- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Actor’s ad

His body visibly racked by tremors, actor Michael J. Fox speaks out for Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill in a television ad that promotes her support for embryonic stem-cell research.

“As you might know, I care deeply about stem-cell research,” says the 45-year-old actor, who has struggled with Parkinson’s disease for more than a decade. “In Missouri, you can elect Claire McCaskill, who shares my hope for cures.”

Mrs. McCaskill has made support for the research a key part of her campaign to unseat Sen. Jim Talent. The new ad debuted prominently Saturday night during Game 1 of the World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Detroit Tigers and will continue airing statewide this week, a campaign spokeswoman said.

Debate over embryonic stem-cell research looms large in the state, where voters are considering a ballot measure that would amend the state constitution to protect all federally allowed forms of the research. Critics say the measure would allow human cloning.

“Unfortunately, Senator Jim Talent opposes expanding stem-cell research,” Mr. Fox says in the 30-second spot. “Senator Talent even wanted to criminalize the science that gives us a chance for hope.”

Mr. Talent’s campaign called the ad a false attack, the Associated Press reports.

“Senator Talent supports medical research including stem-cell research that doesn’t involve cloning or destroying a human embryo,” said Talent spokesman Rich Chrismer.

Face-off

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, accused her Republican challenger of getting into “swampy territory” after he was quoted yesterday as saying that Mrs. Clinton was unattractive when she was younger and that she had a lot of work done on herself.

John Spencer denied discussing the senator’s looks during a conversation with a New York Daily News reporter.

The tabloid quoted Mr. Spencer as saying: “You ever see a picture of her back then? Whew. I don’t know why Bill married her.”

Mr. Spencer, former mayor of the New York City suburb of Yonkers, was also quoted as saying that Mrs. Clinton underwent millions of dollars of “work” and “looks good now.”

During a campaign stop at a senior citizens center in Watervliet, just outside Albany, Mrs. Clinton said: “It’s unfortunate that when you don’t have anything positive to say about the issues that we can get off in some pretty swampy territory.”

After the newspaper came out, Mr. Spencer said the comments were “a fabrication.”

“I would never call Hillary Clinton ugly. That’s outrageous. I didn’t do it,” he said.

The newspaper’s front-page headline screamed in all-capital letters “Getting ugly.”

The reporter, Ben Smith, spoke with Mr. Spencer during a flight Friday from New York City to Rochester. He told the Associated Press that Mr. Spencer made the comments as Mr. Spencer, his wife and Mr. Smith sat together. He said he did not tape-record the comments but took notes on a BlackBerry.

Lawyering up’

“Everyone is speculating about which party will control Congress after next month’s voting. But we may not know for a while. We could see either party pursue the kind of lawsuits that Al Gore unleashed in Florida in 2000 and contest any number of tight races that are within the ‘margin of litigation,’ ” John Fund writes at www.opinionjournal.com.

“Recounts and even seating challenges in Congress could stretch on for weeks — another endless election. ‘We’re waiting for the day that pols can cut out the middleman and settle all elections in court,’ jokes the political newsletter Hotline.

” ‘In 2000 in Florida, we broke a psychic barrier,’ says Doug Chapin, director of the nonpartisan Election Reform Information Project. ‘Election night is not necessarily the finish line anymore. Both sides are lawyering up.’ Indeed, in 1998 the number of court cases challenging elections totaled 104, by 2004 that number had climbed to 361.”

Border protectors

A group opposed to illegal immigration has inducted 125 House members and 20 senators into the U.S. Border Control Hall of Fame for the 109th Congress.

“The members of the 109th Congressional Hall of Fame have listened to the overwhelming majority of their constituents who want an end of open borders, amnesty and welfare benefits for illegal aliens,” said Edward I. Nelson, chairman of the citizens group U.S. Border Control.

Among those cited by the group were Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican, and Sen. Conrad Burns, Montana Republican, both of whom are trailing in races for re-election.

The House scorecard is based on 12 votes on immigration issues, including deploying troops on the border, ending the visa lottery and fining employers who hire illegals. The Senate scorecard is also based on 12 votes, including opposition to amnesty, preservation of Social Security for American citizens and making English the official language.

The voting record for each member of Congress can be found at https://www.usbc.org by clicking on the Border Alert Scoreboard Issue or Election Central.

Race narrows

Florida’s gubernatorial race between Republican Charlie Crist and Democrat Rep. Jim Davis has narrowed, with the two candidates running just about even, according to a poll released yesterday as early voting began in the state.

Mr. Crist, the state attorney general, had enjoyed double-digit leads in previous polls. The new Quinnipiac University Poll found him favored by 46 percent of likely voters to 44 percent for Mr. Davis, with 8 percent undecided. That is within the error margin of 3.4 percentage points. Eleven percent of respondents indicated they could still change their minds.

Earlier this month, Mr. Crist was favored 53 percent to 43 percent in a similar sampling by the Connecticut-based polling institute. Gov. Jeb Bush is prohibited by law from seeking a third consecutive term.

Mr. Davis didn’t start his television advertising until early October and has made inroads among independent voters and women since then, the Associated Press reports.

Fright fest

Novelist Stephen King is the master of all things weird and spooky. So what better for the author of “Carrie” and “The Shining” to do than promote MoveOn.org?

“If I know anything, I know scary. And giving this president and this out-of-control Congress two more years … is downright terrifying. Thankfully, this national nightmare is one we can end with — literally — a wake-up call,” the horror writer says in an e-mail sent yesterday by the liberal Internet group’s political action committee.

“My friends at MoveOn.org Political Action are organizing pre-Halloween phone parties this weekend, Oct. 28 and 29. We’ll be calling progressive voters in key districts who may not turn out unless they get a friendly reminder or two. …

“The polls are telling us that this November is our best shot in over a decade to turn things around, and we’ve got to make the most of it.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.


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