- The Washington Times - Monday, June 5, 2006

Blow to Weld

The New York state Republican chairman said yesterday that former Massachusetts Gov. William F. Weld should drop out of the race for the Republican nomination for governor of New York.

Stephen Minarik — who up to now has been Mr. Weld’s biggest supporter in the race for governor — said Mr. Weld should instead throw his support to his Republican rival, former state Assembly Minority Leader John Faso.

Mr. Minarik told the Associated Press that he had personally conveyed his feelings to Mr. Weld and that the former governor was “placing it under consideration.”

At the state party convention last week, Mr. Faso won a surprising 61 percent of the delegates’ weighted vote and held Mr. Weld, a New York native, to 39 percent.

Mr. Minarik said Mr. Weld should withdraw “in the name of party unity.”

If Mr. Weld does not heed the advice, the party faces a potentially bruising and expensive September primary in the battle to replace Republican Gov. George E. Pataki, who is not seeking a fourth, four-year term.

Polls have shown state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, the Democratic front-runner for governor, far ahead of either Mr. Faso or Mr. Weld.

Bill at Princeton

Bill Clinton weighed in on the nation’s immigration debate yesterday and took a lighthearted jab at Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist while addressing Princeton University seniors.

Mr. Clinton was the headliner at Class Day, held ahead of today’s commencement at the Ivy League school.

The former president said the world is increasingly interconnected, with greater opportunity for more people with worldwide trade, widespread travel and increased diversity.

“Think about how much more interesting you are than the Princeton Class of 1906,” he said. “A bunch of boring white guys like me.”

Mr. Clinton praised President Bush for trying to find common ground with a proposed immigration policy that would tighten border enforcement while allowing some illegal immigrants to become citizens.

“I sort of favor what the president tried to do, because we were trying to get the best of both worlds,” he said. “There is no perfect solution.”

Mr. Clinton was introduced by Lauren Bush, a niece of the current president and a member of the committee that invited the 42nd president to speak.

“Clinton’s name immediately came up,” she said. “But then, we thought Hillary would probably be too busy.”

Mr. Clinton responded with a reference to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, whose son, Harrison, also is in Princeton’s graduating class.

“I thought Hillary was too busy to be here, too,” Mr. Clinton said. “She told me she had to go to the Senate. And then I see Senator Frist here, putting parenthood ahead of the public trust.”

Gingrich’s victory

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was the easy winner of a straw poll Friday night that tested 2008 presidential candidate support at the Minnesota Republican Party state convention.

Mr. Gingrich got about 40 percent of the 540 votes cast, putting him far ahead of Virginia’s Sen. George Allen, who got about 15 percent. Next were Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Arizona Sen. John McCain, each with about 10 percent, reports the Star Tribune in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

“This shows activists think that Gingrich has the cachet to help set and drive the conservative agenda, just as he did when he led the Republican takeover of the House in 1994,” said Tony Sutton, a Gingrich supporter and secretary-treasurer of the state party. “He and Ronald Reagan were the two most important conservatives in the last 30 years.”

Dynasty motive

Steve Sailer, writing in the American Conservative, says the Bush political dynasty is invested in a liberal immigration bill.

President Bush “has a tie to Mexico through his sister-in-law, Jeb’s Mexican-born wife, Columba,” Mr. Sailer said.

President Bush, “son of a president and grandson of a senator, is a conscious dynast. Mario Puzo, author of ‘The Godfather,’ noted, ‘Any family — nuclear or otherwise — that wants to learn how the game is really played should study the Bush dynasty.’ The hopes of the Bush family to extend their reign into the next generation rest on Jeb and Columba’s son, the charismatic 30-year-old lawyer George P. Bush. The president, who calls himself ‘43’ and his father ‘41,’ has labeled George P. ‘44.’ In truth, George P. is too young to become the 44th president, but would be eligible to become the 45th as early as 2012.

“While campaigning for his uncle in 2000, George P. … orated in fluent Spanish, according to Reuters: ‘This is a president who represents the diversity of our society, who we can count on to change the Republican Party to represent our views.’ ”

New veep

John “Jack” Wesley Yoest Jr. has been named vice president of the Center for Military Readiness, the center’s president, Elaine Donnelly, announced yesterday.

Mr. Yoest will represent the organization in the nation’s capital, and will work with Pentagon policy-makers, legislators and the press on wartime military-personnel policies of concern to CMR. He also will be involved in research and production of CMR Policy Analysis reports and publications.

Mr. Yoest, a former captain in the U.S. Army, is a writer and businessman who served as an assistant secretary for Health and Human Resources during the administration of Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III.

The Center for Military Readiness is an independent, nonpartisan public-policy organization that specializes in military-personnel issues.

Man of Steele

Arizona Sen. John McCain will join the parade of prominent national Republican leaders lending support to Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele’s race for the U.S. Senate seat that will become vacant with the retirement of Democratic Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Steele’s campaign said Mr. McCain will attend a fundraiser for the lieutenant governor June 16 in the Baltimore area. Other details will be released later, the campaign said.

Mr. Steele was recruited heavily by national Republican leaders to run for Mr. Sarbanes’ seat. They have backed up their promises of help in financing his campaign with fundraisers attended by President Bush and top officials from the Bush administration.

“He is an independent thinker who has a proven ability to reach across party lines and bring people together,” Mr. McCain is quoted saying in the Steele campaign release.

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

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