- The Washington Times - Monday, October 23, 2006

The latest battleground being staked out by Virginia Sen. George Allen and his Democratic challenger James H. Webb Jr. is debate footage.

The men met Oct. 9 for a televised debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Virginia. The nonpartisan group says both men agreed not to use clips from the debate for campaign purposes.

Sounds like a pretty standard agreement. Until you involve the Internet.

Clips from the debate, including a full-length video of the entire discussion, surfaced on the Web within hours of its conclusion.

But the League of Women Voters is taking issue with the most recent clip from the debate, which was broadcast statewide.

“We kid ourselves if we don’t say that we need more revenues,” Mr. Webb said during the debate, and it appears in a 30-second Allen ad saying the Democrat would raise taxes if elected.

The group said that it “publicly protests” the campaign ad, and that Mr. Allen, a Republican, violated the agreement. The group asked the Allen campaign to pull the ad or edit out the clip, but “it is our understanding and observation that this request was not honored.”

“We’re not going to take our ad down,” said Allen campaign manager Dick Wadhams. “The Webb campaign was the first to violate the agreement. … That rendered it null and void.”

Mr. Wadhams said a paid Webb blogger posting clips from the debate at the pro-Webb RaisingKaine.com and on YouTube.com is the same as using the footage in a campaign spot.

He also said the league was “silent” about Mr. Webb’s misuse of the footage on the Internet.

The group said that the Web site featuring debate footage “was not the official campaign site of either candidate” and that Mr. Webb’s campaign removed links to RaisingKaine and YouTube from its official site when asked.

Mr. Wadhams said it’s a moot point. “Frankly, in this day and age of the Internet, it’s virtually impossible to enforce such an agreement,” he said.

The Webb campaign sent its own press release saying the Allen campaign had broken its promise.

There are two weeks left in the campaign.

• Roasted

Mayor Anthony A. Williams was on the hot seat last week as D.C. honchos from politics, the press and academia took shots at the soon-to-be-out-of-office mayor.

“He’s more macho than Carol Schwartz multiplied by Linda Cropp,” opined George Washington University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, making a comparison to two D.C. Council members who have tangled with the two-term city leader.

Mr. Williams was ribbed by members of the D.C. Council, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, WRC-TV reporter Tom Sherwood and White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten for a variety of things, including his frequent trips out of town, bald head, summer cannonball tradition to open the city’s pools, 2002 petition signatures fiasco, the never-ending baseball stadium negotiations and signature bow tie.

While throwing out the first jokes, Mr. Sherwood skewered the mayor on the fight between the city and Howard University Hospital over the National Capital Medical Center.

Howard University President H. Patrick Swygert, Mr. Sherwood said, “heard we were having a roast of Mayor Williams. [He] offered to bring the matches. He recommended that we set Mayor Williams on fire, put him in Anacostia and let him run until he can find the nearest open hospital.”

Mr. Bolten may have dropped the funniest joke of the night when he went after the ever-increasing cost of the new Washington Nationals baseball stadium, currently capped at $611 million.

“There are some things money can’t buy,” he said. “For everything else, there’s the D.C. Council.”

Before the evening really began, the evening’s stars mingled in the VIP room. Former President Bill Clinton, who did not stay for the full event, spent about 15 minutes working the room and schmoozing with Mr. Williams and Adrian M. Fenty, Democratic nominee for mayor.

“He looks better with no hair than I do,” Mr. Clinton said of Mr. Williams’ bald head.

About 900 guests attended the event, held in the Marriott Wardman Park in Northwest. The price of admission was $250 a ticket.

• Eyes opened

As he promoted his return to the ring last week, former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson also threw in a plug for Maryland U.S. Senate candidate Michael S. Steele.

At a press conference last Monday in Strongsville, Ohio, announcing his “Mike Tyson World Tour,” Tyson, now 40, posed for photographs with fans and signed autographs while wearing a white-and-blue Steele for U.S. Senate T-shirt.

Tyson said he used to think that black Republicans were “sellouts” but changed his mind after researching the Maryland lieutenant governor, who happens to be Tyson’s former brother-in-law.

“We have to open our eyes more,” Tyson said, pointing to his T-shirt.

The fighter began his comeback tour in Youngstown, Ohio, on Friday with a four-round exhibition against former sparring partner Corey “T-Rex” Sanders. Future stops on the tour might include bouts with women, possibly professional boxer Ann Wolfe, he said.

Tyson’s former manager, Don King, campaigned with Mr. Steele last Monday in Largo and Baltimore.

• Spinning wheels

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams and Rep. Thomas M. Davis III faced off Thursday in a “spinning spinoff” for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Spinning is a high-intensity aerobic exercise on a stationary bike. Although fans of the sport say it is special, it looks no more exhausting than riding a normal, average, no-fancy-title stationary bike.

And yet the two politicians seemed to tire remarkably fast. Mr. Williams began to fade about two minutes into the eight-minute session, and Mr. Davis did not show signs of exhaustion until about five minutes in.

Originally billed as a competition between the two, Mr. Davis, Virginia Republican, was confident that he easily could smoke Mr. Williams, a Democrat.

“We are good friends,” Mr. Davis said, “but, yeah, I could take him.”

Mr. Williams was less willing to make a serious challenge.

“We are doing this to draw attention to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. That’s what this is about,” he said.

But the competition aspect of the event was not to be — the two instead rode their bikes next to each other while smiling for photographers.

Both Mr. Williams and Mr. Davis are avid runners: Mr. Davis has run three marathons, and Mr. Williams is known to jog almost every day.

The event, attended by about 250 spinners not as well-known as Mr. Williams and Mr. Davis, was held on Freedom Plaza across from the John A. Wilson Building in Northwest

• Sign of times

Supporters of a constitutional amendment blocking same-sex “marriage” in Virginia say a Broadway man has been fired for posting signs on his truck that support the measure.

Luis Padilla had worked in human resources at Cargill’s plant in Timberville, north of Harrisonburg, when he was fired earlier this month. A Cargill spokesman said Mr. Padilla was fired for insubordination, not his political views.

Mark Klein said Mr. Padilla showed up to work Oct. 4 with two signs on his truck. Several employees complained, and Mr. Padilla took the signs down.

Mr. Padilla, however, came back the next day with the signs displayed, Mr. Klein said, but parked by the company’s front gate instead of the parking lot.

The area in front of the gate is considered company property, too, Mr. Klein said.

A spokeswoman for a pro-amendment group said Mr. Padilla’s civil rights were violated.

• Switcheroo

Maryland state Sen. John A. Giannetti Jr. lost the Sept. 12 Democratic primary — so he switched parties. Now he is running for re-election as a Republican, and that has some Democratic leaders upset.

Especially because some of his signs still say he is a Democrat.

The Baltimore Sun reported last week that the Maryland Democratic Party has complained that Mr. Giannetti is trying to mislead voters. Party officials said there are at least a half-dozen large signs posted in Senate District 21 that feature Mr. Giannetti’s photo and include the word Democrat.

The Democratic nominee is former Delegate James C. Rosapepe.

Mr. Giannetti told the Sun last week that he was replacing signs from College Park to Laurel with those listing him as a Republican and that all of them should be new and accurate in a few days.

Christina Bellantoni and Amy Doolittle contributed to this column, which is based in part on wire service reports.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide