- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Durbin’s ‘Pajamas’

Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin told reporters yesterday that the Senate didn’t intend for the resolution authorizing President Bush to use “all necessary and appropriate force” to include warrantless spying on suspected terrorists.

“Why don’t you go on the floor and try to get a vote and have the Senate say whether or not the authorization of all force necessary … ,” blog reporter PaulMirengoff began asking before the Illinois Democrat cut him off.

“You got it wrong. You got it wrong,” Mr. Durbin said dismissively. “Who do you work for?”

Mr. Mirengoff is one of three authors of Power Line, one of the most influential conservative blogs online, which played a key role in exposing “Rathergate” last year. He attended yesterday’s hearings on the warrantless surveillance program also on behalf of Pajamas Media, a newly founded consortium of Web loggers worldwide.

“I’m sorry. I wasn’t familiar with your publication,” Mr. Durbin said derisively.

When Mr. Mirengoff tried asking a follow-up question, Mr. Durbin walked away from the microphones and muttered something about “Pajama Line” and how he had never heard of the organization.

“Yeah, Dan Rather knows something about us,” Mr. Mirengoff shot back.

Forget that lobbyist

Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Illinois Democrat and head of the campaign wing of House Democrats, who is making ethics a centerpiece issue in the November elections, “last month switched campaign treasurers — from a federal lobbyist who has for a long time served in that role to someone else,” Chicago Sun-Times columnist Lynn Sweet writes.

“Emanuel’s move comes as GOP leaders who control Congress are seriously considering a crackdown on ethics rules in the wake of an unfolding GOP scandal triggered by the conviction of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff. KathleenConnery, Emanuel’s government spokesman, said the treasurer, William Singer, a lawyer and lobbyist, has been replaced. Asked why, Connery replied, ‘It’s obvious.’

“The obvious, I surmise, is this: Emanuel saw the need to get his own ethics house in order. Singer is a former Chicago alderman whose friendship with Emanuel predates his election to Congress. Singer is also a fundraiser for Senate Democrats,” the columnist said.

Clinton spy charged

Hollywood’s most famous private investigator, Anthony Pellicano, was charged with wiretapping journalists, entertainers and rape victims for his clients in an indictment unsealed yesterday in Los Angeles, the Reuters news agency reports.

Pellicano, who was in federal prison on an unrelated weapons charge, is accused of snooping on such stars as Sylvester Stallone and “Saturday Night Live” comedian Kevin Nealon.

Washingtonians will remember Pellicano’s involvement with the Clintons. In 1992, the Hollywood detective reportedly was hired to analyze tapes of phone conversations between singer Gennifer Flowers and Bill Clinton. In a defamation suit against Clinton campaign officials James Carville and George Stephanopoulos, attorneys for Miss Flowers told a federal court: “Anthony Pellicano was a private investigator hired by [Hillary Rodham] Clinton herself. And he’s the one who did the analysis of the tapes.”

Furthermore, according to NewsMax.com, “Four days after the Monica Lewinsky story broke in January 1998, ex-Lewinsky boyfriend Andy Bleiler came forward with the claim that she had stalked him.” At the time, Andrea Peyser of the New York Post reported: “Anthony Pellicano, the L.A.-based private investigator and O.J. defense team veteran [was] responsible for digging up Andy Bleiler.” Pellicano didn’t deny that the Clinton White House had hired him to investigate Miss Lewinsky.

McCain vs. Obama

Sen. John McCain yesterday took a scalpel to Sen. Barack Obama’s claims to be a reformer, accusing him in an acerbic, sarcastic letter of trying to use the issue to advance himself politically.

“I would like to apologize to you for assuming that your private assurances to me regarding your desire to cooperate in our efforts to negotiate bipartisan lobbying-reform legislation were sincere,” the Arizona Republican writes, thanking Mr. Obama for “disabusing me of such notions” that the two could work together on the issue.

Mr. McCain, who led the fight to overhaul campaign-finance laws and is at the forefront of efforts to rewrite lobbying and congressional-process rules, said Mr. Obama had approached him about joining the new push. But since then, he said, the Illinois Democrat has withdrawn from the bipartisan discussions and accused Mr. McCain of trying to delay reforms.

Mr. McCain continued: “I understand how important the opportunity to lead your party’s effort to exploit this issue must seem to a freshman senator, and I hold no hard feelings over your earlier disingenuousness. Again, I have been around long enough to appreciate that in politics the public interest isn’t always a priority for every one of us. Good luck to you, senator.”

In his reply letter, Mr. Obama said that he was surprised at the response, but said he was “not interested in typical partisan rhetoric or posturing.”

“The fact that you have now questioned my sincerity and my desire to put aside politics for the public interest is regrettable, but does not in any way diminish my deep respect for you nor my willingness to find a bipartisan solution to this problem.”

A Carter kickoff

Democrat Jack Carter, son of the former president, kicked off his U.S. Senate campaign in Nevada yesterday by calling for a return to “our American values.”

Mr. Carter, a 58-year-old investment consultant in Las Vegas, is challenging incumbent Republican Sen. John Ensign in his first bid for elected office.

“The singular difference between the junior senator and me is he works for the Bush administration, and I want to work for Nevada,” Mr. Carter said at a union hall outside Las Vegas, accompanied by his parents, former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter.

“Common sense, honesty, integrity and a desire for good government. These are our American values,” he said.

Mr. Ensign, who is seeking a second term, has a healthy lead in early polls and fundraising, the Associated Press reports. He has raised $3.7 million in the election cycle. In 2000, he spent $4.8 million to beat Democrat Ed Bernstein.

Since October, Mr. Carter has raised $241,600, lent himself $25,000 and reported $223,600 cash on hand at the end of the year.

Mr. Carter is the only Democrat in the race, although Las Vegas MayorOscar Goodman has considered running.

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

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