Wednesday, January 23, 2008

No joking

Two organizations with slightly different names are united in their opposition to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign. And now they may be united in a trademark dispute.

Citizens United, the conservative group headed by David Bossie that just released its sixth documentary, “Hillary: The Movie,” has sent a cease-and-desist letter to a so-called “527” political group organized by legendary Republican prankster Roger Stone.

“Citizens United Not Timid” says its goal is “to educate the American public about what Hillary Clinton really is,” and its Web site (CitizensUnited appears to have no other purpose than selling a $25 T-shirt. The 527’s treasurer and chairman, Jeff “Noodles” Jones, is actually a Miami bartender and disc jockey, the Weekly Standard reports.

Mr. Bossie’s group is not amused by Mr. Stone’s latest joke.

“Although your organization was formed just days ago, it is clear from your actions and the publicity that your group has sought out and received that Citizens United’s name was deliberately appropriated in order to capitalize on the release of the documentary film ‘Hillary: The Movie,’ ” writes Michael Boos, Citizens United’s general counsel, in a letter to Mr. Jones sent yesterday and obtained by The Washington Times.

“Accordingly, Citizens United hereby demands that you immediately cease and desist from this infringement. … Should you fail to comply with this demand forthwith, Citizens United will have no choice but to avail itself to the remedies of the Lantham Act,” which deals with trademark infringement.

Raising money

Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain raised money yesterday on rival Rudolph W. Giuliani’s turf and picked up the endorsement of the former New York mayor’s longtime nemesis.

Former New York Sen. Alfonse D’Amato switched his allegiance in the presidential race from former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee, who abandoned his bid yesterday, to the Arizona Republican. Mr. D’Amato has long been at odds with Mr. Giuliani.

“If you want to win in November, John McCain is the man,” said Mr. D’Amato, calling the senator a national treasure and a true hero. “This is a man whose time is here, who can restore confidence and people can have confidence in what he says.”

Recent polls showed Mr. McCain leading or tied with Mr. Giuliani in New York, which votes in two weeks and has a 101-delegate prize, the Associated Press reports.

He’s back, maybe

Ralph Nader says he will decide soon whether to make a another bid for the White House, eight years after playing a key role as a third-party presidential candidate.

“I’ll decide in about a month,” he said in an interview Monday broadcast on CBC Radio’s “Daybreak” show in Montreal.

“What I’m deciding on right now is whether we can get enough volunteers, enough financial resources to overcome the huge ballot access obstacles, which you don’t experience here in Canada, but which are the worst in the Western world in the United States,” said Mr. Nader, who will turn 74 on Feb. 27.

Mr. Nader, who made his name as a consumer crusader during decades of battling corporations on matters from car to food safety, ran for president as an independent in 2004 and as the Green Party candidate in 2000, Reuters news agency notes.

Critics say he siphoned away enough votes from then-Democratic Vice President Al Gore in the 2000 campaign — especially in Florida — to help Republican George W. Bush win the White House.

California poll

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton holds a 12-point lead over Sen. Barack Obama among Democrats likely to vote in California’s Feb. 5 presidential primary, according to a poll released yesterday.

Thirty-nine percent said they would vote for Mrs. Clinton, the senator from New York, and 27 percent said they would vote for Mr. Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois, the survey conducted by the Field Poll showed.

Since December, each of the leading candidates has gained ground by pulling voters from John Edwards, who now polls at 10 percent, and other candidates.

A relatively large number, 20 percent, remain undecided, Reuters news agency reports.

Voters who ranked health care, jobs and the economy as the campaign’s most important issues were most likely to favor Mrs. Clinton, whose lead is largest among women, Hispanics and lower-income voters.

Voters who ranked the Iraq war and foreign policy as the most important issues were most likely to favor Mr. Obama, who is preferred by blacks, college graduates and Democratic primary voters with household incomes of $80,000 or more.

Brokaw’s tale

“On Sunday’s ‘Meet the Press,’ former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw pounded the narrative that Reaganism is dead or dying within the Republican Party,” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker writes at

Mr. Brokaw said a “nomadic herd” of voters in the Republican Party was “rejecting dogma,” and that Rush Limbaugh talking about which candidate is truly conservative “is not going to help the Republican Party.”

The MRC’s Mr. Baker commented: “As if Tom Brokaw was really interested in that goal. He insisted the country is ‘hungry for solutions,’ as if ‘solutions’ and ‘conservatism’ were antonyms.”

Mr. Baker added: “Brokaw tried to claim the ‘nomadic’ search for the non-dogmatic is ‘going on in the Democratic Party as well as the Republican Party.’ Where on Earth would he get evidence for that? As Clinton, Obama and Edwards all lurch left to secure the MoveOn/Daily Kos vote, they’re rejecting ‘dogma?’ ”

Big audience

Political combat continues to hold the interest of television viewers, with Monday’s Democratic debate on CNN setting a standard as the most-watched debate ever in cable news.

An estimated 4.9 million people watched Monday’s show from South Carolina, which featured contentious exchanges between Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama. It eclipsed CNN’s Nov. 28 debate with Republican candidates, which had nearly 4.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Cable still doesn’t have the reach of broadcast TV, however: ABC’s prime-time Democratic debate on Jan. 5 before the New Hampshire primary was seen by 9.36 million people, Nielsen said.

Seven of the 10 most-watched primary debates in cable TV history are from this election cycle, the Associated Press reports. Such debates have been shown on cable TV since 1996.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or

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