- The Washington Times - Monday, October 16, 2006

Hillary apologizes

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton called Sen. John McCain on Saturday to personally apologize and denounce comments an adviser of hers reportedly made that slammed the Republican senator over his time in captivity in North Vietnam, the New York Post reports.

The move from one potential 2008 presidential candidate to another was sparked by a column in the New York Times in which Maureen Dowd quoted an anonymous adviser talking about Mr. McCain’s criticism of the Clintons over their North Korea position.

The adviser said Team Clinton thought Mr. McCain, Arizona Republican, was doing the White House’s dirty work by criticizing the Clintons and ended up “looking similar to the way he did on those captive tapes from Hanoi, where he recited the names of his crewmates.”

That was a reference to an unsubstantiated rumor used to malign Mr. McCain, a Vietnam war hero, as off-kilter during the 2000 Republican presidential primary.

Aides to both senators said Mrs. Clinton, New York Democrat, reached out to Mr. McCain to denounce the comments.

Mrs. Clinton is said to have a good relationship with Mr. McCain, and her circle clearly wasn’t pleased with the remarks.

Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said, “These comments are reprehensible, and they in no way reflect Senator Clinton’s feelings.”

McCain spokesman John Weaver replied, “Senator Clinton is correct: The remark was reprehensible.”

Last week, Mr. McCain took what many saw as the first shot of the 2008 race, blasting Mrs. Clinton for placing blame for North Korea’s recent nuclear test on President Bush — and pointed to her husband Bill’s policies as a “failure.”

True believers

“Global warming is a religion, not science. That’s why acolytes in the media attack global-warming critics not with scientific arguments, but for their apostasy,” San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra Saunders writes.

“Then they laud global-warming believers not for reducing greenhouse gases, but simply for believing global warming is a coming catastrophe caused by man. The important thing is to have faith in those who warn: The end is near,” the columnist said.

“So a New York Times editorial Thursday took after Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., not for being a Doubting Thomas, but as the headline read, a ‘Doubting Inhofe.’ The brunt of the editorial was not a scientific refutation of Inhofe’s arguments against the global-warming craze — other than to cite a National Academy of Sciences report that warned that the Earth is approaching the warmest temperatures in 12,000 years — a short blip in time to your average geologist.

“The Times’ focus was on Inhofe’s refusal to bow to ‘the consensus among mainstream scientists and the governments of nearly every industrialized nation concerning manmade climate change.’ That is, Inhofe has had the effrontery to challenge elite orthodoxy. Or, as the editorial put it, Inhofe ‘has really buttressed himself with the will to disbelieve.’

“Get thee away, Satan.

“‘I see a sense of desperation that I haven’t seen before,’ Inhofe told me by phone Thursday, ‘and frankly I’m enjoying it.’ ”

Michigan debate

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Michigan Democrat,and Republican challenger Mike Bouchard sparred over issues ranging from the economy to free-trade agreements yesterday as they met in their first debate.

Mr. Bouchard, the Oakland County sheriff, said Mrs. Stabenow has been ineffective and has flip-flopped on several issues. “She says one thing here and does another thing in Washington,” he said.

The former state lawmaker also criticized Mrs. Stabenow’s record on the economy, noting that Michigan has lost thousands of jobs in recent years.

Mrs. Stabenow, seeking a second term, said Mr. Bouchard would support the “failed policies” of the Bush administration, the Associated Press reports.

A slim lead

The Democratic candidate running for the House seat once held by Florida’s Mark Foley has a slim lead over a Republican rival, according to a newspaper poll published yesterday.

Democrat Tim Mahoney led Republican state Rep. Joe Negron 48 percent to 41 percent, with 11 percent undecided, according to the poll commissioned by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers.

Mr. Negron is filling the campaign vacancy left after Mr. Foley, a six-term congressman, resigned amid reports that he exchanged sexually explicit Internet messages with male teenagers who worked on Capitol Hill.

Mr. Foley’s name will remain on the ballot, with votes cast for him going to Mr. Negron.

The poll also found that many voters in the 16th Congressional District in South Florida say their voting plans will not be influenced by the scandal. The poll has a margin of error of 4 percentage points. Maryland-based Research 2000 conducted the telephone survey of 600 likely voters in District 16 Wednesday through Friday for the newspapers.

Backing Arnold

The Los Angeles Times yesterday endorsed Arnold Schwarzenegger for a second term as governor of California.

After a “disappointing sophomore year,” Mr. Schwarzenegger had managed to direct the state on a “moderate course” that deserves another four years, the newspaper said.

“In the last year, the Republican has formed relationships with legislative leaders that focused the usually fractious and often obstructive Democrats on a productive agenda.”

Polls show Mr. Schwarzenegger with a sizable lead over Phil Angelides, his Democratic rival in the governor’s race.

Kerry’s charge

Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, yesterday accused the Bush administration of a “cut-and-run policy” in Afghanistan.

Asked on “Fox News Sunday” about the U.N. Security Council resolution against North Korea’s nuclear- weapons program, Mr. Kerry instead changed the subject to Iraq and Afghanistan, condemning as “a complete fantasy” the foreign-policy prescriptions offered by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who had preceded him as a guest on the Fox News Channel program.

“It’s a failure in Afghanistan where they have a sort of cut-and-run policy of not completing the job,” said Mr. Kerry, adding that the U.S. has “seven times the troops in Iraq” as in Afghanistan.

“The problem with Iraq is that it has diminished our hand and reduced our ability to be able to deal with Iran and North Korea. They are related,” Mr. Kerry said.

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

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