John McCaslin

Hillary's 'terrific'

Stephen Herbits - the openly homosexual crusader and Washington insider who has served Republican presidents going back to Richard Nixon - is making waves again after throwing his support behind Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign.

Some in Washington, including Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness, expect Herbits to influence debate surrounding the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which the New York senator opposes in favor of full acceptance of homosexuals in the military.

"Stephen Herbits' role as campaign adviser to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on gay issues highlights the poor judgment of former Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, as well as the homosexualist agenda of Hillary Clinton," Donnelly told Inside the Beltway yesterday. "For a number of years, Secretary Rumsfeld allowed Herbits, a well-known gay activist, to play a key role in selecting high-level policy-makers for the Department of Defense."

Reached yesterday at his Florida home, Herbits downplayed his role in Clinton's campaign, telling Inside the Beltway he's one in a long list of representatives from the homosexual community who agreed to serve on her "advisory committee."

"I do not have the position of 'liaison,' as one reporter initially wrote, who was trying to get me into trouble," Herbits said. "But I have been a contributor to Clinton, and I'm trying to generate some funds for her, and I'm not embarrassed about it. She's the best of the [presidential] candidates so far. And I think she'd make a terrific president."

Since leaving the Pentagon in 2004, Herbits has been secretary-general of the World Jewish Congress, although he told us yesterday that he's in the process of stepping down: "I'm in the short-term, the process of transition,"he said.

Herbits has worked on and off in the White House, Congress and Defense Department since the late 1960s. During an earlier stint at the Pentagon, he wrote the strategy and helped implement the nation's transition from a military draft to an all-volunteer force.

Cooling their heels

President and Mrs. Bush yesterday escaped the blistering, Washington heat by jetting off to the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, where tomorrow they will host a private lunch for French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Cecilia.

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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