- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Tom Toms

It’s Tom against Tom in Houston, where prominent lawyer Tom Campbell is out to topple politically (and legally) troubled incumbent Rep. Tom DeLay in the March 7 Republican primary.

Local polling shows Mr. DeLay, the ousted House majority leader, trailing the likely Democratic opponent, his unfavorable ratings rising like hurricane floodwaters.

Mr. Campbell, a partner with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, is preaching integrity and values as the antidote to DeLay-style bare-knuckle politics. He and his wife raised all five of their children in the Houston suburb of Sugar Land, once the heart of Mr. DeLay’s turf.

Policy Impact Communications is hosting a fundraiser for the candidate tonight at its K Street offices.

Guess who

It’s time once again for the always entertaining Inside the Beltway contest, “Name the Reporter.”

Reporter: “Does the president think he should obey the law? He put his hand on the Bible twice to uphold the Constitution. Wiretapping is not legal under the circumstances without a warrant.”

White House spokesman Scott McClellan: “Well, I guess you didn’t pay attention to the attorney general’s hearing [on Monday], because he walked through very clearly the rationale behind this program. And, Helen, I think you have to ask, are we a nation at war?”

Reporter: “There is no rationale to disobey the law.”

Mr. McClellan: “Well, he’s not — are we a nation at war?”

Reporter: “That’s not the question.”

Mr. McClellan: “No, that is the issue here.”

Reporter: “No, the question is, the point is, there are means for him to go to war, get a warrant to spy on people.”

Mr. McClellan: “Enemy surveillance is critical to waging and winning war. It’s one of the traditional tools of war. And the attorney general outlined very clearly today how previous administrations have used the same authority and cited the very same authority.”

Reporter: “That doesn’t make it legal. If they broke the law, that’s too bad. You know what happened to [Richard] Nixon when he broke the law.”

Mr. McClellan: “And we’re going to continue doing everything we can within our power to protect the American people. This is a very different circumstance, and you know that.”

Reporter: “No, I don’t.”

Order a Danish

Spurred on by one European in particular, several Washingtonians are calling on Americans to stand behind tiny Denmark after its foreign interests have come under attack by rioting Muslims angered over a Danish newspaper publishing cartoon caricatures of the prophet Muhammad.

They call attention to a letter written by Gawain Towler, spokesman for the UKIP/Independent Democracy Group at the European Parliament in Brussels: “Dear Danish Mission to the EU,” he writes. “I would like to send a small donation to the Danish state to help with the rebuilding of your embassies. It is a small gesture to show my support for Denmark’s defense of the ideals of free speech and pluralism. Could you recommend a bank account either in Belgium or Denmark?”

“We’re all plucky Danes now,” one Washington lawyer explains. “The non-left isn’t generally much for taking to the streets, but outside of a ‘buy Danish’ campaign I think this is a good way to show support and buck them up, certainly more tangible than washing down feta cheese with the beer of Danish kings.”

Resembles a pimp

Jonah Goldberg of National Review Online says many angry Republicans have chastised him for writing that President Bush “is spending money like a pimp with a week left to live.”

“How dare you call the president a pimp?” he quotes his readers.

“I did no such thing,” Mr. Goldberg told them in a posting yesterday. “Just as if I’d said the president is spending money like a drunken sailor I wouldn’t be calling him a drunk nor a sailor.”

Island escape

Sen. John Kerry’s legislative director, George Abar, has jumped ship, landing as vice president for communications at Island Press, a leading publisher of environmental books, including former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt’s tome “Cities in the Wilderness.”

Before joining Mr. Kerry’s staff, Mr. Abar was senior director of corporate communications and speechwriter at PBS.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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