- The Washington Times - Monday, May 15, 2006

Hillary’s apology

After telling an audience that young people today “think work is a four-letter word,” Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said she apologized to her daughter.

“I said, ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to convey the impression that you don’t work hard,’” Mrs. Clinton said Sunday in a commencement address at Long Island University. “I just want to set the bar high, because we are in a competition for the future.”

The New York Democrat spoke to more than 2,000 graduates days after she criticized young people at a gathering of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington. In those remarks, she said young people have a sense of entitlement after growing up in a “culture that has a premium on instant gratification.”

The senator said that her daughter, Chelsea Clinton, phoned to complain after learning about the comments. The 26-year-old was hired in 2003 by McKinsey & Co. as a consultant, reportedly for a six-figure salary. She received a master’s degree from Oxford University after graduating from Stanford University in 2001.

“She called and she said, ‘Mom, I do work hard, and my friends work hard,’” Mrs. Clinton said Sunday.

New York’s junior senator, who is up for re-election this year, also told the graduates she plans to introduce a bill that would help college students manage and repay their loans. The proposal would limit loan payments to a certain percentage of their incomes, she said.

Today’s primaries

Pennsylvania voters today are expected to seal state Treasurer Bob Casey’s nomination to run against conservative Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, and they may also show whether they are still angry at lawmakers for giving themselves a big pay raise in the middle of the night.

Primaries also are being held today in Oregon, where Gov. Theodore R. Kulongoski faces two rivals for the Democratic nomination, and in Kentucky, where there are lively Democratic contests in at least two congressional districts.

Mr. Casey is the son of the late Democratic Gov. Robert P. Casey and a longtime state officeholder who is against abortion, like his father before him. He was recruited by national Democratic leaders to take on Mr. Santorum, and most early polls have shown him with a double-digit lead over the two-term senator.

In the 253-member state General Assembly, 61 incumbents face challenges in the primary — the most since 1980 — following a public uproar over lawmakers’ furtive attempt to give themselves a big raise last year.

In Kentucky, Iraq War veteran Andrew Horne and political columnist John Yarmuth are among four candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to take on Republican Rep. Anne M. Northup in a Louisville-area district.

In a neighboring district, state Rep. Mike Weaver, a retired Army colonel, faces James Rice for the Democratic nomination. The winner will face Republican Rep. Ron Lewis in November.

A ‘tragic question’

“What went wrong with the Republican Party?” Tucker Carlson asks in the spring issue of Cato’s Letter, a publication of the Cato Institute.

“That is a really tragic question. I do not actually consider myself much of a Republican, so I am not necessarily disappointed. But I am still a little bit shocked by what has happened in the last 11 years to this party that had such promise,” Mr. Carlson, host of MSNBC’s “The Situation,” said in an excerpt of his remarks at a Cato Institute City Seminar in New York in December.

“How did this administration — which is, in the shorthand of the media, a sort of right-wing, small-government, tear-it-all-down, cryptolibertarian administration — get to be, in fact, an administration that is in almost every single way as liberal as Bill Clinton’s administration? How did that happen?

“The first and most obvious explanation of the problems in the Republican Party is that the president, despite everything you hear, is not actually all that conservative. He is definitely not animated by any libertarian instincts. Even during his 2000 campaign, he never claimed to be particularly conservative or libertarian.

“Bush’s problem, fundamentally, is that he is not an ideologue in any way. Everyone attacks ideologues as rigid, but in fact they govern far more effectively because they actually believe something. Bush is not a deep thinker. He is not an ideological thinker, and he does not think systematically about politics and the world.”

Battleground Carolina

North Carolina, a state rarely mentioned as a national battleground, got its fair share of White House hopefuls yesterday, the Associated Press reported.

Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner delivered a brief, policy-free commencement address at Wake Forest University.

In Raleigh, about 100 miles to the east, former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani raised money for the state Republican Party, while former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, the 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee, lobbied at the state General Assembly for a minimum-wage increase.

A Democrat hasn’t won North Carolina since Jimmy Carter’s presidential bid in 1976. The ticket headlined in 2004 by Sen. John Kerry lost the state by 13 percentage points, even with Mr. Edwards on board.

Since 2004, President Bush has become a regular visitor to North Carolina, stopping by seven times. And the possible contenders to replace him have also visited on occasion, but three in a day is uncommon, if not unprecedented.

In Winston-Salem, Mr. Warner, a Democrat, told graduates at Wake Forest’s 164th commencement they have a responsibility to their community to “conduct our political debates in a civil and respectful manner” that treats complex issues seriously and avoids reducing them to easily digested sound bites.

Mr. Warner, barred by Virginia law from serving consecutive terms, did not let the graduates in on his plans for his future, but did offer one laugh line: “After four years of hard work, I’m currently unemployed. Sound familiar?”

Meanwhile, Mr. Edwards returned home during a nationwide anti-poverty tour to lobby for a proposal to raise North Carolina’s hourly $5.15 minimum wage by $1.

“We can’t wait for others to do this,” said Mr. Edwards, who left the Senate after forgoing a re-election bid to seek the presidency in 2004.

State GOP leaders hoped to raise up to $100,000 at the speech by Mr. Giuliani, who preached unity among Republicans by citing tax reductions, fiscal discipline and an aggressive agenda in the war on terror.

“I think that as a party that unites us as Republicans,” Mr. Giuliani said. “It creates a party in which we all see why we’re Republicans. We have to join together.”

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


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