- The Washington Times - Monday, April 17, 2006

Rumsfeld shrugs

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday he believes the public push by several retired generals to force him from office is going to die out.

“Well, you know, this, too, will pass,” he told Rush Limbaugh’s nationally syndicated radio show.

Several general officers, including two with recent experience as division commanders in Iraq, have criticized Mr. Rumsfeld’s management of the Pentagon and of the war, arguing that he should step down.

“I think about it, and I must say there’s always two sides to these things, and the sharper the criticism comes, sometimes the sharper the defense comes from people who don’t agree with the critics,” Mr. Rumsfeld said.

He said he was pleased to see that retired Gen. Richard B. Myers, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and retired Gen. Tommy Franks, who developed and executed the Iraq invasion plan, had rebutted the critics and expressed support for him, the Associated Press reports. President Bush issued a strongly worded statement of support Friday.

Asked by Mr. Limbaugh why certain retired generals had chosen to call publicly for his resignation, Mr. Rumsfeld replied, “Well, I just don’t know. I can’t climb into other people’s minds.” He noted that retired Adm. Vern Clark, a former chief of naval operations, had said publicly that Mr. Rumsfeld is a suitably tough-minded leader. Mr. Rumsfeld’s critics have said he is arrogant and disregarded the advice of military officers.

Santorum’s cash

Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican, considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents, raised more than $3 million in the first three months of the year and has a 2-to-1 cash advantage over his leading Democratic opponent.

Mr. Santorum finished the quarter that ended March 31 with more than $9 million cash on hand, compared with $4.5 million for state Treasurer Bob Casey, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission yesterday.

Mr. Santorum has raised more than $16 million for the November election. Mr. Casey has raised more than $8 million — $2.2 million in the first quarter of 2006, his campaign said. The two are expected to face each other in what has been billed as one of the nation’s most competitive Senate races. Polls have shown Mr. Casey with a double-digit lead over the two-term conservative lawmaker.

Mr. Santorum was scheduled to get some campaign help today from former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, the Associated Press reports.

A real long shot

A former Democratic senator from Alaska and outspoken critic of the Vietnam War announced yesterday his long-shot bid for the presidency in 2008 and a plan to reshape U.S. democracy.

Mike Gravel, a 76-year-old self-described maverick, said he wants to give citizens the direct power to make laws based on popular votes, not exclusively through elected members of Congress.

“Our three branches of government have become like an unstable chair, a three-legged chair,” Mr. Gravel said. “The founders could not have envisioned how much money and special interests would corrupt the political process. Giving us Americans legislative power will put forth the fourth leg of our stool and make it stable.”

Mr. Gravel, who served in the Senate from 1969 to 1981, advocates giving all policy decisions to the people through a direct vote, including health care reform, eliminating the IRS and income taxes, and declaring war, AP reports.

Mr. Gravel and his wife, Whitney, took mass transit to the press conference in Washington, a reflection of the shoestring campaign budget.

Falwell loses case

The Rev. Jerry Falwell yesterday lost a Supreme Court appeal of a case that sought to shut down a Web site with a similar name but opposite views on homosexuals.

Mr. Falwell claims that a homosexual man in New York improperly draws people to a site by using a common misspelling of the cleric’s name as the site’s domain name.

A federal judge sided with Mr. Falwell, who runs a Virginia-based ministry, on grounds that Christopher Lamparello’s domain name was nearly identical to the trademark bearing Mr. Falwell’s name and could confuse Web surfers.

But last year, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed and said that Mr. Lamparello was free to operate his “gripe site” about Mr. Falwell’s views on homosexuals at https://www.fallwell.com. Mr. Lamparello “clearly created his Web site intending only to provide a forum to criticize ideas, not to steal customers,” the court said.

The Jerry Falwell Ministries site is: https://www.falwell.com.

Mr. Falwell’s Web site is more high-tech, with pictures of the minister, and sales material for books and videos, AP reports. Mr. Lamparello’s Web site is mainly just statements, with no photographs or items for sale. He says that Mr. Falwell is wrong in preaching that homosexuals are sinners who can change. At the top of the site a disclaimer reads: “This Web site is NOT affiliated with Rev. Dr. Jerry Falwell or his ministry.”

Fonda’s ‘baggage’

Jane Fonda says she would like to tour the country and speak out against U.S. involvement in Iraq, but her controversial history of the Vietnam War protests leaves her with “too much baggage.”

“I wanted to do a tour like I did during the Vietnam War, a tour of the country,” the Oscar-winning actress said yesterday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “But then Cindy Sheehan filled in the gap, and she is better at this than I am. I carry too much baggage.”

Miss Sheehan, whose soldier son, Casey, died in Iraq in 2004, has become a leading anti-war figure.

Miss Fonda said that during a recent national book tour, war opponents — including some Vietnam veterans — asked her to speak out, AP reported.

Last month, the Georgia Senate overwhelmingly rejected a resolution honoring Miss Fonda, an Atlanta resident, for her work preventing teen pregnancy, donations to universities and charities and role as goodwill ambassador for the United Nations.

Candidate who?

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s potential Republican challengers are battling anonymity in their race for the GOP nomination, with nearly 80 percent of voters saying they don’t know enough about either front-runner to give a thumbs up or down, according to a poll released yesterday.

Kathleen Troia “KT” McFarland, a Reagan-era Pentagon official, was favored by 20 percent of likely Republican voters in the Siena College Research Institute poll. Former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer was the choice of 18 percent.

The remaining 63 percent said they didn’t know whom to support in the Sept. 12 primary. When all the GOP respondents were asked if they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the two Republicans, 79 percent said they didn’t know enough about them to have an opinion.

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

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