- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Clinton’s message

He may be recuperating from quadruple heart bypass surgery, but Bill Clinton still has e-mail.

In a fund-raising appeal to thousands of Democratic activists — sent via an e-mail address for www.johnkerry.com — Mr. Clinton declares that “Republicans are pouring millions of dollars into baseless attacks against John Kerry and the Democrats because they know that’s the only way they can win. Don’t let them get away with it. …

“We’ve got two weeks to go and not a minute to waste. Your immediate contribution can help fund final media buys, voter contact, and [get-out-the-vote] operations. These are the efforts that are going to win this election, and we cannot do it without your support.

“Let’s go for it. America’s future is on the ballot this year. Let’s use these final days of the campaign to win the victory that is within our grasp, and secure the kind of future we want for our children. I’m counting on you.”

Gore’s message

Democrats online are getting lots of e-mails these days begging for money. Former Vice President Al Gore (via a Kerry campaign e-mail address) sent out a message telling Democrats, “You’ve put George Bush, Dick Cheney and the Republican attack machine on the run.”

But alas, says Mr. Gore, Democrats need more money: “In 2000, we didn’t have the money to compete in all swing states. Do not let that happen again. … John Kerry and the Democratic Party are facing another critical fundraising deadline. I know from experience the importance of this deadline because it is when strategists need to make key decisions about battleground states like Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and others.”

Illuminating quote

William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, yesterday pounced on a Washington Post news story that served up an illuminating quote from John Kerry.

“Kerry’s belief in working with allies runs so deep that he has maintained that the loss of American life can be better justified if it occurs in the course of a mission with international support,” the front-page article by Helen Dewar and Thomas E. Ricks said.

“In 1994, discussing the possibility of U.S. troops being killed in Bosnia, he said, ‘If you mean dying in the course of the United Nations effort, yes, it is worth that. If you mean dying American troops unilaterally going in with some false presumption that we can affect the outcome, the answer is unequivocally no.’”

Mr. Kristol, writing at www.weeklystandard.com, commented: “When the Bush campaign talks about John Kerry’s wanting a ‘permission slip’ from the U.N., many commentators dismiss it as rhetorical excess. But Kerry really does believe that the United Nations is a fundamental, legitimizing body for the use of U.S. force. One hears this deference to the U.N. all the time in European capitals, but it is rare to hear it even among mainstream American liberals. In this respect, as in others, Kerry really is a throwback. He still shares the McGovernite distrust of U.S. force and suspicion of the judgments that are arrived at by the American body politic.

“John Kerry is not a Clinton-Lieberman Democrat. His near obsession with gaining the approval of the U.N., and for that matter of France and Germany, for the conduct of U.S. foreign policy would make him the riskiest commander in chief of any presidential candidate since George McGovern — and surely makes Kerry unsuitable to govern in a post-9/11 world.”

I warned him’

Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson says President Bush told him before the war in Iraq that there wouldn’t be any casualties there.

Appearing Tuesday on CNN’s “Paula Zahn Now,” Mr. Robertson said that in a conversation with Mr. Bush in Nashville, Tenn., several months before the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, he warned the president that he should mentally prepare Americans for the inevitable casualties. Mr. Robertson said the president’s reply was that “we’re not going to have any casualties.”

“I warned him about this war,” Mr. Robertson said, adding that in that prewar meeting Mr. Bush came across as “the most self-assured man I’ve ever met in my life.”

White House spokesman Scott McClellan yesterday confirmed that two men met, but denied the president ever said such a thing to Mr. Robertson.

“Of course the president never made such a comment,” Mr. McClellan said. “At the time, we were hopeful there would be a diplomatic solution to convince Saddam Hussein to change his ways and come clean. But at the same time, the president was preparing the American people for the possibility of military conflict, for the possibilities that sacrifices may be necessary.”

Mr. McClellan said the White House will not be contacting Mr. Robertson to ask him to clarify or retract his comments.

Mr. Robertson also told CNN that he believes Mr. Bush will win the election on Nov. 2 because “the blessing of heaven is on Bush.”

“Even if he stumbles and messes up — and he’s made his share of stumbles and gaffes — I just think God’s blessing is on him,” Mr. Robertson said.

Having it all ways

While Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry normally accuses President Bush of being reckless in pursuit of the war on terror and relying too little on foreign allies, he earlier this week accused Mr. Bush of being “risk-averse” in that pursuit and relying too much on allies, reports Charles Hurt of The Washington Times.

As he often does, Mr. Kerry scolded Mr. Bush for cornering Osama bin Laden in the mountains of Tora Bora in Afghanistan and then letting him get away — a claim disputed by Army Gen. Tommy Franks, commander of the U.S.-led war to topple the Taliban and other military leaders.

“We had him cornered in the mountains of Tora Bora,” Mr. Kerry said in Dayton, Ohio. “But you know what this president did? Just like he did with your jobs, he outsourced that job to the Afghan warlords who one week earlier weren’t even on our side.”

Bin Laden “just walked out the back door all by himself because this president ran a risk-averse policy and didn’t use the greatest troops in the world.”

Thuggish behavior

“Score one for the pro-Kerry thugs trying to stifle free speech,” James Taranto writes in his Best of the Web Today column at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“‘Stolen Honor,’ the controversial documentary in which former prisoners of war in Vietnam speak out about John Kerry‘s antiwar activities, was to have been screened at a theater in Jenkintown, Pa., [Tuesday] night. But ‘management of the Baederwood Theater cancelled the showing after threats of civil disturbances,’ reports Philadelphia’s WPVI-TV.

“Imagine the outcry we would have heard if Republicans had threatened ‘civil disturbances’ at theaters showing Michael Moore‘s ‘Fahrenheit 9/11,’” Mr. Taranto said.

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

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