- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 24, 2005

Weld eyes New York

Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld has had discussions with New York Republican officials about a possible run for governor or the U.S. Senate next year in the state where he has lived since 2000, a top Republican official said yesterday.

The party official, speaking to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity, said there have been staff-level discussions between the two camps and direct conversations between at least one other top Republican official and Mr. Weld.

The primary interest is in Mr. Weld’s running for New York governor, the source said.

The talks between Mr. Weld and New York Republican officials were first reported yesterday by New York Magazine in the issue that hits newsstands today. The weekly said Mr. Weld has been telling associates that Republican leaders approached him about running.

New York Republican Party Chairman Stephen Minarik said yesterday that he had not met with Mr. Weld about running for statewide office in 2006 and would not comment further.

Grams bows out

Citing the potential for a divisive campaign ahead, former Sen. Rod Grams, Minnesota Republican, said yesterday that he is ending his bid to return to the Senate in 2006.

Mr. Grams told the Associated Press that although he thought he still could win the Republican nomination for the seat he lost to Democratic Sen. Mark Dayton in 2000, he knew it would be a tough battle within the party. Mr. Dayton has said he will not seek re-election.

“I felt this was the time we should be united,” Mr. Grams said.

Mr. Grams said he will support the party’s nominee, likely to be Rep. Mark Kennedy, who announced earlier this month that he had raised $550,000 in a six-week period.

Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar is the first Democrat to officially enter the race. Children’s advocate Patty Wetterling is expected to join her soon, and several others are considering the race.

Odd man out

“Appeals court Judge Guido Calabresi told a lawyers’ meeting last summer that Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court decision that put Bush in the White House, was an ‘illegitimate act’ by a ‘legitimate institution,’” National Review notes in an editorial in its May 9 issue.

“Hitler and Mussolini rose to power, Calabresi went on, in the same way, Hitler appointed chancellor by President Hindenburg, Mussolini appointed premier by the king of Italy. Calabresi added that Bush was not Hitler, but he then compared him to Mussolini, saying that, like Il Duce, Bush ‘has exercised extraordinary power. … It is important,’ Calabresi concluded, ‘to put [such a] person out’ (the 2004 election was four months away).”

The Judicial Council of Judge Calabresi’s 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals “has now ruled that his election advice was a ‘clear and serious’ violation of judicial ethics,” National Review observes. “Judicial sloganeering may not be an impeachable offense. But it is a horse’s ass offense. Calabresi just got crossed off the Supreme Court list of any future Democratic president.”

Missing information

“No doubting a Bolton critic?” the Media Research Center asks.

Bob Schieffer on Wednesday’s ‘CBS Evening News’ and Katie Couric on Thursday morning’s ‘Today’ show both passed along the latest charge leveled against John Bolton, the president’s nominee for ambassador to the United Nations, that he threw a tirade against a woman while both were in Moscow in 1994. But neither bothered to tell viewers that the woman, Melody Townsel, who claimed that Bolton was ‘behaving like a madman,’ is an anti-Bush activist and the founder of the Dallas chapter of ‘Mothers Opposed to Bush’ or MOB,” the media watchdog group said at www.mediaresearch.org.

“Thursday morning on [Fox News Channel’s] ‘Fox & Friends,’ the Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes revealed how he had interviewed Townsel’s former boss: ‘She complained to him often about things going wrong under the contract over there, in one of those former Soviet republics, never mentioned this about John Bolton before.’ Naturally, neither CBS nor NBC mentioned that fact as they painted Bolton as on the defensive.

“CBS’s Schieffer at least noted that Townsel was a Democrat, although he concealed the activism that she has employed against the president. NBC’s Couric didn’t even mention that, as she added Townsel’s claims to the list of liberal complaints against Bolton that she ticked off on April 21 to Tim Russert.”

Restaurant row

“It’s not a list the Republicans wanted out, but a growing lobbyist scandal and some nifty Democratic spying have given us enough info to provide the first-ever Guide to Top GOP Fund-Raising Restaurants,” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.

“If there’s a theme to the top 10, it’s that lawmakers like good eats, especially steaks, but demand convenience even more, since virtually all restaurants are within walking distance of the Capitol,” Mr. Bedard said.

“The most popular fund-raising spots for Republicans over the past four years: pricey La Colline, 106 times. Next, the Tex-Mex pub Tortilla Coast, 76 times. Third, Signatures, the expensive joint owned by scandal-plagued lobbyist Jack Abramoff, 65 times. Other hot spots: Caucus Room, Bullfeathers bar, Capital Grille steakhouse, Charlie Palmer’s steakhouse, Hunan Dynasty, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and the Monocle, the famed Senate-side watering hole. And the new favorite locations? Starbucks, for coffee and danish, and Bowl America.

“Republican officials promise payback. ‘This,’ pledged a GOP leadership aide, ‘is going to get ugly.’”

Personal jabs

Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn and challenger Antonio Villaraigosa traded more verbal punches in their final debate, an edgy exchange in which both candidates said they could best lead the city to a prosperous future.

As in their previous encounters, much of the debate Saturday was devoted to sharp and at times personal jabs over each other’s integrity and suitability for running the nation’s second-largest city, the Associated Press reports.

Struggling in the polls, Mr. Hahn assumed the role of a challenger, accusing Mr. Villaraigosa of being the candidate of inertia and shopworn ideas.

Mr. Villaraigosa “wants to defend the status quo,” said Mr. Hahn, who is seeking a second, four-year term. “I changed the status quo. … We can’t afford to go back to the failed policies of the past.”

Mr. Villaraigosa, a city council member, repeated his campaign line that Los Angeles needed a change of direction. He faulted Mr. Hahn repeatedly for the ongoing corruption investigation at City Hall, in which authorities are looking into reports that city contracts were exchanged for campaign donations.

“We need … a mayor who’s going to give us a fresh start,” Mr. Villaraigosa said. The campaign “is about the next four years.”

The election is May 17.

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

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