- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 20, 2008

A very graying lady

Bashing The New York Times “is not just for conservatives anymore,” according to Vanity Fair.

“For the left and for liberals — most of the people I grew up with — they thought The New York Times was an absolutely transparent pane of glass, scrubbed with Windex every day, that gave them a crystalline view of the world. When Judith Miller screwed up the W.M.D. stuff, they were just gobsmacked that The New York Times could get anything wrong. And when it seemed to help George Bush, it was the worst betrayal imaginable,” columnist Jonah Goldberg tells the magazine.

By the numbers

57 percent of Americans think that Sen. Barack Obama is a Christian.

55 percent of Republicans and 60 percent of Democrats agree.

12 percent of Americans overall think Mr. Obama is a Muslim.

12 percent of Republicans and 12 percent of Democrats agree.

1 percent overall think Mr. Obama is Jewish, 2 percent think he is “something else.”

10 percent say they have heard “different things” about Mr. Obama’s religion but still don’t know his faith.

15 percent say they “haven’t heard enough” to determine his faith.

3 percent refused to answer the question.

Source: A Pew Research Center survey of 1,574 registered voters conducted June 18 to 29 with a margin of error of three percentage points.

Heaping the veeps

As the national conventions loom, Pajamas Media contends that there are 14 possible candidates for vice president in the Democratic camp and 18 among the Republicans. The blog — which incidentally draws about 29 million views a month — has been polling its readers for their choices week by week. The current favorites?

“Week 4 votes are in. Bill Richardson leads the Dems with 14 percent, followed by Jim Webb(12 percent), Kathleen Sebelius (10 percent), Wes Clark(9 percent), and Hillary Clinton (7 percent). For the GOP, Mitt Romney leads with 20 percent, followed by Sarah Palin (18 percent), Tim Pawlenty (9 percent), Bobby Jindal (9 percent), and Mike Huckabee (7 percent).”

The Nam factor

“Two million Americans fought in Vietnam. But not one of them has ever been elected president. If John McCain’s bid for the presidency is unsuccessful, no veteran of that war will ever occupy the White House. This would make it unique among American wars and the political fortunes of their heroes,” writes Ryan Cole of The American Spectator.

“Though Vietnam veterans have served in Congress and statehouses, and Al Gore served as a military journalist in Vietnam for five months, until now, John Kerry was the only presidential nominee from either party to see extensive combat in Vietnam,” he continues.

But Mr. Kerry returned home to be an anti-war activist and was ultimately challenged in 2004 by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. As a former POW, Mr. McCain will not likely face such a gantlet, since much of his appeal is based on his maverick Senate record.

“Still, if McCain loses in November, the door may be shut on a generation of veterans’ opportunity to lead the nation. What is less certain is whether this stigma is unique to veterans of Vietnam or if that war irrevocably changed our nation’s view of the role of military service in presidential politics,” Mr. Cole concludes.

Days of yore

Previous administrations have faced challenges peculiar to their era. On this day in 1801, “staunchly Republican” dairy farmers in western Massachusetts began molding a mammoth 1,235-pound cheese ball to honor Thomas Jefferson, who personally received the piquant offering at the front door of the White House some nine months later.

According to an account by American University law professor Daniel Dreisbach in the “Journal of Church and State,” the farmers specified that only the milk of Republican bovines - not “federalist cows” was used.

“We send you a cheese as a peppercorn of the esteem which we bear to our Chief Magistrate,” the farmers told Jefferson.

Today is also the 15th anniversary of White House deputy counsel Vincent Foster’s demise. He was found fatally shot in Fort Marcy Park in Virginia on July 20, 1993, his death eventually ruled a suicide in investigations by the U.S. Park Service, the FBI and independent counsels Robert Fisk and Kenneth Starr. Mr. Foster was 48.

Happy birthday today to Sen. Barbara Mikulski; the Maryland Democrat is 72, born in Baltimore in 1936. Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura turns 57 today as well, born in Minneapolis in 1951.

Quotes of note

“This is not the time for an amateur.” — Mitt Romney, on the presidential field of contenders, to CBS News.

“Everybody said to me, ‘Are you going to be afraid?’ ‘Will you walk the streets?’ I never felt safer.”

Barbara Walters on her recent visit to Syria, on ABC’s “The View.”

“Why aren’t investigative journalists looking into gas prices?” - former New York Times editor Howell Raines, in a Portfolio.com analysis.

“A lot of people beat up on me every day. I read The New York Times every day. Have you read some of the ugly things they say about me? I’m like Grendel in ‘Beowulf.’ People talk about me and there’s nothing I can do about it.” — Former White House adviser Karl Rove, to members of the Television Critics Association.

Contact Jennifer Harper at [email protected] times.com or 202/636-3085.



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