- The Washington Times - Monday, July 17, 2006

Bond’s ‘hope’

Julian Bond has condemned the war in Iraq and the administration’s policy on education and the economy. He’s castigated Republicans as racists, yet the NAACP’s chairman is urging President Bush to attend the civil rights group’s annual convention.

“We are eminently hopeful that the president will come,” said Mr. Bond, who was scheduled to kick off the six-day conference with a speech last night.

Mr. Bush has avoided the conventions since taking office in 2001, after the Democratic Party-aligned group ran television ads during the presidential campaign that suggested Mr. Bush condoned the brutal murder of a black man in Texas. Mr. Bush had spoken to the group earlier that election season.

Mr. Bond, who called for a high black voter turnout to defeat Mr. Bush for re-election in 2004, has said Mr. Bush should speak at this year’s gathering, held about a mile from the White House at the Washington Convention Center.

The president’s schedule for Wednesday lists an event with the notation “TBA,” or to be announced, the Associated Press reports.

‘Bad news’ for Reed

Tomorrow is the Georgia Republican primary showdown in the lieutenant governor’s race between former Christian Coalition director Ralph Reed and state Sen. Casey Cagle.

Pollsters say the race is too close to call, and the latest issue of GQ notes the irony:

“A year ago, Reed was expected not so much to win the nomination as to claim it,” Sean Flynn writes. “The glory days of the Coalition had long faded, but he was still a star in the Republican Party. He is a prodigious fundraiser and an industrious organizer with an extensive base of conservative Christians, and he is given much credit for delivering the Southeast to George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. ‘Ralph’s plan,’ says Cagle, ‘was to get George W. Bush and the White House to come in and support him and squash the li’l ol’ state senator.’”

The article notes that the Reed campaign is not speaking to the national press, perhaps in an effort to dodge questions about Mr. Reed’s involvement with convicted casino lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

“A corrupt lobbyist and the pious former head of the Christian Coalition tied up in gambling scandals? That’s good copy.

“And bad news for Ralph Reed. ‘It’s never good news if you’re running for lieutenant governor of Georgia and the national media is interested in your race,’ says Matt Towery, an Atlanta pollster who once ran for the office himself.”

House of cash

As if celebrity name recognition and superstar political status weren’t enough, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has added another tool to her mega-fundraising arsenal: her newly renovated Washington mansion, the New York Daily News reports.

In work that ended last month according to D.C. building records, Mrs. Clinton, New York Democrat, spent well over $800,000 expanding and updating her Embassy Row manse, adding a new pool house and a giant ballroomlike addition for entertaining, reporter Michael McAuliff said.

She has been quick to realize a return on that investment, holding major money-raising bashes over the last few weeks.

“I like having people over to my house,” Mrs. Clinton told the Daily News.

And she made sure it’s a nice place to visit in the sultry D.C. summers, installing three new high-efficiency air conditioners, 60 new indoor lights and 20 outside to go with her spiffed-up pool.

“It’s a really good place for people to be able to come,” she said. “It’s easy to get to and people like coming, and I can really help raise money for other Democrats.”

A recent fundraiser at the home for Tennessee Senate candidate Rep. Harold Ford Jr. took in more than $300,000. An event last Wednesday for the Democratic National Committee earned about $550,000.

Losing his shirt

Joe Schreiber isn’t mayor of Tamarac, Fla., anymore. But he wants to wear the shirt.

Problem is, city commissioners have agreed to pass a resolution prohibiting former elected officials from using the city seal without permission.

Several weeks ago, Vice Mayor Ed Portner threatened to have Mr. Schreiber removed from a city meeting for wearing his red polo shirt emblazoned with the word “mayor” and the city seal, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Tuesday.

“When someone gracefully leaves the office, they should remove the emblem from their clothing,” Commissioner Marc Sultanof said.

Mr. Schreiber, 83, had been a commissioner for five years and mayor for nine.

He said he would not comply with the resolution until he gets legal advice. He argued that President Clinton doesn’t call himself “former President Clinton.”

“It’s understood,” Mr. Schreiber said. “They are trying to stop me from being recognized.”

The resolution will also require ex-officials to make their requests to use the city seal in writing “provided that the word ‘former’ is used in conjunction with their title to signify their current status.”

Carter’s analysis

Craig Shirley, author of the well-received book on Ronald Reagan’s 1976 campaign, says he never thought Jimmy Carter would talk to him about the 1980 race for a new book, ‘Rendezvous With Destiny,’” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.

“But last Tuesday, just two weeks after he wrote to Carter, the call came through. ‘He’s concerned about his place in history,’ Shirley says. Over 45 minutes, the two hit on many issues, especially how the Iranian hostage crisis affected Carter’s loss.

“‘Updated opinion polls right before the election took place showed that we had slipped,’ Carter told Shirley. ‘And it was primarily because Walter Cronkite and everybody else was talking about it being the anniversary of the hostage taking.’”

Top concern

Voter unrest over the war in Iraq has elevated foreign-policy issues to a rare level of importance in Democratic politics and is the top concern at the moment, likely presidential candidate Sen. Russ Feingold said Saturday in Dubuque, Iowa.

“At the moment, it is probably the most defining issue,” the Wisconsin Democrat said. “Whether or not it will be in the middle of the election is not clear.”

Mr. Feingold opened his second swing through Iowa, where precinct caucuses traditionally open the presidential nominating season, with a heavy schedule of events. They included meetings with activists and fundraising for candidates, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Feingold has been among the harshest critics of the war in Iraq.

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

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