- The Washington Times - Monday, March 31, 2008

Changed mind

Richard Mellon Scaife, owner of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and longtime foe of the Clintons, says he now has a very favorable view of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton after she visited his newspaper last week.

Hillary Clinton walked into a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review conference room last Tuesday to meet with some of the newspaper’s editors and reporters and declared, ‘It was so counterintuitive, I just thought it would be fun to do.’

“The room erupted in laughter. Her remark defused what could have been a confrontational meeting,” Mr. Scaife said yesterday in a column in the Tribune-Review.

“More than that, it said something about the New York senator and former first lady who hopes to be America’s next president. … The very morning that she came to the Trib, our editorial page raised questions about her campaign and criticized her on several other scores.

“Reading that, a lesser politician — one less self-assured, less informed on domestic and foreign issues, less confident of her positions — might well have canceled the interview right then and there. Sen. Clinton came to the Trib anyway and, for 90 minutes, answered questions.

“Her meeting and her remarks during it changed my mind about her,” and although his newspaper is not ready to endorse her, Mr. Scaife said he now has a “very favorable” impression of Mrs. Clinton.

‘A signal point’

“I think we’ve reached a signal point in the campaign,” Peggy Noonan writes at www.opinionjournal.com.

“This is the point where, with Hillary Clinton, either you get it or you don’t. There’s no dodging now. You either understand the problem with her candidacy, or you don’t. You either understand who she is, or not. And if you don’t, after 16 years of watching Clintonian dramas, you probably never will,” Miss Noonan said.

“That’s what the Bosnia story was about. Her fictions about dodging bullets on the tarmac — and we have to hope they were lies, because if they weren’t, if she thought what she was saying was true, we are in worse trouble than we thought — either confirmed what you already knew (she lies as a matter of strategy, or, as William Safire said in 1996, by nature) or revealed in an unforgettable way (videotape! Smiling girl in pigtails offering flowers!) what you feared (that she lies more than is humanly usual, even politically usual).

“But either you get it now, or you never will. That’s the importance of the Bosnia tape.”

More trouble

“As the high-water mark for Barack Obama recedes, his campaign must now confront several dangerous stumps that were once hidden below the surface,” Charles Lipson writes at www.real clearpolitics.com.

“The problems began with Obama’s long attachment to Rev. Wright, Trinity United Church, and Black Liberation Theology, but they won’t end there,” said Mr. Lipson, a professor of international politics at the University of Chicago, referring to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

“Videos have now surfaced of virulent race-baiting by yet another Chicago preacher with ties to Obama, the Rev. James Meeks. Obama was not a member of Meeks’ church and their connection may be only a tactical alliance between prominent local figures. That’s the question: How close are those ties?

“Meeks is no ordinary pastor. He is an important political and religious figure in African-American Chicago. He not only leads a mammoth congregation, he is an Illinois state senator and a key player in Jesse Jackson’s powerful local political organization, which is squarely behind Obama’s run for the presidency.

“Meeks’s sermons have called white mayors ‘slave masters’ and denigrated moderate black politicians with the ‘N’ word. Nor is he backing away from those slimy views. He has reiterated and defended them in recent interviews with Chicago’s local news media, which smells blood in the water.”


“For millions of Americans, the major attraction to Barack Obama is his call for national unity, a summoning to our shared values and common interests. With his charismatic eloquence, this inspirational ideal has single-handedly made him a political phenomenon and the Democratic front-runner,” New York Daily News columnist Michael Goodwin writes.

“But Obama’s unity appeal, it turns out, has a weak link, one that is dangerous in a president. For revealing it, we can thank the Rev. Jeremiah Wright or, more precisely, Obama’s tepid reaction to the outlandish, anti-American things Wright has said. The more he talks about Wright, the more troubling Obama’s approach becomes. In a word, he is guilty of appeasement,” Mr. Goodwin said.

“In a private context, his stubborn loyalty to his longtime pastor might be admirable. But as someone seeking the presidency, Obama has flunked a critical test of national leadership. By continuing to defend Wright even as he criticizes some of his remarks as ‘offensive’ and ‘stupid,’ Obama refuses to draw the important value and factual distinctions a president must draw in a crisis. At heart, his is a ‘peace at any price’ approach that has no business in the Oval Office.

“Consider, for example, that Obama, alone among all major candidates this year, said he would meet our enemies without conditions, including Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran. If his approach to Wright were applied, Obama would emerge from that meeting by condemning Ahmadinejad’s threat to wipe Israel off the map while also condemning American and Israeli policies. This moral equivalency would be tacit support for Iran’s warped grievances, and perhaps for its nuclear program.

“After all, we have nuclear weapons and so does Israel, so who are we to deny Iran? Or, as Obama put it Friday when talking about race relations, ‘People all want the same thing.’ They don’t, but appeasement thinking often credits everybody with equally good and worthy intentions.”

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

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