- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Tancredo’s victory

Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, perhaps Congress’ most visible foe of illegal border crossing, won a Republican presidential straw poll Monday night.

Mr. Tancredo captured about 18 percent of 325 votes cast at the Lincoln Day Dinner in Macomb County, Mich., located in the Detroit metro area. Although it was only a plurality on a fractured Republican ballot, Mr. Tancredo beat out heavyweights former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani (13.8 percent), Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (12.3 percent) and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (12 percent), according to the conservative publication Human Events.

Weld withdraws

Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld yesterday ended his bid to become governor of New York after a weak showing at the state Republican Party convention and pleas by party leaders to drop out of the race.

The move averts a Republican primary contest between Mr. Weld and former state legislator John Faso and leaves the more conservative Mr. Faso to face the heavily favored Democrat, state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, in the November election, Reuters news agency reports.

“I have come to the conclusion that this is not the time for a contested primary in this party,” Mr. Weld said at a Manhattan press conference.

Two witnesses

Fresh out of rehab, Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, Rhode Island Democrat, acknowledged that at least two persons have told police he was drinking at a D.C. bar the night he wrecked his car, including a waitress who works for a Republican rival, the Boston Herald reports.

Mr. Kennedy said Monday that a Republican congressional aide who moonlights as a waitress at the Hawk ‘N’ Dove bar told police Mr. Kennedy was in the watering hole before he crashed his Mustang into a security barrier near the U.S. Capitol in May.

Hawk ‘N’ Dove manager Paul Meagher confirmed that an aide to Rep. Roy Blunt, Missouri Republican, works there, but said he didn’t know what she told police. Mr. Meagher said he has been unable to confirm whether Mr. Kennedy was in the Capitol Hill pub the night of the crash.

“It’s quite possible he was in,” Mr. Meagher said. “We wouldn’t be surprised, but we have no proof that he was or wasn’t here.”

A Kennedy spokeswoman, however, said, “He was never at that establishment.”

Mr. Kennedy, 38, nearly side-swiped a police cruiser while driving with his lights off at 2:45 a.m., but was not given a sobriety test. A Capitol Police report described the crash as alcohol-related and said Mr. Kennedy had glassy eyes, slurred speech and was stumbling. Supervisors gave Mr. Kennedy a ride home, prompting accusations by rank-and-file police of preferential treatment.

The congressman has blamed the wreck on a cocktail of the prescription drugs Phenergan and Ambien and checked himself into the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., the day after the crash. He was released Friday. A Capitol Police spokeswoman said the accident remains under investigation.

Speaking at Brown University, Mr. Kennedy called the crash a “wake-up call” but downplayed the booze controversy, the Boston newspaper said.

“Whether it’s alcohol or drugs, any impaired driving is wrong,” he said.

Officer ‘removed’

The Capitol Police officer responsible for Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy being driven home after he slammed his car into a barrier — without testing him for possible drunk driving — has been “removed from his position,” according to the president of the D.C. State Lodge, Fraternal Order of Police.

Lou Cannon, the police lodge president, made the statement in an interview yesterday on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends.”

“In Mr. Kennedy’s case, let’s be clear,” Mr. Cannon said. “The officers [on the scene] did their job; they did what they were supposed to do. The official that was deemed to be responsible [for letting Mr. Kennedy go] has been disciplined by Capitol Police management and has been removed from that position from the best of my knowledge. …

“Positive action was taken on that. The first law enforcement on the scene, they did their job. Where there was a mistake, Capitol Police management has moved swiftly to correct that and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

The Anderson case

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday expressed doubts about the FBI’s posthumous probe of columnist Jack Anderson.

Some senators also questioned the notion that espionage laws might allow the prosecution of journalists who publish classified information, the Associated Press reports.

“It’s highly doubtful in my mind that that was ever the intent of Congress,” said Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican.

The World War I-era espionage laws, countered Justice Department criminal division chief Matthew Friedrich, “do not exempt any class of professionals, including reporters, from their reach.”

“I believe that’s an invitation to Congress to legislate on the subject,” replied Mr. Specter. “Clearly, the ball is in our court.”

Mr. Friedrich refused to comment on the Anderson case, in which the FBI is seeking 50 years’ worth of papers from the investigative journalist, who exposed government scandals.

Marriage via bicycle

Rep. Rick Boucher, Virginia Democrat, and his longtime girlfriend tied the knot on a bicycle trail, and for the wedding, shared a burrito and a piece of coconut cake.

Mr. Boucher said he and Amy Hauslohner both enjoy biking, so they decided to get married on a former railroad bridge overlooking Damascus, Va., on the Virginia Creeper Trail.

“It’s one of our favorite settings,” Mr. Boucher said Monday from Washington.

U.S. District Judge James Jones, chief judge of Virginia’s Western District and a friend of Mr. Boucher’s for 30 years, officiated at the ceremony Saturday, which was attended by a handful of people, the Associated Press reports.

Before the ceremony, the couple bicycled from Abingdon to Damascus on the trail. While biking the 10 miles back to Abingdon, they stopped at the Alvarado Train Station restaurant and shared a slice from a coconut cake at the counter.

Mr. Boucher is expected to be nominated for a 13th term Saturday when district Democrats meet in Marion. He faces a challenge from Charles W. “Bill” Carrico, a Republican state legislator from Grayson County.

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

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