- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 22, 2008

On second thought

Former Sen. Rick Santorum, a Pennsylvania Republican who spoke out strongly against Sen. John McCain before the Arizonan all but clinched the Republican presidential nomination, says Mr. McCain would make a much better president than Sen. Barack Obama or Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t shy away from offering my two-cents on the issues of the day, particularly in presidential races. And anyone who has heard me talk about the presidential race over the last few months knows that I’ve had, shall we say, some serious reservations about John McCain’s candidacy,” Mr. Santorum said in an opinion piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“I’ve disagreed with him on immigration, global warming and federal protection of marriage. I’ve taken strong exception to his view that the federal government should fund embryonic stem-cell research. But disagreement on such issues is one of the reasons we have presidential primaries — so each party’s voters can sort out the issues and personalities and choose the candidate who best reflects their collective view. Republicans have done that. Now the question for conservatives is whether McCain fits the Reagan axiom that someone you agree with on 80 percent of the issues is your friend, not your enemy.”

Mr. Santorum cited, among other things, Mr. McCain’s record on national security, right to life and conservative judges as reasons for supporting him.

“Here’s my final argument for John McCain. He’s not Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton,” he said.

Cheerleaders

Barack Obama said he’d come to Reading, Pa., two days before the state’s crucial primary to ‘deliver his closing argument,’ “ John Dickerson writes at www.slate.com.

“For over an hour he spoke and took questions, but the words that will be remembered from the event were the ones he tossed off at the very end, almost in passing. ‘All three of us would be better than George Bush,’ he said of the remaining presidential candidates. Since he’d been arguing that McCain would represent a disastrous third Bush term, this little slip muddied the closing argument he’d just given and offered Hillary Clinton an opportunity she would surely grab,” Mr. Dickerson said.

“Clinton immediately performed her role in the pantomime. ‘We need a nominee who will take on John McCain, not cheer on John McCain, and I will be that nominee,’ she said referring to Obama’s remarks. This is proof that you don’t have to be a member of the press to get accused of loving John McCain the wrong way.

“Those with a demitasse worth of recall will remember that by the Clinton standard she, too, has been a cheerleader for McCain. Not that long ago she claimed that while Barack Obama had not passed the ‘commander in chief test’ necessary to become president, John McCain had. Bill Clinton also spoke highly of McCain recently.”

Taxing question

Sen.Barack Obama says he will raise the 15 percent capital-gains tax on the sale of stocks or other assets if he becomes president, even though ABC News anchor Charlie Gibson told him in last week’s debate that “history shows” government revenues fall when the tax is increased and rise when the tax is cut.

“Well, that might happen, or it might not,” the freshman senator replied, adding that he would raise it anyway, possibly closer to the previous 28 percent before President Clinton signed legislation cutting it to 20 percent.

Why would Obama do that?

Reporter Donald Lambro of The Washington Times asked Columbia University economist Glenn Hubbard about Obama’s plan and the former chairman of President Bush’s Council of Economic Advisors sent back this tart reply:

“Raising capital [gains] taxes is bad at any time, particularly in a weak economy. The only argument for such a tax increase — since that argument can be neither economic efficiency or efficient revenue collection — would be a policy of [income] redistribution.”

Trash talk

Democratic Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton have accepted an invitation to try to settle their long-running presidential-nomination fight on World Wrestling Entertainment’s popular “Monday Night Raw” program.

Unfortunately for wrestling fans, they won’t be trading any blows. Physically, at least.

Neither would agree to appear against each other in person, so they taped messages to air on the eve of the Pennsylvania primary. Republican Sen. John McCain added his message as well, the Associated Press reports.

Mrs. Clinton tells fans to call her “Hill-Rod,” recites her agenda and promises to be “a president who will go to the mat for you.”

“This election is starting to feel a lot like King of the Ring,” she says in a little trash talk. “The only difference? The last man standing may just be a woman.”

Mr. Obama borrowed the signature line from former WWE champion Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson in a warning to the special interests in Washington. “Do you smell what Barack is cooking?” Mr. Obama asks with a grin.

Mr. McCain cautions both candidates to look out for him in the general election. “Whatcha gonna do when John McCain and all his McCainiacs run wild on ya?” he asks.

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


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