- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Is that a threat?

On the Fox News program “Dayside with Linda Vester,” Kerry-Edwards campaign spokesman Chad Clanton yesterday said Sinclair Broadcasting “better look out” if its TV stations air the film, “Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal,” which is critical of John Kerry’s 1970s anti-war activism.

“This is an abuse of public trust,” Mr. Clanton said, according to a Fox transcript. “Listen, they better look out there at Sinclair Broadcasting. I’m not a lawyer, but they have stirred up a lot of people.

“What they’re doing is wrong,” the Democratic campaign spokesman continued. “That’s why you have thousands of people now very mad, jackballed up, calling these stations, protesting, threatening boycotts of sponsors. I think they are going regret doing this, and they better hope we don’t win.”

That remark prompted a question from Miss Vester: “Is that a threat that if Kerry wins that you will deny their stations a renewal license?”

“No,” Mr. Clanton replied. “What we’re saying is what they’re doing is wrong. Everybody knows it. And they have a lot of people that are very upset. I think you’ll see a lot of protests. You’re already seeing a lot of calls.”

Superman invoked

Sen. John Edwards invoked the name of “Superman” actor Christopher Reeve — who died this week after nearly 10 years as a quadriplegic — during a campaign speech yesterday about President Bush’s opposition to certain types of stem-cell research.

“Christopher Reeve just passed away, and America just lost a great champion for this cause,” he said. “Somebody who is a powerful voice for the need to do stem-cell research and change the lives of people like him who have gone through the tragedy.

“If we can do the work that we can do in this country — the work we will do when John Kerry is president — people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk,” Mr. Edwards promised. “Get up out of that wheelchair and walk again.”

Mr. Edwards, a successful personal-injury lawyer before entering politics, put the finest point yet on an issue Democrats hope to make a major one in the November election. He and Mr. Kerry support using federal money on embryonic stem-cell research, which kills human embryos.

Mr. Bush limited federal funding in 2001 to efforts to harvest existing stem-cell lines. He banned support for new lines.

The ABC memo

“Conservatives are up in arms about the memo written by the chief politics producer at ABC News, which leaked out on Friday,” the New York Post’s John Podhoretz writes.

“They shouldn’t be. Mark Halperin’s memo is very useful: It reveals as no other document ever has the existence of a deeply ingrained double standard in the way political news is reported in the United States,” Mr. Podhoretz said.

“Simply put, Republicans and conservatives are subject to exacting scrutiny of their actions, while Democrats and liberals are treated with far greater leniency.

“You can see this in the memo, when Halperin informs his colleagues, ‘The current Bush attacks on [Sen. John] Kerry involve distortions and taking things out of context in a way that goes beyond what Kerry has done.’ He also says the Bushies are making ‘stepped up, renewed efforts to win the election by destroying Sen. Kerry at least partly through distortions.’”

Mr. Podhoretz added: “So conservatives owe Mark Halperin a debt of gratitude — for proving to all fair-minded people that we right-wingers have been hollering ‘foul’ about media bias all these years with ample reason.

“After all, how many other memos like this have been written over the decades that we haven’t seen?”

Out of the past I

The gloves have come off in the tight election race between two Texas congressmen — and every other article of clothing appears to be fair game as well.

Democrats on Monday circulated old newspaper clippings of a 1974 college streaking stunt staged by hundreds of students — including then-18-year-old Pete Sessions — at Southwest Texas State University, the Associated Press reports.

The conservative Republican congressman — who wrote a column condemning Janet Jackson’s display of a bared bosom during her 2004 Super Bowl halftime performance — apparently bared his bottom with about 300 others in a stunt that ended with arrests and a clash with police. Newspapers were filled with nude photos and headlines like: “Dudes, Broads, Bare Bods.”

Southwest Texas students were apparently trying to break a streaking record set by another university amid a nationwide college streaking craze.

“Congressman Sessions’ old school days are long gone,” said Sessions spokesman Chris Homan. “He recognizes it as an immature action of an 18-year-old college freshman.”

But the campaign of Democratic Rep. Martin Frost is holding his rival’s bare body to the fire.

“Pete Sessions exposed himself to children and strangers,” said Frost spokesman Justin Kitsch. “He’s exposed himself as a hypocrite as well.”

Out of the past II

A Democratic congressman in a tight re-election race admitted yesterday that while he was a college student 28 years ago, he was disciplined by school officials for “inexcusable behavior” toward an ex-girlfriend.

The admission by Oregon Rep. David Wu came immediately after a report published in the Oregonian newspaper saying a former girlfriend from college once claimed Mr. Wu tried to force her into having sex. The lengthy report said the woman, whom the newspaper did not identify, declined to comment.

In a statement, Mr. Wu said he had a “two-year romantic relationship that ended with inexcusable behavior on my part.”

“I take full responsibility for my actions and I am very sorry,” Mr. Wu said. “I was disciplined by Stanford University for my behavior, and I worked with a counselor. This single event forever changed my life and the person I have become.”

He didn’t elaborate on what he had done or what school officials did to discipline him, the Associated Press reports. The paper said he lost a pending appointment as a dormitory resident assistant.

Mr. Wu, 49, is facing a tough re-election challenge this year from Republican Goli Ameri. The newspaper said none of the information in its article came from any Republican officials or activists.

Scolding Democrats

Former Rep. J.C. Watts Jr., Oklahoma Republican, has asked Democrats to pull an ad arguing blacks have not benefited from Bush administration policies.

“Instead of discussing the significant strides that our country has seen in regards to race, Democrats choose to falsely claim that African-Americans have not benefited from President Bush’s policies,” Mr. Watts said. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Mr. Watts, who is black, served in the U.S. House from 1995 to 2003, said the Democrats “should be ashamed of themselves” for what he called their practice “of dividing this country in respect to race and spreading baldfaced untruths is undignified for a presidential candidate,” United Press International reports.

Mr. Watts added: “By spreading these rumors and endorsing this behavior, they demean the intelligence of black voters in particular and all Americans in general.”

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

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