- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 27, 2005

McGavick vs. Cantwell

Promising Washington state voters “a different kind of leadership,” Safeco Insurance Cos. executive Mike McGavick made it official yesterday, announcing that he will run against Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell, whose job approval ratings have fallen below 50 percent in recent months.

Mr. McGavick was an aide to Sen. Slade Gorton, who was narrowly defeated by Ms. Cantwell in 2000. Mr. McGavick has raised more than $800,000 for a campaign that Republican officials say will be one of the priority races next year.

Gun law signed

President Bush yesterday signed into law the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which prohibits liability actions against firearms or ammunition manufacturers and sellers for unlawful use of their products.

The law also prohibits sale of a handgun unless the purchaser is provided with a secure gun storage or safety device and provides for minimum sentences when armor-piercing ammunition is used in certain crimes.

The president’s signature yesterday on the bipartisan legislation, passed in the Senate 65-31 and the House 283-144, drew the ire of liberal Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

“The corporate gun immunity bill is a shameless pander to protect the gun industry against even the most reckless sales of its weapons,” the Massachusetts Democrat said.

But Rep. Mike Simpson, Idaho Republican, said the law is needed because “sadly, our nation’s tort system has become more a way to unjustly transfer wealth than fairly compensate those harmed by the negligence or wrongdoing of others.”

Snide remark

“An overwhelming 79 percent of Iraqis, who risked their lives just over a week ago to cast their ballot, voted in favor of the nation’s new constitution, but you’d have missed it if you sneezed during Tuesday’s ‘CBS Evening News’ or ABC’s ‘World News Tonight,’” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker writes at www.mrc.org.

“CBS anchor Bob Schieffer delivered only this single sentence — ‘Iraq’s government announced today that voters did approve the country’s new constitution in this month’s referendum’ — before moving on to a full story about the 2,000th death of U.S. servicemen in Iraq, a piece he could not resist introducing without adding this snide aside: ‘More than 90 percent of the 2,000 who died in the war have died since the president declared major combat was at an end in May 2003.’

“On ABC, which had time for a full piece from Terry Moran about the ‘potentially huge’ story of Vice President Cheney’s supposed role in the [Valerie] Plame case, anchor Elizabeth Vargas briefly noted how ‘in Iraq today, there was a milestone on the road to democracy: The official results show that a new constitution was ratified by an overwhelming margin.’ That was it for the Iraqi constitution. ABC led with, as Vargas put it, the ‘terrible milestone’ of 2,000 killed in Iraq. Viewers then saw two stories: Martha Raddatz on the anguish of Army medical personnel and Barbara Pinto on parents in an Ohio town who have lost sons in Iraq,” Mr. Baker said.

“The ‘NBC Nightly News’ devoted a full story to the 2,000 ‘milestone’ followed by a piece from Iraq which began with the overwhelming approval of the constitution by 79 percent, what reporter Richard Engel called ‘a historic milestone’ before he moved on to the ongoing violence and how ‘there are some bright spots,’ such as more jobs.”

DeLay’s disclosure

Rep. Tom DeLay failed to comply with House requirements that he disclose all contributions to a defense fund that pays his legal bills, the Texas Republican acknowledged to House officials.

He wrote officials that $20,850 contributed in 2000 and 2001 was not reported anywhere. An additional $17,300 was included in the defense fund’s quarterly report but not in Mr. DeLay’s 2000 financial disclosure report. Other donations were stated as totaling $2,800 when the figure should have been $4,450.

It was in that period that Mr. DeLay was the subject of several House ethics investigations, the Associated Press reports.

Kerry’s idea

Sen. John Kerry says President Bush should bring home 20,000 troops from Iraq over the Christmas holidays if the December parliamentary elections there are successful.

Defeated by Mr. Bush last year and a potential candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, Mr. Kerry called for a “reasonable time frame” for pulling back troops rather than the full-scale withdrawal advocated by some Democrats. He said it could be completed in 12 to 15 months, the Associated Press reports.

“It will be hard for this administration, but it is essential to acknowledge that the insurgency will not be defeated unless our troop levels are drawn down … starting immediately after successful elections in December,” Mr. Kerry said in a speech yesterday at Georgetown University.

The presence of 159,000 U.S. troops in Iraq is deterring peace efforts, said Mr. Kerry, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Vermont decision

Vermont Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie, a Republican, announced yesterday that he will seek re-election, forgoing a bid for an open U.S. Senate seat that he had been considering.

Mr. Dubie, a two-term incumbent, listed family responsibilities among the factors that influenced his decision. But he also acknowledged that he faced pressure from leading Republicans to defend a seat that they feared they would lose if he sought a move to Washington, the Associated Press reports.

His decision eliminates the most serious challenger to businessman Richard Tarrant, who is seeking the Republican nomination to run for the seat that will be vacated by the retirement of independent Sen. James M. Jeffords.

Rep. Bernard Sanders, a self-described socialist who caucuses with the Democrats, has started raising money to run for Mr. Jeffords’ seat.

Buddy-buddy

Former President George Bush reminisced about his political life Tuesday at a University of Wyoming banquet and said he has enjoyed working with former President BillClinton.

“Who would have thought that I would be working with Bill Clinton, of all people?” said Mr. Bush, a Republican who teamed up with the Democrat this year to raise money for victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami and Hurricane Katrina.

He said he had nothing but praise for Mr. Clinton, even though people on the far right have criticized Mr. Bush — and people on the far left have criticized Mr. Clinton — for their decision to work together.

“We don’t go into a lot of differences on political issues,” Mr. Bush said. “It has been an eye-opening and enjoyable experience for me to work with him on something truly apolitical.”

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

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