Monday, October 25, 2004

Battleground state

“Move over, Florida and Ohio. Welcome to the newest ‘battleground state’ in the presidential sweepstakes of 2004: Hawaii,” Honolulu Advertiser editorial-page editor Jerry Burris writes.

“Hawaii? You must be kidding.

“Nope. Poll results in [Saturday’s] Advertiser suggest the race between Republican George Bush and Democrat John Kerry is a virtual tossup in the Islands,” Mr. Burris said.

“That goes a little bit against conventional wisdom, but is not all that strange, when you think about it. While Hawaii is regularly counted in the Democratic column, that hasn’t always been the case.”

Hawaii’s governor, Linda Lingle, a Republican, was elected in 2002.

Challenges withdrawn

Ohio Republicans withdrew thousands of more than 35,000 challenges to new-voter registrations because of errors in their filings apparently caused by a computer glitch.

Republicans filed the challenges Friday in 65 of Ohio’s 88 counties, saying mail sent to the newly registered voters was returned as undeliverable, the Associated Press reports.

Over the weekend, the party withdrew about 4,700 challenges in Hamilton County because the names and addresses on the GOP’s list didn’t match voter rolls, and about two-thirds, or 2,800, of the 4,200 challenges in Franklin County, officials said.

It’s too late to file a new challenge under the statute the party used, John Williams, election director in Hamilton County, said yesterday. There appeared to be an error in the database program used to print the challenges, so that addresses weren’t matched with the correct names, he said.

But the largest single batch of challenges, about 17,000 in Cuyahoga County, is still being processed because there were no errors, said Jane Platten, elections board spokeswoman.

Priests vs. Kerry

“The Christian faith has been misrepresented again today by John Kerry,” the Rev. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, said in response to a speech that Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry gave Sunday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

“Kerry said, on the one hand, that he disagrees with the Church on abortion, and yet that society must protect its most vulnerable members.

“That’s exactly why the Church is against abortion and requires Kerry — and every public official — to extend protection to the most vulnerable, the children in the womb. Mr. Kerry obviously does not understand the Church he claims to belong to. The Church’s position on abortion is not based on religious doctrine. It is based on the very duty to society that Mr. Kerry claims to fulfill,” Father Pavone said.

“Mr. Kerry says he will not impose matters of belief by law. We do not want him to. We simply want him to protect human life, including the unborn, despite the beliefs of those who devalue them — just as the law protects any one of us despite the beliefs of those who might devalue us.”

Priests for Life has had more than a thousand priests sign a pledge to preach on abortion as the central issue in this year’s election.

Violent tactics

“The next time you hear Kerry whining about Republican ‘scare tactics,’ remember Spokane, Wash.,” National Review says in an editorial.

“There, on Oct. 11, Bush-Cheney campaign headquarters were broken into; a hole was kicked through the wall of an adjacent office, and cash was stolen. On Oct. 1, three laptops with confidential campaign information were purloined from a Bellevue, Wash., Bush-Cheney office. Gunshots pierced campaign headquarters in Knoxville, Tenn.; bullets from another drive-by, in Huntington, W.Va., narrowly missed staffers gathered to watch the president’s Sept. 2 convention speech,” the magazine said.

“The AFL-CIO has orchestrated invasion-and-intimidation missions against several Bush-Cheney offices in Florida — where three elderly volunteers were overwhelmed by some three dozen ‘protesters’ in Tampa, and where an Orlando campaign worker had his wrist fractured by labor-union goon squads, who slammed another staffer’s head into a glass door.

“Anti-Republican vandalism is ubiquitous: In Madison, Wis., a Bush supporter had a swastika burned into his lawn with weed killer. Lawn signs have been stolen or defaced almost everywhere, and cars sporting Bush-Cheney stickers are prime targets for attack. Unsurprisingly, there has been little outrage from the mainstream media, and almost no contrition from the perpetrators. There is, however, perspicacity from Internet T-shirt vendors: For $19.95, you can boast that ‘A person of tolerance and diversity keyed my car.’”

Virgin territory

The New Yorker has made the first political endorsement in its 80-year history, backing Sen. John Kerry in next week’s presidential election.

The magazine says the Bush administration’s record “has been one of failure, arrogance, and — strikingly for a team that prided itself on crisp professionalism — incompetence” and that Mr. Kerry “has demonstrated steadiness and sturdiness of character” throughout his career.

The five-page editorial in the Nov. 1 issue criticizes President Bush’s tax cuts, his environmental policies, his execution of the war in Iraq and his Justice Department’s record of “secrecy and arrogance,” the Associated Press reports.

On Iraq, the magazine says that “the cakewalk led over a cliff, to a succession of heedless and disastrous mistakes that leave one wondering, at the very least, how the Pentagon’s civilian leadership remains intact and the president’s sense of infallibility undisturbed.”

Asked why the magazine was endorsing a candidate for the first time, spokeswoman Perri Dorset said, “We believe this is a very critical election and an important time in our country and we decided we want to make a statement about it.”

Avoiding a riot

The wife of Democratic vice-presidential hopeful Sen. John Edwards said on Sunday there will be no riots after the election — as long as Sen. John Kerry wins.

“C-SPAN cameras captured spouse Elizabeth Edwards making the startling comments to a supporter during a Kerry Campaign Town Hall Meeting in Harrisburg, Pa.,” Matt Drudge reports at his Web site (

Supporter: “Kerry’s going to take PA.”

Mrs. Edwards: “I know that.”

Supporter: “I’m just worried there’s going to be riots afterwards.”

Mrs. Edwards: “Uh … well … not if we win.”

A prediction

“The election is still a week off, but the Bush camp is making strong predictions about the final outcome,” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.

“Insiders tell us that the Bush-Cheney polling team believes the president will win re-election 50 percent to 47 percent.”

• Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or

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