- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 22, 2007

The honeymooner

There is a double standard when it comes to current news media coverage of Democratic presidential candidate Barack 0bama, MSNBC media analyst Steve Adubato writes at www.msnbc.msn.com.

“One can only hope that changes soon, because to treat him differently from the other serious presidential candidates does represent a racist attitude,” Mr. Adubato said.

“Interestingly, Obama was critical of some in the media for coverage of him focusing on ‘softer’ topics while he wanted to talk substantive issues. Chill out, senator, and count your blessings. If People magazine wants to show you in a bathing suit and talk about your pecs, consider yourself lucky.

“And if you are that worried about the coverage of you as a ‘rock star’ with loads of personality, stop doing interviews with Oprah or personality-driven magazines. Exactly how did you and your wife get on the February cover of Ebony? Was that because of your position on Iraq or because the two of you are very photogenic and have an even more interesting personal story to tell? …

“This relationship between Obama and the media is going to be a fascinating one to watch, because unlike Jesse Jackson and even Al Sharpton, Obama has huge crossover appeal and could in fact be our next president. I only hope that we in the media start treating him like that and press him harder on the substantive issues that matter most to American citizens.

“My advice to Obama is to enjoy the honeymoon while it lasts, because when it does end, history shows that it can get pretty ugly. The media loves to build national candidates up, but we love even more to tear them down. Barack Obama’s fascinating story continues.”

Cheney and McCain

Vice President Dick Cheney yesterday disputed Republican presidential hopeful John McCain’s assertion that Donald H. Rumsfeld was one of the country’s worst defense secretaries.

“John’s entitled to his opinion. I just think he’s wrong,” said Mr. Cheney, a friend of Mr. Rumsfeld. He also disclosed that the Arizona senator had apologized to him for a previous comment that the vice president had “badly served” President Bush on Iraq.

“John said some nasty things about me the other day, and then next time he saw me, ran over to me and apologized. Maybe he’ll apologize to Rumsfeld,” Mr. Cheney said in an interview with ABC News.

Mr. McCain’s campaign declined to comment on Mr. Cheney’s remarks, the Associated Press reports.

‘Marriage’ letter

Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch has issued a nonbinding legal opinion saying that his state recognizes same-sex “marriages” performed in Massachusetts.

“Rhode Island has not enacted any legislation prohibiting same-sex marriages or stating a public policy against same-sex marriages, even though they have been validly performed in neighboring Massachusetts for approximately three years,” Mr. Lynch said in a letter this week to Jack Warner, commissioner of the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education.

For these and other reasons, “we advise the Board of Governors that it should accord marital status to its (homosexual) employees who were lawfully married in Massachusetts,” Mr. Lynch wrote.

A spokesman for the board was not available for comment.

It was not clear what effect Mr. Lynch’s nonbinding opinion would have on state employees.

“It’s essentially guidance. It’s my interpretation of the law,” Mr. Lynch told the Associated Press.

“It’s terrific news” for state workers in Rhode Island, said Michele Granda, a lawyer with Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), which posted the letter on its Web site.

GLAD represents Wendy Becker and Mary Norton, of Providence, R.I., who have sued Massachusetts over a 1913 law that says couples can’t marry in Massachusetts if they can’t marry in their home states. Last fall, a Massachusetts Superior Court justice ruled that because Rhode Island doesn’t appear to forbid same-sex “marriage,” Miss Becker and Miss Norton can “marry” in Massachusetts.

Daschle’s favorite

Sen. Barack Obama won the endorsement yesterday of former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who said the White House hopeful “personifies the future of Democratic leadership in our country.”

Mr. Daschle said Mr. Obama has a “great capacity to unify our country and inspire a new generation of young Americans, just as I was inspired by the Kennedys and Martin Luther King when I was young.”

Mr. Obama began his term in the Senate after Mr. Daschle lost his seat in 2004. But the South Dakotan served in the Senate with several of the other Democratic presidential hopefuls, including Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware and Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut and with John Edwards, a former senator from North Carolina.

Mr. Daschle said the party was “very fortunate to have an extraordinary field of candidates.”

U.S. up, NYT down

The conservative blogger known as “Ace of Spades” (https://ace.mu.nu) noted yesterday that the New York Times’ revenue is plunging at the same time that the U.S. government’s is rising.

Under the headline “NYT Revenues Plunge; US Revenues Surge,” Ace writes: “Funny how the NYT will attribute the former to a ‘tough media environment’ for which they should bear no blame, and also claim the latter is just dumb luck on the part of the Republican administration.”

The New York Times Co. said Wednesday that January sales slipped 0.4 percent and ad sales from continuing operations fell 2.1 percent to $182.6 million from $186.5 million in the prior-year period, the Associated Press reported. The overall economy is so strong that tax revenues are rising much faster than spending, according to Treasury Department numbers released last week.

Ace suggests a potential headline for the liberal newspaper: ” ‘Revenue Gap’ Between US Government and NYT Company Proves Conclusively That Private Sector Is Inferior To Government.”

“Not really, of course. But you know [Times columnist] Paul Krugman is playing with the idea,” he says.

A blackjack player

Here’s a good bet. If Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton decides to do some gambling in Nevada, check out the blackjack table.

“I’m not much of a gambler, but I have gambled,” the New York senator said in a brief interview with the Associated Press yesterday, adding that her favorite game probably is blackjack.

Mrs. Clinton was in Nevada, one of the early-voting states, to participate in a candidate forum. Democrats recently circulated a 44-page document repackaging Las Vegas and Nevada, considered the wild child of American culture, as utterly ordinary.

Heartland over a gambling image? Mrs. Clinton laughed and said, “I don’t know anything about that. I think it’s funny.”

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

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