Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Schumer’s decision

Sen. Charles E. Schumer said yesterday that he has ruled out a run for New York governor in 2006 and instead will lead the Democratic Party’s effort to win seats in the Senate.

Mr. Schumer agreed to head the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and take a seat on the Finance Committee, nixing the possibility of a 2006 gubernatorial campaign, a race that could have pitted him in a primary against state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

The current New York governor, Republican George E. Pataki, has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2008.

Mr. Schumer, in a telephone interview with the Associated Press, said accepting a position in the Democratic leadership was easy, especially when it was coupled with the spot on the finance panel and the added influence of affecting New York’s business climate.

“Frankly, I never really had to give it much thought,” the senator said. “I’ve been a legislator my whole life; it’s what I know how to do. I know people didn’t believe me, but Senate was the only thing on my radar screen.”

Denying for DeLay

Sometimes it’s more pain than it’s worth to have people believe you are omnipotent.

After receiving calls from reporters and hearing at least one columnist say it on a TV show, Stuart Roy, spokesman for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, had to deny yesterday that Mr. DeLay is telling lobby shops not to hire staffers from the office of outgoing Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle.

“Tom DeLay has been the subject of more urban myths than Karl Rove, Elvis, and Mikey from Life cereal combined,” Mr. Roy said.

Mr. DeLay’s “K Street Project” irks Democrats to no end because they say it keeps Democrats from winning some good lobbyist jobs.

“My request to any journalist who wishes to print such completely untrue gossip is to consider the source and then ask anonymous accusers trafficking in this rumor exactly who on our staff has sent out such a message,” he said.

In case the message wasn’t clear, he added, “We wish all former Daschle staffers full employment.”

Final mission

“‘The last mission of Vietnam War veterans ended on Nov. 3, at 2:08 p.m. Eastern Time, when John Kerry conceded the presidential race to George W. Bush,’ announced James Warner, a lawyer who was a Marine pilot in Vietnam and spent five years and five months in Hanoi as a prisoner of war,” John Fund writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“On Saturday night, Mr. Warner gave a ‘debriefing’ on the role that two controversial groups of veterans played in raising doubts about John Kerry’s fitness to serve as commander in chief. His audience consisted of attendees at Restoration Weekend [in Boca Raton, Fla.], an annual gathering of political activists organized by David Horowitz, a former left-wing radical who fought to undermine the Vietnam War effort as an editor of Ramparts magazine, but who has now changed sides and become a leading conservative writer,” Mr. Fund said.

“As the evening proceeded and one Vietnam veteran after another shared the story of how veterans felt compelled to attack Mr. Kerry for his 1971 testimony branding fellow veterans as war criminals, former CBS News correspondent Bernard Goldberg leaned back in his chair in amazement. ‘I think some of them are too intense,’ he told me. ‘But [messing] with these guys by accusing them of atrocities was one of the biggest mistakes John Kerry ever made. Thirty years later he woke a sleeping giant.’”

Rogue agency

“On Nov. 5, 2004, a top aide to new CIA Director Porter Goss warned the associate deputy director of counterintelligence about unauthorized leaks to the media,” Stephen F. Hayes writes in the Weekly Standard.

“It was an admonition that might be considered unnecessary: Secrecy is a hallmark of the agency and, in any case, such leaks are often against the law. But several officials bristled at the forewarning and after a series of confrontations the deputy director of Operations, Stephen R. Kappes, offered his resignation as a protest,” Mr. Hayes said.

“How do we know about all of this? The details were leaked and appeared Saturday on the front page of The Washington Post. Both The Post and the New York Times ran follow-up stories on Sunday. That evening, CBS News anchor John Roberts was already suggesting a failure, asking reporter Joie Chen, ‘What went wrong?’ And so we have, three months into Porter Goss’ tenure at the agency, a full-blown war between the Bush administration and the CIA.

“In fact, this war has been under way for years but only one side — the CIA — has been fighting. The White House response to this latest assault will be an important sign of its willingness to gut the rotten bureaucracy at the CIA.”

Republican chief

President Bush will ask the Republican National Committee to appoint Ken Mehlman as its next chairman, the White House said yesterday.

Mr. Mehlman served as Mr. Bush’s campaign manager. While the chairman must be approved by a vote of the RNC at its winter meeting Jan. 18-19, the recommendation from the president assures Mr. Mehlman’s appointment.

“Ken Mehlman has served the Republican Party and the administration with honor and distinction,” Mr. Bush said yesterday.

“As campaign manager, he helped us achieve our historic 2004 election night gains. Ken has a clear vision for making our gains durable while continuing to help expand the message and reach of the Republican Party. He’ll be a great success at the RNC with his boundless energy and commitment to continue growing Republican majorities,” Mr. Bush said.

Current RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie will serve until the winter meeting and then return to Quinn Gillespie and Associates, a public affairs firm based in Washington.

War on speech

“Not content that the First Amendment still has some life, Sen. John McCain is going to try again to kill it,” the New York Post says in an editorial.

“Just days after the presidential election, McCain announced that he would introduce a new bill, meant to fix ‘loopholes’ in the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance legislation,” the newspaper said.

“But the best ‘fix’ for that disastrous law would be to scrap it altogether.

“McCain wants more limits on independent ‘527’ groups and their use of ‘soft money’ — large sums of unregulated funds.

“That’s because these groups — named 527s after the portion of the tax code that covers them, they include the anti-Bush Media Fund and Moveon.org and the anti-Kerry Swift Boat Veterans for Truth — hogged the microphone big-time this past election. But the groups themselves were an inevitable outgrowth of McCain-Feingold.”

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

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