how long?” Mr. Miller told state Republicans. “This man is so out of touch with the average American, it would be comical if it were not so dangerous.”

Arnold’s idea

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, inviting a wrestling match with trial lawyers, wants taxpayers to get the lion’s share of any punitive damage awards from lawsuits in California.

In the revised $103 billion budget presented last week, the Republican governor proposed that the state take 75 percent of any punitive damage award. The idea is drawing criticism from trial lawyers, who say the money belongs to victims who win monetary damages by suing negligent companies.

Mr. Schwarzenegger argues that victims are compensated by separate awards for actual injury or loss. He wants the bulk of punitive awards to go into a Public Benefit Trust Fund, the Associated Press reports.

Star power

A pair of June concerts featuring Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler will help Democrats raise funds for the fall campaign.

Proceeds from the concerts, which were announced jointly by the Democratic National Committee and the Kerry presidential campaign last week, will be used to fill the coffers of the Kerry Victory Committee 2004.

The first concert, at which Mrs. Streisand will be the main attraction, is scheduled for June 7 at Los Angeles’ Walt Disney Concert Hall. The second, at which Miss Midler will headline, is planned for June 10 at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.

Scheduled to appear with Mrs. Streisand in Los Angeles are singers Neil Diamond and Willie Nelson and comedian Billy Crystal. Appearing with Miss Midler in New York will be singers James Taylor, John Mellencamp, Jon Bon Jovi and Wyclef Jean and comedians Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg.

Delaware candidate

Delegates to the Delaware state Republican Party convention in Dewey Beach endorsed Bill Lee on Saturday as the Republican challenger to Democratic Gov. Ruth Ann Minner.

Mr. Lee, a former Superior Court judge, received 254 votes, or 76 percent. He defeated Michael Protack, an airline pilot, who received 79 votes, or about 24 percent.

A candidate must have 60 percent of the vote to win the party’s endorsement. The candidate will be chosen formally in the Republican primary in September.

Mr. Lee failed to win the party’s gubernatorial endorsement four years ago, then waged a grass-roots primary campaign that brought him within a whisker of the nomination.

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


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