- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 5, 2007

Romney vs. Pelosi

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney assailed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday for visiting Syria’s president and accused Democrats in Washington of playing politics with Iraq.

“Her going to a state which is without question a sponsor of terror and having her picture taken with [Syrian President Bashar] Assad and being seen in a headscarf and so forth is sending the wrong signal to the people of Syria and to the people of the Middle East,” the former Massachusetts governor said while campaigning in Johnston, Iowa, a Des Moines suburb.

“It’s a very bad idea to be carrying out a separate and independent foreign policy from the president of the United States,” Mr. Romney added. “I just don’t know what got into her head, to be completely honest with you. I think it was a huge, huge mistake.”

Mr. Romney made his remarks as Mrs. Pelosi held talks with Mr. Assad in Damascus over White House objections, the Associated Press reports. President Bush has denounced the visit, saying it sends mixed messages to Mr. Assad’s government.

Speech on the war

After returning from Iraq, Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain will give a speech on the war next week at the Virginia Military Institute.

His campaign said the Wednesday speech at the school in Lexington, Va., would be the first of three policy addresses Mr. McCain will make in April.

Traveling this week in Iraq, the Arizona senator said a U.S.-Iraqi security plan has been working, citing a recent drop in execution-style sectarian killings, the establishment of security posts throughout Baghdad and Sunni tribal efforts against al Qaeda in the western Anbar province.

“These and other indicators are reason for cautious, very cautious optimism about the effects of the new strategy,” Mr. McCain said.

He will follow the Iraq speech with an address about taxes, trade and spending on April 16 in Memphis, Tenn., and will speak about other domestic priorities on April 23, his campaign said.

Dodd’s stance

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Christopher J. Dodd told high school students in Concord, N.H., yesterday that people debating homosexual “marriage” should ask themselves just one question: What would you do if your child were a homosexual?

Mr. Dodd said anyone who would deny a homosexual child the right to be happy isn’t being honest.

“We ought to be able to have these loving relationships,” the Connecticut senator said.

Mr. Dodd, the father of two girls, ages 2 and 5, said his daughters could grow up to be lesbians and that he hopes they would have the opportunity to enjoy marriagelike rights.

“They may grow up as a different sexual orientation than their parents,” he said. “How would I want my child to be treated if they were of a different sexual orientation?”

Mr. Dodd, who opposed a constitutional amendment to limit marriage to man-woman unions, added that he supports civil unions but not homosexual “marriage,” the Associated Press reports.

Save the puppies

“NBC’s Martin Savidge took the prize for unexpected environmental advocacy on Tuesday’s ‘Today’ show,” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker writes at www.mrc.org.

“In a global-warming story, disguised as a health report, Savidge went over the top as he blamed car exhaust for seemingly every problem under the sun. In what was initially teased as an allergy report, Savidge blamed fossil-fuel emissions for an increase in the pollen count that is not only leading to exacerbated allergic reactions in humans and their pets but also getting in the way of police officers trying to collect fingerprints.

“In the 7 a.m. half hour, ‘Today’ co-host Matt Lauer introduced Savidge’s global warming, masquerading as health story, segment this way: ‘Are you sniffling and sneezing right now? Are your eyes so watery you can barely see the TV? Well, it could be your allergies. And guess what? We may only have ourselves to blame. That story now from NBC’s Martin Savidge.’

“First up, Savidge relayed the high pollen count from a scientist in Atlanta followed by a sound bite from an environmentalist citing fossil fuels as the cause. Then after noting how ‘doctors offices are flooded with patients,’ Savidge brought a puppy up to his face and warned: ‘Sure, you think you got it bad. The itching, the sneezing, the watery eyes, but it isn’t just you. There’s another big group of sufferers out there, they just happen to be a little smaller.’ …

“Not satisfied with pulling on audience heart strings with the puppy shot, Savidge played the fear card as he observed climate change is helping criminals get away: ‘It’s also bad for crime-fighters. In some parts of Georgia the heavy pollen coating cars and porch furniture is making it hard for police to collect fingerprints, though experts don’t have advice for the police.’

“Savidge then concluded the piece on this ominous note: ‘Unfortunately, some scientists predict that climate change could soon mean year-round misery. In fact, they say you can count on it. For Today, Martin Savidge, NBC News, Atlanta.’ ”

Vegas favorite

Oscar Goodman, a former mob lawyer and self-proclaimed “happiest mayor in the world,” breezed to a third term as mayor of Las Vegas.

The Democrat won 84 percent of Tuesday’s vote with all precincts reporting, easily avoiding a June run-off. His nearest competitor had just 2,170 votes to Mr. Goodman’s 26,845.

“I just pity anybody who gets in my way,” Mr. Goodman joked. His personal goal had been to beat his record 86 percent victory in 2003.

Since his first election in 1999, Mr. Goodman has cultivated a popular, irreverent persona. He travels with a pair of showgirls and endorses Bombay Sapphire gin. He made headlines this year for teaching a class on how to make a martini at a local community college.

Mr. Goodman has also gained critics over his efforts to address homelessness. Last year, the mayor and the City Council made it illegal to feed indigent people in parks. The measure angered advocates for the homeless, and it was later ruled unconstitutional.

The mayor said his top priorities for what he has called his final term will be the continued revitalization of downtown and bringing a professional sports team to the city. He does not have authority over the Las Vegas Strip, which is in Clark County.

Virtual primary

The online social network myspace announced this week that it plans a virtual presidential primary jan. 1-2, in which its millions of members will be invited to vote for a presidential nominee, usa today reports.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]

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