- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 15, 2007

Too polarizing

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, was on a list of possible running mates for 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry, according to an upcoming book by top Kerry strategist Bob Shrum.

But the New York senator was quickly ruled out because quiet polling found she was too polarizing, Mr. Shrum writes.

Mrs. Clinton said around that time that she would not have been interested in the job if Mr. Kerry asked her. “I made it clear I don’t want that to happen,” Mrs. Clinton said on NBC in April 2004. “And what my answer will be, no, if it does happen. I’m not prepared to do that.”

Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said neither she nor her advisers made an effort to place her name on the short list of potential Kerry running mates. Among other things, Mrs. Clinton pledged in her 2000 campaign to serve out her entire Senate term and was serious about fulfilling that promise, Mr. Wolfson said.

Kerry spokesman Vincent Morris said conversations about selecting a running mate were private and the Massachusetts senator wants them to remain that way.

Mr. Shrum wrote that Mrs. Clinton was on a list of about 25 possibilities drawn up early in the search process.

His book, “No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner,” is scheduled for publication June 5. The Associated Press obtained excerpts from uncorrected galley proofs.

Reid’s memoirs

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada is working on his memoirs, to be published in spring 2008 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

Financial terms were not disclosed; the book, currently untitled, will be co-authored by Esquire Executive Editor Mark Warren, the Associated Press reports.

“Sometimes the long journey from the little town in the Nevada desert called Searchlight to Washington, D.C., seems strange, even to me,” Mr. Reid, 67, said in a statement released yesterday by his publisher.

“But the hard lessons I learned in that town guide me every day as we now confront the great crises of today — issues of war and peace and of essential American values and of the future of the planet. That’s what this book will be about.”

Mr. Reid, currently serving his fourth term, became minority leader after the 2004 elections and then majority leader after the 2006 campaign, when the Democrats took control.

According to Putnam, an imprint of Penguin Group USA, Mr. Reid’s book “will intertwine his own story, particularly his early life of abject poverty in Searchlight, Nev., ‘a place that boasted of 13 brothels and no churches,’ with the cautionary tale of contemporary Washington, D.C.”

Ford joins Fox

Former U.S. Senate candidate Harold E. Ford Jr. is going to work for Fox News Channel as a political commentator, the network announced yesterday.

Mr. Ford, a Democrat who served five terms as a congressman from Tennessee, lost his Senate bid to Republican Bob Corker in November. Since then, he has taken the top post at the Democratic Leadership Council and is working for Merrill Lynch.

“We are very happy that Harold Ford Jr. will bring his independent voice and brilliant ability to analyze the issues to Fox News,” said Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO of Fox News. “His wealth of experience and insight will be key to Fox as we endeavor to stay on top of fast-moving events around the world and here in our own country. The upcoming presidential campaign will be one of the most interesting in our lifetime and Harold’s depth of knowledge and analysis about American politics will enhance the news we deliver to our viewers.”

Fred’s fan club

“If the [Republican] Party turns on its current front-runners in favor of — apologies to supporters of these men — a Sam Brownback or Tom Tancredo, we’ll lose the general election. That simple,” writes the conservative blogger known as Ace of Spades (https://ace.mu.nu).

“So whether or not I support Fred Thompson (and, actually, I do), and whether or not I’m bothered by his strong conservative voting record (which, actually, I’m not), I’m a big fan of this particular challenger from the right.

“The right of the party needs a voice — and it might as well be a strong, reassuring, articulate, dramatically trained one.”

Of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Ace says: “My trouble with Gingrich is America’s trouble with Gingrich — the public simply doesn’t seem to buy him as a national candidate. He is, I’m afraid, all but unelectable.

“Thompson, should he enter the race, would fill Gingrich’s hypothetical role, but with the added benefit that if he should actually take the nomination, he really could win the election. Which is, in the end, what counts.

“I’m not one for sending messages or keeping to ideological purity at the expense of actually making policy and having the power to advance elements of the ideological agenda. If the GOP puts up another Dole sort of candidate, I’ll do what I did in 1996 — sit the elections out. I’m not wasting my time in the voting booth just to ‘send a message.’ I vote in hopes of actually electing a winner.”

Blackwell’s new job

Ken Blackwell, the former secretary of state of Ohio who lost his bid for the governorship in November, will join the Family Research Council as senior fellow for family empowerment, the group announced yesterday.

Mr. Blackwell will lead the group’s efforts in addressing family economics, tax reform and education, President Tony Perkins said.

“Over the years, we have known and worked with Ken Blackwell on the toughest issues facing families and our country,” Mr. Perkins said. “We have witnessed Ken’s willingness to stand and fight for preserving marriage and defending the unborn. His unwavering commitment to tax relief and conservative fiscal policies has supported family enterprise.”

Said Mr. Blackwell: “I am honored to join our country’s premier public policy organization dedicated to strengthening the family and defending the sanctity of life. I look forward to continuing my work as an advocate for empowering families.”

Charts galore

The Heritage Foundation has updated its online “Federal Revenue and Spending: A Book of Charts” to reveal, among other things, how much the typical household pays in taxes, that corporate income taxes doubled in just four years and that, even with the war, the United States spends less on defense than in the 1970s and ‘80s.

The series of 36 revised and updated charts can be viewed at www.heritage.org/research/features/BudgetChartBook/.

Among new features are charts showing how:

• The tax burden will reach new highs even if tax cuts, now set to expire, are extended.

• Defense spending droops below the historical average, despite the war on terror.

• Congress larded on an astonishing 34,616 pork projects over just three years — until slashing “earmarks” by 73 percent in the face of taxpayers’ ire.

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

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