- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Give ‘em Hill

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton told supporters of her 2006 Senate re-election bid yesterday that America can no longer “give in” to the Republican agenda.

The administration of President Bush wants to stifle debate and suppress facts on issues from the deficit to global warming, the New York Democrat told a crowd of more than 900 people at a “New York Women for Hillary” fundraiser.

“There has never been an administration, I don’t think in our history, more intent on consolidating and abusing power to further their own agenda,” Mrs. Clinton said.

The New York event was the first high-profile fundraiser of her re-election bid, and has served as an occasion for a new round of speculation over her presidential prospects, Reuters news agency reports.

The event raised $250,000, organizers said. Supporters took home “Give ‘em Hill” bumper stickers.

Rocking the rockers

The Americans for Prosperity Foundation, which identifies itself as a free-market, grass-roots group, wants Sen. John McCain to use his acceptance speech at tomorrow’s Rock the Vote Awards Dinner to confront the organization about its opposition to Social Security reform.

Mr. McCain, Arizona Republican, supports the idea of allowing young workers to invest some of their Social Security taxes in personal retirement accounts. Even though polls have found overwhelming support among young people, Rock the Vote opposes personal accounts.

Mr. McCain is scheduled to accept the “Rock the Nation” award from the youth group.

“Senator McCain has a built a reputation for straight talk, and we certainly hope his ‘Straight Talk Express’ rolls into Rock the Vote’s Awards Dinner on Wednesday night,” said Americans for Prosperity Foundation Executive Vice President Michelle Korsmo.

“Young workers have the most to lose if the current Social Security system is not reformed, and Rock the Vote is not acting in the best interests of young people when they fight against letting them have a little more control over their own tax dollars,” she said. “Hopefully, Senator McCain will confront Rock the Vote’s hypocrisy head on.”

The Americans for Prosperity Foundation has launched a campaign called “Rock the Hypocrisy” (www.RockTheHypocrisy.com). The group plans a youth protest of the Rock the Vote Awards Dinner, starting at 5:30 p.m. outside the National Building Museum.

Ohio ‘embarrassment’

“That man is a clown, a crying clown,” says Cincinnati radio talk-show host Bill Cunningham.

That “clown” is Sen. George V. Voinovich, the Ohio Republican who made a teary-eyed speech against John R. Bolton’s nomination as ambassador to the United Nations.

The New York Times reports that Mr. Cunningham’s attitude is shared by many conservatives in Ohio, the state that clinched the 2004 re-election for President Bush, but whose two Republican senators have defied the White House in recent weeks.

Mr. Voinovich turned weepy in explaining why he won’t support the president’s nomination of Mr. Bolton — a State Department undersecretary and former scholar at the American Enterprise Institute — to the U.N. job. And Sen. Mike DeWine joined the “Gang of Seven” Republicans who struck a deal with Democrats to avert a showdown over Mr. Bush’s judicial nominees.

In Cincinnati, Mr. Cunningham has gone on national talk-radio shows to apologize for Ohio’s rogue Republican senators. “These two guys are an embarrassment,” he says.

Meanwhile, Ohio’s Christian conservative leaders — who played a key role in helping swing their battleground state for Mr. Bush last November — are running radio ads denouncing Mr. DeWine and seeking a candidate to challenge him in the Republican primary next year, when Mr. DeWine is up for re-election.

Hunger campaign

Representatives from more than 40 Christian, Jewish and Muslim groups were scheduled to gather at the Washington Cathedral last night to “call for the political will to end hunger.”

Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of Cape Town, South Africa, planned to preach about the estimated 852 million people who go hungry every day.

The gathering, the high point of a three-day conference on hunger at American University sponsored by Bread for the World and Call to Renewal, was missing only a few religious groups: Mormons, Orthodox Jews and Russian, Antiochian and Greek Orthodox churches.

But it included nearly everyone else because, according to the archbishop, “The religious right and the religious left are united in one cause: No one should go hungry.”

Bread for the World and other hunger groups will be on the Hill today to lobby for the Hunger-Free Communities Act of 2005, sponsored by Reps. Tom Osborne, Nebraska Republican, and Jim McGovern, Massachusetts Democrat. On the Senate side, the legislation is being co-sponsored by Democrats Richard J. Durbin of Illinois and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Republicans Gordon H. Smith of Oregon and Richard G. Lugar of Indiana.

Perjury charge

Former Massachusetts House Speaker Thomas Finneran was indicted yesterday on charges of lying under oath about his role in the redrawing of the state’s legislative districts.

Mr. Finneran was charged with perjury and obstruction of justice and could be sent to prison and lose his license to practice law if convicted.

Mr. Finneran, who resigned in September to head the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, was widely considered the state’s most powerful politician during his eight years as speaker, the Associated Press reports.

The Democrat from Boston was accused of lying when he testified last year before a federal appeals court in a lawsuit brought by minority groups that claimed a new legislative map would hurt black and Hispanic candidates and protect Mr. Finneran and other incumbents.

Mr. Finneran told the three-judge panel he had no role in drafting the map beyond appointing members of a redistricting committee.

In its ruling, which favored the minority groups, the court said it found Mr. Finneran’s testimony hard to believe.

The name’s the same

George McGovern, the former South Dakota senator and Democratic presidential nominee, is no relation to Rep. Jim McGovern, Massachusetts Democrat, but the two teamed up for an op-ed yesterday in the Boston Globe calling for an early withdrawal from Iraq.

“We were early opponents of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Nonetheless, once American forces were committed, we hoped that our concerns would be proven wrong. That has not been the case,” the two McGoverns said.

“The United States must now begin an orderly withdrawal of our forces from this mistaken foreign venture.”

The writers did not explain what, besides their opposition to the war and identical last names, led to their collaboration.

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

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