- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 2, 2004

Zell vs. Matthews

“Sen. Zell Miller fought back against Chris Matthews Wednesday night, leading to a very animated interview session when Matthews pounded away at points Miller made in his convention speech,” the Media Research Center reports at www.mediaresearch.org.

” ‘I wish I was over there where I could get a little closer up into your face,’ Miller yearned from a position inside Madison Square Garden while Matthews remained at MSNBC’s outdoor set. Miller shot back at another point: ‘You’re saying a bunch of baloney that didn’t have anything to do with what I said up there on the rostrum.’

“An angry Miller soon opined, ‘I wish we lived in the day where you could challenge a person to a duel,’ and, recalling Michelle Malkin, he commanded: ‘Don’t pull that kind of stuff on me like you did that young lady when you had her there brow-beating her to death.’ Matthews repeated his maliciously false claim that Malkin ‘was suggesting that John Kerry purposely shot himself to win a medal.’ ”

Bush’s numbers

The latest Rasmussen Reports Presidential Tracking Poll shows President Bush with 49 percent of the vote and Sen. John Kerry with 45 percent.

This is the first time that Mr. Bush has reached the 49 percent mark in the tracking poll since Mr. Kerry wrapped up the Democratic nomination on Super Tuesday (March 2). It’s also the first time Mr. Bush has been up by four percentage points since April 26, according to the Rasmussen Web site (www.rasmussenreports.com).

Mr. Kerry reached 49 percent a few times after his convention, but neither candidate has reached the 50 percent mark.

Three-quarters of the interviews for yesterday’s report were completed after Monday’s convention speeches by Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. Half were completed after the Tuesday speeches by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and first lady Laura Bush.

Panic and disquiet

“Those politicos and interest groups who have been doing polling, focus groups, and dial-a-meters this week are so far keeping their data to themselves, so we can only guess how the convention is playing with real people,” says the Note, a daily political summary by ABC News (https://abcnews.go.com/sections/politics/TheNote/TheNote.html).

“And now the hurricane, the dismissal of the Kobe Bryant charges, and the Russian hostage crisis threaten to limit the bounce-inducing echo chamber of the last two nights of the Gotham confab,” the Note said yesterday.

“Still, there is no mistaking that today, the Bush campaign is feeling in control and confident, and the Kerry campaign is trying to stifle intra-party feelings that are running from panic to disquiet.”

‘Fascist’ Bush

Rep. Major R. Owens, New York Democrat, warned a crowd of feminist protesters in New York that the Bush administration is taking America “into a snake pit of fascism,” Marc Morano reports for Cybercast News Service (www.CNSNews.com).

Mr. Owens also said, during the Wednesday night rally at Central Park by the National Organization for Women, that the Bush administration “spits on democracy” and is leading the country down a path reminiscent of “Nazi Germany.”

Mr. Owens, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, said the nation is at a “pivotal point” in its history, and he called the upcoming election the most important one in 50 years.

“I am right on the spot there in Washington, and I tell you our country will either go forward or down the drain into a snake pit of fascism,” Mr. Owens declared to loud cheers from a crowd numbering about 1,000 people.

Immediately after his speech, CNSNews.com asked Mr. Owens whom he blamed for America’s supposed descent into fascism.

“George Bush, [Attorney General] John Ashcroft , [Vice President] Dick Cheney, the Halliburton firms,” Mr. Owens responded. “We are going in the same direction as Nazi Germany in terms of we have a ruthless group of people who make bold decisions. They spit on democracy.”

Mr. Owens said the Bush administration is fascist because it “has contempt for democracy and uses power — military power, money power, all power — to override the wishes of those who are governed.”

Ex-lawmaker indicted

Former Rep. Frank W. Ballance Jr. of North Carolina, who cited ill health in resigning from Congress in June, was indicted on federal fraud and money-laundering charges yesterday in connection with a drug and alcohol counseling program he founded.

The 62-year-old Democrat was indicted along with his son, Garey Ballance, a state judge, who was charged with not filing a tax return in 2000, the Associated Press reports.

A stinging state audit last fall found that the John A. Hyman Foundation was riddled with conflicts of interest and had made $325,000 in questionable payments. The foundation has received $2.1 million in state money since 1994, thanks in part to the elder Mr. Ballance.

Double play

“On Thursday morning’s ‘Today,’ NBC’s Matt Lauer inadvertently invited a shot at Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry when he asked a Bush aide who would play Kerry in the Bush campaign’s debate rehearsals,” the Media Research Center reports.

“Playing off the ‘two John Kerrys’ theme from the convention speeches, White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett deadpanned: ‘We’re going to get a couple of people to play him.’ ”

Battle of Florida

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has skipped his brother’s convention to prepare for Hurricane Frances, CNN’s John Mercurio notes in the Morning Grind column at www.cnn.com.

“But Jeb’s absence didn’t stop a few Sunshine State delegates from holding up ‘Jeb ‘08’ signs during Dick Cheney’s speech [Wednesday] night. A convention worker in a yellow ‘W ‘04’ hat and some other Florida delegates quickly pushed down the signs, confiscated them and removed them from the floor,” Mr. Mercurio said.

“One delegate told CNN’s Sasha Johnson that the signs were ‘inappropriate’ and insisted that ‘Jeb didn’t authorize them. … He wouldn’t want that.’ (Our own Kevin Bohn procured one of the signs, but it was wrestled from him by an angry Florida delegate.)”

Amen corner

The New York Post’s Page Six gossip column hears that ” the Rev. Jesse Jackson got a less than enthusiastic response the other day when he asked thousands of anti-Bush protesters marching behind him to kneel down for a moment of prayer outside Madison Square Garden.

“The group right behind him was Atheists for Kerry.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]

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