Now that Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich is finally getting around to announcing he's dropping out of the race for the White House — just hours after making an "urgent" appeal for additional campaign funds — we wonder what's going to happen to some of the more intriguing items being sold in his official presidential-campaign store.
Among the most expensive are genuine Palm Beach County, Fla., voting machines for $295.95 each, plus $35 shipping and handling. Here's a description: "Used in Election 2000, containing actual chads, a replica butterfly ballot, plus a bonus letter 'The Stolen Presidential Election of 2000' personally signed by Dennis Kucinich."
Who knows, now that he's bowing out, maybe the congressman is willing to negotiate a new price for the four-legged machines.
The last time we looked, Rep. Marcy Kaptur was a Democrat.
Nevertheless, the most-senior woman in Congress is critical of Bill Clinton's post-presidential lifestyle after reading in the Wall Street Journal this week that he stands to receive a $20 million payout from a partnership tie to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The tie in this case is billionaire investor Ron Burkle, "a major fundraiser and backer of the Clintons," Miss Kaptur points out.
Put them all together, she warns, and it's a "combustible mix."
The Ohio congresswoman wonders whether there's any president in modern history "but for Jimmy Carter" who has "not used the White House to cash in upon retirement," or used their connections "to build themselves pyramid monuments upon leaving office in the form of presidential libraries where they milk their presidential contacts for millions and millions of dollars?"
She says it's "sad" that Mr. Clinton and former President George H.W. Bush "took huge sums of money from foreign interests like Saudi Arabia to build their presidential libraries."
Speaking of our two most-recent Democratic presidents, Jimmy Carter has lined up Bill Clinton to speak at next week's convention of moderate Baptists in Atlanta — a meeting already being denounced by the conservative Southern Baptist Convention that Mr. Carter publicly walked away from in 2000.
Despite the controversy brewing between the Baptist groups on the church's direction, Mr. Clinton will stand by Mr. Carter and join Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Charles E. Grassley of Iowa as a speaker. Even former Vice President Al Gore has signed on, though he will lecture on the environment.
Meanwhile, for our Inside the Beltway readers traveling south this winter, we've obtained the schedule for a Sunday-school Bible class taught by Mr. Carter at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Ga. The classes begin at 10 a.m., but it's recommended that visitors arrive early because the class fills up fast.
Mr. Carter leads the class this Sunday, as well as Feb. 3, 17 and 24; and March 2, 9, 23 and 30.
The founder of Afghanistan's first women's magazine, Aina-E-Zan, or Women's Mirror, has this to say about the burqa: "It doesn't matter who orders us to wear it. The Taliban, the husband, a mother or father. It should be our choice."
Shukria Barakza, a native of Kabul and member of the Afghanistan parliament, appeared at the National Press Club yesterday at the invitation of the Independent Women's Forum. She and other Afghan female leaders took the opportunity to discuss the security situation in their country, and how women can contribute to stability.
Former Virginia governor-turned-U.S. Senate candidate Mark Warner is appealing to voters by drawing attention to President Bush's "mismanaged war in Iraq."
The Democrat says in a fundraising letter that the country needs "a responsible plan to bring our troops home."
Mr. Warner, an Alexandria resident, says the nation also requires a 21st-century energy plan that creates jobs, reduces dependence on Middle East oil and addresses climate change.
John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on Townhall.com and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .
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