- The Washington Times - Monday, November 7, 2005

Celebrities clash

Actors Warren Beatty and wife Annette Bening tried to crash a campaign appearance Saturday by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as the governor sought to drum up last-minute support for a group of statewide ballot measures.

The Hollywood couple strode side by side to the entrance of an airport hangar in San Diego where several hundred of the governor’s supporters had gathered.

A Schwarzenegger aide told the “Bulworth” star he was not on the guest list and did not have the appropriate wristband to get inside.

“You have to have a wristband to listen to the governor?” Miss Bening asked. “He represents all of us, right?”

The couple’s appearance caused momentary confusion. Just before the governor took the stage, the hangar door was closed — literally in their faces. It was later reopened as Mr. Schwarzenegger spoke, the Associated Press reports.

Inside, Mr. Schwarzenegger told cheering supporters that his slate of four proposals on tomorrow’s ballot would “reform the broken system.”

Mr. Beatty planned to shadow Mr. Schwarzenegger throughout the day as the governor campaigned. He has been mentioned as a challenger to Mr. Schwarzenegger, but he said Saturday that he would not be a candidate in next year’s gubernatorial race.

“To me, this is an abuse of the initiative process,” Mr. Beatty said of Mr. Schwarzenegger’s campaigning for the ballot measures.

Candidate fades

Voters fed up with San Diego’s financial mess and political corruption came within a whisker of electing surf-shop owner Donna Frye as mayor on a stunning write-in campaign a year ago.

Now the Democratic council member is in a runoff for mayor — but the city doesn’t seem quite so enamored of her this time around, despite her bigger campaign budget and more polished image. With the election tomorrow, she’s trailing Republican former police Chief Jerry Sanders, who has the backing of the city’s business establishment.

Miss Frye may have hurt her chances in the nonpartisan race by backing a tax increase in this city known for fiscal conservatism.

The winner will have the task of fixing a $1.37 billion pension-fund shortfall that has set off federal investigations of City Hall, reduced the city’s ability to borrow money and fueled talk of municipal bankruptcy. The pension mess led Mayor Dick Murphy to leave office in July, seven months into his second term.

More ammunition

House conservatives said Friday they have all the more justification to split up the liberal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California, after it ruled last week against parents who sued because their young children were asked sexual questions in a school survey.

“Parents, not schools, teachers and certainly not courts, have the primary responsibility for educating children,” said Rep. Joe Pitts, Pennsylvania Republican. “It is time for Congress to exert its constitutional ability and break up this court.”

The court dismissed the parents’ lawsuit, finding they don’t have the exclusive right to tell their children about sex. According to the Associated Press, Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt, a 1980 appointee of President Carter, said “no such specific right can be found in the deep roots of the nation’s history and tradition or implied in the concept of ordered liberty.”

In the case, a California public school gave its first-, third- and fifth-graders a questionnaire that included sexual content.

The contentious ruling comes as the House prepares to debate a spending-cut proposal that includes a provision to split the 9th Circuit into two and allow President Bush to appoint a few 9th Circuit judges. Conservatives said the ruling gives that provision momentum.

“If Reinhardt didn’t want the circuit split, this [ruling] was bad timing on his part,” said an angry Rep. John T. Doolittle, California Republican, adding that it’s “just the latest in a long train of abuses” the court has made on everything from immigration and racial profiling to abortion and family issues.

Levin’s complaint

Donald Rumsfeld wants Dorrance Smith to be confirmed as assistant secretary of defense for public affairs — but there’s a hitch,” the Wall Street Journal says in an editorial.

Sen. Carl Levin (D., Mich.) has latched on to an op-ed about reporting in an age of terrorism that Mr. Smith wrote for this newspaper on April 25 and pronounced him unfit for the Pentagon job. Mr. Smith’s alleged sin? To summarize Sen. Levin’s complaints at an Oct. 25 grilling of the nominee: ‘Unfair labeling.’

“You decide. In the course of his op-ed, Mr. Smith criticized the U.S. media’s habit of routinely broadcasting terrorist statements and tapes obtained from the Arab-language broadcaster al-Jazeera and raised questions that many Americans have asked themselves: By airing such footage — of insurgents in Iraq holding hostages or attacking U.S. soldiers and of al Qaeda officials promising death and destruction — do TV networks effectively (if unwittingly) enter into a propaganda partnership with terrorists?

“Does the terrorists’ knowledge that their grisly filmed messages will instantly reach millions embolden them to create more chaos and endanger more lives? Do U.S. networks — Mr. Smith mentioned six by name, including CNN and Fox — that air these tapes know, or even inquire about, the terms under which al-Jazeera obtained them? …

“Mr. Smith has standing to address these issues in part because the former ABC news producer spent nine months in Iraq as a media adviser to Ambassador Paul Bremer. He knows more about terrorist propaganda, and its potential effects, than the Americans on the receiving end of the terror tapes.

“In any case, surely these are all questions the spokesman for U.S. Secretary of Defense has a right — even a responsibility — to raise. Contrary to Sen. Levin’s assertions, Mr. Smith’s op-ed is evidence of why he is qualified for the job — which, by the way, has been vacant since June 2003, thanks to Sen. Levin’s hold on the previous nominee, Lawrence DiRita.”

McCain’s moves

“Sen.John McCain is taking action to make it hard for conservatives to write him off in the 2008 presidential race,” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.

“His office confirms that the maverick moderate recently met with the Rev. Jerry Falwell, a conservative icon who is influential with voters on the right. Also, as McCain prepares a campaign-style trip to South Carolina, critical in the 2008 GOP primaries, a key ally is putting himself in the good graces of conservatives,” Mr. Bedard said.

“South Carolina Sen.Lindsey Graham is winning kudos from conservatives for backing Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, raising his stature in the state and maybe even making his 2008 endorsement the key to victory. And should McCain win the state that derailed his 2000 bid, Graham would vault to the top of the veep list, say insiders.”

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

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