- The Washington Times - Monday, July 24, 2006

Lieberman scenario

“The most interesting question about the possibility that Connecticut Democrats could deny Joseph Lieberman renomination is whether that would help or hurt the senator’s political prospects. Or, for that matter, the Democratic Party’s,” Peter Brown writes at www.realclearpolitics.com.

“That’s because even if Lieberman loses the Aug. 8 Democratic primary — and the newest polling data says that is a real possibility — he would be a huge favorite for re-election as an independent come November.

“And if that is the case, it would not be hard to write a scenario in which the real loser from a Lieberman defeat to anti-war candidate Ned Lamont might be the Democratic Party itself.

“That would especially be the case if Lieberman’s good friend Sen. John McCain of Arizona becomes the 2008 Republican presidential nominee and picks Joe as his running mate.

“Then, Lieberman, Al Gore’s running mate in 2000, would become the only person in American history to have ever run on the national ticket of both parties. And Lieberman on a Republican fusion ticket in 2008 might be a huge GOP asset,” said Mr. Brown, who is assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

“Farfetched, perhaps, but no more so than the idea that Democrats would reject a three-term senator who, despite his endorsement of President Bush’s Iraq War policy, has generally toed the party line on most, but certainly not all, issues.”

Snow backs off

White House press secretary Tony Snow apologized yesterday for suggesting that President Bush thought stem-cell research amounted to “murder,” saying he was “overstating the president’s position.”

“He would not use that term,” Mr. Snow told reporters.

At issue was Mr. Snow’s comment Wednesday defending Mr. Bush’s veto of legislation to expand federally financed research on stem cells obtained from unwanted embryos.

“The president believes strongly that for the purpose of research it’s inappropriate for the federal government to finance something that many people consider murder. He’s one of them,” Mr. Snow said at the time.

Mr. Snow said yesterday that the president remains opposed to using federal funds for such research because it involves “a destruction of human life,” the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Snow’s characterization became an issue on Sunday for White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten, who struggled on NBC’s “Meet the Press” to answer whether Mr. Bush agreed with his spokesman that destruction of unwanted fertilized embryos was tantamount to murder.

“The president thinks that that embryo, that fertilized embryo, is a human life that deserves protection,” Mr. Bolten said. “I haven’t spoken to him about the use of particular terminology.”

Said Mr. Snow yesterday: “I overstepped my brief there, and so I created a little trouble for Josh Bolten in the interview. And I feel bad about it.”

Mr. Bush’s veto of the stem-cell bill was sustained by the House.

A prize remark

Nobel peace laureate Betty Williams told schoolchildren she “would love to kill George Bush,” an Australian newspaper reports.

Campaigning on the rights of young people at the Earth Dialogues forum in Brisbane, Australia, Miss Williams spoke passionately about the deaths of innocent children during wartime, particularly in the Middle East, and lambasted Mr. Bush, according to an article in the Australian.

“I have a very hard time with this word ‘nonviolence,’ because I don’t believe that I am nonviolent,” said Miss Williams, 64.

“Right now, I would love to kill George Bush.” Her young audience at the Brisbane City Hall clapped and cheered.

“I don’t know how I ever got a Nobel Peace Prize, because when I see children die, the anger in me is just beyond belief. It’s our duty as human beings, whatever age we are, to become the protectors of human life.”

Miss Williams was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 30 years ago, when she circulated a petition to end violence in Northern Ireland after witnessing British soldiers fatally shoot an Irish Republican Army member who was driving a car. He veered on to the footpath, killing two children from one family instantly and fatally injuring a third.

Thune explains

Shortly after the news broke last week that Sen. John Thune, South Dakota Republican, had told an audience he would advise Republican candidates to distance themselves from President Bush on the war in Iraq, the aspiring freshman began working the Republican Conference to extinguish the flames, Roll Call reports.

Mr. Thune — a rising Republican star who’s eyeing a bid to chair the National Republican Senatorial Committee during the 2008 cycle — quickly began telling colleagues that his remarks, delivered Wednesday at the National Press Club, had been taken out of context and that he strongly supports Mr. Bush’s policy on Iraq as well as Republican efforts to highlight Democratic disunity on national security.

News outlets quoted Mr. Thune as saying if he were a candidate this year, “you obviously don’t embrace the president and his agenda.” Almost as quickly as those press reports began spreading through the conference, Mr. Thune started reaching out to his fellow Republican senators to explain that his words had been mischaracterized, Roll Call said.

Female backlash

When she became Michigan’s first female governor in 2003, Jennifer M. Granholm was hailed as a long-awaited success symbol by many women, including those who crossed party lines to vote for her.

But polls now show support for the Democrat has softened among likely female voters. Instead of holding a nearly 30-point lead over Republican opponent Dick DeVos as she did in September, Mrs. Granholm lags Mr. DeVos among female voters by four or five percentage points, the Associated Press reports.

Although more than half of women polled still have a favorable opinion of Mrs. Granholm, the number choosing her for governor dropped from 54 percent in September to 43 percent last month, while her support among men remained steady at 45 percent, according to polls by Lansing-based EPIC-MRA.

Gilda Morales, project manager for the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University in New Jersey, said Mrs. Granholm is bearing the brunt of voter unhappiness with Michigan’s faltering economy.

“I hazard to guess if it were a male governor, the same thing would be going on,” Miss Morales said. “She’s the person in office; she’s going to suffer.” Others say the governor has brought some political troubles on herself that have nothing to do with the auto industry’s woes pulling down the state economy.

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

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