- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 11, 2006

Docudrama

The American military command in Iraq has released “Baghdad Strategy” and “Baghdad State of Affairs,” two anonymous documents written in Arabic and seized in a raid south of Baghdad on April 16. They describe al Qaeda as lacking “leadership, military capability and Iraqi support,” and also note a “clear absence of organization among the groups of the brothers in Baghdad,” according to a Defense Department statement yesterday.

“This information confirms what the government of Iraq, coalition forces and ultimately the people of Iraq already know — that [al Qaeda in Iraq’s] role only attempts to impede Iraqis in following the road to prosperity, security and national unity,” said Brig. Gen. Rudy Wright, spokesman for the Multi-National Force-Iraq.

An English translation noted that the “mujahideen are not considered more than a daily annoyance to the Shi’ite government” and that their sole strength lies in “hit and run attacks” on civilians. The document also emphasizes the importance of car bombs, sniper attacks, booby traps, roadside bombs and “the type of operations that are attracted to the media.”

President Bush 3?

President Bush offered a glowing hint about the future of the White House yesterday. It may rest in his brother Jeb Bush, governor of Florida.

“I think Jeb would be a great president. But it’s up to Jeb to make a decision to run,” Mr. Bush said during a Florida press conference.

“I would like to see Jeb run at some point in time, but I have no idea if that’s his intention or not,” said the president, though he would not elaborate.

“I truly don’t think he knows,” the president said, adding that his sibling’s “political future is very bright, if he chooses to have a political future. But he is an independent-minded guy. His priority is his family.”

Where’s Norm?

Sharp-eyed observers noted yesterday that Transportation SecretaryNorman Y. Mineta missed his 2 p.m. appointment on Capitol Hill with heavy-duty business leaders because “he was called to the White House,” one bystander said.

Who took Mr. Mineta’s place? None other than White House adviser Karl Rove — leaving some to wonder if Mr. Mineta was, perhaps, on a track leading away from Washington in the future.

Rupert and Hillary

Liberals and conservatives are still puzzling about the unlikely new alliance between Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who will host a fundraiser for the New York Democrat in July. The New York Times theorized yesterday that the pair have a “link” via Gary Ginsberg, an executive with Murdoch-owned News Corp., and Howard Wolfson, a public relations consultant for News Corp. Both were aides in the Clinton White House.

Tom Kuiper, author of “I’ve Always Been a Yankees Fan: Hillary Clinton in Her Own Words,” devoted an entire chapter of his new book to recalling Mrs. Clinton’s criticisms of foes. He cited his favorite passages yesterday:

On Fox News host Bill O’Reilly: “He assails me for something nearly every day, and I feel sorry for him.” (CNN, Dec. 15, 2001)

On that “vast right-wing conspiracy”: “It has been clear to me for a number of years that there really was a vast, right-wing conspiracy. My only regret was using the work ‘conspiracy’ because there is absolutely nothing secret about it.” (CNSNews.com, Aug. 2, 2003)

Mr. Murdoch, sounding rattled, if not chastened, yesterday said he is standing by his decision to host a political fundraiser for Mrs. Clinton.

In a conference call about his company’s robust earnings report, Human Events magazine asked what conservatives are to make of his willingness to support the liberal Miss Hillary.

“It will be pretty modest support,” he said. “It’s giving the opportunity to people in our office who want to join us at a breakfast. We think that she’s been effective on state issues and local issues here in New York. She’s been an effective and good senator. And if people want to come to breakfast for $1,000, they’re welcome. It’s no big deal. It’s not a million-dollar raising. It’s got nothing to do with anything other than her Senate re-election.”

Civ-Hill-ity

More food for thought on chameleon politics: Here’s what Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said about President Bush on Tuesday night during a speech at the National Archives.

“He is someone who has a lot of charm and charisma, and I think in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, I was very grateful to him for his support for New York,” she said. “He’s been very willing to talk. He’s been affable. He’s been good company.”

Dean’s ideals

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean also seems bent on retooling his image.

“One of the misconceptions about the Democratic Party is that we’re godless and that we don’t have any values,” Mr. Dean told the Christian Broadcasting Network yesterday.

“The truth is, we have an enormous amount in common with the Christian community, and particularly with the evangelical Christian community,” Mr. Dean said, adding that he’s concerned about materialism, what children see on television and “lack of spirituality.”

He continued, “I’m a Democrat because of my values.”

He later added, “I think what we have in common with the evangelical community is that we ought to have a lot fewer abortions than we do. The abortions have actually gone up in the last few years. We should have far fewer abortions. We ought to make sure that there’s not just abstinence, but family planning, used to get rid of abortion, and that is something that we share. Now the difference is that we don’t think making criminals out of doctors and women is a good idea.”

Mad Mary

Mary Cheney is angry at Democrat John Edwards for mentioning her lesbianism in a 2004 vice presidential debate against Vice PresidentDick Cheney, and dismissed his comments as an effort to bait her father into anger, the Associated Press reports.

In her new book, “Now It’s My Turn,” Miss Cheney called Mr. Edwards a “total slime” for trying to use her sexual orientation as a political tool against her father in response to a question about homosexual “marriage.” Miss Cheney said she mouthed an expletive after the then-senator from North Carolina praised the Cheney family during the debate for their willingness “to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter.”

And in an interview last night on CNN’s “Larry King Live,” Miss Cheney said she thought Mr. Edwards was trying to goad her father into losing his temper.

“My dad was just too smart to take the bait,” she said.

At the time, Mr. Cheney said: “Let me simply thank the senator for the kind words he said about my family and our daughter. I appreciate that very much.”

For his part, Mr. Edwards yesterday defended his comments, recalling Mr. Cheney’s reaction as “very gracious.”

“What I did was express my respect and admiration for the way the Cheney family, along with millions of other families, have embraced members of their family,” Mr. Edwards said. “I think it was appropriate.”

Contact Jennifer Harper at 202/636-3085 or [email protected]

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