Friday, March 23, 2007


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There are no worldwide protests to support the Zimbabwean struggle

By Peter Tatchell

The Independent - London - 22 March 2007

Large sections of liberal and left opinion have gone soft on theircommitment to universal human rights. They rightly condemn the excesses ofUK and US government policy, but rarely speak out against oppressors who arenon-white or adherents of minority faiths. There are no mass protestsagainst female genital mutilation, forced marriages, the stoning of womenand gender apartheid in the Middle East.

A perverse interpretation of multiculturalism has resulted in race andreligion ruling the roost in a tainted hierarchy of oppression. In the nameof "unity" against Islamophobia and racism, much of the left toleratesmisogyny and homophobia in minority communities. It rejects common standardsof rights and responsibilities; demanding that we "make allowances" and show"sensitivity" with regard to the prejudices of ethnic and faith communities.This attitude is patronising, even racist. It judges minority peoples bydifferent standards.

A moral hierarchy has shaped public policy on discrimination. Legislationagainst racism is much tougher than legislation against homophobia. Racialslurs provoke far stronger public condemnation than sexist ones. Someliberals and left-wingers mute their condemnation of intolerance when itemanates from non-white people; whereas they would strenuously denouncesimilar prejudice if it was being vented by whites against blacks or byChristians against Muslims. They argue that we have to "understand" bigotsfrom racial and religious minorities; yet few of them ever urge the same"understanding" of white working class bigots.


The New York Times

March 23, 2007
Edwards Says Wife's Cancer Has Returned

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., March 22 - John Edwards, the North Carolina Democrat,said Thursday that his wife's cancer had returned in incurable form. Heproclaimed that he would continue his bid for the presidency, saying, "Thecampaign goes on strongly."

The announcement here by Mr. Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, followed anemotional 72-hour stretch.

On Monday, Mrs. Edwards reported pains to her doctor and learned that hercancer might have returned. On Tuesday, Mr. Edwards cut short a trip in Iowato fly back on a charter plane. The couple, alone, went to the University ofNorth Carolina hospital on Wednesday for a daylong battery of tests thatconfirmed the diagnosis.

The tests completed, the Edwardses summoned a handful of aides to the livingroom of their home near here at 6 p.m. Wednesday, where Mr. Edwards informedthem of the diagnosis and Mrs. Edwards said the campaign would continueunabated, participants said. The session was described as emotional, withseveral aides fighting back tears.

Across Chapel Hill and back in Washington, Mr. Edwards's aides andsupporters reacted to details of Mrs. Edwards's condition - that the cancer,if incurable, was treatable - with deep relief. The news of Mr. Edwards'scutting short his Iowa trip had created anxiety and alarm among his campaignaides and supporters familiar with her earlier battle with breast cancer.


The New York Times

March 23, 2007
New to Job, Gates Argued for Closing Guantánamo

WASHINGTON, March 22 - In his first weeks as defense secretary, Robert M.Gates repeatedly argued that the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba,had become so tainted abroad that legal proceedings at Guantánamo would beviewed as illegitimate, according to senior administration officials. Hetold President Bush and others that it should be shut down as quickly aspossible.

Mr. Gates's appeal was an effort to turn Mr. Bush's publicly stated desireto close Guantánamo into a specific plan for action, the officials said. Inparticular, Mr. Gates urged that trials of terrorism suspects be moved tothe United States, both to make them more credible and because Guantánamo'scontinued existence hampered the broader war effort, administrationofficials said.

Mr. Gates's arguments were rejected after Attorney General Alberto R.Gonzales and some other government lawyers expressed strong objections tomoving detainees to the United States, a stance that was backed by theoffice of Vice President Dick Cheney, administration officials said.

As Mr. Gates was making his case, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice joinedhim in urging that the detention facility be shut down, administrationofficials said.

But the high-level discussions about closing Guantánamo came to a halt afterMr. Bush rejected the approach, although officials at the National SecurityCouncil, the Pentagon and the State Department continue to analyze optionsfor the detention of terrorism suspects.

The base at Guantánamo holds about 385 prisoners, among them 14 seniorleaders of Al Qaeda, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who were transferredto it last year from secret prisons run by the Central Intelligence Agency.Under the Pentagon's current plans, some prisoners, including Mr. Mohammed,will face war crimes charges under military trials that could begin laterthis year.


The New York Times

March 23, 2007
Foiled by the Gun Lobby

In a sleazy political stroke, Republicans played the gun lobby's cardyesterday as the House was on the verge of redressing one of thelongest-running injustices of American democracy: the denial of aCongressional vote to the taxpayers of the District of Columbia. Thehistoric proposal for full representation in the House was derailed by aG.O.P. motion to attach a ban on Washington's legitimate attempts to outlawfirearms in the city limits. Democratic leaders had to retract the bill andpromise to prevail later without such a poison pill.

The D.C. voting rights bill is not perfect, rooted in a political deal thatawarded Republican Utah a fourth House seat in exchange for creating afull-fledged House seat for the heavily Democratic District. But the measurehas the moral edge in rescuing D.C.'s citizens from a political limbo datingback to post-Revolutionary concerns about theoretical mob demonstrations atthe seat of government. Now their sons and daughters are among thosefighting and dying in behalf of that government's policy of spreadingdemocracy abroad.

The House upset followed a last-minute statement of opposition from the Bushadministration - ever the sensitive defender of the Constitution.Representative Tom Davis, the Virginia Republican who conceived thepragmatic measure, fought hard. But the injection of the powerful gun lobby's interests split the coalition behind the D.C. bill.

The procedural torpedoing is only the latest insult in the city's longhistory as a Congressional vassal. Not until 1964 were residents allowed tovote for president, and the home rule election of a city government wasn'tpermitted until nine years later. The District now has an absurd shadowpresence in the House, with the elected delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton,allowed a say only in committee but no vote on the floor. After so manyyears of subjecting D.C. to its whims and special interest politics,Congress must finally right this historical wrong.


The New York Times

March 22, 2007
Gore Warns Congress of 'Planetary Emergency'

WASHINGTON, March 21 - It was part science class, part policy wonk paradise,part politics and all theater as former Vice President Al Gore came toCongress on Wednesday to insist that global warming constitutes a "planetaryemergency" requiring an aggressive federal response.

Mr. Gore, accompanied by his wife, Tipper, delivered the same blunt messageto a joint meeting of two House committees in the morning and a Senate panelin the afternoon: Humans are artificially warming the world, the risks ofinaction are great, and meaningful cuts in emissions linked to warming willhappen only if the United States takes the lead.

While sparring with Representative Joe L. Barton, a Texas Republicancritical of his message, Mr. Gore resorted to a simple metaphor. "The planethas a fever. If your baby has a fever, you go to the doctor." He added, "Ifthe doctor says you need to intervene here, you don't say 'I read a sciencefiction novel that says it's not a problem.' You take action."

In the House, there was little debate about the underlying science; theatmosphere was more that of a college lecture hall than a legislativegive-and-take. But in the Senate, James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, the rankingRepublican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, set a pugilistictone, challenging Mr. Gore's analysis of the dangers of climate change fromhurricanes and melting ice in Antarctica.

"It is my perspective that your global warming alarmist pronouncements arenow and have always been filled with inaccuracies and misleading statements," Mr. Inhofe said.


The Washington Post

Ready for Another Tough Campaign
Her Cancer Back, Elizabeth Edwards Remains Open and Upbeat

By Lynne Duke and Lois Romano
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, March 23, 2007; C01

Not once did the shadow of fear cross her face. Elizabeth Edwards stoodbefore the nation, a graceful fighter steeled for personal tragedy again.The cancer is back and in her bones, a lung and possibly elsewhere. The newsseemed worse than bad. Yet Edwards conveyed no hint of being hobbled by anincurable cancer. Self-pity was nowhere on the scene.

"Is this a hardship for us? Yes, it's yet another hurdle," she said. "ButI've seen people who are in real desperate shape who don't, first of all,have the wonderful support that I have and have no place to turn."

With an openness that thrust her personal travails square into the publicand political arena, Edwards, 57, laughed at times, seemingly free of stressas she spoke forthrightly yesterday about her health and its implicationsfor her life and her husband's presidential campaign.

She appeared relaxed, fully in command of the public space she occupied asshe couched her health status in the most optimistic terms possible, sayingof her marriage, "We're going to always look for the silver lining. It iswho we are as people, and we'll continue to do it."

John and Elizabeth Edwards stood together, a battle-tested couple once againmeeting the public. Both lawyers, they have lived a life of prosperity andgood fortune but also suffered devastating loss. Their firstborn, Wade, diedat 16 in a 1996 car accident. In 2004, at the end of her husband's vicepresidential campaign, she received a diagnosis of breast cancer. And now,in the midst of his campaign for the presidency, comes news of her cancer'srecurrence.


The Washington Post

Choosing to Live

By Eugene Robinson
Friday, March 23, 2007; A17

It was riveting to watch John and Elizabeth Edwards tell the world that eventhough her cancer has returned and is now deemed incurable, the Edwardscampaign for the presidency will go on. No hiatus. No break from fundraisingor travel. Just "keep your head up and keep moving and be strong," thecandidate said.

How could they possibly go on? I think there are better questions to ask.How could they not go on? What choice did they have but to continue with themission they have set for themselves, and how else could they do it buttogether, as a partnership?

To me, there seemed nothing forced about the smiles they wore as they madetheir announcement yesterday. Perhaps if Elizabeth Edwards had faced a lesscertain prognosis, we wouldn't have heard that quality in the couple'svoices that sounded almost like serenity. But the fact that the breastcancer for which she was treated following the 2004 campaign is nowestablished in the bone does not leave much room for ambiguity. Doctors sayshe can be treated -- perhaps for years -- but not cured.

So this isn't quite the same thing as facing death -- Elizabeth Edwards hasa better idea of what she'll die of than most of us, but not of when. Sheand her husband are facing life, perhaps quite a few years of life, but withcancer an ever-present third party, an intruder who cannot be sent away.

The question, then, was not how to go about dying, but how to go on living.


The Washington Post

Unnecessary Scandal

By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, March 23, 2007; A17

Alberto Gonzales has to go. I say this with no pleasure -- he's a decent andhonorable man -- and without the slightest expectation that his departurewill blunt the Democratic assault on the Bush administration over the firingof eight U.S. attorneys. In fact, it will probably inflame their blood lust,which is why the president might want to hang on to Gonzales at leastthrough this crisis. That might be tactically wise. But in time, and thesooner the better, Gonzales must resign.

It's not a question of probity but of competence. Gonzales has allowed ascandal to be created where there was none. That is quite an achievement. Hehad a two-foot putt and he muffed it.

How could he allow his aides to go to Capitol Hill unprepared andmisinformed and therefore give inaccurate and misleading testimony? Howcould Gonzales permit his deputy to say that the prosecutors were fired forperformance reasons when all he had to say was that U.S. attorneys serve atthe pleasure of the president and the president wanted them replaced?

And why did Gonzales have to claim that the firings were done with nocoordination with the White House? That's absurd. Why shouldn't there beWhite House involvement? That is nothing to be defensive about. Does anyoneimagine that Janet Reno fired all 93 U.S. attorneys in March 1993, givingthem all of 10 days to clear out, without White House involvement?

The Bush administration fired eight. Democrats are charging that this wasdone for reasons of politics and that politics have no place in the legalsystem. This is laughable. U.S. attorneys are appointed by the president -- and, by tradition, are recommended by home state politicians of the sameparty, not by a group of judges or a committee of the American BarAssociation. Which makes their appointment entirely political.


The Washington Post

An Inside-the-Bushies Mentality
By David Ignatius
Friday, March 23, 2007; A17

If you read the obituary pages of The Post each morning, you encounter thekinds of people who are being trashed by the Bush administration's contemptfor public servants. On a typical day, perhaps a third of the obits featuresuch people -- career lawyers at the Justice Department; intelligenceanalysts at the CIA; researchers in government agencies.

These weren't fancy Beltway insiders. They weren't famous enough to be askedtheir opinions on "Hardball" or "The McLaughlin Group." They were civilservants who came to Washington in the 1940s, '50 and '60s with theiruniversity degrees and a touch of idealism because they wanted to make adifference. They were the mainstays of the churches and synagogues andvolunteer organizations of this region, the people who stayed late to cleanup after everybody else had gone home.

Who were they? This week's obits included an 86-year-old research physicistwith the Navy; a 57-year-old Justice Department trial lawyer; an 86-year-oldadministrative law judge; an 85-year-old Foreign Service officer who servedwith her husband in Saigon, Kabul and Rome; a 95-year-old woman who was aCIA officer for 25 years; an 87-year-old woman who served in the Women'sArmy Corps in World War II and stayed on at the Pentagon. If you've evertalked to people at a retirement home in the Washington area, you know howpassionate they can be about good government. They gave up money andprominence because they believed in public service.

What infuriates me about the Bush administration is its disdain for peoplelike these. You sense that scorn reading the e-mails that have surfaced inthe flap over the firings of U.S. attorneys. I don't think the story is muchof a scandal. U.S. attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president, and hecan fire whomever he wants.

What interests me about the Justice e-mails is that they are a piece ofsociology, documenting the mind-set of the young hotshots and ideologues whopopulate the
Bush administration.

Here's Kyle Sampson, now-deposed chief of staff to Attorney General AlbertoGonzales, griping about a U.S. attorney in Phoenix who had the effrontery towant to make his case personally: "In the 'you won't believe this category,'Paul Charlton would like a few minutes of the AG's time." And here's BrentWard, the director of a Justice Department task force who made his name asan anti-pornography crusader grumbling that he doesn't want to deal with theU.S. attorney in Las Vegas: "To go out to LV and sit and listen to the lameexcuses of a defiant U.S. attorney is only going to move this wholeenterprise closer to catastrophe."


The Washington Post

My National Security Letter Gag Order
Friday, March 23, 2007; A17

It is the policy of The Washington Post not to publish anonymous pieces. Inthis case, an exception has been made because the author -- who would havepreferred to be named -- is legally prohibited from disclosing his or heridentity in connection with receipt of a national security letter. The Postconfirmed the legitimacy of this submission by verifying it with theauthor's attorney and by reviewing publicly available court documents.

The Justice Department's inspector general revealed on March 9 that the FBIhas been systematically abusing one of the most controversial provisions ofthe USA Patriot Act: the expanded power to issue "national securityletters." It no doubt surprised most Americans to learn that between 2003and 2005 the FBI issued more than 140,000 specific demands under thisprovision -- demands issued without a showing of probable cause or priorjudicial approval -- to obtain potentially sensitive information about U.S.tizens and residents. It did not, however, come as any surprise to me.

Three years ago, I received a national security letter (NSL) in my capacitys the president of a small Internet access and consulting business. Theletter ordered me to provide sensitive information about one of my clients.There was no indication that a judge had reviewed or approved the letter,and it turned out that none had.

The letter came with a gag provision that prohibited me from telling anyone,including my client, that the FBI was seeking this information. Based on thecontext of the demand -- a context that the FBI still won't let me discusspublicly -- I suspected that the FBI was abusing its power and that theletter sought information to which the FBI was not entitled.

Rather than turn over the information, I contacted lawyers at the Americanivil Liberties Union, and in April 2004 I filed a lawsuit challenging theconstitutionality of the NSL power. I never released the information the FBIsought, and last November the FBI decided that it no longer needs theinformation anyway. But the FBI still hasn't abandoned the gag order thatprevents me from disclosing my experience and concerns with the law or thenational security letter that was served on my company. In fact, thegovernment will return to court in the next few weeks to defend the gagorders that are imposed on recipients of these letters.


The Washington Post

Musharraf at the Exit
By Ahmed Rashid
Thursday, March 22, 2007; A21

LAHORE, Pakistan -- In the rapidly unfolding crisis in Pakistan, no matterwhat happens to President Pervez Musharraf -- whether he survivespolitically or not -- he is a lame duck. He is unable to rein inTalibanization in Pakistan or guide the country toward a more democraticfuture.

Since March 9, when Musharraf suspended the chief justice of the SupremeCourt, Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, public protests have escalated everyday -- as has a violent crackdown by the police and intelligence agencies onthe media and the nation's legal fraternity.

The legal convolutions about Chaudhry's dismissal boil down to one simplefact: He was not considered sufficiently reliable to deliver pleasing legaljudgments in a year when Musharraf is seeking to extend his presidency byfive more years, remain as army chief and hold what would undoubtedly berigged general elections.

Musharraf's desire to replace Chaudhry with a more pliable judge has badlybackfired. After just 10 days of protests, lawyers around the country havemade it clear to the senior judiciary that they will not tolerate furtherlegal validations for continued military rule or tolerate Musharrafremaining as president. At least seven judges and a deputy attorney generalhave resigned in protest.

Across the country, in law offices, in the media, among the oppositionparties and other organized sections of civil society, the feeling isgrowing that Musharraf will have to quit sooner rather than later. Aftereight years of military rule it appears people have had enough.


The Washington Post

A Brave New World of Political Skulduggery?

Anti-Clinton Video Shows Ease of Attack In the Computer Age

By Howard Kurtz and Jose Antonio Vargas
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, March 23, 2007; A03

The instant popularity of an attack video that mocked Sen. Hillary RodhamClinton (D-N.Y.) prompted plenty of talk this week about how an ordinarycitizen can influence political discourse by tapping into the power of theYouTube culture.

But the unmasking of the filmmaker as an employee of a company on thepayroll of Clinton's Democratic presidential rival, Sen. Barack Obama(Ill.), raises questions about whether the more old-fashioned art ofpolitical chicanery was at play.

Phil de Vellis, who worked for the firm that designed Obama's Web site, BlueState Digital, says no one at the company or in Obama's camp knew he hadmade the video depicting Clinton as the droning voice of a totalitarianestablishment. Obama and his aides say they had no idea who was behind the74-second ad, which has been viewed online more than 2 million times, andwhich closes by flashing Obama's Web address.

Blue State yesterday provided a Feb. 10 e-mail in which de Vellis boasted ofhis role in the Obama effort: "Check out Barack's new website. . . . Oneshameless look at me plug, I designed the MyBarackObama toolbox that is onthe front page and all the sidebar pages."

Thomas Gensemer, managing director of Blue State, a District-based onlinestrategy firm, said he fired de Vellis Wednesday night. "This is anunfortunate situation all around," he said. Gensemer said his firm hasprovided only technical assistance, not creative services, to the senator'scampaign. Joe Rospars, Obama's new media director, is on leave from BlueState.


Worldwide TB Battle Hampered By HIV/AIDS & Drug Resistant Strains
by The Associated Press
Posted: March 22, 2007 - 7:00 pm ET

(London) Health experts see a glimmer of hope in the fight againsttuberculosis for the first time since the disease's spread was declared aglobal emergency more than a decade ago.

But although global tuberculosis rates are leveling off, the emergence ofdrug-resistant versions of the disease - combined with the AIDS pandemic -is complicating control efforts.

A new report issued Thursday by the World Health Organization found that therate of TB - the number of infections per 100,000 people - leveled off in2005, the last year for which comprehensive data was available. The reportwas released ahead of World Tuberculosis Day on Saturday.

"This is a breakthrough," said Dr. Marcos Espinal, Executive Secretary ofWHO's Stop TB Partnership. "It's the first time we've had good news aboutthe epidemic since 1993."

Worldwide, the rate of tuberculosis has stabilized at less than 150 casesper 100,000 people - although in Africa, it is more than double, at nearly350 cases per 100,000 people.


March 22, 2007, 9:00PM
Survey: Allegiance to GOP plunges
In a 'dramatic shift' since 2002, half now identify with Dems, 35% with

Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON - Public allegiance to the Republican Party has plunged since thesecond year of George W. Bush's presidency, as attitudes have edged fromsome of the conservative values that fueled GOP political dominance for morethan a decade, a survey has found.

The nonpartisan Pew Research Center for People and the Press survey found a"dramatic shift" in political party identification since 2002, whenRepublicans and Democrats were at rough parity. Now, half of those surveyedidentified with Democrats, while only 35 percent aligned with Republicans.

What's more, the survey found public attitudes are drifting towardDemocrats' values: Support for government aid to the disadvantaged has grownsince the mid-1990s, skepticism about the use of military force hasincreased and support for family values has edged down.

Those findings suggest that Republicans' challenges reach beyond theunpopularity of the Iraq war and Bush.

"Iraq has played a large part; the pushback on the Republican Party has todo with Bush, but there are other things going on here that Republicans willhave to contend with," said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew ResearchCenter. "There is a difference in the landscape."


LA Times,0,5175303,print.story?coll=la-opinion-center

Don't expect the truth from Karl Rove
Bush's top political aide has built his career on diverting and deceiving;he'd do the same under oath.

By James C. Moore

JAMES C. MOORE co-wrote "Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. BushPresidential" with Wayne Slater.

March 23, 2007

CONGRESS WANTS TO hear from Karl Rove, and members want him sworn in. Ratherthan accept a politically expedient deal from the White House - a no-oathinterview - Senate and House committees have approved subpoenas for Rove andothers. Lawmakers hope to figure out whether Rove hatched the plan to fireU.S. attorneys who were not hewing to the Republican Party's politicalplaybook.

Whether Rove chats or testifies, Congress will surely be frustrated. AskingRove questions is simply not an effective method of ascertaining facts.Reporters who, like me, have dogged the presidential advisor from Texas toWashington quickly learn how skilled he is at dancing around the peripheryof issues. Any answers he does deliver can survive a thousandinterpretations. Few intellects are as adept at framing, positioning andspinning ideas. That's a great talent for politics. But it's dangerous whendealing with the law.

Rove has testified under oath before investigative bodies twice, and inneither case was the truth well served. In 1991, he was sworn in before theTexas state Senate as a nominee to East Texas State University's board ofregents. The state Senate's nominations committee, chaired by Democrat BobGlasgow, was eager to have Rove explain his relationship with FBI agent GregRampton.

Rampton was a controversial figure in Texas, and Democrats suspected thathe'd been consorting with Rove for years. During the 1986 gubernatorialrace, when a listening device was discovered in Rove's office, it wasRampton who investigated. No one was ever charged - and Democrats suspectedthat Rove planted the bug himself to distract reporters from the falteringcampaign of his client, Bill Clements (who won the election).

Then, in 1989, Rampton launched a series of devastating investigations intoevery statewide Democratic officeholder in Texas, including AgriculturalCommissioner Jim Hightower. Rove (at the time running Republican RickPerry's campaign for that job) often leaked things to reporters, such aswhose names were on subpoenas before they were issued.


March 22, 2007, 10:32PM
Gonzales must go - to put an end to pseudo-scandal


ALBERTO Gonzales has to go. I say this with no pleasure - he's a decent andhonorable man - and without the slightest expectation that his departurewill blunt the Democratic assault on the Bush administration over the firingof eight U.S. attorneys. In fact, it will probably inflame their bloodlust,which is why the president might want to hang on to Gonzales at leastthrough this crisis. That might be tactically wise. But in time, and thesooner the better, Gonzales must resign.

It's not a question of probity, but of competence. Gonzales has allowed ascandal to be created where there was none. That is quite an achievement. Hehad a two-foot putt and he muffed it.

How could he allow his aides to go to Capitol Hill unprepared andmisinformed and therefore give inaccurate and misleading testimony? Howcould Gonzales permit his deputy to say that the prosecutors were fired forperformance reasons when all he had to say was that U.S. attorneys serve atthe pleasure of the president and the president wanted them replaced?

And why did Gonzales have to claim that the firings were done with nocoordination with the White House? That's absurd. Why shouldn't there beWhite House involvement? That is nothing to be defensive about. Does anyoneimagine that Janet Reno fired all 93 U.S. attorneys in March 1993, givingthem all of 10 days to clear out, without White House involvement?

The Bush administration fired eight. Democrats are charging this was donefor reasons of politics, and that politics have no place in the legalsystem. This is laughable. U.S. attorneys are appointed by the president -and, by tradition, are recommended by home state politicians of the sameparty, not by a group of judges or a committee of the American BarAssociation. Which makes their appointment entirely political.


The LA Times,0,660399,print.column?coll=la-util-opinion-commentary


Don't sell Barack 'Obambi' short
The Clinton campaign desperately seizes on Obama's politeness over hiscorrect position on the Iraq war.

Rosa Brooks

March 23, 2007

BARACK OBAMA is learning - the hard way - that no good deed goes unpunished.Hillary Clinton's campaign has already gone after him with charges ofnegative campaigning. But in case that doesn't work, they're also goingafter him for being . too polite.

Charges of negativity are a campaign season staple, so in February, whenClinton-pal-turned-Obama-supporter David Geffen went public with some choiceobservations about Hillary, ("everybody in politics lies, but [the Clintons]do it with such ease"), it was no surprise to see the Clinton campaignrespond by accusing Obama of tolerating attack politics.

That backfired. The fracas made Clinton look thin-skinned and vindictive,and Obama's poll numbers climbed. And though it's too soon to say, the samething's likely to happen if the Clinton campaign tries to blame Obama forthe anti-Clinton "1984" YouTube mash-up created by Philip de Vellis.

With its efforts to paint Obama as a negative campaigner showing so littlepromise, the Clinton campaign is shifting to a new tack. Now it is goingafter Obama for having tried to be polite about an issue that's become oneof Clinton's greatest liabilities.

That would be her October 2002 vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq.That vote - and her continued refusal to call it a mistake - has manyDemocrats wondering just why she was so very wrong about the Bushadministration's case for war when a political newcomer like Obama was sovery right.


Detroit News

GOP hopefuls court feuding evangelicals

Republican presidential candidates in tight spot as conservative Christiansbattle over shifting views.

Rachel Zoll / Associated Press

As they court the evangelicals who have become so crucial to their party,Republican presidential candidates are stepping into the middle of a familyfight.

Christian conservative activists are more split than ever over whether tokeep the movement's focus on abortion, marriage and sexual chastity -- orscrap that approach as too narrow.

The founders of the religious right, now in the twilight of theirleadership, see even the suggestion of expanding the agenda as a dangerousdistraction. In public, and sometimes in personal ways, they are trying tobeat back the challenge.

"It's an ongoing debate within the house of evangelicals," said MichaelCromartie, vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, aconservative Washington think-tank.

In November, some Christian conservatives condemned pastor and best-sellingauthor Rick Warren for inviting Sen. Barack Obama to speak at an AIDS summitat his church. Obama, campaigning for the Democratic presidentialnomination, supports abortion rights.


Detroit News

Both houses OK subpoenas in attorney firings

Laurie Kellman / Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Senators joined the House on Thursday in approving subpoenasto force President Bush's political adviser and other aides to testify aboutthe firings of federal prosecutors, setting off new efforts to avoid adragged-out court fight.

Democrats portrayed the subpoena authority, approved on voice vote by boththe House and Senate Judiciary committees, as a bargaining chip innegotiations over the terms of any testimony by White House politicaladviser Karl Rove.

The committees' chairmen, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Rep. John Conyers,D-Detroit, appeared in no rush to issue subpoenas to White House officialsand provoke a standoff.

Talks continued behind the scenes, officials said, even as the White Houseand majority Democrats engaged in strategic posturing before the cameras.

In letters Thursday, Senate and House Democrats rejected White House counselFred Fielding's offer to let Rove and other administration officials talkabout their roles in the firings, but only on Bush's terms: in private, offthe record and not under oath.


Early voting could upend presidential primary season
By Julia Silverman, Associated Press Writer | March 21, 2007

SALEM, Ore. --Early voting poses an under-the-radar challenge to Iowa andNew Hampshire's long-prized status as the first in the nation to decidepresidential preferences.

Voters in a number of the states that are circling the Feb. 5 presidentialprimary date -- including California, Oregon and Montana -- could begincasting ballots as early as Jan. 5, nine days before the Iowa caucuses.

In at least 10 of the possible Feb. 5 primary states, estimates are thatmore than 30 percent of voters cast their ballot before Election Day inNovember 2004, some in person at county elections offices, and some viamail-in ballots.

Political analysts say the early voting trends in those states could forcepresidential candidates to recalibrate their strategies and resources in analready crowded primary season.

Paul Gronke, a political science professor at Oregon's Reed College and thedirector of the Early Voting Information Center there, said the early votingtrends combined with the Feb. 5 primaries are a boon for the "well-funded,well-known campaign. You have to begin your mobilization efforts so muchearlier -- you simply cannot ignore those absentee voters."


The Washington Post

E-Mails Show Machinations to Replace Prosecutor
Administration Worked for Months to Make Rove Aide U.S. Attorney in Arkansas

By Dan Eggen and Amy Goldstein
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, March 23, 2007; A01

Two months before Bud Cummins was fired as U.S. attorney in Little Rock, aprotege of presidential adviser Karl Rove was maneuvering with the JusticeDepartment to take his place.

Last April, Tim Griffin, a Rove aide and longtime GOP operative, sent theattorney general's chief of staff a flattering letter about himself writtenby Cummins, the prosecutor he was trying to replace, internal e-mailsreleased this week show. Rove and Harriet Miers, then the White Housecounsel, were keenly interested in putting him in the position, e-mailsreveal.

New documents also show that Justice and White House officials werepreparing for President Bush's approval of the appointment as early as lastsummer, five months before Griffin took the job.

The unusual appointment of Griffin, now serving as the interim U.S. attorneyin Little Rock, has been one of the central issues in the JusticeDepartment's firing of eight U.S. attorneys, which led to this week'sconstitutional showdown between Congress and the White House over thetestimony of some of Bush's closest advisers.

Some of the thousands of pages of e-mails released this week underscore theextraordinary planning and effort, at the highest levels of the JusticeDepartment and White House, to secure Griffin a job running one of thesmaller U.S. attorney's offices in the country.


The Washington Post

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 03/23/2007
The Line: Shaking Up the GOP Presidential Rankings
Wow. What a week.

Former Sen. John Edwards's (D-N.C.) announcement on Thursday that his wife'scancer has returned -- but that he will remain in the race -- was yetanother reminder of just how unpredictable politics can be.

It's tough to gauge what impact Elizabeth Edwards's cancer relapse will haveon the contest. As we wrote yesterday, there are more questions than thereare answers right now.

For the moment, Edwards stays in third place in our ranking of theDemocratic field -- behind Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and BarackObama (Ill.). On the Republican side, however, we have a new No. 1!

As always, the No. 1 candidates below are the ones most likely to win theirparty's nomination in 2008. It's still early in the cycle and much canchange, so don't be too disappointed if your favorite candidate doesn'tcrack the top five at the moment. The comments section is open for debate.


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