- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 15, 2004

On Kerry’s ‘turf’

“For all the hoopla over Ohio as a political battleground, strategists on both sides of the presidential campaign are increasingly looking northward toward the Great Lakes region, eyeing three states — Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan — as crucial in a race that for now at least appears to be trending toward President Bush,” the Boston Globe reports.

“In the last election, Vice President Al Gore won all three states, for a combined 39 electoral votes, and it is difficult to calculate a victory for Sen. John F. Kerry without them this time around,” reporter Anne E. Kornblut said.

“Bush is campaigning aggressively in all three, forcing Kerry to engage in a protracted battle over states Democrats had once hoped to lock down early in order to focus on more Republican-leaning battlegrounds.

“In short, Kerry is no longer expanding into Republican turf as much as he is defending his own.

“Kerry’s struggle to hold the Upper Midwest is one of the first problems Democrats mention when they describe their anxieties about the campaign — especially faced with recent polls, such as one released [Monday] by CNN/USA Today/Gallup that suggested Bush was leading Kerry in Wisconsin by 8 percentage points. Of the trio, Wisconsin is the site of the most intense campaigning, having supported Gore over Bush by less than 6,000 votes last time.

“‘Bush right now is smelling blood,’ said former Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile.”

Nader and Florida

“Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s administration has injected itself into the ballot access fight over Ralph Nader’s presidential candidacy, putting his name back on overseas ballots that must be mailed by Saturday,” the Palm Beach Post reports.

“After announcing last week that it would comply with a Circuit Court order ruling that Nader’s Reform Party nomination was a sham and that Nader would not be on the ballot, Secretary of State Glenda Hood on Monday reversed herself, filing an appeal of Judge Kevin Davey’s order, thereby automatically putting it on hold,” reporter S.V. Date said.

“Hood’s office then sent out a memo to the state’s 67 elections supervisors instructing them to put Nader’s name on the 50,000 overseas absentee ballots that, by law, must be mailed by Saturday. Democrats quickly slammed Hood’s reversal. …

“Bush blamed Davey for signing his preliminary injunction on Thursday and then going on vacation for five days. He said Davey’s order may be overturned by an appellate court, by which time it would be too late to add Nader’s name to the printed ballots scheduled for mailing.

Rumsfeld’s charge

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld charged yesterday that journalists have received tip-offs from terrorists of impending attacks in Iraq, singling out Al Jazeera television as “Johnny on the spot a little too often for my taste.”

Mr. Rumsfeld gave no specifics or evidence to back up the accusation, which he made during a talk to troops at Fort Campbell, Ky., home of the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, Agence France-Presse reports.

Referring to suicide attacks and roadside bombings, Mr. Rumsfeld said “it is striking that from time to time at least there is a journalist — quote, unquote — standing around taking pictures of it.”

“It isn’t every time, and it isn’t most times. But it is sometimes. Sometimes I suspect it happens because it is serendipity. They just happen to be there,” he said.

“But we know for a fact that other times the terrorists have told journalists — and I use the word inadvisedly — quote, unquote journalists — they’ve told journalists where they are going to be and what they are going to do. And the journalists have been there,” he said.

“And over and over and over again, we’ve seen that Middle Eastern television station Al Jazeera that seems to have a wonderful way of being Johnny on the spot a little too often for my taste,” he said.

Oklahoma poll

Rep. Brad Carson and former Rep. Tom Coburn are in a virtual tie for a U.S. Senate seat from Oklahoma, according to a poll for Oklahoma City’s KWTV News9.

The telephone poll of 500 likely Oklahoma voters conducted Sept. 10-12 showed Mr. Carson, a Democrat, at 39 percent and Mr. Coburn with 37 percent, inside the survey’s 4.4 percent margin of error. However, it was the first time that Mr. Carson had led in a poll.

The new numbers show recent TV ads by Mr. Carson targeting older voters are proving successful, GOP pollster Chris Wilson told the Daily Oklahoman.

Among voters older than 63, Mr. Coburn dropped 6 percent, while Mr. Carson gained 4 percent, Mr. Wilson said. Mr. Carson now has an 11 percent lead among that age group.

Clark’s reply

Retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark, who sought the Democratic nomination for president, says that he sees no role for himself in government if former rival Sen. John Kerry is elected president.

“I don’t see any position for myself in such an administration,” the former NATO supreme allied commander said at a news conference in Little Rock, Ark. He was questioned about why he repeatedly referred to “we” when describing how a Kerry administration would conduct the wars in Iraq and against terrorism.

“If I said ‘we,’ it’s because I very strongly support the goal of getting John Kerry and John Edwards elected,” Mr. Clark said. “I’m not even considering [a Cabinet-level position]. I’m in the private sector right now. I like it. That’s my job, and I’m, in addition, trying to get them elected.”

At the news conference, Mr. Clark assailed the Bush administration’s foreign and domestic policies before Vice President Dick Cheney’s visit yesterday to Blytheville. Mr. Clark said a Kerry administration would rebuild damaged U.S. alliances abroad, weaving a strong international environment for fighting a worldwide war against terrorism.

Mississippi switch

Mississippi state Sen. Ralph Doxey of Holly Springs switched from Democrat to Republican on Monday, saying his beliefs fit better with those of the GOP.

“I am more in line with the Republican stance on issues like gun control, abortion, taxes, education and adequate work force training,” Mr. Doxey said in a press release. “I have been voting that way already, and on some issues like tort reform, I have been leading the way.”

Mr. Doxey’s switch puts the state Senate’s balance at 28 Democrats and 24 Republicans.

J’accuse

The Democratic National Committee’s new video criticizing President Bush‘srecord in the Texas Air National Guard drew a tart response yesterday from the GOP.

“The video the Democrats released today is as creative and accurate as the memos they gave CBS,” said Jim Dyke, communications director for the Republican National Committee.

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

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