- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 23, 2006

‘A little too cute’

“The ‘Iraq veteran’ political strategy that Democrats hope will sweep them into Congress could be coming up short — much-touted vet Tammy Duckworth, a helicopter pilot who lost both legs in combat, barely won her Illinois Democratic primary,” the New York Post’s Deborah Orin writes.

“Duckworth scraped by in a squeaker, winning by just over 1,000 votes and 44 percent of the vote in a three-way race — despite the backing of stars like Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the only TV ads, and outspending her chief rival 7-1,” Miss Orin said.

“More worrisome, the primary drew low turnout, suggesting Duckworth doesn’t attract new voters. In Illinois, you don’t have to be pre-registered as a Democrat — so voters drawn by Duckworth’s story could have voted for her.

“And fans of defeated rival Christine Cegelis, who was also anti-war, were livid. They burned up liberal blogs with threats to sit on their hands in November and attacks on Duckworth backers like Sen. John Kerry.

“The problem for Dems is that enlisting anti-war Iraq veterans may be a little too cute — trying to have it both ways by being both for and against the Iraq war.

“The same kind of take-both-sides strategy did nothing for 2004 loser Kerry, who thought being a Vietnam vet would give him special credibility on Iraq. Not!”

Challenging Murtha

A Republican critical of Rep. John P. Murtha’s call for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq announced this week that she will challenge the longtime Pennsylvania Democrat.

Diana Irey, a commissioner in Washington County, Pa., said 73-year-old Mr. Murtha has “drifted further and further from the ideals that made this country great.” Miss Irey, 43, said she is “standing steadfastly by our fighting men and women.”

Mr. Murtha, a Vietnam veteran and retired Marine colonel, received much publicity in November when he called for U.S. troops in Iraq to return home immediately, arguing that the military is suffering and the future of the nation was at risk.

Mr. Murtha, who was first elected in 1974, had voted to give President Bush the authority to use military force against Iraq but not long afterward became a critic of the war.

Responding to Miss Irey’s candidacy, Mr. Murtha said his campaign will be about issues such as the war, the “botched” Medicare bill, gas prices and the federal deficit.

Rest of the story

“The scientist touted by CBS News’ ‘60 Minutes’ as arguably the ‘world’s leading researcher on global warming’ and spotlighted as a victim of the Bush administration’s censorship on the issue publicly endorsed Democrat John Kerry for president and received a $250,000 grant from the charitable foundation headed by Kerry’s wife,” Marc Morano reports at www.CNSNews.com.

“Scientist James Hansen has also admitted that he contributed to two recent Democratic presidential campaigns. Furthermore, he acted as a consultant in February to former Vice President Al Gore’s slide show presentations on ‘global warming,’ which Gore presented around the country.

“But Scott Pelley, the ‘60 Minutes’ reporter who profiled Hansen and detailed his accusations of censorship on the March 19 edition of the newsmagazine, made no mention of Hansen’s links to Kerry and Gore and none to the fact that Kerry’s wife — Teresa Heinz Kerry — had been one of Hansen’s benefactors.”

As it turns out, Mr. Hansen made a similar charge against President Bush’s father when he was president, Cybercast News Service said. In 1989, Mr. Hansen charged that the elder Mr. Bush was censoring his climate research. “Kerry and about a dozen other senators eventually co-signed a letter written by Gore, who was also a senator at the time, demanding an explanation for the alleged censorship.”

Not newsworthy

“At a forum with President George W. Bush Wednesday at the Capitol Music Hall in Wheeling, W.Va., Gayle Taylor, the wife of a member of the military recently returned from Iraq, was drowned out by a standing ovation when she told Bush: ‘It seems that our major media networks don’t want to portray the good,’ ” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker notes at www.mrc.org.

“Neither the ‘CBS Evening News’ or ‘NBC Nightly News’ found the criticism of the news media to be newsworthy. NBC’s David Gregory instead decided to assert that ‘in a state he won twice … many here now wonder whether the sacrifice of American lives has been worth it.’ NBC viewers then heard from one Mountain State resident, Donna Neptune, whom Gregory described as ‘a Republican.’ She maintained: ‘Those people don’t want our help. Our people’s being killed over there for nothing.’ ”

Another Bush hater

A top producer at ABC News declared that President Bush “makes me sick” in an e-mail leaked to Matt Drudge and published at www.drudgereport.com.

John Green, an executive producer of the weekend edition of “Good Morning America,” unloaded on the president in an ABC company e-mail, Mr. Drudge said.

“If he uses the ‘mixed messages’ line one more time, I’m going to puke,” Mr. Green wrote.

A friend of Mr. Green’s at ABC told Mr. Drudge that Mr. Green is mortified by the e-mail.

“John feels so badly about this e-mail. He is a straight shooter and great producer, who is always fair. That said, he deeply regrets the sentiment expressed in the e-mail and the embarrassment it causes ABC News.”

Off the ballot

Florida’s highest court yesterday struck from the ballot a proposed constitutional amendment that would have let voters decide whether to strip lawmakers of their power to redraw legislative and congressional districts.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled 6-1 that the proposal failed to meet requirements that it address only one subject and be written clearly, the Associated Press reports.

The citizen initiative would have set up a 15-member commission to handle redistricting every 10 years. Sponsors already had collected the 611,000 signatures needed to put the amendment on the Nov. 7 ballot.

The wording was challenged by Republican U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and four state legislators. They argued that the measure was misleading because it said board members would be selected through a nonpartisan process, but those appointing the board members would come from the two parties.

Proponents of the measure called the ruling a temporary setback.

“It gives us some guidelines for coming back and drawing an amendment that will pass the court’s muster,” said Ben Wilcox, chairman of the Committee for Fair Elections.

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

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