- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 20, 2004

Kerry’s slogan

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has come up with a campaign slogan: “Let America be America again.”

“Talking about ‘Let America be America again’ is tapping into that value system that people think makes this country strong,” Mr. Kerry said in an interview with Wall Street Journal reporter David Rogers.

“What is it that makes us strong, and what do we have to do to get that back, to let America be America?” Mr. Kerry said. “Strength means people being able to do better in their jobs. Strength means having the courage to stand up to special interests that steal the agenda here in Washington. Strength is fighting to have health coverage for children.”

The senator from Massachusetts first used the phrase in a speech Monday to civil rights leaders in Kansas, marking the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education court ruling on school segregation, the reporter said. The slogan comes from the title of a Langston Hughes poem.

Daschle’s numbers

“This week a poll of 800 voters conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling for Sioux Falls Argus Leader/KELO-Land television once again indicated that the high-profile South Dakota race will be a squeaker,” Jon Lauck writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

Sen. Tom Daschle is ahead of former Congressman John Thune 49 percent to 47 percent. Another independent poll in April conducted by the Rapid City Journal and other news outlets showed Daschle in the lead 49 percent to 43 percent. Daschle’s favorability rating has actually slipped several points in recent months,” said Mr. Lauck, who is a professor of history at South Dakota State University and is blogging about the Senate race at www.daschlevthune.com.

“The news that the race is tightening comes as a hammer blow to the Daschle campaign. They had been expecting to widen their lead after spending close to $8 million on a barrage of television, radio, and newspaper ads, in addition to tens of thousands of costly mailers to individual voters. What’s doubly damning about Daschle’s inability to move his numbers is that the Thune campaign has spent only about $500,000, and has not run a single ad.”

Say what?

“Democrats fretting over fumbles by John Kerry’s campaign have something new to agonize over — his bizarre flip-flop [Wednesday] on abortion rights,” the New York Post’s Deborah Orin writes.

“After months of saying he’d have a litmus test as president and only pick pro-choice Supreme Court justices, Kerry did an about-face and said he might name some right-to-life justices after all.

“‘I will not appoint somebody with a 5-4 [Supreme] Court who’s about to undo Roe v. Wade,’ Kerry told the Associated Press.

“‘But that doesn’t mean that if that’s not the balance of the court, I wouldn’t be prepared ultimately to appoint somebody to some court who has a different point of view. I’ve already voted for people like that. I voted for Judge [Antonin] Scalia.’

“For an extra helping of flip-flop, Kerry then added that his vote for right-to-life Scalia was ‘a mistake,’” Miss Orin said.

“Huh? The bottom line seems to be that if the high court has a majority of five pro-choice justices, Kerry might name a right-to-lifer. So much for principle. One problem: Justices don’t always take the same side on every abortion issue.”

Moving left?

Sen. John Kerry supposedly has been trying to move to the political center since he clinched the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, but maybe not.

The following remark by Mr. Kerry to independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader on Wednesday, quoted in the Los Angeles Times yesterday, seems to suggest that Mr. Kerry views his party as too conservative, and that under his tutelage it will follow in Mr. Nader’s left-wing direction:

“Don’t judge me by the people who preceded me. You may have had a disagreement with [President] Bill Clinton, or [former Vice President] Al Gore or the Democratic leadership in Congress … but that’s not me. I have fought with you, I have been with you on a range of issues, and you should judge me by my record in the Senate.”

Hot gas

“New York Sen. Charles Schumer is famously famous for grandstanding, but of late he’s outdone even himself,” the Wall Street Journal says.

“We mean the demand from him and 29 other senators that the Bush administration release millions of barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a way to lower gasoline prices,” the newspaper said in an editorial.

“As political theater, we suppose this is clever. By pretending that President Bush has control over oil prices, Mr. Schumer can blame him for $2-a-gallon gasoline. But as the senator well knows, no president controls the price of either oil or gasoline, and releasing stocks from the SPR will not change the fundamentals of the oil market. As Mr. Schumer also knows, or at least should, such a release would knock off at most only a few cents from gasoline prices.

“Unless, of course, he wasn’t paying attention back when this gambit was tried in 2000 by the Clinton administration. With oil above $35 a barrel and a presidential election looming, Bill Clinton released 30 million barrels from the SPR. Prices dropped to $30 a barrel for a few days but then bounced back, and pump prices fell by all of a penny a gallon.”

Strippers vs. Bush

Strip club owners are putting a little bada-bing in the presidential campaign by asking patrons to turn their eyes away from the stage for a moment to fill out a voter registration form — and then vote against President Bush.

“It’s not to say our industry loves John Kerry or anything like that,” said Dave Manack, associate publisher of E.D. Publications, which publishes Exotic Dancer magazine. “But George Bush, if he’s re-elected, it could be very damaging to our industry.”

A trade organization for adult nightclubs is asking owners to register customers and employees and then encourage them to cast their ballots against the president, the Associated Press reports. Micheal Ocello, president of the Association of Club Executives, said the group believes the president’s brand of conservatism is bad for business.

“We must do everything within our power to help ensure that Bush and his ultra-conservative administration are removed from the White House,” Mr. Ocello wrote in a letter to nearly 4,000 club owners.

Carolina contest

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is touting a new Mason-Dixon North Carolina Poll that shows Democrat Erskine Bowles leading Republican Rep. Richard M. Burr,45 percent to 35 percent, in the U.S. Senate contest in North Carolina.

The survey of 625 likely voters by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. was conducted from May 14 through Monday and found 20 percent were undecided. The margin of error was four percentage points in either direction.

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

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