Monday, October 2, 2006

Cash advantage

“The president’s fund-raising sure helps,” U.S. News & World Report reports in its White House Week column.

“Republicans in key congressional districts have now accumulated a big cash advantage over their Democratic rivals. Sources says that House Republican incumbents on the party’s endangered list each have an average of $200,000 more on hand than their opponents,” the magazine said.

“In the past, that kind of cash advantage has meant victory for more than 90 percent of candidates. Another good sign for the GOP: some of the most endangered Republican incumbents appear to be gaining momentum in their campaigns, according to GOP surveys.”

Coming home

“If you have any doubts about the confusion of the Democrats, just look at the party’s midterm strategy,” Mark Halperin writes in the New York Times.

“On the one hand, Democrats are reluctant to push for liberal policies that would motivate their base. But the core of their enunciated message — both vowing to stop the president’s right-wing policies and blurring their differences with Republicans on highly charged issues — has in recent elections been a recipe for defeat. Such equivocation is the kind of themeless pudding that does not match up well with the conviction of the White House message and is uninspiring to both the Democrats’ base and the center,” said Mr. Halperin, who is the political director of ABC News and co-author of “The Way to Win: Taking the White House in 2008.”

“For months, the president was in severe political peril, with approval ratings regularly hovering around 30 percent, in large measure because he was missing the support of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents that is essential to his majority. Despite conservative disaffection with the White House over the past year on issues like spending (and even, in some cases, on Iraq), the latest polls show the GOP base is coming home — and just in time. Base support is headed toward 90 percent, just about where it was before the 2002 and 2004 elections.”

Ashcroft book

Former Attorney General John Ashcroft is to publish a memoir of his time in office, lashing critics of the Bush administration’s strategy in the war on terror.

Advance copies of “Never Again: Securing America and Restoring Justice,” which is to be published this week, were not available, but one person close to Mr. Ashcroft told Shaun Waterman of United Press International that he “hits out hard at critics of the administration” and its war on terror.

He has particularly harsh words for some of the members of the September 11 commission, especially Democratic former Justice Department senior official Jamie Gorelick, the source says.

The publisher’s blurb says Mr. Ashcroft’s position as the administration’s most senior law-enforcement official gave him “a uniquely comprehensive — and uniquely chilling — view of the threats to American security,” adding that Mr. Ashcroft discusses “the enactment and defense of the Patriot Act, the Robert Hansen spy scandal … and the recently discovered domestic surveillance program authorized by President Bush.”

Mr. Ashcroft, a conservative who became a lightning rod for criticisms of the administration’s aggressive interpretation of the limits of presidential power, is slated to appear this morning on NBC’s “Today” show to discuss his book.

Poll results

Democratic Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr. is running even with Republican Bob Corker in Tennessee, while Democrat Jon Tester has edged ahead of Sen. Conrad Burns in Montana, according to polls released yesterday.

A Mason-Dixon poll found that Mr. Ford had the backing of 43 percent in Tennessee, while Mr. Corker, a former Chattanooga mayor, was backed by 42 percent. Mr. Corker had a lead in midsummer polling matching the two.

Another Mason-Dixon poll found that Mr. Tester has pulled ahead of Mr. Burns in Montana, by 47 percent to 40 percent. They were tied in August polling.

Moving over

Robert Knight, who started the Culture & Family Institute at Concerned Women for America (CWA) in 2001, will be heading the new Institute on Culture and the Media (ICM) at the Media Research Center in Alexandria, beginning today.

“ICM will study how the media portray faith and traditional values, and how skewed media coverage undermines personal responsibility,” Mr. Knight says.

Mr. Knight’s relationship with CWA will continue this week, when he speaks Saturday at CWA’s Leadership Conference in Arlington. He also will address a CWA event in Arizona later this month.


“While Al Gore drifts into deeper darkness on the other side of the moon, propelled by such revelations as cigarette smoking is a ‘significant contributor to global warming,’ Sen. James Inhofe is becoming a one-man myth-wrecking crew,” Investor’s Business Daily says in an editorial.

“Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, took to the Senate floor two days [recently] to expose the media’s role in the global warming hype. This is a man who more than three years ago called the global warming scare ‘the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people’ and has made a habit of tweaking the left-leaning environmental lobby,” the newspaper said.

“One member of the media, Miles O’Brien of CNN, responded … to Inhofe’s criticism of the media with a piece criticizing Inhofe and challenging his arguments. If anything, it seems that O’Brien’s reply simply motivated Inhofe to continue his effort to undress the media’s complicity and bring light to the issue.

“We hope so. The ‘science’ on global warming and the media’s propaganda campaign need to be picked apart.

“The assumptions made by gloomy theorists should be revealed for what they are: mere conjecture.

“The lies and carefully crafted implications, many of them discharged like toxic pollutants by a former vice president, deserve a thorough and lasting deconstruction.

“What the public needs — and deserves — is a credible voice to counter the sermons from Gore, on whose behalf cigarettes were distributed in 2000 to Milwaukee homeless people who were recruited by campaign volunteers to cast absentee ballots. Inhofe could be that voice.”

Book review

In a series of appearances on the talk-show circuit yesterday, White House counselor Dan Bartlett dismissed parts of Bob Woodward‘s new book, “State of Denial,” saying the veteran reporter had “already formulated some conclusions even before the interviewing began” for the book.

During an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” Mr. Bartlett described as a “grossly misleading characterization” that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice dismissed warnings from intelligence officials about the threat of al Qaeda before the September 11 attacks.

However, Mr. Bartlett did confirm Mr. Woodward’s report that White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. approached President Bush after the 2004 election and suggested he replace Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. However, he denied rumors Mr. Bush was seeking to replace Mr. Rumsfeld. “The president has confidence in Don Rumsfeld,” Mr. Bartlett said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

• Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or

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