John McCaslin

It's time for our annual look at those prominent Washington journalists who arguably are crossing the ethics line by lending their names in support of the Women's Campaign Fund (WCF), which raises money to elect "pro-choice" women to Capitol Hill.

This year's celebrity guests for eight individual dinner parties, to be held in the homes of prominent Washingtonians on June 15, include Time editor and CNN analyst Margaret Carlson, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, political commentator Bill Press, syndicated columnist Helen Thomas, PBS host Bonnie Erbe, People magazine's Jane Podesta, NPR radio host Diane Rehm and Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report.

When we drew attention to last year's list of "journalist celebrities" attending the dinners, only Washington radio station WTOP demanded that its popular political commentator, Mark Plotkin, not break bread with the WCF.

Among those hosting dinners in their homes next week are Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, Louisiana Democrat; Rep. Judy Biggert, Illinois Republican; and Rep. Susan A. Davis, California Democrat.

And when the WCF claims it's nonpartisan, it's not kidding. Numerous Republicans are attending the fund-raisers, which are sponsored in part this year by Republicans for Choice.


While we're on the subject of abortion, Rep. Christopher H. Smith, New Jersey Republican, is calling attention to a "myth" that's been circulating about abortions increasing since President Bush was elected in 2000.

The myth, the congressman says, got legs when Glen Stassen, an ethics professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, and journalist Gary Krane co-authored an article last October headlined, "Why abortion rate is up in Bush years."

It "attempted to make the case that President Bush's pro-life policies have not been effective in decreasing abortion," Smith states. "This mantra was picked up and repeated by many public figures and organizations who do not hold pro-life positions, but the facts simply do not support their claims.

"In fact, abortion has continued to decrease while President Bush has been in office, as demonstrated by an Annenberg Political Fact Check."

Posted in recent days, the Annenberg report is titled, "Abortions rising under Bush? Not true. How that false claim came to be and lives on."

In summary, it states that Democratic politicians, including New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Democratic National Committee chairman and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, all now contend that abortions have increased since Bush took office.

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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