- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 30, 2008

McCain’s aide

Sen. John McCain‘s Hispanic outreach director, Juan Hernandez, has become an issue in the Republican presidential campaign because, among other things, he has served in the Mexican government, Mark Krikorian writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview .com).

“The blogosphere has been abuzz over the news of Hernandez’s position in the McCain campaign, thanks to the spadework of Michelle Malkin and Jerry Corsi. Thanks also to the power of the Internet, McCain was actually asked about this at an event in Florida Sunday, though he tap-danced his way out of answering directly,” Mr. Krikorian said.

“But this potentially explosive story hasn’t gotten any traction in the mainstream press. The first explanation that comes to mind, of course, is that McCain is the media’s preferred Republican, a sense reinforced not only by Thursday’s endorsement of him by the New York Times, but also The Washington Post’s quasi-endorsement on Sunday.

“But the more likely explanation is that many people don’t see the news value. After all, whom do you expect McCain would name as his Hispanic outreach director but a fellow supporter of amnesty and accelerated mass immigration? But this is a bigger deal than that. …

“After Vicente Fox was elected [Mexican president] in 2000, he named the U.S.-born dual citizen Hernandez (a professor at the University of Texas at Dallas) to head the newly created, Cabinet-level Presidential Office for Mexicans Abroad (making him, in effect, Fox’s ‘Hispanic outreach director’).”

Run for governor

U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof of Missouri announced yesterday he will step down from Congress at the end of this term to run for governor.

Mr. Hulshof joins Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and Treasurer Sarah Steelman in the Republican gubernatorial primary, which was thrown wide open last week when Gov. Matt Blunt decided not to seek a second term in November.

Mr. Hulshof, 49, of Columbia, had seriously considered running for governor in 2004 but deferred to Mr. Blunt. A former prosecutor, Mr. Hulshof was first elected to the House in 1996.

“We need a state government that knows its place, does its job well, and then gets out of the way of the American spirit,” Mr. Hulshof said.

He won a plum position on the influential House Ways and Means Committee during his first term and was considered a solid conservative who stressed fighting crime and expanding ethanol use — issues important to his mostly rural constituents, the Associated Press reports.

Attorney General Jay Nixon so far is the only Democratic candidate for governor in Missouri, but a spokesman for Secretary of State Robin Carnahan has said she is considering entering the race.

Speaker quits

The Oklahoma House speaker resigned his post Monday after a series of embarrassing revelations, including not filing state personal income-tax returns.

Republican Lance Cargill, at 36 the nation’s youngest House speaker, told members of the House Republican majority of his resignation during a conference call. He later issued a statement.

“For several weeks, our policies heading into the session have been buried in the newspapers, while personal stories have remained on the front pages,” Mr. Cargill said. “I take full responsibility for that.”

Mr. Cargill said he hoped that a new speaker could shift the focus back “to the future of this great state.”

He quit the job one week before the Legislature is scheduled to convene Monday, the Associated Press reports.

The speaker pro tem, Rep. Gus Blackwell, will act as speaker until a vote is held to select a new one, according to House rules. Republicans outnumber Democrats 57-44 in the House.

Mr. Cargill, serving his fourth two-year term in the House, was in his second year as speaker. He will stay on as a representative.

New staff chief

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick named a new chief of staff yesterday, a day after the woman who previously held the post resigned amid reports that she and the mayor lied under oath about an affair.

Kandia Milton, who has served as deputy chief of staff and liaison to the Detroit City Council, was appointed to Christine Beatty‘s job, Mr. Kilpatrick announced.

The mayor’s office also said he planned to address the city for the first time since the scandal broke. He is scheduled to speak at his church tonight.

In a letter to Mr. Kilpatrick that was released by his office Monday, Miss Beatty said she could no longer effectively carry out her duties.

A prosecutor began an investigation last week into the charges, which came to light when the Detroit Free Press reported details of steamy text messages between Mr. Kilpatrick and Miss Beatty.

A conviction of lying under oath can bring up to 15 years’ imprisonment.

Both Mr. Kilpatrick and Miss Beatty testified in a trial last summer that they did not have a physical relationship in 2002 and 2003, when the messages were reportedly sent. The 14,000 messages examined by the newspaper reveal the two carried on a flirty, sometimes sexually explicit dialogue about where to meet and how to conceal their numerous trysts, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Kilpatrick is married with three children. Miss Beatty was married at the time of the messages and has two children. She had served as the Kilpatrick administration’s chief of staff since the mayor took office in 2002.

Late-night tactic

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton will yuk it up on CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman,” a day before the Super Tuesday contests next week.

Mrs. Clinton will join Mr. Letterman on set before a studio audience in New York on Monday. She was last on the program Jan. 2, in a cameo appearance from Iowa.

It will be the former first lady’s ninth visit to the show. She first appeared in 1994 from the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, where she was interviewed by Mr. Letterman’s mother.

Mr. Letterman’s show has been a popular destination for the presidential hopefuls, the Associated Press reports. Democrats Sen. Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards have both appeared twice since entering the race — Mr. Obama as recently as last Thursday, when he read the nightly Top 10 list.

Republican Sen. John McCain announced his candidacy on Mr. Letterman’s show last February. Republican rivals Rudolph W. Giuliani, a former mayor of New York, and Mike Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas, also have appeared on the show as candidates.

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

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