- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Kerry’s message

Vote Republican, destroy the environment — that seems to be the basic message of an e-mail solicitation on behalf of Democratic congressional candidates sent yesterday by Sen. John Kerry, who describes his goal to “defeat Republican candidates who have sold out the environment whenever it really counts.”

“We have these anti-environment Republicans on the run. Let’s keep it that way,” the Massachusetts Democrat tells supporters in a fundraising e-mail “focusing on a handful of races across the nation that are absolutely critical to the environment.”

Mentioning his fundraising “for three critical House challengers: Ron Klein in Florida, Francine Busby in California, and Darcy Burner in Washington state,” Mr. Kerry says, “Today, we’ve added a new candidate to the list — Linda Stender who is running in New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District. Linda is not only a strong environmental candidate, she has also fought to protect the right to privacy, and she has been an outspoken critic of the Bush administration’s failed policies in Iraq.”

Mr. Kerry continues, “I told you earlier that two of the GOP incumbents we’re out to defeat, [Florida Rep.] Clay Shaw and [Washington Rep.] Dave Reichert, had identical 28 percent voting records on the League of Conservation Voters’ scorecard. Linda’s opponent, [Rep.] Mike Ferguson, is even worse. In the last session of Congress, he voted pro-environment only 17% of the time.

“All three of these Republican incumbents have voted to open up the Arctic Refuge to drilling, gut funding of environmental protections for clean water and environmental conservation, and sell off our public lands to the big mining companies.”

Mr. Kerry’s e-mail included a link directing supporters to the site of Keeping America’s Promise, his PAC, which collected more than $5 million for Democrats in 2005.

Fighting back

Georgia will appeal a judge’s ruling that struck down its voter-approved ban on homosexual “marriage,” and the governor said yesterday that he will call a special legislative session if the state Supreme Court doesn’t rule on the issue soon.

“I think the people spoke overwhelmingly. I think the people of Georgia knew exactly what they were voting for,” Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue said.

The constitutional amendment banning same-sex “marriage” was approved by 76 percent of the state’s voters in November 2004. On Tuesday, however, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Constance C. Russell ruled that the measure violated the Georgia Constitution’s single-subject rules for ballot questions.

The ballot measure addressed issues other than homosexual “marriage,” including civil unions and the power of Georgia courts to rule on disputes arising from same-sex relationships.

Mr. Perdue said he would call a special session of the state legislature to propose another constitutional amendment to ban same-sex “marriage” if the high court did not rule by Aug. 7. The deadline for the measure to be printed on ballots for the November general election would be Aug. 14, he said.

Daschle’s travels

Former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle will gauge potential support for a 2008 presidential bid with stops in Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan next month.

Mr. Daschle, the three-term South Dakota senator who lost a re-election bid in 2004, said yesterday that the trip is a logical progression as he weighs a White House run.

“It’s just taking the next step to a more thoughtful consideration of a presidential campaign,” Mr. Daschle told the Associated Press.

Iowa and New Hampshire are the traditional early-voting states, and numerous potential candidates have visited there in recent months. Michigan could be one of two states shoehorned between Iowa and New Hampshire if the Democratic Party decides to change its primary calendar.

Mr. Daschle said he will be traveling to states to “sound out presidential themes, talk to voters and get a sense of what kind of a reception I might be getting.” He also will be campaigning for local candidates.

Mr. Daschle, 58, said he would decide by the end of this year, maybe sooner, if he will run for president.

Hillary’s complaint

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday accused Republicans of trying to erode access to birth control for women.

“There’s a quiet war going on in America — against the most basic rights of Americans to make their own personal decisions about family planning,” Mrs. Clinton wrote in a mass e-mail from her re-election campaign.

The New York Democrat complained that the Bush administration and congressional Republicans are whittling away at contraception options, particularly for poor women who rely on government-funded programs.

The senator cited statistics showing that low-income women are having four times as many unwanted pregnancies as higher-income women and half of all unwanted pregnancies end in abortions.

Republicans accused Mrs. Clinton of seeking to enlarge federal programs, the Associated Press reports.

“Once again, Hillary Clinton demonstrates that her top priority is increasing both the size and scope of the government,” said Republican National Committee spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt.

Hollywood Al

Hollywood rolled out the green carpet Tuesday for former Vice President Al Gore and his global-warming documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.” Actors and activists attended the opening of the film, which argues that global warming is imminent and potentially catastrophic.

Sharon Stone, David Duchovny, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star Larry David and comedian Garry Shandling were among the star-studded crowd at the opening, where guests walked a green carpet instead of the traditional red.

“It’s just the environment and planet, that’s all,” Mr. Shandling said.

One event sponsor, Hewlett-Packard, brought guests from a hotel in a vehicle powered by biofuel instead of gasoline, the Associated Press reports.

Others attending included snowboarder and Olympic gold medalist Shaun White, who said he was interested in global warming because he thinks it has reduced snowpack.

Helping veterans

Wisconsin veterans would be eligible for free tuition at University of Wisconsin campuses and the state’s technical colleges under a bill Gov. James E. Doyle is expected to sign on Saturday.

At least two other states — Texas and Illinois — have similar programs, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Wisconsin measure expands a program that started this school year in which the state pays half of tuition and fees for Wisconsin veterans and the full cost for spouses and family members of soldiers killed in action, the Associated Press reports.

The University of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Technical College System have warned that they may have to charge other students higher tuition to cover the estimated $9 million annual cost.

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

com.

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