- The Washington Times - Monday, September 27, 2004

Hatfield’s choice

Former Sen. Mark Hatfield, who was an outspoken opponent of the war in Vietnam, says he is a strong supporter of President Bush and the war in Iraq.

“As Oregon’s governor, I was the only governor in the nation who refused to sign a statement supporting President Johnson’s Vietnam War policy,” Mr. Hatfield wrote last week in the Oregonian newspaper.

“As a senator, I joined with Sen. George McGovern in an unsuccessful effort to end that war. I was the only senator who voted against both the Democrat and Republican resolutions authorizing the use of force in the 1991 Gulf War,” the Republican said.

“In my final years in the Senate, I opposed President Clinton’s decision to send American troops to Bosnia.

“During my 30 years in the Senate, I never once voted in favor of a military appropriations bill.

“I know that this record will cause many to wonder why I am such a strong supporter of President Bush and his policy in Iraq. My support is based on the fact that our world changed on September 11, 2001, a day on which we lost more American lives than we did in the attack on Pearl Harbor.

“I know from my service in the Senate that Saddam Hussein was an active supporter of terrorism. He used weapons of mass destruction on innocent people and left no doubt that he would do so again. It was crucial to the cause of world peace that he be removed from power.”

Oliver Stone’s theory

Director Oliver Stone ripped President Bush while praising Cuban dictator Fidel Castro before the premiere of his movie “Looking for Fidel,” at the 52nd San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain, WorldNetDaily.com reports.

Mr. Stone charged that Mr. Bush stole the election with the help of anti-Castro Cuban-Americans in Florida, according to a report in Cuba’s Granma newspaper.

“When Gore lost, or rather, when they stole the elections from him, I sensed that something dirty was going to happen, but the harm has already been done and its extent is very significant,” Mr. Stone said. “Now, I am praying that something of that sort does not occur once again. George Bush will go down in history as one of the great baddies.”

A reporter asked: “What kind of power does the anti-Castro lobby in the United States have?”

“To start with, anti-Castro groups were vital in implementing the dirty business of the butterfly ballots ensuring Bush’s victory at the 2000 elections,” Mr. Stone said. “The right wing is the same everywhere, in Cuba or Vietnam. It is like an octopus, snatching everything with its tentacles. They control the Internet, radio and TV stations, and newspapers.”

On the other hand, Mr. Stone had nothing but praise for Castro, WorldNetDaily.com said.

“In Cuba, I observed an openness and freedom that I had not found in any other country in the region, the Caribbean or Central America,” Mr. Stone said.

Subpoena for Berry

“What does it take to get the attention of Mary Frances Berry?” the Wall Street Journal asks in an editorial.

“We guess we’ll find out, now that the House subcommittee on the Constitution voted Wednesday to issue a subpoena to her personal fiefdom — aka the Commission on Civil Rights,” the newspaper said.

“The subpoena is the latest step in a years-long campaign by the House and Senate Judiciary Committees to exercise their oversight authority of the commission. Under Ms. Berry’s chairmanship, the commission has flouted the law repeatedly, declining to provide even routine information to Congress as required under the law.

“Congress has good reason to be concerned. A 1997 report by the General Accounting Office described the commission as ‘an agency in disarray, with limited awareness of how its resources are used.’ Most recently, the commission has declined to cooperate fully with a financial audit by the GAO over its $9 million 2003 budget.

“Ms. Berry’s bumptiousness would be ignorable if it weren’t such an abuse of taxpayer funds. When House Judiciary sent a senior staffer to speak with her recently, the chairwoman fled down the back stairs rather than have to answer uncomfortable questions about why she was refusing to produce documents.

“Ms. Berry, who has reigned as chairwoman for 11 years, apparently regards the commission as outside the rule of law. We’ll see now if that attitude extends to a subpoena.”

Daschle ahead

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle holds a narrow lead over Republican challenger John Thune in the race for his Senate seat, according to a poll released yesterday in South Dakota.

The Democratic incumbent had 50 percent support to Mr. Thune’s 45 percent, according to the poll sponsored by the Sioux Falls Argus Leader and KELO-TV of Sioux Falls.

“It’s basically still a tossup,” said Christopher Maynard, assistant professor of history and political science at Dakota State University.

The statewide poll had a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points. It surveyed 800 likely voters by telephone Monday through Wednesday last week, the Associated Press reports.

Bush: ‘I’d do it again’

President Bush and Democratic rival Sen. John Kerry sparred yesterday over Mr. Bush’s May 2003 announcement that major combat was over in Iraq.

Mr. Bush said he would “absolutely” do it all again: landing in a jet on an aircraft carrier and giving his announcement under a banner proclaiming “Mission Accomplished.”

“I flew out there, and said, ‘Thanks. Thanks on behalf of a grateful nation.’ You bet I’d do it again,” Mr. Bush told Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” program in an interview, excerpts of which were released yesterday.

“I’m saying to the troops, on this carrier and elsewhere, thanks for serving America. Absolutely. And by the way, those sailors and airmen loved seeing the commander in chief,” Mr. Bush said.

At a campaign stop in Wisconsin, Mr. Kerry denounced the president’s remarks as “fantasy.”

“It’s unbelievable that George Bush said he would do it all over again,” said Mr. Kerry.

“I’ll never be a president who just says ‘mission accomplished.’ I will get [the] mission accomplished,” said Mr. Kerry. “The president continues to live in a fantasy world of spin.”

No fee

Conservative radio and TV talk-show host Sean Hannity will waive his usual $100,000 speaker’s fee in an appearance at Utah Valley State College for Republican gubernatorial candidate Jon Huntsman Jr., the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Hannity’s Oct. 11 speech is billed as providing balance to the Oct. 20 appearance of left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore, the wire service said.

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

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