- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 5, 2004

The military vote

President Bush leads Democratic challenger Sen. John Kerry by a more than a 4-to-1 margin among military personnel, according to the results of an informal survey published yesterday by the Military Times newspapers.

The survey of readers of the Gannett-owned newspapers indicated that Mr. Kerry’s anti-war activities after the Vietnam War was a major reason for his poor standing with the 4,165 active duty, National Guard members and reservists who responded to the e-mailed poll.

Of the active-duty members of the military who responded, 72 percent said they would vote for Mr. Bush if the election were held today, compared with 17 percent for Mr. Kerry. Only 6 percent were undecided.

That closely tracked the response of members of the Guard and Reserve, 73 percent of whom said they would vote for Mr. Bush and 18 percent for Mr. Kerry.

To conduct the survey, e-mails were sent to 31,000 subscribers of the Army Times, the Navy Times, Marine Corps Times and Air Force Times, Agence France-Presse reports.

From Sept. 21 until Sept. 28, 2,754 active-duty members and 1,411 members of the National Guard or Reserve responded.

Its accuracy cannot be measured statistically because the results were taken from those who chose to participate, and not a random sampling.

The Military Times also pointed out that the group as a whole is significantly older than the military as a whole, and contains a higher percentage of officers than is present in the military.

The ‘global test’

“As John Kerry stepped down from his campaign plane at Youngstown airport in Ohio en route to a rally Sunday, an enterprising reporter shouted out an excellent question,” Gerard Baker writes at the Weekly Standard Web site (www.weeklystandard.com).

“‘What’s a “global test,” Senator?’ he called. The response, delivered with a winning smile, was the trademark Kerry thumbs up; the big digit protruding ever so slightly above the clenched fist. But, for what it said about his willingness to answer the question, it might just as well have been a raised middle finger. With a breezy wave, the newly pumped-up senator was on his way,” said Mr. Baker, U.S. editor of the Times of London and a contributing editor to the Weekly Standard.

“Well before the first presidential debate last Thursday, the Kerry campaign had decided to shift its focus this week to domestic politics. The decision reflected a view inside the campaign that, with domestic issues likely to dominate the second and third debates, now would be a good time to shift the conversation onto the economy, health care, and education, to rehearse some of the themes Kerry will sound in St. Louis and Tempe.

“But, as it turned out, pivoting from the foreign policy agenda, which dominated the first debate, to the home front presented a convenient opportunity for the senator to avoid talking about some of the more questionable aspects of his worldview on display last week.

“He shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it. Because Kerry said things in that debate that perhaps come closer to revealing the true candidate than anything we have heard to date.”

McKinney’s request

Former Rep. Cynthia A. McKinney, a Democrat who is all but assured of winning back her House seat from Georgia, wants to regain her seniority as well, Roll Call reports.

“McKinney, according to well-placed Democratic sources, has been trying to gather backing among her former colleagues and even met privately with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday to ask for her place and positions back within the Caucus,” reporter Erin P. Billings writes.

“Pelosi did not deny McKinney’s request outright, but several knowledgeable aides said it is highly unlikely the minority leader would ultimately agree. McKinney had served on the Armed Services and International Relations committees in the 107th Congress.”

Mrs. McKinney served a decade in Congress, but in 2002 was defeated by fellow Democrat Denise L. Majette, who is now running for a U.S. Senate seat.

No profiling

The Transportation Security Administration is studying a new screening system that looks for suspicious behavior rather than particular objects or people, reports Shaun Waterman of United Press International.

“TSA is interested in pursuing a pilot program using behavior-pattern recognition,” said spokesman Norm Brewer, who added that the agency had been in discussions with the Massachusetts Port Authority, which runs Boston’s Logan International Airport, where a similar system is in operation.

Analysts say behavior-pattern recognition is unlike the screening the TSA performs at airport checkpoints, which involves looking for suspicious or threatening objects. It also is distinct from the so-called Secure Flight initiative that the agency plans to roll out next year, in which passenger names will be checked against watch lists of known terrorists or suspects.

Instead, behavior-pattern recognition involves training screeners to look for suspicious conduct, such as deviousness or anxiety, a technique used by Israeli airport security for years.

“It’s basically profiling, although people don’t like to use that word,” said Steve Elson, a former U.S. aviation-security official.

Rep. Edward J. Markey, Massachusetts Democrat, said he was “pleased that TSA is going to follow Logan’s lead by testing the effectiveness of a nonracially-based profiling of suspicious behavior.”

The ‘wedding’ cake

A third-party U.S. Senate candidate in New York has released a TV ad portraying her Democratic and Republican challengers atop a homosexual “marriage” wedding cake.

Conservative Party candidate Marilyn O’Grady‘s ad features male figurines representing Democratic Sen. Charles E. Schumer and his Republican challenger, Howard Mills, on top of a cake.

“Schumer and Mills, the perfect liberal couple,” the 30-second spot states, citing the support offered by both Mr. Schumer and Mr. Mills for homosexual civil unions and abortion.

“Only conservative Marilyn O’Grady stands with President Bush to defend marriage and protect the unborn,” the ad continues.

Mr. Schumer’s campaign declined to comment on the ad, while Mills campaign spokeswoman Caroline Quartararo called it an “interesting press stunt by a minor-party candidate,” the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Schumer, who is seeking a second term, has a wide lead in the race.

Titanic Swim Team’

Knight Ridder reporter Tom Fitzgerald, covering Sen. John Kerry‘s presidential campaign, filed this tidbit Sunday from a campaign stop in Ohio:

“At one point, Kerry seemed a little irony-challenged. He greeted a young man in a ‘Titanic Swim Team’ T-shirt and asked what events he swam. The embarrassed kid said he was actually on his high school track team. ‘So you stole the shirt?’ Kerry joked. ‘I thought you were on the swim team. You faked me out there.’”

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

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