- The Washington Times - Monday, September 13, 2004

Carville’s conflict

Would the real James Carville please stand up?

The Columbia Journalism Review (CJR), the pre-eminent media watchdog, previously lamented cable-TV shows whose ideas of news “is to slap two campaign officials on air … with a moderator trying (or frequently not bothering to try) to penetrate the blizzard of spin.”

“Often, we’ve thought, the cable channels might just as well dispense with the journalistic camouflage,” CJR states. “Now, CNN has done just that — made it official. Paul Begala and James Carville, ‘from the left’ co-hosts of CNN’s ‘Crossfire,’ late last week joined the Kerry campaign as advisors — and will be continuing their work on CNN.”

CJR says “concurrently working for a news organization and a political campaign seems an obvious conflict of interest to us.”

CNN spokesman Matt Furman counters that there is no conflict because Mr. Begala and Mr. Carville’s advisory roles with Sen. John Kerry’s campaign are “informal.” This columnist ducked into Mr. Carville’s Alexandria office over the weekend and got handed the following statement:

“[H]is current title is ‘CNN Crossfire Host and Democratic Strategist.’ In addition, he has no official role with the Kerry/Edwards Campaign. Mr. Carville describes himself as a Democratic strategist with strong opinions. Only Mr. Carville is to be responsible for what he says, not CNN, the Kerry/Edwards Campaign, or anyone else.”

Truth be told, Mr. Carville is waiting for 2008, when Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, will likely run for the White House.

“I certainly would beg her to run,” Mr. Carville told Tim Russert on NBC’s “Meet the Press” late in 2003. “Absolutely. I’d be the first on board there.”

His and hers

Talk about winning by a narrow margin, Republican Rep. Bob Beauprez, Colorado Republican, won the last election by 121 votes — the closest congressional contest in the nation.

This year, Mr. Beauprez is facing Democrat Dave Thomas, who, given the second paragraph of his latest campaign press release (written, most likely, by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee), could stand to hire an editor:

“Once again, Rep. Beauprez has shown where his/her priorities lie,” said Bev Noun, campaign manager for Dave Thomas.

A guy’s guy

“Fine looking car. I used to have one just like it.”

President Bush, after loading a bag of ice into the trunk of a battered, mud-covered green Lincoln Continental driven by a man sporting dreadlocks in hurricane-battered Florida.

Bipartisan partners

Joe Andrew, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has joined Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal’s expanding law firm as a partner in its Public Law & Policy Strategies Group.

Mr. Andrew is described as a “new breed of lawyer who stands at the intersection of business, law, government and politics.”

Fred McClure, who was assistant for legislative affairs to former President George Bush and special assistant for legislative affairs to President Ronald Reagan, is already a partner in the bipartisan group.

Even split

“I thought you might appreciate the humor and perspective of my twin 8-year-old sons regarding the 2004 presidential election,” writes Todd D. Mora, executive director of finance and operations for Comstock Public Schools in Kalamazoo, Mich.

“One of my sons said he would vote for George Bush because ‘he has done the job and has experience and could do the job again.’ He added that he didn’t like John Kerry because his political ads interrupted his cartoons that he watches after school (yes, I’m thoroughly ashamed to admit my son watches television after school).

“My other son said he would vote for Mr. Kerry because ‘he is better looking.’ I asked if had any other reasons and he said ‘nope.’”

The school official said he is “awestruck at how my two 8-year-olds had cut to the quick of this election year in a matter of seconds, and pundits and talking heads are going to take two more months and immeasurable hours of television to say the same thing.”

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]

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