- The Washington Times - Monday, September 25, 2006

No Bill will

In his crabby interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace yesterday, former President Bill Clinton “based nearly his entire defense on one source: ‘Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror,’ the book by former White House counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke,” said Byron York at National Review Online. Mr. Clinton mentioned Mr. Clarke 11 times during the interview.

“But Clarke’s book does not, in fact, support Clinton’s claim. Judging by Clarke’s sympathetic account — as well as by the sympathetic accounts of other former Clinton aides like Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon — it’s not quite accurate to say that Clinton tried to kill [Osama] bin Laden. Rather, he tried to convince — as opposed to, say, order — U.S. military and intelligence agencies to kill bin Laden. And when, on a number of occasions, those agencies refused to act, Clinton, the commander-in-chief, gave up,” Mr. York writes.

He questions the book’s premise that it was Mr. Clinton’s planningthat readied U.S. response for future terrorist attacks.

“The bottom line is that Bill Clinton, the commander-in-chief, could not find the will to order the military into action against al Qaeda, and Bill Clinton, the head of the executive branch, could not find the will to order the CIA and FBI to act. No matter what the former president says on Fox, or anywhere else, that is his legacy in the war on terror.”

‘Unserious presidency’

Former President Bill Clinton’s comments on Fox were “the fruits of an unserious presidency,” according to Paul Mirengoff of Powerline yesterday.

“Bill Clinton is desperate to be remembered by history for something other than the Lewinsky affair, perjury and impeachment. And he will be. It’s becoming clear that the Clinton legacy will also include eight years of inaction, broken by rare instances of ineffectual action, towards the mounting threat posed by Osama bin Laden and other Islamic terrorists that culminated in 9/11,” Mr. Mirengoff writes.

“The inescapable fact is that Bill Clinton, for all of his strengths, gave the country an unserious presidency, and it turned out (not surprisingly) that we needed more. Clinton savored the popularity that came with that presidency, but now he must live with its unfortunate and unflattering legacy.”

Conservative mettle

Talk-show host Sean Hannity earned four standing ovations during his speech at the Family Research Council’s Values Voters Summit this weekend, according to The Washington Times’ Amy Fagan — once for saying conservatives want “the meanest, toughest military on earth,” a second time for vowing “conservatives do not need to bow at the altar of the United Nations.”

Fans sprang up again when Mr. Hannity said, “Hillary (Clinton) must never be president,” and again when he affirmed, “George Bush is the right man in the right place at the right time.”

Meanwhile, talk-radio host Bill Bennett advised the group to stop being “tentative” in defending the war on terror. “When a reporter asks what Iraq has to do with 9/11, stop saying ‘nothing,’” Mr. Bennett urged. “Saddam Hussein was a terrorist. Don’t apologize for saying that.”

He also criticized government officials and lawmakers who defer to military generals when asked when U.S. troops will come home from Iraq. “Wrong answer, wrong posture, wrong response,” Mr. Bennett concluded. “We’ll leave when the job’s done.”

Jerry meandering


The Rev. Jerry Falwell acknowledged to the Associated Press yesterday that he told an audience at the Values Voters Summit that if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, ran for president in 2008, it would motivate conservative evangelical Christians to oppose her more than if the devil himself were in the race.

“Totally tongue-in-cheek,” Mr. Falwell told AP about his words at Friday’s breakfast session, in which the Moral Majority founder said that “I certainly hope that Hillary is the candidate.”

“I hope she’s the candidate, because nothing will energize my [constituency] like Hillary Clinton,” he said. “If Lucifer ran, he wouldn’t.”

Clinton press secretary Philippe Reines said yesterday: “Working for someone who believes in the Golden Rule, we’re not going to engage in such vitriolic discourse — but it seems that a new low has been reached in demonizing political opponents.”

Others brought Satan in on the other side, though.

The Rev. Barry Lynn, director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said, “I don’t know why Jerry Falwell always has to drag politics into the gutter. Maybe the devil made him do it.”

Aloha, Akaka

Liberal incumbent Sen. Daniel K. Akaka beat upstart Rep. Ed Case in Hawaii’s Democratic primary. Mr. Case conceded the race just before midnight Saturday, when returns showed he trailed 55 percent to 45 percent, according to the Associated Press. Mr. Akaka had 128,927 votes to Mr. Case’s 106,968.

His Republican opponent on Nov. 7 remained a mystery. Former Vietnam prisoner of war and Republican hopeful Jerry Coffee pulled out of the race after emergency heart surgery; Republicans have just three days to name a replacement.

Mr. Akaka, 82, has served in Congress for three decades. He voted against the Iraq war resolution in 2002, and, in June, he was one of 13 senators who voted for a measure sponsored by Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, calling for U.S. troops to leave Iraq by July 2007.

A smiling GOP

The Iowa Poll “ought to make Republicans happy and cause a pause on the Democratic side,” said the Des Moines Register, which released results of hypothetical 2008 presidential matchups yesterday.

Former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Arizona Sen. John McCain handily beat Sen.Hillary Rodham Clinton, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack.

The stats: Mr. Giuliani trumped Mrs. Clinton 56 percent to 37 percent; Mr. Edwards, 51-43; Mr. Kerry, 53-40 and Mr. Vilsack 54-38. Mr. McCain defeated Mrs. Clinton 54-37; Mr. Edwards, 47-46; Mr. Kerry, 53-39; Mr. Vilsack, 53-38.

“This exercise is more than just idle fiddling with poll data,” the Register said. The poll of 600 voters was conducted Sept. 10-13 with a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

Contact Jennifer Harper at jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.

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