- The Washington Times - Monday, March 21, 2005

Giuliani’s future

Former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani has scheduled a meeting with his top advisers to plan his return to political life, the New York Post said yesterday.

Two Republicans familiar with the talks said Mr. Giuliani has not ruled out a New York gubernatorial run in 2006 and is likely to do so if he concludes he can’t win the 2008 Republican presidential nomination and if Gov. George E. Pataki, a Republican, does not run for a fourth term.

“If he does run for governor and wins,” the unidentified source told the Post, “he’s going to stay in Albany and try to straighten out the state, not run for president the next year.”

Political analysts say Mr. Giuliani easily could wait well into 2006 to start a presidential bid, but must make up his mind no later than next spring if he wants to run for governor.

“Rudy’s aware of the problems he would face running for president in 2008 and knows it wouldn’t be easy,” the source told the newspaper, apparently referring to positions Mr. Giuliani holds on guns, abortion and other politically sensitive stances that are outside of the Republican mainstream.

Republican ousted

Playgirl Editor in Chief Michele Zipp has been fired after revealing that she voted Republican in the 2004 election, Matt Drudge reports at his Web site (www.drudgereport.com).

Miss Zipp, in an e-mail, told Mr. Drudge she was dismissed after a liberal backlash at the magazine.

“Hello Drudge,

“After your coverage of my article about coming out and voting Republican, I did receive many letters of support from fellow Republican voters, but it was not without repercussions. Criticism from the liberal left ensued. A few days after the onslaught of liberal backlash, I was released from my duties at Playgirl magazine,” she said.

“After underlings expressed their disinterest of working for an outed Republican editor, I have a strong suspicion that my position was no longer valued by Playgirl executives. I also received a phone call from a leading official from Playgirl magazine, in which he stated with a laugh, ‘I wouldn’t have hired you if I knew you were a Republican.’

“I just wanted to let you know of the fear the liberal left has about a woman with power possessing Republican views.”

Fooling Congress

“If a political gaffe consists of inadvertently revealing the truth, then Sean Treglia, a former program officer for the Philadelphia-based Pew Charitable Trusts, has just ripped the curtain off of the ‘good government’ groups that foisted the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill on the country in 2002,” John Fund writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“What Mr. Treglia revealed in a talk last year at the University of Southern California is that far from representing the efforts of genuine grass-roots activists, the campaign finance reform lobby was controlled and funded by liberal foundations like Pew. In a tape obtained by the New York Post, Mr. Treglia tells his USC audience they are going to hear a story he can reveal only now that campaign finance reform has become law.

“‘The target audience for all this [foundation] activity was 535 people in [Congress],’ Mr. Treglia says in his talk. ‘The idea was to create an impression that a mass movement was afoot. That everywhere [Congress] looked, in academic institutions, in the business community, in religious groups, in ethnic groups, everywhere, people were talking about reform.’

“The truth was far different. Mr. Treglia admits that campaign-finance supporters had to try to hoodwink Congress because ‘they had lost legitimacy inside Washington because they didn’t have a constituency that would punish Congress if they didn’t vote for reform.’

“So instead, Mr. Treglia said, liberal reform groups created a Potemkin movement. A study last month by the Political Money Line, a nonpartisan Web site dealing with campaign funding issues, found that of the $140 million spent to directly promote liberal campaign reform in the last decade, a full $123 million came from just eight liberal foundations. Many are the same foundations that provide much of the money for such left-wing groups as People for the American Way and the Earth Action Network. The ‘movement’ behind campaign-finance reform resembled many corporate campaigns pushing legislation. It consisted largely of ‘Astroturf’ rather than true ‘grass-roots’ support.

“But the results were spectacular. Not only did the effort succeed in bulldozing Congress and President Bush, but it might have played a role in persuading the Supreme Court, which had previously ruled against broad restrictions on political speech, to declare McCain-Feingold constitutional in 2003 on a 5-4 vote. ‘You will see that almost half the footnotes relied on by the Supreme Court in upholding the law are research funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts,’ Mr. Treglia boasted.”

Ashcroft to teach

Former Attorney General John Ashcroft has accepted a job as a distinguished fellow at Regent University in Virginia Beach.

Only a month after leaving the Justice Department, Mr. Ashcroft will begin working for former presidential hopeful and evangelist Pat Robertson. He starts teaching a class covering “leadership in times of crisis” on April 4.

“What better way to teach national security law than to have the man who handled 9/11?” asked Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice and a Regent University trustee.

Case settled

The ex-wife of President Bush’s brother Neil has settled a slander case accusing her of spreading rumors that Neil Bush fathered a child with his mistress. The terms of the settlement were not immediately disclosed.

DNA testing last year showed that Neil Bush did not father the boy, then 3.

Sharon and Neil Bush divorced in 2003 after 23 years of marriage. Neil Bush married Maria Andrews last March. She was formerly married to Robert Andrews, who was established as the boy’s father by DNA testing.

Robert Andrews sued Sharon Bush for $950,000, an apology and a portion of any future book advances or royalties she receives.

State District Judge Randy Wilson’s court confirmed yesterday the case had been settled, the Associated Press reports.

Record fund raising

The Republican National Committee raised $21.6 million during the first two months of 2005, a record for a non-congressional election year.

Republican National Chairman Ken Mehlman said the amount of money raised, $10.2 million in January and $11.4 million in February, gave “evidence of widespread enthusiasm for the president’s priorities,” United Press International reports.

During the two-month period, the committee said, it had received almost a half-million donations from 423,432 individual donors, whose average gift was $46.54. Of those, the RNC said, 37,000 were new donors.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]

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