Thursday, October 5, 2006

Amnesty battle

Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum‘s re-election campaign yesterday debuted a new TV ad and a Web site ( criticizing Democratic challenger Bob Casey Jr.‘s stance on illegal immigration.

The Santorum ad features audio of Mr. Casey saying of a Senate bill that would have provided a “guest worker” program and possible citizenship for illegal aliens, “If I were in the United States Senate, I would vote yes.”

The ad says the bill — approved 62-36 by the Senate in May, but never passed by the House — “would give amnesty to 11 million illegal aliens,” and “Social Security benefits, even for the time they were here illegally.”

Mr. Santorum voted against the measure, S. 2611, commonly known as the Hagel-Martinez bill, after its Senate sponsors.

“Bob Casey’s support of this legislation is a slap in the face to hardworking Americans … . He is on the completely wrong side of the issue,” said Vince Galko, campaign manager for Mr. Santorum, widely considered one of the most vulnerable Republican senators in this year’s election.

In a press release, the Santorum campaign also said it would distribute “Casey for Amnesty” bumper stickers and yard signs.

Sherwood’s apology

Rep. Don Sherwood, a Republican fighting for re-election in northeastern Pennsylvania, says in a TV ad that he is “truly sorry” for cheating on his wife, but denies ever abusing his former paramour.

In the ad, he acknowledges that the affair nearly cost him the love of his wife and his daughters. He said his family has worked through it “because of my deep regret, our love and the fact that the allegation of abuse was never true.”

“While I’m truly sorry for disappointing you, I never wavered from my commitment to reduce taxes, create jobs and bring home our fair share,” Mr. Sherwood said, addressing viewers. “Should you forgive me, you can count on me to keep on fighting hard for you and your family.”

Mr. Sherwood, a four-term congressman, has a seat that had been considered safe until it was revealed last year that police in 2004 investigated an incident between Mr. Sherwood and Cynthia Ore at his Washington apartment.

Charges were never filed, but Miss Ore sued Mr. Sherwood, claiming he had choked her. Mr. Sherwood apologized for the affair, but denied abusing Miss Ore. The suit was settled for an undisclosed sum.

The ad began running Tuesday in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre market and comes days after Chris Carney, his Democratic opponent, launched a hard-hitting commercial focusing on the affair, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Carney’s ad features a voter saying, “This incident with Don Sherwood just cuts right at the core values of our district.” The phrases “repeatedly choking” and “attempting to strangle plaintiff,” taken from the lawsuit, appear on the screen.

Shays vs. Rumsfeld

Rep. Christopher Shays, a Connecticut Republican facing a tough challenge from an anti-war Democrat, yesterday called for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to resign.

The Connecticut lawmaker also accused officials at the Defense Department of withholding information about the Iraq war from Congress.

“I am losing faith in how we are fighting this war,” Mr. Shays said in an interview. “I believe we have to motivate the Iraqis to do more.”

Mr. Shays, who was first elected in 1987, said defense officials stopped cooperating with his congressional subcommittee after he proposed setting a timeline for troop withdrawals. Mr. Shays, who had previously opposed such a timeline, offered the plan in August after his 14th trip to Iraq since the war began.

Mr. Rumsfeld “simply is refusing to cooperate with a committee that oversees the Department of Defense,” Mr. Shays said. “To me, he has crossed the line.”

“I think Donald Rumsfeld needs to step down,” said Mr. Shays, who is chairman of the House Government Reform subcommittee on national security, emerging threats and international relations.

10th anniversary

“Fox News turns 10 this week, and it has every reason to celebrate,” Brian C. Anderson writes in the Los Angeles Times.

“Launched by media tycoon Rupert Murdoch and former political consultant Roger Ailes as a refuge for viewers fed up with real or perceived liberal bias elsewhere in the media, Fox is the undisputed ratings champion of cable news. It’s been trouncing CNN, MSNBC and CNBC for years, and it sometimes draws a fatter audience share than all its competitors combined, though viewership has slumped a little of late,” said Mr. Anderson, senior editor of City Journal and author of “South Park Conservatives: The Revolt Against Liberal Media Bias.”

“… Liberals aren’t celebrating the channel’s birthday, though. Even before an angry Bill Clinton exploded at ‘Fox News Sunday’ anchor Chris Wallace a couple of weeks ago, accusing him of ‘a nice little conservative hit job’ after getting pressed about his record on fighting al Qaeda, Democratic pols and advocates have relentlessly attacked the cable network, accusing it of being a Republican propaganda mill. …

“What explains all this hysteria? Success, of course.

“The propaganda charge is unfair, at least when it comes to the network’s presentation of news. In the 2004 presidential race, Fox pollsters consistently underestimated President Bush‘s support. In its final pre-election poll, Fox had Kerry winning by a couple of points, one of the only polls to show the Democrat on top. I’m not sure a right-wing fifth column would do that.

“A recent comprehensive study by UCLA political scientist Tim Groseclose and University of Missouri-Columbia economics professor Jeffrey Milyo found Brit Hume‘s ‘Special Report’ — Fox’s most straightforward news show — more centrist than any of the three major networks’ evening newscasts, all of which leaned left.”

Kerry vs. Frist

Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, yesterday ridiculed Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist for trying to clarify his comment on bringing “people who call themselves Taliban” into the Afghanistan government.

“They’re not clarifying. He did another Terri Schiavo diagnosis from a one-hour tape,” Mr. Kerry, the party’s 2004 presidential nominee, said of the Tennessee Republican.

On Monday, Mr. Frist said the war against Taliban guerrillas can never be won militarily and that he favored bringing “people who call themselves Taliban” into the government.

The remarks drew immediate criticism from Democrats. They argued Mr. Frist was surrendering to the Taliban, who harbored the al Qaeda organization blamed for the September 11 terrorist attacks.

A Frist spokeswoman later said the senator believes Afghan tribesmen at risk of being lost to the Taliban should be brought into the government, not Taliban fighters themselves, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Kerry, mentioned as a possible 2008 presidential candidate, was campaigning in New Hampshire for state Senate candidate Beth Roth.

• Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or

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