Tuesday, May 4, 2004

A damaged image

Several weeks of general election intensity campaigning clearly have dimmed Sen. John Kerry’s image among the American people and among potential voters in battleground states, the University of Pennsylvania’s National Annenberg Election Survey shows.

Polling of 2,759 adults from April 15 through May 2 showed that 38 percent had a favorable opinion of Mr. Kerry and 33 percent had an unfavorable view. That was a turn for the worse from the first two weeks of March, when 40 percent had a favorable opinion and 24 percent an unfavorable view. In both surveys, the margin of error was two percentage points.

The shift was even more striking in the 18 battleground states where both presidential campaigns and some of Mr. Kerry’s Democratic allies have run television advertisements. In those states, 36 percent view Mr. Kerry favorably and 35 percent unfavorably. In early March, 41 percent had a favorable view and 28 percent an unfavorable opinion.

The major consolation for Mr. Kerry in the data was that there had been a much smaller change, which was not statistically significant, in the numbers among persuadable voters: those who say they either have not made up their minds or that there was a “good chance” they could change their minds.

On the perimeter

Protesters at the Republican National Convention in New York this summer will not be allowed within several blocks of Madison Square Garden while events are taking place, Mike Miller, director of operations for the convention, said yesterday.

The plan is to have two perimeters during the events, including one that extends for several blocks “in every direction.”

To get inside the perimeters, he said, “you must show evidence that you have business inside.”

That, of course, poses the question: Who is in charge here?

New York Police Department Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne told The Washington Times in March that although federal officials have the “overall responsibility” for coordination of federal resources, “NYPD has the overall day-to-day security to take care of for the convention and events.”

“The [Republican National Committee] is not in charge of New York City,” said Bill Dobbs, a spokesman for United for Peace and Justice, which is organizing an Aug. 29 march down Eighth Avenue. “How is it that the RNC has more information than the police are willing to share? I asked the cops a number of months ago if we should talk to the feds about our march and they said, ‘No, the buck stops with us.’”

The next target

Stephen Moore, president of the conservative Club for Growth, says his group will jump into the presidential contest soon.

“[We’re] collecting donations to start doing voter-education ads on the records of [Sen. John] Kerry and [President] Bush,” Mr. Moore told reporters Monday at a Washington breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. “We will probably be on the air sometime in the next couple of weeks … [in] Arkansas, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania — any of those states that were decided by four points in the 2000 election.”

Mr. Moore said his group has raised “several million” dollars, “and it didn’t take a lot of effort. … These people who used to give a million dollars to the party can’t do that anymore [and] are looking for new outlets. … I think we can raise $15 million or so.”

Mr. Moore added: “Kerry has a big bull’s-eye on his chest. It is such a target-rich environment. I think Kerry is an incredibly flawed candidate. I think he is going to wear like Michael Dukakis did [and] Bush will win pretty handily.”

The Soros issue

Democratic sugar daddy George Soros is a self-described “nut” with a one-world agenda, Jeffrey T. Kuhner writes in an op-ed piece for Investors Business Daily.

Mr. Soros told a biographer that he has “godlike, messianic ideas” and that “I am a kind of nut who wants to have an impact,” said Mr. Kuhner, who is editor of the Ripon Forum and communications director at the Ripon Society, a centrist Republican think tank.

“Always prone to a kind of sentimental liberalism, the maverick billionaire has in the past several years embraced a radical left-wing agenda that champions legalizing drugs, euthanasia, open borders and the repeal of welfare reform. But his main target is economic globalization.

“‘Capitalism is coming apart at the seams,’ Soros said at the time of the Asian financial crisis. He believes that the rise of ‘laissez-faire capitalism’ threatens democratic governance and international stability by concentrating too much power in the hands of corporations.

“To offset the ravaging effects of global markets, Soros argues that nations should be made subservient to international institutions. The billionaire insists that, in order to stabilize and regulate the global economy, there needs to be ‘some global system of political decision-making.’

“In other words, the solution to the supposed capitalist crisis is to create a one-world government. …

“His world view can be distilled to one simple idea: American ‘unilateralism’ is evil, while United Nations-style multilateralism is good.”

Mr. Kuhner added: “If the Democrats will not cut their ties to him, then the GOP would be wise to make Soros a major campaign issue. The billionaire-turned-activist has boastfully declared war on Bush. It is time for Republicans to declare war on him.”

Indiana primary

Former White House budget director Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. easily defeated a conservative activist yesterday to win the Republican nomination for governor of Indiana, drawing on the support of President Bush and the state’s Republican leadership, the Associated Press reported.

Mr. Daniels, who left the Bush administration to run for governor, will face Gov. Joe Kernan, a Democrat who took office in September after the death of Gov. Frank L. O’Bannon and is seeking a full term in the November election.

With 55 percent of precincts reporting, Mr. Daniels had 189,996 votes — or 67 percent — in his victory over Eric Miller, who had 93,078 votes — or 33 percent.

Mr. Kernan ran unopposed in his primary.

Settling scores

Former President Bill Clinton’s memoir, “My Life,” will settle some scores, starting with the “supine” press, according to a report in the June issue of Vanity Fair.

“He feels severely misinterpreted by the media,” an unnamed friend told the magazine, adding that the memoir is “an opportunity to set a lot of things straight.”

The book is due out in late June.

“I am killing myself … because I want it done,” Mr. Clinton said. “Hard enough to live my life the first time. The second time has really been tough.”

The book will include few mea culpas about Mr. Clinton’s role in the Monica Lewinsky scandal or other matters, the magazine said.

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

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