- The Washington Times - Monday, September 27, 2004

Quoting Kerry

“We know we can’t count on the French. We know we can’t count on the Russians.”

Not the words of Sen. John Kerry, as a press release from the office of Rep. Peter T. King, New York Republican, incorrectly stated — and as we passed along in this column last Friday.

The congressman was paraphrasing Mr. Kerry’s sentiments on Iraq in a debate on CNN’s “Crossfire” in 1997.

Referring to a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding access to Iraqi weapons sites, Mr. Kerry had these harsh words for France and Russia: “I think that’s our great concern — where’s the backbone of Russia? Where’s the backbone of France? Where are they in expressing their condemnation of such clearly illegal activity? But in a sense, they’re now climbing into a box, and they will have enormous difficulty not following up on this if there is not compliance by Iraq.”

The congressman said the transcript of the CNN program quotes Mr. Kerry as saying in reference to France and Russia: “There’s absolutely no statement that they have made or that they will make that will prevent the United States of America and this president [Bill Clinton] or any president from acting in what they believe are the best interests of our country.”

In a telephone interview over the weekend, Mr. King says this is not another case of Mr. Kerry simply changing his position.

“The fact is, he was strongly for the war, for searching for chemical and biological weapons, working against terrorists, and, basically, he’s now denying he ever said that,” Mr. King says. “This is not the basic flip-flop you hear from politicians. This is not John Kerry being careless in his views.

“He’s going right to the guts of his position — it’s like Dr. Martin Luther King suddenly becoming a segregationist,” Mr. King says. “He is not just changing his position, he is rewriting history on that position.”

Helen bares all

If Helen Thomas had not revealed her stripes when earlier labeling George W. Bush “the worst president in all of American history,” she bared more the other day at a women’s issues conference hosted by Rep. James P. Moran, Virginia Democrat.

“If George W. Bush is re-elected, we will have war without end,” the Alexandria Gazette Packet quoted Miss Thomas. “We never should have invaded Iraq. It will be a long time before we get our honor back.”

Mr. Bush, the longtime White House correspondent (for UPI, before she became a columnist for Hearst newspapers) said, “has made us the most despised nation in the world.”

She scolded her colleagues of the press “because they have rolled over and played dead.” Many television commentators, she observed, have no actual reporting experience.”

“There are no pictures of bloody Iraqi babies like there were from the recent Russian tragedy. This war has become so sterile,” Miss Thomas complained, while here at home the “administration is playing the fear card to the hilt.

“If Bush is re-elected, the draft will be reinstated, Social Security will be nearly eliminated, and there’ll be more tax cuts for the rich.”

She got a sustained standing ovation from the Democratic crowd, prompting Alexandria Vice Mayor Redella “Del” Pepper to comment: “I wish she would join the campaign trail.”

You mean she already hasn’t?

Help me, Rhonda

She doesn’t administer botox injections, but Rhonda Jenkins, who manages the makeup department for the Washington bureau of the Fox News Channel, has helped make Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry look his best.

For two-plus decades, Miss Jenkins, a former Washington Redskinette, has powdered countless politicians and celebrities — from Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to singer Dolly Parton.

“Everyone knows that what you look like is seen before what you say is heard,” she tells this columnist. “I have prepared the Washington power elite for their close-ups for more than 20 years and now the face behind the faces is taking the show on the road.”

Tomorrow, Miss Jenkins launches her own mobile makeup and hair studio, “Beauty To Go,” a customized Winnebago (it houses six styling stations) that will primp and pamper politicians at their doorsteps.

Celebrities and politicians, as Jack Valenti, the former president of the Motion Picture Association of America, once observed, “spring from the same DNA.”

Fans of this column will enjoy John McCaslin’s new book, “Inside the Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans From Around the Nation’s Capital.” Mr. McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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