- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Tancredo 2008?

Rep. Tom Tancredo, a vocal critic of President Bush’s immigration policy, says he will run for president in 2008 if no one else steps forward to press the issue.

The Colorado Republican was in Nashua, N.H., on Monday, speaking to the Nashua Republican City Committee.

“I don’t consider myself a candidate today,” Mr. Tancredo said, when asked if he is considering a presidential run, adding: “If no one will take this banner up — and I say this with great trepidation — yeah, I will. I don’t know what else to do.”

The felon vote

“There’s one overlooked reason Gov. Tom Vilsack is issuing a blanket order restoring voting rights to all Iowa felons who’ve completed their sentences,” Des Moines Register columnist David Yepsen writes. “Politics.”

• “It’s an attempt to increase the number of Democratic voters in the state, thereby tipping close elections in 2006 and 2008.

• “It’s designed to make him look good with minority-rights organizations. Those groups were offended when he signed an English-only bill before his 2002 re-election campaign. He’ll need their support when he runs for president or seeks some other role on the national Democratic stage.

• “t’s the reason most Republicans are squawking. While the governor has found a couple of token GOPers to support him on this, most don’t, and it’s unlikely they can do much about it because a governor has clear powers to restore voting rights.”

A disproportionate number of felons are from minority and lower-income groups, Mr. Yepsen noted.

“That means they are demographically more likely to vote Democratic than Republican. (Which is why left-of-center groups are praising Vilsack and why you can look for Democrats to soon begin felon voter-registration drives.)”

Field trip

All 55 Republican senators loaded onto three buses yesterday for a little field trip to the White House to lunch with the president.

As senators milled around on the steps of the Capitol, waiting to board, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton walked by and commented on the field trip. “Do you have your permission slips all filled out?” the New York Democrat and former first lady joked to Sen. Larry E. Craig, Idaho Republican. He laughed and said, yes, they were all set.

A few moments later, two buses filled with senators pulled away, and the third was about to leave when Sen. George Allen, Virginia Republican, came bounding out of the Capitol and boarded the bus just in time.

Testing the waters

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has spent the last several months addressing Republican loyalists around the country, acknowledged yesterday that he’s considering a presidential bid in 2008, the Associated Press reported.

“If someone said, well, you know, the governor’s testing the national waters, that’s a fair characterization,” Mr. Romney said. “But I’m planning on running for governor. Time will tell. I’ll make a final decision and an announcement in the fall, and we’ll go from there.”

Mr. Romney’s current term as governor ends in January 2007.

‘Below the belt’

“I am no defender of Hillary Rodham Clinton‘s, to put it mildly. But the recent charges in Ed Klein’s book to the effect that she is a closet homosexual or that Bill raped her and that this act triggered Chelsea’s conception are as crazy as the list that was circulating around of the 20 or so people the Clintons allegedly had killed,” Dick Morris writes in the Hill newspaper.

“These accusations do not belong in our public dialogue. They hit below the belt and tend to discredit the more serious and sober concerns so many of us have about the danger she would present in high office,” Mr. Morris said.

Avoiding the ‘F’ word

“Senate Democrats continued to filibuster John Bolton’s nomination to be ambassador to the U.N., but you wouldn’t know that from Monday’s broadcast network evening newscasts, which assiduously avoided the term,” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker writes at www.mediaresearch.org.

“ABC anchor Charles Gibson, for instance, euphemistically referred to how the Senate had rejected ‘a move to end debate so that a vote could be held.’ …

“Over on the ‘NBC Nightly News,’ Chip Reid uniquely reported the vote numbers as he avoided the ‘filibuster’ term: ‘John Bolton is the president’s choice to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. The Democrats have been trying to block that choice. Republicans have been trying to force a final vote. But today for the second time the Democrats blocked that final vote. Three-and-a-half weeks ago, the Republicans got 58 votes to go to that final vote. They needed 60. This time they only got 54.’”

Arnold’s numbers

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s call for a special election and a new advertising campaign to promote his agenda have failed to arrest his slide in popularity, according to a new statewide poll.

According to the Field Poll released yesterday, 37 percent of registered California voters approve of Mr. Schwarzenegger’s job performance, a drop of 18 percentage points since February.

Mr. Schwarzenegger said at a press conference yesterday that the poll’s message is lawmakers should work together to solve California’s problems.

“I don’t think the people are telling us anything new,” he said. “It’s very clear the people are sensitive to what’s happening in the Capitol. Everyone wants us to work together.”

Among the measures the governor is asking voters to approve Nov. 8 are limits on state spending, redrawn legislative and congressional districts, and changes in tenure for public school teachers.

Salesman Jeb

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was mobbed yesterday by biotech executives during a half-hour appearance at the annual Biotechnology Industry Organization conference in Philadelphia.

The governor spent much of the day in meetings in and around the Philadelphia Convention Center trying to lure the life-sciences industry to relocate to the Sunshine State.

“Biotech is very important to Florida,” he told The Washington Times during a brief appearance at the state’s exhibit. “For our strategy for sustained job growth, we need to attract industries that will grow propulsively.”

There are many governors at the conference, but Mr. Bush raised eyebrows among some biotech executives for his handling of the Terri Schiavo case.

Asked if executives had raised that subject in discussions, he said with a smile, “No. Not at all. It will never come up.”

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

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