- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 22, 2006

No thanks

Iraq war veteran Nathan Martin, a Republican running for the seat held by retiring Rep. Michael G. Oxley, Ohio Republican, showed voters the importance of principles when he turned down a $100,000 support-and-endorsement offer from a veterans group.

The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Political Action Committee tried for a couple weeks to convince Mr. Martin to accept its endorsement, which included $2,100 in donations, a media buy and direct mailings on his behalf, but the candidate couldn’t come to grips with taking it.

“They asked me to sit and think about it for 24 hours, and I couldn’t even do that, so I called them back that night and told them I could not sacrifice my principles for the money,” Mr. Martin said.

An official from the political action committee confirmed that the group did in fact offer the endorsement, but declined to comment any further.

Mr. Martin, who served with the Army Reserves 1st 278 Regimental Combat Team in Iraq, said he supports the group’s efforts to stand up for veterans, but disagrees with its position that the United States should begin withdrawing troops from the country.

One of the PAC’s endorsement criteria found on its Web site is that candidates “• emand from the administration a victory strategy for Iraq that includes hard success metrics which trigger American troop drawdowns so our forces can safely re-deploy from theater.”

But Mr. Martin said, regardless of the reasons the nation went to war in Iraq, “I think it is important that we do not leave the Iraqi people hanging.” He said The United State’s actions in Iraq will also have a major impact on future diplomatic relations with Iran.

Rumors denied

The former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice who was ousted for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from court property denied rumors that he would switch parties in his race for governor.

Rumors that Roy Moore would switch from the Republican ticket to an independent candidacy to oppose Republican Gov. Bob Riley, or possibly drop out of the governor’s race and run again for chief justice, have been rampant in Alabama in recent weeks, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Moore called a press conference yesterday to dispel those rumors.

“I am a Republican, and I intend to become the next Republican governor of Alabama,” Mr. Moore said. The Republican primary is June 6.

Mr. Moore also said he has no intentions of switching to the race for chief justice.

Jackson’s tour

The Rev. Jesse Jackson is touring Southern cities this week to rally opposition to holding the New Orleans mayoral election next month, saying too many Hurricane Katrina victims scattered around the country will be unable to vote.

He is asking black churches, black colleges and other organizations in cities like Atlanta; Jackson, Miss.; and Memphis, Tenn., to encourage their members to march on New Orleans on April 1. The election is set for April 22.

Mr. Jackson and other civil rights leaders have demanded that the election be postponed, but they have not said when they think the balloting should be held, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Jackson said the march will be the most critical demonstration since the civil-rights era.

Black leaders have charged that Louisiana officials have not done enough to ensure that voters scattered by the storm will be able to vote.

Among those scheduled to attend the march in New Orleans are Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte, National Urban League President and former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial,NAACP President Bruce Gordon, the Rev. Al Sharpton andSouthern Christian Leadership Conference President Charles Steele.

Legal challenge

A liberal consumer watchdog is trying to stop budget cuts that already have been signed into law.

Public Citizen sued in federal court yesterday on the grounds that the law is unconstitutional because it didn’t pass the House and Senate in identical form.

“Today’s lawsuit simply requests the court to uphold the Constitution,” said Adina Rosenbaum, an attorney for Public Citizen, which filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. “The entire law is invalid because the law the House passed is different from the law the Senate passed and the president signed.”

At issue is the $39 billion over five years in budget cuts that Republican leaders have touted as a start toward fiscal discipline, but Democrats bashed as damaging to health-care programs, child support and student loans. The bill passed the Senate 50-50 on Dec. 21, with Vice President Dick Cheney breaking the tie, and the House approved it, 216-214, on Feb. 1.

After the Senate voted on the bill, aides said, a Senate clerk inadvertently changed the length of time that Medicare would reimburse for the rental of certain medical equipment.

After the House approved that version, a Senate clerk changed the length of time from 36 months back to 13 months and sent the bill to Mr. Bush under the signatures of House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Illinois Republican,and Senate President Pro Tem Ted Stevens, Alaska Republican, the presiding officers of each chamber. The Senate passed a resolution stating that it meant to say 13 months in the bill.

But Public Citizen said the clerical error made a substantive change, meaning the law is not valid and Congress must reapprove the entire measure.

Approving the budget-cutting measure was tough enough the first time, so leaders don’t want members to have to take yet another vote on it. But that’s exactly what Democratic opponents want.

N.Y. candidates

New York state Sen. Raymond Meier has announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for the congressional seat being vacated by fellow Republican Sherwood Boehlert.

Mr. Boehlert, who has held the U.S. House seat since 1982, announced Friday that he would not seek re-election this year.

Mr. Meier joins former Seneca Falls Mayor Brad Jones as Republican candidates in the district in central New York state, the Associated Press reports.

Four Democrats, includingOneida County District Attorney Michael Arcuri, are running for their party’s nomination.

Debates set

Leftist professor Ward Churchill and conservative activist David Horowitz will engage in a series of formal debates organized by the Young America’s Foundation and Students for Academic Freedom.

The debates will kick off at George Washington University on April 6 in the Continental Ballroom, with the other campus locations yet to be announced, the organizers said yesterday.

Mr. Churchill gained infamy for referring to the victims of September 11 as “little Eichmanns.” Mr. Horowitz — a former campus radical-turned-conservative and author of “The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America” — has been battling leftist bias in higher education.

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

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