- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 14, 2008

Targeting Mitt

The Democratic National Committee announced Wednesday that it is launching a section on its election Web site to dig into the political record of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a potential Republican vice-presidential nominee.

In a further signal that the DNC is taking Mr. Romney much more seriously as Sen. John McCain’s possible running mate, it also announced that Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat, will hold a conference call with reporters at 11 a.m. Thursday “to share his thoughts” on the former presidential candidate who is on the Arizona Republican’s shortlist of vice-presidential choices.

“Selecting ‘Multiple Choice Mitt’ Romney would mean more of the same Bush-Cheney policies in Washington,” the DNC said.

RINOs for Obama

“There are many strange creatures in the political zoo, and this election brings us the discovery of a new species that has been the focus of much media attention — the Republican for Obama,” Mark Hemingway writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“In fact, the idea that Obama is garnering significant Republican support is a veritable media meme. The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Sun-Times, and the Times of London have all done high-profile articles on the Republicans for Obama phenomenon (so have many other publications that do not have the word ‘Times’ on the masthead),” Mr. Hemingway said.

“Aside from ‘Republicans for Obama’ being a media meme, on a campaign conference call earlier this week, former Iowa Republican congressman Jim Leach and former Rhode Island senator Republican Lincoln Chafee announced the formation of ‘Republicans for Obama.’ Of course, neither Leach nor Chafee is particularly known for his staunch conservatism; they’re members of one of the least popular species in the political zoo: RINOs, or Republicans In Name Only. Chafee even formally left the Republican party in 2006, but it seems doubtful that naming the group ‘Former Republicans for Obama’ would be well received.

“Nonetheless, Chafee and Leach’s announcement stole a few more headlines. When Leach claimed that Obama is rooted in ‘old American values that are as much a part of the Republican as the Democratic tradition,’ it was even reported with a straight face. Of course, given Leach’s lifetime rating of 43 percent from the American Conservative Union, there’s no compelling evidence that Leach has any idea what American values have been espoused by Republicans over the last 50 years, let alone how Obama’s liberal politics are somehow welcoming to Republicans.”

No litmus test

“In a wide-ranging interview aboard his campaign plane [Wednesday] morning, Sen. John McCain said that he is open to choosing a pro-choice running mate and named former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge as someone who merits serious consideration despite his support for abortion rights,” Stephen F. Hayes writes at www.weeklystandard.com.

“McCain also criticized Barack Obama’s presidential campaign for attempts to ‘politicize’ the debate over Georgia and criticized President Bush for failing to recognize the true nature of Vladimir Putin,” Mr. Hayes said.

“‘I think that the pro-life position is one of the important aspects or fundamentals of the Republican Party,’ McCain said. ‘And I also feel that — and I’m not trying to equivocate here — that Americans want us to work together. You know, Tom Ridge is one of the great leaders and he happens to be pro-choice. And I don’t think that that would necessarily rule Tom Ridge out.’ …

“Of the four individuals most frequently mentioned as potential McCain running mates — Joe Lieberman, Tom Ridge, Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty — Lieberman and Ridge are pro-choice and Romney, by his own account, was pro-choice until at least November 2004. (During the primary, McCain’s campaign challenged this claim by highlighting a May 2005 press conference in which Romney said he was committed to the ‘status quo’ on ‘abortion and choice.’)”

Truth in labeling

“New York Times reporter Carl Hulse looked at the vice presidential prospects of Indiana Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh in Tuesday’s “A Senator From Indiana Offers Risks and Rewards for Obama.” Hulse, the Times’ congressional reporter, apparently thinks the ‘risks’ Bayh pose come from his Senate vote in favor of the Iraq War in 2002, the ‘rewards’ his alleged moderate and even conservative appeal,” the Media Research Center’s Clay Waters writes at www.mrc.org.

“But if Bayh is supposed to balance out Obama’s ‘progressive’ appeal (Hulse’s word), the seesaw may still be tilted to the left. Bayh’s actual Senate voting record belies Hulse’s image of ‘a telegenic moderate Democrat’ who ‘has compiled a moderate-to-conservative record both as governor of Indiana from 1988 to 1996 and as senator since 1999.’

“Bayh earned a lifetime score of 20 on the American Conservative Union rating scale, with 100 being most conservative (his 2007 rating was an even more liberal 12). That lifetime figure puts Bayh somewhat to the right of center of the Democratic caucus, but it’s certainly not a ‘conservative’ or even ‘moderate’ record, as Hulse implied.

“Evan Bayh’s record shows that in 2007, NARAL Pro-Choice America gave him a grade of 100, as did the AFL-CIO and the Children’s Defense Fund. The Americans for Democratic Action assigned him a 95 percent rating and the ACLU awarded him an 86. For 2005-2006, he earned a 100 percent rating from the National Education Association.”

He’s back

Jerome R. Corsi, author of the 2004 book “Unfit for Command,” which undermined Democrat Sen. John Kerry’s bid for the White House, is back with a book about Sen. Barack Obama — “Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality” — and on Sunday the book will make its debut on the New York Times best-seller list as No. 1 in nonfiction.

That fact was reported in a front-page story Wednesday in the New York Times, which seemed to emphasize what the reporters called “unsubstantiated, misleading or inaccurate” accusations by Mr. Corsi.

However, the article did quote former Republican operative Mary Matalin, who is chief editor at Mr. Corsi’s publisher, Threshold Editions, a division of Simon & Schuster. She called the book “a piece of scholarship and a good one at that.”

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

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