- The Washington Times - Friday, October 1, 2004

DeLay rebuke

The House ethics committee said yesterday that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay went “beyond the boundaries” of party discipline when he tried to persuade Rep. Nick Smith, Michigan Republican, to support legislation that provided a Medicare prescription drug benefit.

The committee approved an investigative report that serves as “a public admonishment” against the Texas Republican, Rep. Candice S. Miller, Michigan Republican, and Mr. Smith, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Smith was unpersuaded and stuck with his vote against the legislation in the Nov. 22 tally that ended at 5:51 a.m. The legislation passed the House by five votes.

Mr. DeLay and Mrs. Miller linked a favorable vote by Mr. Smith to support of the House candidacy of Mr. Smith’s son, the committee said. Mr. DeLay’s promise of political support in exchange for a vote went “beyond the boundaries of maintaining party discipline,” the committee said.

Mr. Smith made exaggerated statements “that bribes and special deals were offered” to influence him and other lawmakers on the Medicare bill. He also failed to fully cooperate with investigators, the report said.

Allen’s ‘apology’

Republican Sen. George Allen of Virginia has teamed up with Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana in asking the Senate to apologize for failing to pass anti-lynching legislation decades ago.

The two senators introduced the resolution at the request of a group called Committee for a Formal Apology, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. The group’s members include entertainer and activist Dick Gregory.

“It is time for healing, if that is at all possible,” Mr. Allen said. “We are not here to erase history,” but to “go on record to say that history of inaction was wrong.”

The Senate blocked or filibustered three anti-lynching bills passed by the House at a time when the perpetrators in the South almost always went free.

“We call attention so we don’t forget what happened,” Mrs. Landrieu said.

FEC ruling

Federal election regulators have given President Bush and Democratic rival Sen. John Kerry another fund-raising option, should either of them pursue a recount like Florida’s expensive 2000 ballot dispute.

The Federal Election Commission said yesterday that the two can use their legal compliance funds to cover any recount costs. Both candidates are raising money for such funds.

The Kerry campaign had asked the FEC whether it could use its legal compliance fund to tide itself over in the early days of any recount.

The campaign stopped short of asking whether it could establish a separate recount fund financed with unlimited individual contributions, as Mr. Bush and Democrat Al Gore did in 2000. Kerry campaign counsel Marc Elias said it would not explore that question until after the election.

Several commissioners said Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry should not draw conclusions one way or the other on whether they could use unlimited individual money for recount costs, the Associated Press reports.

Victim mentality

Black political leaders such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson have convinced blacks that they are victims who must vote Democratic to erase decades of discrimination, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson says.

The secretary said President Bush’s campaign is trying to counter by focusing on younger black voters rather than those who grew up during the civil rights era of the 1960s. Those voters have “been conditioned that if you are Republican and white, you hate black people, and that’s nonsense,” he told the Associated Press on Wednesday.

Mr. Jackson, 58, said Republicans are focusing on blacks younger than 40 who are looking “at issues from the perspective of the candidate who best meets my need, just like any other American.”

The Texas native and Bush friend, who is black, had harsh words for the Rev. Jesse Jackson, as well as Julian Bond and Kweisi Mfume, chairman and president, respectively, of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

“They have made a living telling black people they are victims,” said Alphonso Jackson, who added that he switched from the Democratic Party in 1984. “As long as they keep them in victim mode, they have liberals who will take care of them.”

War of words

Rep. Martin Frost, Texas Democrat, canceled a fund-raising appearance with singer Peter Yarrow after learning that Mr. Yarrow was convicted of child molestation in 1970.

But Republicans said Mr. Frost should give back money he collected in advance of the scheduled appearance.

According to the Associated Press, Mr. Frost — who is in a tough race against Rep. Pete Sessions, Texas Republican — said: “I do not believe it is appropriate for Mr. Yarrow to campaign on my behalf.”

Republicans say Mr. Frost should give back the money he had collected in advance of the Oct. 11 fund-raiser, because Mr. Yarrow’s scheduled appearance likely was a big draw. Republicans noted that Mr. Frost often touts his support for the Amber Alert and legislation against child abduction.

Late yesterday, Mr. Frost issued a statement allowing contributors to request refunds, while also giving them the option of attending two other fund-raisers in October or to “simply dedicate their contribution to the effort to defeat Pete Sessions.”

Mr. Sessions’ spokesman said that isn’t enough.

“He’s not making a legitimate attempt to get rid of the money that he raised based on the appearance of a child molester,” spokesman Chris Homan said.

Old ‘60 Minutes’

The creator of “60 Minutes” said yesterday that he would not have done the story on President Bush’s National Guard service that got CBS anchorman Dan Rather in so much hot water over the story’s use of forged documents provided by a longtime Bush critic.

Don Hewitt said on a South Dakota Public Broadcasting radio show that the story, which aired Sept. 8, was an old one that had been dealt with in the 2000 presidential campaign.

“I never would have done the story,” said Mr. Hewitt, who retired in June as the show’s executive producer after 36 years.

“I would have been very wary injecting myself into a campaign. You’ve got to be very careful that you’re not perceived as doing the job that one of the two candidates should be doing himself.”

During the radio show, the Associated Press reported, Mr. Hewitt added that it was “stupid” for Democrat candidate Sen. John Kerry to have injected his Vietnam service into the presidential race, which opened the door for anti-Kerry groups such as Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

Not only have previous presidential candidate war veterans avoided such talk, but also Mr. Kerry had followed up his Vietnam service by becoming an outspoken opponent of the war, Mr. Hewitt said.

“You can’t play war hero if it’s about a war where you threw your medals away,” Mr. Hewitt said.

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

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