- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 11, 2005

Unfit to print

White House adviser Ed Gillespie is taking the New York Times to task for what he considers shoddy journalism. In a letter to the Times Washington bureau chief Philip Taubman yesterday, Mr. Gillespie cited Times coverage of a meeting between Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, and Supreme Court nominee Judge John G. Roberts Jr.

The Times article provided Mr. Wyden’s characterization of Judge Roberts’ take on the Terry Schiavo case, based on notes from the meeting taken by a Wyden staffer. But the Times did not contact the White House for reaction.

“Former Senator Fred Thompson, who is helping Judge Roberts in his meetings with senators, does not believe that Judge Roberts made comments as described in the article. For example, the Times writes that Roberts ‘made clear he was displeased with Congress’s effort to force the federal judiciary to overturn a court order withdrawing her feeding tube.’ He said no such thing, according to others in the meeting,” Mr. Gillespie admonished in his letter.

“In fact, notes taken by a White House aide at the meeting reflect that Judge Roberts said he had not studied the Schiavo case and could not comment on either the case itself or Congress’s actions related to it.”

Judge Roberts’ visits with senators are closed to the press and considered “private,” Mr. Gillespie wrote. “But if a senator chooses to publicly characterize the nature of those conversations, the White House would appreciate the opportunity to provide a fuller accounting of a two-way discussion.”

Mr. Gillespie welcomed the Times “24 hours a day, seven days a week” and suggested the paper run a correction based on notes taken by a White House aide present in Tuesday’s meeting.

When asked about the Schiavo case, Judge Roberts replied: “I haven’t studied the case. I wouldn’t want to opine on it.” And in addressing “the idea generally of specific remedies,” he said, “I am aware of Court precedents which say Congress can overstep when it prescribes particular outcomes in particular cases.”

Paper chase

Hear ye, hear ye, all complaining journalists:

The National Archives announced yesterday: “Approximately 500 pages of material from five series of records from Record Group 60: Department of Justice have been processed for release. These records relate to [Judge John G. Roberts Jr.‘s] tenure as special assistant to the attorney general in 1981-82. The papers consist of notes, memoranda and other materials written by, or sent to, Judge Roberts. Some of these documents may be duplicative of materials that were previously opened.

“This release is in response to Freedom of Information Act requests under the provisions of the Federal Records Act and is part of an ongoing process to review and make available materials found in the holdings of the National Archives that relate to Judge John Roberts.

Posies for Pirro

Drama among Republicans continues in the race for the New York Senate seat against Democrat Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. While Ed Cox accused rival Jeanine Pirro of flip-flopping on issues yesterday, John Spencer — the third GOP hopeful — went the gentlemanly route.

Mr. Spencer sent congratulatory flowers to Mrs. Pirro at her official launch press conference yesterday, enclosing the following little note:Jeanine, congratulations on entering the U.S. Senate race. I look forward to discussing your liberal views.”

Mr. Spencer, a Vietnam veteran and former mayor of Yonkers, plans to run on the Republican and Conservative party tickets and will officially announce his campaign in September.

Woodward on ‘08

Washington Post assistant managing editor Bob Woodward is now on the speaker circuit, talking politics on behalf of the District-based Aspen Institute. He predicts Vice President Dick Cheney and Sen. Hillary Clinton will face off for president in 2008.

“He would be 67 if he ran and was elected,” Mr. Woodward told a Colorado audience, according to the Denver Post yesterday. “Reagan was 69. Republicans always like the old warhorse — both parties like to nominate vice presidents. Cheney would do it, and I think it’s highly likely, so stay tuned.”

His language perhaps revealing some old 1960s underpinnings, Mr. Woodward had more to say about things presidential, commenting on President Bush’s use of such words as “duty” and “zeal,” and his belief that what he is doing is morally right.

“It was almost a mind trip on how he looks at things and what he values,” Mr. Woodward observed.

Call in Mighty Mouse

An 8-minute cartoon for young audiences from Planned Parenthood in San Francisco has irked two pro-life groups. The cartoon showcases the adventures of “Dianisis,” a feisty female whose mission is to protect “choice.”

She attacks “Sleasy Dude,” a character promoting abstinence among teenagers, and tosses him in a trash can, fires a gun that shoots condoms at a group of pro-life demonstrators, then witnesses a cartoon “Senator” who throws the Bill of Rights and the Constitution into a boiling pot.

He tells her, “I feel cleansed. I no longer have the stench of misinformed conservatism. I want all women everywhere to have the ability to choose what they do with their bodies.”

“This video is absolutely outrageous,” said Douglas R. Scott of Life Decisions International yesterday. “Pro-life men and women are depicted as evil and stupid. It sends a message to teenagers that it is acceptable to eliminate those who disagree.”

Jim Sedlak of the American Life League observed, “The hatred and religious bigotry demonstrated by Planned Parenthood in this video are shocking and offensive,” adding the organization glamorized violence against “people of faith.”

Get out the vote

James C. Garrett, who is running for mayor of Seattle, argued at an administrative hearing yesterday that his name should appear on the primary-election ballot despite a felony conviction for assaulting then-Mayor Paul Schell with a bullhorn four years ago.

Mr. Garrett, 59, blamed his actions on “post-traumatic slavery syndrome,” according to the Seattle Times yesterday. He is also challenging his conviction after a 21-month prison sentence. As a convicted felon, his voting rights were revoked.

King County elections officials allowed him to register to vote again last year and accepted his mayoral candidacy on June 29 though his voting rights had never legally been restored. State laws require candidates for public office to be legally registered voters.

Dean Logan, director of the county elections office, is still mulling the situation, and will issue a written ruling in a few days.

Contact Jennifer Harper at jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.

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