Inside Pol­i­tics

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - Com­piled by Jen­nifer Harper

Blog­ging the Se­nate

Se­nate Repub­li­cans have hired blog­gerJonHenke­forthe­p­o­si­tionof “new-me­dia di­rec­tor.” Mr. Henke says he be­lieves he is the first con­gres­sional em­ployee hired specif­i­cally to deal with the bl­o­go­sphere.

“It’s ei­ther neat, or it’s scary,” Mr. Henke told Robert Stacy McCain of The Wash­ing­ton Times on Jan. 1.

Mr. Henke, a Mid­loth­ian, Va., res­i­dent who blogs at www.qando.net, made head­lines in Au­gust when he was hired to run the blog op­er­a­tion for Sen. Ge­orge Allen’s re-elec­tion cam­paign,af­ter­left-lean­ing­blog­gers helped pub­li­cize the Vir­ginia Repub­li­can’s“macaca”re­mark­abouta vol­un­teer for his Demo­cratic ri­val, James H. Webb Jr.

Work­ing in the of­fice of in­com­ing Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell, Ken­tucky Repub­li­can, Mr. Henke’s new job “will be to mon­i­tor the bl­o­go­sphere to find out what’s go­ing on, [. . .] to cor­rect any­thing that’s in­cor­rect that gets out there, and­tomakesurethattheRepub­li­can mes­sage is rep­re­sented,” Mr. Henke tells The Times. “Sort of like the press sec­re­tary to the bl­o­go­sphere, for lack of a bet­ter term.”

‘Dis­turb­ing fact’

“The2006midter­m­elec­tion­scon­firme­doncea­gaina­tru­is­mofAmer­i­can­pol­i­tics:Amer­i­canJews­re­main over­whelm­ingly de­voted to the Demo­cratic Party,” Gabriel Schoenfeld writes in the Jan­uary is­sue of Com­men­tary.

“Ac­cord­ing to exit polling, the tilt this year was, if any­thing, even more pro­nounced than it has been in the past.Some88per­centofJewishvotes went­toDemo­crat­ic­can­di­dates,while a mere 12 per­cent went to the GOP,” Mr. Schoenfeld said.

ButMr.Schoen­feld­notesa“para­dox­i­cal and dis­turb­ing fact [. . .] that even as Jewish vot­ers re­main un­wa­ver­ingly loyal to the Democrats [. . .] the Demo­cratic Party it­self is be­com­ingdemon­stra­bly­lesshos­pitable to Jewish in­ter­ests. In­deed, on at lea­s­t­one­mat­terof­cen­tral­con­cern— the safety and se­cu­rity of the state of Is­rael—thep­artyandtheAmer­i­can Jewish com­mu­nity may be head­ing to­ward a slow-mo­tion col­li­sion.”

Tighter ship

“Sen.Hil­laryRod­hamClin­ton­has spent­mu­chofthe­last­mon­th­be­hind closed­doors,puttingth­e­final­touches on a pres­i­den­tial cam­paign-in-wait­ing,”theLosAn­ge­lesTimes’Stephen Braun wrote on Dec. 31.

“Await­ing only her go-ahead — with­ade­ci­sion­ex­pected[this­month] —thema­chinethatHil­lary­builthas the heft and ad­vance billing of an elec­tion-year jug­ger­naut.

“Bil­lClin­ton­ranaloose­an­dleaky ship dur­ing his two White House terms.[...]By­con­trast,‘Hil­lary­land’ is a dis­ci­plined struc­ture of her own de­sign, a tight-knit realm pop­u­lated by dis­creet, fiercely de­voted aides who have been with the for­mer first la­dys­ince­herEastWing­days,along with newer ad­di­tions who serve on her Se­nate staff. Some won­der if her cir­cle is too buffered.

“ ‘The dan­ger she faces,’ one long­time Clin­ton in­ti­mate said, ‘is the prob­le­mofin­su­lar­ity.You­sawthatat timesintheClin­tonWhiteHouse.She tends to fil­ter a lot through her most trusted peo­ple. That’s an ad­van­tage when things are go­ing well. But you can get closed off when things are fall­ing apart.’

“Her ma­chine would none­the­less be tested early. Re­cent polls in New Hamp­shire and Iowa show Clin­ton would­haves­tiff­com­pe­ti­tion­fromtwo po­ten­tial Demo­cratic ri­vals, Illi­nois Sen. Barack Obama and for­mer vice pres­i­den­tial­can­di­dateJohnEd­wards.

“ ‘The chal­lenge she’ll have in the pri­maries is build­ing some­thing that’s lean and sup­ple, an op­er­a­tion that can turn on a dime,’ ” said Demo­cratic poll­ster Ge­of­frey D. Garin.

Rest of the story

The na­tional news me­dia, es­pe­cial­ly­mostoftheTVnet­works,hailed are­porttwoweek­sagob­yTheWash­ing­tonPost’sBobWood­wardthat­former Pres­i­dent Ger­ald R. Ford, in a 2004 in­ter­view, said he prob­a­bly would­nothave­cho­sen­toin­vadeIraq. How­ever, the me­dia gen­er­ally ig- nored a col­umn by Tom DeFrank of the New York Daily News, in which Mr.DeFrankquot­edthe­former­pres­i­den­tas­bein­gas­taunch­sup­port­erof the war.

Mr. DeFrank ap­peared Jan. 31 on CBS’“FacetheNa­tion,”and­hostBob Schi­ef­ferasked­himaboutMr.Ford’s at­ti­tudeto­wardthe­war:“Iwant­toask you, be­cause Bob Wood­ward re­ally sur­prised a lot of peo­ple last week when he said Mr. Ford had told him back in 2004 that he was very op­posed to the war in Iraq. He thought it was not jus­ti­fied, ac­cord­ing to Bob Wood­ward, and he had some tough things, also, to sayabout for­mer Sec­re­tary­ofDe­fenseDonRums­fel­dand Vice Pres­i­dent Cheney, who both worked for Pres­i­dent Ford as young men. Were you sur­prised at that? And did he talk to you about that?”

Mr.DeFrankreplied:“Well,Iwas very sur­prised about it, Bob, be- cause I had four in­ter­views with Ger­ald Ford af­ter the war in Iraq be­gan: ’03, ’04, ’05, and then May of ’06, as you men­tioned. And in ev­ery one of those in­ter­views, he told me he sup­ported the war in Iraq. Now, the one, the one in­stance where my re­port­ing and Bob Wood­ward’s re­port­ing in­ter­sects is the ques­tion of weapons of mass de­struc­tion. Pres­i­dent Ford told me in May that he thoughtit­wasabig­mis­take­forPres­i­dent Bush to have pegged the in­va­sion of Iraq to the WMD is­sue. He thought that was a se­ri­ous mis­take. But he never said that he was op­posed to the war. Quite the con­trary, in four dif­fer­ent in­ter­views.”

Mr.Schi­ef­ferasked:“Didhe,what did he say about Vice Pres­i­dent Cheney and Mr. Rums­feld?”

Mr. DeFrank said: “Well, he was very­de­fen­sive­about­them,cu­ri­ously or not. Now, in pre­vi­ous in­ter­views, he,ev­ery­on­ceinawhile,would­shake hishead­ona­cou­ple­ofthings.Buthe wasvery­sup­port­ive,very­de­fen­sive. As a mat­ter of fact, I asked him whetherthe­fa­mousop-ed­piecethat he wrote about Rums­feld af­ter the gen­er­als had said Rums­feld should re­sign,Iasked­himwhether­any­body hadasked­him­towritethatar­ti­clede­fend­ing Rums­feld. And I thought he was go­ing to get out of his chair and grab me by the throat. He said, ‘No­body­has­totell­me­tode­fendRummy.’ So he was very, very sup­port­ive of both­ofthem.AndI’msuch,one­ofthe rea­son­swhyIwas­sur­prise­datwhat Bob got from him.”

Lost play­book

FormerNewYork­may­orand2008 pres­i­den­tial­hope­fulRu­dolphW.Gi­u­lian­ileft­de­tailed­plan­sofhis­pro­posed bid for the White House in a ho­tel room, ac­cord­ing to the New York Daily News.

The140­page­sof­print­edand­hand­writ­ten text re­veal how the Repub­li­can front-run­ner in­tends to mount his­cam­paign,com­plete­with­de­tailed plansto­builda$100mil­lion­warch­est this year, the tabloid re­ported.

TheDai­lyNews­said­it­washanded the dossier, com­plete with de­tails of fundrais­ing, bud­gets and sched­ules, bya­sup­port­ero­fo­ne­ofMr.Gi­u­liani’s ri­vals.It­saidthe­file­wasleft­i­na­ho­tel room­i­na­nundis­clos­ed­lo­ca­tion­inthe run-up to Novem­ber’s con­gres­sional elec­tions.

Onepageinthe­bat­tle­plan­re­veals aides’ con­cerns that “in­sur­mount­able” fac­tors could scut­tle Mr. Gi­u­liani’s run, no­tably is­sues sur­round­ing his private busi­ness in­ter­ests, dis­graced­formeraidesan­do­ne­ofhis ex-wives.

Records re­leased

FBIa­gents­doc­u­ment­ed­morethan two dozen in­ci­dents of pos­si­ble mis­treat­ment at the U.S. Naval Base Guan­tanamo Bay, Cuba, in­clud­ing one detainee whose head was wrapped in duct tape for chant­ing verses from the Ko­ran.

Doc­u­ments re­leased Jan. 2 by the FBIof­fered­newde­tailsabout­thein­ter­ro­ga­tion prac­tices used by mil­i­tary of­fi­cials and con­trac­tors when ques­tion­ing en­emy com­bat­ants.

Some mil­i­tary of­fi­cials and con­trac­tors told FBI agents that the in­ter­ro­ga­tion tech­niques had been ap­proved by the De­fense De­part­ment, in­clud­ingdi­rectly­by­formerDe­fense Sec­re­tary Don­ald H. Rums­feld.

The doc­u­ments were re­leased in re­spon­se­toa­pub­li­crecord­sre­quest by the Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union,whichissu­ingMr.Rums­feld and oth­ers on be­half of for­mer mil­i­tary de­tainees who say they were abused. Many of the in­ci­dents in the FBI doc­u­ments have al­ready been re­ported and are sum­ma­rized in the ACLU’s law­suit. Pen­tagon spokesmanLt.Cmdr.JoeCar­pen­ter said the is­sues raised in the re­port are not new.

The treat­ment of de­tainees has long­beenavolatile­sub­ject,es­pe­cially be­tween­theBushad­min­is­tra­tio­nand the Demo­cratic law­mak­ers.

One in­com­ing chair­man served no­ticeJan.2thattheis­sueisatop­pri­or­ity. Ver­mont Demo­cratic Sen. Pa­trick J. Leahy of the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee no­ti­fied At­tor­ney Gen­er­alAl­ber­toR.Gon­za­lesthathis panel’s first over­sight hear­ing of the new Congress would fo­cus on two doc­u­ments Mr. Leahy is seek­ing about the in­ter­ro­ga­tion meth­ods of an­other agency, the CIA.

The Jus­tice De­part­ment has re­fused to hand over the doc­u­ments, say­ingth­eir­con­tentsare“ex­tremely sen­si­tive” and could help ter­ror­ists plot more at­tacks.

McGreevey’s re­turn

More than two years af­ter an­nounc­ingthathe­wasa­ho­mo­sex­ual and would re­sign, for­mer New Jer­sey Gov. James E. McGreevey re­turned to the State­house in Tren­ton for the un­veil­ing of his of­fi­cial por­trait Jan. 2 in an event de­void of the usual fan­fare.

It was Mr. McGreevey’s first visit to the Capi­tol since he stepped down. He said the Jan. 2 un­veil­ing helped close a chap­ter of his life, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­ports. “It rep­re­sents a fi­nal obli­ga­tion,” said Mr. McGreevey, 49.

Un­veil­ing­sof­gov­er­nors’por­traits are usu­ally well-at­tended af­fairs open­tothep­ub­lic.But­thiswas­apri­vate event. No for­mal in­vi­ta­tions were is­sued, Gov. Jon Corzine’s of­fice did not an­nounce it in ad­vance, and no re­fresh­ments were served.

Mr. McGreevey, who said he did not want to pub­li­cize the event, was joined for the un­veil­ing by his male part­ner, his par­ents and Mr. Corzine. Mr. McGreevey is sep­a­rated from his wife and lives with his part­ner.

Mr. McGreevey an­nounced his res­ig­na­tion on na­tional television in Au­gust 2004, declar­ing that he was “a gay Amer­i­can.” He said he had had a ho­mo­sex­ual af­fair with a staffer, later iden­ti­fied as Golan Cipel, Mr. McGreevey’s home­land se­cu­rity ad­viser. Mr. Cipel has de­nied an af­fair took place and claims the­gov­er­nor­sex­u­al­ly­ha­rassed­him.

For­mer New York Mayor Ru­dolph W. Gi­u­liani left plans of his pro­posed 2008 White House bid in a ho­tel room. The file in­cluded fac­tors that could en­dan­ger the can­di­dacy.

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