Erasing Kerry's gifts

Robert Novak
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Posted: Nov 04, 2006 12:01 AM
Erasing Kerry's gifts

WASHINGTON -- As the furor widened over Sen. John Kerry's insulting remarks about U.S. troops in Iraq, his website pulled down a listing of $4.2 million worth of contributions he had sent this year to 36 candidates for Congress.

Kerry, eyeing another presidential candidacy in 2008, has traveled the country raising funds for key contests in Tuesday's midterm elections. The now deleted information on the Kerry website displayed the photos of his beneficiaries: 18 Senate candidates receiving $3.2 million and 18 House candidates getting $1 million.

The largest Kerry contribution was $586,000 to Pennsylvania State Treasurer Bob Casey, who is running well ahead of Republican Sen. Rick Santorum. Information on the donation to Casey, found on the website, is being used by Republicans in the final days of the campaign.

JOE WILSON'S RETURN

Former Ambassador Joe Wilson, largely out of sight politically for the past two years, has reappeared at a campaign event in New York's suburban Westchester County. He was scheduled for a Friday breakfast in Mt. Kisco to support musician John Hall, who is challenging six-term Republican Rep. Sue Kelly.

Wilson was supposed to play a prominent role in Sen. John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. He disappeared politically following a Senate Intelligence Committee report contradicting his version of a 2002 mission to Africa, and he has played no part in the 2006 campaign until now.

In announcing Wilson's appearance, the Hall campaign referred to a "White House expose of his wife, Valerie Plame, as a clandestine CIA officer" -- as claimed by Wilson. It has been revealed that then Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage identified her as an employee of the Central Intelligence Agency.

NO TO CLONING?

The stem cell research amendment to the Missouri Constitution, which would protect government funding for a procedure used for human cloning, is slipping in private Republican polls and may fail.

The surveys show that Amendment Two, backed by such establishment Republicans as Gov. Matt Blunt and former Sen. John Danforth, is now supported by 49 percent to 43 percent opposed. Generally, ballot propositions must poll above 50 percent to be approved Election Day. Polls taken in September reflected support for the amendment at 59 percent.

The fate of Amendment Two in Missouri, traditionally a pro-life state, will exert major impact on the cloning issue around the country. It also may affect the Senate race between Republican Sen. Jim Talent, who opposes the amendment, and Democratic State Auditor Claire McCaskill, who supports it.

CUDDLING WITH CLINTON

Republican Rep. Clay Shaw reacted to Bill Clinton's visit to campaign against him in his Florida Gold Coast district by cutting a radio ad boasting about his collaboration with the Democratic former president.

Shaw, a 13-termer who will contend for the Ways and Means Committee chairmanship if Republicans retain control of the House, was described in the ad as writing welfare reform, Social Security revision and Everglades restoration bills that were signed by Clinton. "So as Palm Beach County welcomes Bill Clinton to town," says the announcer, "let's say thank you to Clay Shaw. He's independent and effective."

The ad neglected to mention that Shaw voted for two counts of impeachment against Clinton.

SENATORIAL PRESSURE

Two senior senators, Democrat Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and Republican Olympia Snowe of Maine, are pressuring ExxonMobil Corp. to stop funding scientists who question the conventional liberal wisdom on global warming.

In an Oct. 27 letter to ExxonMobil CEO Rex W. Tillerson in Irving, Texas, the senators charged that the oil company's position has "made it increasingly difficult for the United States to demonstrate the moral clarity it needs across all facets of its diplomacy." Actually, U.S. government policy, as set by President Bush, is skeptical about global warming.

"We must request," said the Rockefeller-Snowe letter, "that ExxonMobil end any further financial assistance or other support to groups or individuals whose public advocacy has contributed to the small, but unfortunately effective, climate change denial myth."