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Tags: Romney | for | VP

Romney for VP, Obama's Minister Scoop, Hillary's Donuts

By    |   Sunday, 16 March 2008 01:25 PM EDT

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Mitt Romney Hailed as Best VP Candidate
2. Newsmax Scoops Media on Obama Minister
3. Newsmax's Kessler Guests on 'The Daily Show'
4. McCain's Brother Won't Join Campaign
5. Violent Anti-government Groups Decline After 9/11
6. Media Matters Defends Barney Frank
7. Bush Staffers Working for McCain
8. We Heard: Michael Solomon, Hillary, Obama

1. Mitt Romney Hailed as Best VP Candidate

Two leading conservative commentators have called for presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain to choose his former rival Mitt Romney as a running mate.

Fred Barnes, executive editor of The Weekly Standard, said McCain's choice should be from among "known political heavyweights" who would be accepted immediately as ready to replace the president if necessary, and observed that the list of plausible choices is short.

He discussed several possible candidates:

  • Joe Lieberman is a friend of McCain, backs the Iraq war, and would likely appeal to independents and moderate Democrats. But he is a liberal on domestic issues, including abortion, and would hurt McCain among social conservatives.
  • Rudy Giuliani is also pro-choice and would likewise alienate social conservatives.
  • Fred Thompson is close to McCain, but he ran a disappointing presidential campaign and McCain needs a running mate who is more "vibrant."
  • Foreign policy and economic conservatives would "scream bloody murder" if McCain chooses Mike Huckabee, according to Barnes.
  • Several Republican governors, including Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Charlie Crist of Florida, don't have the stature needed to enhance the McCain ticket.

"That leads to Romney," Barnes writes in The Weekly Standard.

"He has run a vigorous national campaign and been vetted by the press and his opponents for the Republican nomination. These are very strong pluses."

Romney is acceptable to social conservatives, strong in debates, and as a former business executive, could counterbalance McCain's "admitted weakness on economic issues."

President Bush favors Romney as the GOP vice presidential candidate, and his former political strategist Karl Rove reportedly favors him as well.

Another Weekly Standard editor, founder Bill Kristol, agrees with Barnes, the Detroit Free Press reported. "Mitt Romney would be good," Kristol said at the Michigan Political Leadership Program's recent fundraising dinner in Livonia, Mich.

He added that Romney would bring youth and economic vigor to the McCain ticket.

Editor's Note:

2. Newsmax Scoops Media on Obama Minister

The mainstream media is only now beginning to focus heavily on Barack Obama's controversial minister — but Newsmax was all over that story more than 10 months ago.

The Newsmax Magazine issue that went on sale in early May 2007 featured a front-page story, "Obama & the Oprah Factor," which revealed that Obama belongs — and for a time Oprah Winfrey belonged as well — to a Chicago church headed by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr.

The article disclosed that Wright's Afrocentric Trinity United Church of Christ posts the red, black, and green flag of the pan-African movement beside its pulpit, and its motto is "Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian."

The article also noted that critics have said the church's "Black Value System," with its focus favoring African-Americans, would clearly seem racist if its propositions replaced the word 'black' with 'white.'"

Newsmax Magazine followed up that story with an article in the Newsfront section of the October 2007 edition, headlined "Obama's Church: A Cauldron of Division."

Correspondent Jim Davis attended a service at the church during which Wright referred to "white arrogance" and "the United States of white America."

The church members in attendance that day included Obama, whose book "The Audacity of Hope" takes its title from a Rev. Wright sermon.

Among Wright's controversial assertions, he has blamed the 9/11 attacks on American foreign policy, claimed Zionism has an element of "white racism," used "middleclassness" in a derogatory manner, and blamed the "white arrogance" of America's majority for the world's woes, Newsmax pointed out — also noting that Wright has visited Castro's Cuba and Col. Gaddafi's Libya.

The mainstream media showed that it recognized Newsmax's lead in covering this story when the Wall Street Journal featured an opinion piece by Newsmax's chief Washington correspondent Ronald Kessler in its March 14 edition.

The article disclosed that Wright had delivered a sermon blaming America for starting the AIDS virus, training professional killers, importing drugs, and creating a racist society that would never elect a black candidate as president.

Kessler also reported that Wright's church gave a lifetime achievement award to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has called whites "blue-eyed devils."

Kessler declared: "The media have largely ignored Mr. Obama's close association with Mr. Wright. This raises legitimate questions about Mr. Obama's fundamental beliefs about his country."

Editor's Note:

3. Newsmax's Kessler Guests on 'The Daily Show'

It was an interesting week all around for Newsmax's chief Washington correspondent Ronald Kessler — two days before his opinion piece was published in the Wall Street Journal, he appeared on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" to discuss his new book.

Stewart called Kessler's book, "The Terrorist Watch: Inside the Desperate Race to Stop the Next Attack," a "very interesting look inside the FBI and CIA," a look that was "unprecedented."

Kessler told Stewart there have been no new terrorist attacks in the U.S. since 9/11 because the behind-the-scenes operations put in place after Sept. 11 have been successful in thwarting them.

Kessler said as many as 5,000 terrorists have been "rolled up" by the CIA and FBI in the past 6 1/2 years.

And he maintained that if these behind-the-scenes measures had been in place before 9/11, they would have been successful in preventing the attacks.

To view Kessler's appearance on "The Daily Show," click here.

Editor's Note:

4. McCain's Brother Won't Join Campaign

John McCain's younger brother Joe made frequent appearances on the stump when McCain sought the Republican nomination in 2000, but he hasn't spent a single day on the campaign trail this time around.

It's not as if the brothers have had a falling out — Joe is concerned that he might say something that would spark controversy, and says his mantra is "Do no harm."

He's also mindful of other presidential brothers who did cause problems — Billy Carter and Roger Clinton — and says: "I don't want to join that pantheon."

But Joe, a 65-year-old former newspaper reporter, has made his mark with an essay on anti-Semitism that has been widely circulated on the Internet, the Boston Globe reports.

"I stood in the center of Dachau for an entire day, about 15 years ago, trying to comprehend how this could have happened," he wrote in reference to the Nazi concentration camp near Munich.

Joe sent the essay in e-mails to friends a few years ago and didn't expect it to end up on the Internet.

He said he wrote the essay because he thinks "probably the most abused and mistreated people are absolutely and without question the Jews."

Like his 71-year-old brother, Joe is a strong supporter of Israel and worries that Israel could suffer if the U.S. withdraws from Iraq precipitously, according to the Globe.

As for the prospect of his brother gaining the White House, Joe said: "He is my hero. I think John will be one of the most interesting and productive presidents in history, and possibly a great president."

Editor's Note:

5. Violent Anti-government Groups Decline After 9/11

The terrorist strikes on Sept. 11, 2001 have had an unexpected consequence — right-wing anti-government extremist groups in the U.S. have been in decline in the years following the attacks.

Violent extremist groups and individuals surged in the 1990s, declaring war on the federal government and in some cases carrying out attacks on domestic facilities.

Timothy McVeigh's bombing of a federal facility in Oklahoma City killed 168 people in 1995. Eric Rudolph's bombings killed three and injured at least 150 beginning in 1996. "Unabomber" Theodore Kaczynski's attacks culminated in the 1990s with two murders before his 1996 arrest.

The decade also saw David Koresh and the Branch Davidian group battle with federal agents near Waco, Tex., and the Ruby Ridge standoff in Idaho.

Today the extremist groups "are shadows of themselves, with many of their leaders dead, imprisoned, disillusioned or just inept," the Los Angeles Times reported.

"Many observers attribute that to Sept. 11, for diverting the rage of disaffected Americans away from the U.S. government and toward foreigners, and for fueling the subsequent Patriot Act-driven crackdown."

Also, after 9/11 FBI field officers were reinforced with Joint Task Forces to seek out and destroy terrorist plots.

John Trochmann, a founder of the anti-government Militia of Montana, said: "9/11 — boy, did it ever change things."

Domestic terrorism prosecutions have dropped 47 percent over the last five years, according to research at Syracuse University.

The Department of Justice disclosed that 23 of the 24 attacks committed by domestic groups from 2002 through 2005 were actually carried out by "special-interest extremists active in the animal-rights and environmental movements."

The other was a white supremacist's firebombing of a synagogue in Oklahoma City, and none were perpetrated by the traditional anti-government groups popular in the 1990s, according to the Times.

But some extremists have stuck to their guns and remain vehemently anti-government.

Norman Somerville, who belonged to a militia in Michigan and is now serving an 80-month sentence for weapons charges, said the 9/11 attacks in New York were "a fraud."

He said in an interview: "I've seen demolition jobs and how buildings come down. And there's no way those buildings came down without extra explosives. It was done for purposes of greed, for helping the Jews, for taking over the oil."

Editor's Note:

6. Media Matters Defends Barney Frank

The left-wing organization Media Matters for America has come to the defense of Rep. Barney Frank after Rush Limbaugh aired a clip containing a "false claim" about the Massachusetts Democrat.

In response to the scandal surrounding New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, top-ranked radio talker Limbaugh on March 12 aired a parody clip featuring a Bill Clinton impersonator.

The impersonator declared: "I can truly relate to how Eliot Spitzer feels. Not because of Monica, but because of the love and forgiveness I found right here in our party, the Democrats.

"If you've made bad choices, we are the party for you. You can be a prostitute, buy a prostitute, or like Barney Frank let a prostitution ring be run out of your house. Nothing you do could possible offend any one of us."

The remark referred to a claim by Steve Gobie, a male escort whom Frank had befriended after hiring him through a personal advertisement, that he conducted an escort service from Frank's apartment when he was not at home.

Following Rush's broadcast, Media Matters issued a statement headlined "Limbaugh sketch repeated false claims." It read in part:

"The House ethics committee — which, at Frank's request, investigated the allegations made by Stephen Gobie — in 1990 determined that Frank 'did not have either prior or concomitant knowledge of prostitution activities involving third parties alleged to have taken place in his apartment.'

"Moreover, the committee did not conclusively determine whether Gobie was even using Frank's apartment for 'prostitution activities.'"

Attempts in the House to censure or expel Rep. Frank failed, but the House voted 408-18 to reprimand him.

Editor's Note:

7. Bush Staffers Working for McCain

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain is getting more than just an endorsement from President Bush — he's getting help from Bush's staff.

Mark McKinnon, Bush's media strategist, is playing that role for McCain.

Steve Schmidt, who helped Bush get re-elected in 2004, is a campaign strategist for McCain.

Ken Mehlman, who ran Bush's 2004 campaign, is an unpaid outside adviser to McCain.

Bush's former Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove has contributed to McCain's campaign and "had a private conversation with the senator," according to The Politico, which reports that Rove is now informally advising the McCain campaign.

Two other former Bush advisers, Dan Bartlett and Sara Taylor, have said they are willing to help McCain.

The Bush staffers' association with McCain has its pluses and minuses, The Politico observes:

"They are seasoned operatives with a track record of winning back-to-back national elections in tough political environments. But there are obvious drawbacks. First and foremost, any association with the Bush administration helps Democrats make their case that McCain represents a clear extension of an unpopular presidency."

Matt Dowd, Bush chief strategist in 2004, agrees, saying McCain "has sided himself so closely with the administration, especially on Iraq, [that] now having various Bush advisers … doesn't sit well with the public," he told The Politico.

"The public wants the non-Bush candidate."

Editor's Note:

8. We Heard . . .

THAT Michael Solomon's book "Where Did My America Go?" — a work skewering left-wing rhetoric that was reviewed last year on — hit No. 22 on's list of best-sellers.

THAT Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign visited Dunkin' Donuts more than any other eatery in January. Hillary's personal favorite? Latte.

A New Hampshire pizza parlor was the most-visited restaurant by the Barack Obama campaign in January — six visits totaling $617, according to Fortune magazine. Obama prefers pepperoni.

John McCain's campaign spent money at a Starbucks 26 times last year, with the candidate favoring grande cappuccinos. But there were no Starbucks visits in January.

Editor's Notes:

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Mitt Romney Hailed as Best VP Candidate2. Newsmax Scoops Media on Obama Minister3. Newsmax's Kessler Guests on 'The Daily Show'4. McCain's Brother Won't Join Campaign5. Violent Anti-government Groups Decline After 9/116. Media...
Sunday, 16 March 2008 01:25 PM
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