- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Direct evidence

“Why must Democrats constantly defend against charges that they can’t be trusted on issues of national security? Well, consider what went on in the House of Representatives last Wednesday night,” Debra Burlingame writes in the New York Post.

“Various members of the House majority had just spent 30 minutes in self-praise over the $7.3 billion transportation-security bill, calling it long-overdue relief for millions of Americans. Then Rep. Peter King [New York Republican] rose to propose an amendment directed at a dangerous new threat to national security,” said the writer, sister of Charles F. “Chic” Burlingame, pilot of American Airlines flight 77, which was hijacked and crashed at the Pentagon on September 11.

“His motion was a response to the ‘John Doe’ lawsuit filed by six ‘Flying Imams.’ Last November, the six were ejected from a US Airways flight after their fellow passengers reported what they saw as strange and disturbing behavior. The imams claim that they were victims of ‘intentional’ and ‘malicious’ discrimination and are seeking compensation, including punitive damages — from the airlines, and also from the passengers and crew, who are identified in the suit as ‘John Does’ to be served with legal papers once a court order reveals their actual identities. …

“This is the kind of no-brainer legislation that every member of Congress should vigorously support. Yet House Democrats reacted to King’s proposal as if he’d thrown a bomb into the House chamber itself.

“According to witnesses in the gallery and on the floor, Speaker Nancy Pelosi displayed a classic deer-in-the headlights look as the Democratic leadership went into a huddle — plainly eager, not to embrace this common-sense measure, but to sidetrack it. …

“With Democrats realizing they couldn’t argue against King’s measure, it went to a vote, and passed, 304 to 121

“Every one of those 121 votes aimed at defeating protection for “John Does” was a Democrat — indeed, more than half of all Democrats present voted ‘nay.’ ”

Trouble in Ohio

“Although the presidential election is 19 months away, the Republican Party has a real and growing problem in Ohio that could cost it the White House in 2008,” Peter Brown writes at www.realclearpolitics.com.

“Simply put, the GOP brand is in trouble in Ohio, more so than it is nationally. That matters because in 2004 Ohio was the key to an Electoral College majority, and could well be the same in 2008,” said Mr. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University polling unit.

“Since the 2004 election in which President Bush narrowly defeated John Kerry, the undercurrent in Democratic thinking for 2008 has been to hold the states Kerry won and to turn Ohio from red to blue.

“If Ohio’s 20 electoral votes were to go to the Democrats, assuming that no other states switch allegiance, that would give them the White House.

“And as simplistic as that strategy sounds, it could turn out to be successful because of the woes that are besetting the Republicans in the Buckeye State, more than in any other key battleground.

“In fact, polls of Ohio voters are finding them less inclined to support GOP candidates, less likely to consider themselves Republican than in the recent past, and giving higher ratings to potential Democratic candidates with a consistency that should set off alarm bells at the Republican National Committee.”

Foes of Cheney

Some students and faculty on one of the nation’s most conservative campuses want Brigham Young University to withdraw an invitation for Vice President Dick Cheney to speak at commencement later this month.

Critics at the school question whether Mr. Cheney sets a good example for graduates, accusing him of promoting faulty intelligence before the Iraq war and of having a role in leaking the name of a CIA employee.

The private university, which is owned by the Mormon church, has “a heavy emphasis on personal honesty and integrity in all we do,” said Warner Woodworth, a professor at BYU’s business school.

“Cheney just doesn’t measure up,” he said.

Mr. Woodworth is helping organize an online petition asking that the school rescind its invitation to the vice president. In its first week, the petition collected more than 2,300 signatures, mostly from people describing themselves as students, alumni or members of the church, the Associated Press reports.

“We recognize that members of our campus community are entitled to their opinions,” said university spokeswoman Carri Jenkins. “Political neutrality does not mean there cannot be any political discussion.”

A firm denial

CNN reporter Michael Ware denies that he heckled Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, during a live press conference in Baghdad.

The story of the supposed heckling was in the Drudge Report and picked up by conservative bloggers and this column yesterday.

Mr. Ware, appearing yesterday on CNN’s “American Morning,” was asked by host Soledad O’Brien: “There was a report that said you were heckling and you were laughing during the senators’ press conference. Is that true?”

Mr. Ware replied: “Well, let’s bear in mind that this is a report that was leaked by an unnamed official of some kind to a blog, to somewhere on the Internet. No one is going to put their name forward. We certainly haven’t heard Senator McCain say anything about it, or any of his staff have come forward to say anything about it. I did not heckle the senator. Indeed, I didn’t say a word, I didn’t even ask a question. In fact, when I raised my hand to ask a question, the press conference abruptly ended.”

A departure

Wade Horn, the Bush administration’s point man for welfare reform, Head Start and abstinence education, resigned yesterday as assistant secretary for children and families.

In the Department of Health and Human Services, Mr. Horn oversaw a $46 billion budget and 65 programs that serve vulnerable children and families. He is best known for his work on issues embraced by social conservatives, such as more money for faith-based groups.

Republicans gave some of those programs significant funding increases when they were in the majority. For example, Congress set aside for the next five years up to $100 million a year to promote marriage and $50 million a year to produce committed fathers. Similar expansions may be harder to come by with a Democratic majority, the Associated Press reports.

The Senate confirmed Mr. Horn in July 2001. He is a child psychologist who served as president of the National Fatherhood Initiative before his nomination by President Bush. Mr. Horn told his staff yesterday that he would be accepting a position in the private sector. His resignation is effective Sunday.

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

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