Tuesday, January 16, 2007

McCain and Dobson

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, said yesterday he hopes to patch things up with conservative Christian leader James Dobson, who recently said he wouldn’t support the Republican’s presidential bid under any circumstances.

In a radio interview with KCBI-FM, a Dallas Christian station, Mr. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, argued that Mr. McCain didn’t support traditional marriage and said he has prayed that “we won’t get stuck with him.”

“I’m obviously disappointed, and I’d like to continue and have a dialogue with Dr. Dobson and other members of the community,” Mr. McCain said during a stop in Columbia, S.C.

Mr. McCain has said homosexual “marriage” should not be legal, but has angered some conservatives with his opposition to a federal constitutional amendment against such unions. He said the issue should be left to the states.

“I’m happy to say that I’ve established a dialogue with a number of other leaders,” including the Rev. Jerry Falwell, “Purpose Driven Life” author Rick Warren and Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, Mr. McCain said.

Media blackout

“So what happened to the story about Nancy Pelosi exempting American Samoa from the minimum wage because it benefits companies in her district?” radio talk-show host Neal Boortz asks at his blog site, boortz.com/nuze.

“Here we have a juicy little story affecting the Speaker of the House, and the media has chosen to look the other way. Imagine if this had been Newt Gingrich or Dennis Hastert. Would the press be so kind? Nope … but hey, this is a Democrat … the big cheese, the head honcho. She gets a pass. Maybe it’s because Dems plan to revise the bill to include American Samoa and cover the speaker’s behind,” Mr. Boortz said.

“Never mind the hypocrisy of it all. Democrats stand up there and tell us that you can’t raise a family on $5.15 an hour, that it needs to be raised to $7.25. Evidently you can raise a family on $7.25 an hour, even if it is phased in over two years. But when it comes to American Samoa, that’s different. And as long as the Del Monte Corporation, through its Star Kist subsidiary, is loading you up with campaign cash … then well … maybe you can raise a family on $5.15 an hour. At least if you live in American Samoa.

“So the story will wither on the vine, thanks to media bias. Can you imagine if Tom DeLay were doing this? It would still be front-page news. But Nancy Pelosi is a Democrat, and Democrats are protected by the media. You should know that by now.”

Boxer vs. Rice

“Last Friday’s exchange between Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice turned into the chew toy of cable news shows over the weekend — with Democrats arguing that Boxer was right to point out that Rice, a single woman, has no children fighting in Iraq, and White House spokesman Tony Snow indignant that Boxer had made ‘a great leap backward for feminism.’ ” San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra Saunders writes.

Debbie Argel Bastian, a Lompoc (Calif.) mother who lost her son Derek Argel in Iraq in 2005, told me over the phone that Boxer’s remarks were ‘rude,’ ‘shameful’ and ‘cruel.’

“In case you missed the exchange, this is what Boxer said to Rice at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing: ‘Now, the issue is, who pays the price? I’m not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old, and my grandchild is too young. You’re not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, within immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families, and I just want to bring us back to that fact.’

“Actually, Rice is paying a personal price. She has not lost a son, but Rice has had to live with whatever policy mistakes she helped make, and she has put her life at risk when visiting Iraq,” the columnist said.

“Bastian, who visited Iraq in December with the pro-war group Move America Forward, came back saying that ‘Each and every one of those troops, I feel, are my children. I believe that Condoleezza Rice feels that, too.’ It’s hard not to see a link between Boxer’s comments and war critics who protest that the daughters of President Bush are not in the military. (The same is true of Chelsea Clinton and John Kerry‘s daughters, even though the parents voted for the war resolution.)”

Rising numbers

New Yorkers’ approval of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has risen despite the police killing of a black groom on his wedding day, according to a poll released yesterday.

The Quinnipiac University poll found Mr. Bloomberg’s approval rating rose 3 percentage points — to match a high of 75 percent in November 2005 — in the two months since police fired 50 shots at three unarmed men, killing groom Sean Bell, 23.

But approval of Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has dropped 14 points to 52 percent since the last Quinnipiac poll surveyed opinions on his performance in July and is well below his record high of 70 percent, reached almost a year ago, Reuters news agency reports.

Rising support for Mr. Bloomberg since the shootings contrasts with his predecessor, Rudolph W. Giuliani, whose voter support fell 4 points to 40 percent in the two months after police fired 41 shots, killing unarmed Guinean Amadou Diallo in 1999.

Mr. Giuliani has formed an exploratory committee and is considering a run for the Republican nomination for president. Mr. Bloomberg has also been touted as a possible candidate, but he has so far said he has no interest.

Honoring Ford

The Navy said yesterday its next aircraft carrier will be named the USS Gerald R. Ford in honor of the late president, a tribute to his love of the Navy.

Mr. Ford, who served in the Navy during World War II, died Dec. 26 at his home in Rancho Mirage, Calif., at 93. Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld had said the Navy was planning the honor during a eulogy at Mr. Ford’s funeral.

“President Ford will always be an example to us of personal kindness, loyalty and coolness under pressure,” said Vice President Dick Cheney, who served as Mr. Ford’s chief of staff, during a Pentagon ceremony.

Susan Ford Bales said her father had mentioned the impending honor in a letter to a friend shortly before his death. He wrote, “In my life, I have received countless honors, but none was greater than the opportunity to wear the uniform of lieutenant commander of the United States Navy.”

The former president wrote it was a “a source of indescribable pride and humility to know that an aircraft carrier bearing my name may be permanently associated with the valor and patriotism of the men and women of the United States Navy.”

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

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