- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Hillary silence

John Spencer, the conservative Republican challenger to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in New York’s race for U.S. Senate, has called upon his Democratic rival to defend Pope Benedict XVI’s right to free speech.

“Senator Clinton should speak out publicly and denounce the words and actions of Islamic fascists throughout the world. She has an obligation, as a United States senator, to stand up for free speech,” Mr. Spencer told radio station WROW-590 AM in Albany, N.Y., yesterday.

“It is times like this when the senator from New York should speak out. But once again, Senator Clinton is silent. Is it because of her husband’s connection to Dubai or the fact that key advisers to her campaign are members of a firm that has lobbyists working on behalf of Islamic nations? … New Yorkers of all faiths deserve to know where she stands.”

There also was snarling in New York’s Democratic ranks. The anti-Iraq war activist whom Mrs. Clinton crushed in last week’s Senate primary said yesterday he would not support her re-election bid, the Associated Press reports.

“I urge my supporters and the people who voted for me to vote their conscience,” said Jonathan Tasini. “Every vote that is not cast for the incumbent is a clear repudiation of an immoral war.”

The Clinton camp was curt: “Who cares?” asked adviser Howard Wolfson.

FDA fight, part 2

Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican, vowed yesterday to block President Bush’s nomination of Andrew von Eschenbach to head the Food and Drug Administration unless the agency moves to stop the sale of an abortion pill.

Mr. DeMint made the move as a Senate committee prepared to vote today on the nomination. Dr. von Eschenbach has been acting FDA commissioner for a year, but his confirmation had been held up by two Democratic senators — Patty Murray of Washington and Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York — until the agency approved over-the-counter sale of emergency contraception.

Mr. DeMint said RU-486 — sold under the brand name Mifeprex — has caused at least eight deaths and put more than 200 women in the hospital since the FDA approved it four years ago.

“Any other drug would have been removed from the market,” he told Scripps Howard News Service. “Since this drug was approved, the FDA has removed nine products from markets where there were adverse reactions, not even deaths.”

Ted’s back

The U.S. invasion of Iraq was among the “dumbest moves of all time” that ranks with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and the German invasion of Russia, billionaire philanthropist Ted Turner said yesterday at the United Nations, according to Reuters news agency.

“You don’t start wars just because you don’t like somebody. … I wouldn’t even start a war with Rupert Murdoch,” said the outspoken former cable TV mogul, referring to his one-time rival.

The founder of CNN and unabashed internationalist also defended the right of Iran to have nuclear weapons, calling President Bush’s demands that Islamic republic abandon its ambitions “a joke.” “They’re a sovereign state,” Mr. Turner said. “We have 28,000. Why can’t they have 10? We don’t say anything about Israel — they’ve got 100 of them approximately — or India or Pakistan or Russia.”

Connecticut tales

Newly minted independent Sen. Joe Lieberman leads Democratic opponent Ned Lamont by a whisper, 45 percent to 43 percent, in the Connecticut race for U.S. Senate, according to a Rasmussen Poll released yesterday.

It also revealed that Republican nominee Alan Schlesinger wooed just 11 percent of Republican votes while Mr. Lieberman had the support of 62 percent. The survey of 550 likely voters was conducted Sept. 13 and 14 and had a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.

Mr. Lamont, meanwhile, has returned a $250 campaign donation from the Democratic Socialists of America.

“Ned thinks one of the problems of Washington is influence-peddling,” spokeswoman Liz Dupont Diehl told the New York Daily News, which dryly noted that Mr. Lamont’s grandfather Corliss Lamont ran for the Senate from New York as a Socialist in 1958.

Weighty thought

Talk radio host Laura Ingraham observed yesterday that Elizabeth Hasselbeck, the conservative voice on ABC’s cacklefest “The View,” has been intimidated by co-hostess Rosie O’Donnell lately. The openly lesbian and loudly liberal replacement for Star Jones makes a big but not necessarily joyful noise on the set, prompting senior hostess Barbara Walters to referee on more than one occasion.

“Baba Wawa has to intervene,” Miss Ingraham said. “Well, maybe Elizabeth should come to our show, and I’ll teach her how to deal with Rosie O’Donnell. Intimidated by Rosie? Hah. Look, Elizabeth, it’s not like she’s trying to sit on you or anything.”

Weighing in

Well, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. Sen. George V. Voinovich, Ohio Republican, had his own description of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing yesterday, Reuters news agency reported.

“Ahmadinejad — I call him Ahmad-in-a-head — I think he’s a Hitler type of person,” Mr. Voinovich said. “He has made it clear that he wants to destroy Israel. He has made it clear he doesn’t believe in the Holocaust. He’s a, he’s a — we all know what he is.”

He later added, “I don’t believe that as long as he’s there that we’re ever going to solve Iraq.”

Check it out

The Department of Homeland Security is a little touchy these days, said Washington Times reporter Audrey Hudson, who found the agency has taken the Federation of American Scientists to the woodshed because of its new Web site.

The department maintains a site called Ready.gov to advise citizens how to defend themselves from attack or disaster. The federation created ReallyReady.org — and thus the rub. There was fallout — but not the nuclear kind. The Homeland Security Department’s intellectual property counsel sent a letter to the federation advising the scientists that “ReallyReady” too closely copied the government’s site — right down to the signature green checkmark icons.

“This will cause substantial confusion to the public and in our estimation, already has,” William Anderson said in the Aug. 14 letter.

“While we recognize that your organization has every right to advise the public about being prepared in the event of an emergency, we also have to service the American public in the best manner we can, including protecting the government’s intellectual property if that will prevent any further confusion in this regard,” Mr. Anderson said.

In an Aug. 25 response, the Federation of American Scientists said it changed the “service marks” on the site, adding, “We do not believe there is anything particularly novel in the use of a green checkmark over the word ‘ready.’”

Spokesman Ivan Oelrich said he suspects the warning was “a way to intimidate us to take our Web site down.” In the meantime, ReallyReady now sports orange checkmarks rather than the Homeland Security Department’s green.

Contact Jennifer Harper at [email protected] or 202/636-3085.

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