- The Washington Times - Monday, April 14, 2008

Obama’s blunder

“Having grown up in one of those small Pennsylvania towns Sen. Barack Obama sneers at, I know what really makes people there ‘bitter.’ It’s slick-talking politicians who look down on their beliefs and values,” New York Daily News columnist Michael Goodwin writes.

“Small-town people get doubly ‘bitter’ when those pols have the gall to ask for their votes while demeaning their lives. See, even hicks don’t like being played for suckers,” Mr. Goodwin said.

“When they accused Obama of being out of touch for saying small-towners ‘cling to guns or religion’ out of frustration, Sens. Hillary Clinton and John McCain were too kind.

“Snob-ama is not just out of touch. He’s from another planet.

“He might consider going back there, because the White House now looks out of reach. All the more so because he later added opposition to gay marriage as another sign of benighted bitterness.

“Snob-ama’s lame concession [Saturday] that his mistake was ‘I didn’t say it as well as I should have’ only makes the repeated smear worse. He should get off his Ivy League horse and apologize to the millions of Americans he insulted. As it stands, he has confirmed he doesn’t understand or respect them.”

Playacting

“The McCain campaign was offended last week, mightily offended,” Fred Barnes writes in the Weekly Standard.

“Democratic senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia said McCain didn’t care about the people he dropped bombs on during the Vietnam war. ‘You have to care about the lives of people,’ said Rockefeller, who supports Barack Obama for president. ‘McCain never gets into those issues.’

“This was tough criticism. Almost instantly, it triggered e-mails from McCain’s campaign headquarters expressing just how deeply offended McCain’s allies were. First Orson Swindle, McCain’s fellow POW in Vietnam, demanded Obama ‘denounce’ Rockefeller’s statement. Then campaign flack Tucker Bounds zinged Obama for not ‘personally’ condemning Rockefeller. Bounds was echoed by McCain’s Senate buddy, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. He urged Obama to ‘step up to the plate’ and say Rockefeller’s comment was ‘out of bounds.’

“What the McCain gang wanted, in effect, was an apology from Obama for what someone else had said. They didn’t get one. Instead, Rockefeller said he was sorry for using ‘an inaccurate and wrong analogy,” which scarcely qualified as a sincere apology,” Mr. Barnes said.

“Meanwhile, an obscure Obama press aide was trotted out to say Rockefeller had gone too far. That only prompted the McCain team to demand, once again, that the candidate himself, Obama, repudiate Rockefeller. There was no telling when the flap would end.

“Of course the whole thing was largely playacting — in other words, political theater.”

Scolding business

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, in an interview with the Associated Press, sharply criticized businesses that complain about crackdowns on their hiring of illegal immigrants will cost them money.

The argument “basically suggests we can’t enforce the law because it will prevent people from making money illegally,” Mr, Chertoff said. “The business community loves it because you have illegals, you pay them less, they have no place to go to complain.”

Mr. Chertoff said the rising complaints from businesses offer some evidence that the Bush administration’s approach is working.

“This is harsh but accurate proof positive that, for the first time in decades, we’ve succeeded in changing the dynamic and [are] actually beginning to reduce illegal immigration. Unfortunately, unless you counterbalance that with a robust system to allow people to come in temporarily and legally, you’re going to wind up with an economic problem.”

Going to court

Democratic Party officials will ask a federal judge to order an investigation into whether Sen. John McCain violated election laws by withdrawing from public financing, saying federal regulators are too weak to act on their own.

A lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission, to be filed today in U.S. District Court, questions the agency’s ability to enforce the law and review Mr. McCain’s decision to opt out of the system. The Republican presidential candidate, who had been entitled to $5.8 million in federal funds for the primary campaign, decided earlier this year to give up that money so he could avoid strict spending limits between now and the Republican National Convention in September.

During a conference call with reporters yesterday, Democratic National Committee officials said the FEC is unable to act because four of its six seats are vacant. Senate Democrats are blocking a vote on the four FEC nominees because they object to one of the two Republicans.

The Democrats want a judge to either order the FEC to begin an immediate review or to allow the Democratic Party to file a lawsuit against Mr. McCain’s campaign challenging his decision.

Both sides now

Former President Jimmy Carter says that Democratic superdelegates should follow the people and vote for the presidential candidate with the most delegates but that they also should be free to vote the other way if they want.

Mr. Carter said in a taped interview broadcast yesterday on ABC’s “This Week” said that “it would be a very serious mistake” and “difficult to explain” if the superdelegates were to vote against the candidate with the most popular votes, the most delegates and the most states won.

“But I think that any superdelegate who wishes to deviate from that opinion should be perfectly free to do so,” he said.

Money race

Democratic Senate hopeful Al Franken raised nearly $2.2 million in campaign contributions during the first quarter of 2008, his campaign announced Friday.

That amount surpasses the $2 million that Republican Sen. Norm Coleman’s campaign reported raising in the same period, and tops the $1.9 million that Mr. Franken pulled in during the last three months of 2007, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

But Mr. Franken’s campaign reported having roughly $3.5 million in the bank, about half of the $7 million that Mr. Coleman’s campaign said it had on hand last week.

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


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