- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 10, 2008

AWOL senator

Rumors are buzzing throughout the Capitol about the status of Sen. Joe Lieberman’s committee chairmanship after the Democratic-leaning independent’s prime-time address to the Republican National Convention last week.

The Connecticut senator and former vice-presidential running mate of Democrat Al Gore was AWOL at recent Democratic Caucus meetings, leading to speculation he had been kicked out of the group. Many on the Hill also wonder whether Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, will strip him of his chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Mr. Reid on Tuesday tried to defuse speculation that he would punish Mr. Lieberman for his support of Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, saying that it was the Connecticut lawmaker’s choice not to attend recent caucus meetings.

“While it is no secret that the Democratic Caucus is disappointed in Senator Lieberman’s attacks on Senator [Barack] Obama, the irresponsible report that Senator Lieberman has been excluded from caucus meetings is completely untrue,” Mr. Reid said.

Mr. Reid added later in the day that “Joe Lieberman has been invited to everything we’ve done. … He’s a part of the caucus.”

Obama robo-call

Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign courted Missouri voters Monday with a robo-call attacking Sen. John McCain on the economy, reports Christina Bellantoni of The Washington Times.

After the Republican ticket’s appearance in western Missouri, the Obama campaign dialed into some homes in the central part of the state.

The call, provided to Ms. Bellantoni by a Democratic voter, was from a female Obama supporter and blasted Mr. McCain for his ties to President Bush.

Here is the text of the call. The audio is posted at washingtontimes.com/weblogs/bellantoni.

“Hi, this is Tara. Recently I had to quit my job because of the high cost of gas and day care for my child. John McCain wants to give tax cuts to the wealthy, but it’s the middle-class families like mine that need help.

“McCain also supports tax cuts to corporations that ship American jobs overseas, while we’re losing our jobs here at home. Today in Missouri John McCain said nothing about how he would fix the economy for families like mine.

“John McCain claims to be the original maverick but he supports George Bush 90 percent of the time. I support Barack Obama and the Democratic ticket because that’s the real change we need.”

The caller states that the robo-call was paid for by the “Campaign for Change,” a project of the state Democratic Party and Obama for America.

Falling into a trap

Monday’s Gallup poll had John McCain ahead of Barack Obama “by an astonishing 10 points among likely voters,” Kirsten Powers writes in the New York Post.

“A Washington Post poll had that lead at only two points, but clearly showed a McCain surge — especially among women. This wasn’t what Democrats were expecting when they left Denver — yet they have nobody to blame but themselves,” the columnist said.

“Obama’s toughest challenge has always been to connect with working-class swing voters. So attacking the poster child for small-town values, Sarah Palin, was a bad strategy.

“No, Obama didn’t engage in the mass sneering at Palin — but he did fall into the trap of disrespecting her. When McCain chose her, the Obama campaign’s first response was to ridicule the size of her town. Then the candidate himself began referring to her as a ‘former mayor’ when she is in fact a sitting governor.

“When she retaliated (justifiably) by mocking his stint as a community organizer, the Obama camp was clearly rattled. Obama himself actually began arguing about the importance of community organizing. His supporters amplified this cry — claiming Palin’s attack was a racist slur and passing around e-mails titled ‘Jesus was a community organizer; Pontius Pilate was a governor.’

“Meanwhile, the rest of the country was probably wondering what being a community organizer has to do with being president.”

Tale of 2 generals

“When Abraham Lincoln famously sent word to Gen. George McClellan that he’d like to ‘borrow’ the army if the general wasn’t planning on using it, the commander of Union forces likely did not take it kindly. McClellan, after all, was a man whose letters home referred to Lincoln as an ‘idiot’ ‘a well-meaning baboon’ and other colorful language,” Wall Street Journal columnist William McGurn writes.

“In the first few pages of ‘The War Within,’ Bob Woodward opens with another presidential remark that offended another wartime general. This time the recipient was the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, Gen. George Casey. During a videoconference with Baghdad, the president said, ‘George, we’re not playing for a tie. I want to make sure we all understand this.’ Gen. Casey, Mr. Woodward writes, took this as ‘an affront to his dignity that he would long remember.’

“Whether or not Gen. Casey long remembered, ‘The War Within’ makes clear his disdain for his commander in chief. If the views and remarks attributed to Gen. Casey are not accurate, Mr. Woodward has done him a grave injustice. If they are accurate, they come as further evidence of the obstacles President George W. Bush had to overcome to get his commanders to start winning in Iraq.”

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

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