Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Cause for cash

In light of Ann Coulter‘s derogatory remark about him on Friday, Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards and his campaign have decided to raise $100,000 in cash this week to combat “hate” language.

No word, meanwhile, on whether Republicans will raise $100,000 to combat hate language after Bill Maher, host of the HBO show “Real Time With Bill Maher,” noted on the same day as Miss Coulter’s outburst that if Vice President Dick Cheney “did die, other people, more people would live. That’s a fact.”

Mr. Maher was referring to the suicide bomber who struck at the front gate of Bagram air base while the vice president was there during his recent trip to Afghanistan. The vice president was not hurt, but at least 10 persons, including a U.S. soldier, died in the Feb. 27 attack.

Here’s Jimmy

“They sold out by the end of the business day,” Adela de la Torre, spokeswoman for George Washington University, told us in advance of former President Jimmy Carter‘s appearance tomorrow in Foggy Bottom.

The 39th president of the United States will speak at GW about the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and last but not least his highly controversial book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.”

“He’ll do a Q&A with the students afterwards, so they’ll be allowed to fire away,” assures Miss de la Torre.

Critics contend Mr. Carter distorted certain historical facts with his book, and even complain about the title, which alludes to the years of racial division in South Africa. The former president makes no apologies for the latter, saying he knew the title would generate controversy.

GW venue: Lisner Auditorium, 1 p.m.

When it rains

Here we are in the midst of congressional testimony surrounding the Walter Reed Army Medical Center fiasco and now President Bush has missed a March 1 deadline to submit a required report to Congress on expanding the eligibility for the Purple Heart.

Sens. Olympia J. Snowe, Maine Republican, and Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, tell Mr. Bush by letter that they’re “disappointed” he allowed the deadline to pass, saying wounded and deceased veterans and their families in this country deserve better.

The deadline pertains to awarding the Purple Heart to those who suffered injury or death as prisoners of war.

“I am disappointed the administration has so far failed to recognize the significance of this issue, and will continue to work to bring peace of mind to the thousands of veterans’ families whose lives were forever affected by their time in captivity,” Mrs. Snowe said.

Section 556 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2007 had called on the president to submit a report to Congress on expanding the awarding of the medal to include not only those who die in a prisoner of war camp, but also those whose cause of death is unknown, or those who die after their imprisonment from disease or disability incurred during their time in captivity.

Only POWs who die during imprisonment of wounds inflicted by an instrument of war, such as a gunshot wound or intentional poisoning, are eligible for posthumous Purple Heart recognition, leaving as many as 30,000 U.S. military veterans with no such recognition of sacrifice for their country.

To Rudy …”

“You’ll never guess who asked for my autograph last week,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a possible presidential contender in 2008, writes on his Internet blog.

“I was walking in [Midtown] Manhattan near 44th and 6th Avenue on my way to pre-tape an interview,” he reveals. “Someone from behind tapped me on my shoulder and asked me for my autograph. Reaching for my pen, I turned around and who was standing there with his famous Big Apple smile but the former mayor himself, Rudy Giuliani.”

Mr. Gingrich says the two politicos stood on the sidewalk and spoke for 10 minutes about the need for a series of open-dialogue discussions between the ultimate 2008 presidential nominees and the American public, to be held in the weeks prior to the election, something for which the former speaker has been pushing.

• John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin

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