Rumors of another McCain ticket

During the last presidential campaign, there was much talk about a Kerry-McCain ticket after Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) sounded out Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) about joining him on a bipartisan fusion ticket.

McCain obviously turned Kerry down, but as the 2008 election approaches there are signs that an equally intriguing McCain-Kerry ticket could be in the works. If such an improbable thing comes to pass, its genesis might well be traced back to a one-on-one breakfast meeting July 27, when the two decorated Vietnam veterans huddled for more than an hour at La Colline restaurant on Capitol Hill.

During the last presidential campaign, there was much talk about a Kerry-McCain ticket after Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) sounded out Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) about joining him on a bipartisan fusion ticket.

McCain obviously turned Kerry down, but as the 2008 election approaches there are signs that an equally intriguing McCain-Kerry ticket could be in the works. If such an improbable thing comes to pass, its genesis might well be traced back to a one-on-one breakfast meeting July 27, when the two decorated Vietnam veterans huddled for more than an hour at La Colline restaurant on Capitol Hill.

Fellow diners said the pair was engaged in earnest conversation throughout the breakfast, although Kerry spokesman David Wade characterized it simply as a chat between two “longtime friends.”

The meeting came in the wake of McCain’s increasingly critical stance on the Bush administration’s conduct of the war on terrorism, particularly the treatment of suspected terrorists at prison camps in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. McCain, who spent years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam’s Hanoi Hilton, led the fight just before the August recess to add an amendment to the defense appropriations bill prohibiting harsh treatment of detainees held in American custody, despite personal lobbying by Vice President Cheney.

McCain rebutted the administration’s argument that the legislation would tie its hands in dealing with people who are not POWs but “terrorists” by declaring on the Senate floor that it’s not “about who they are. It’s about who we are.”

Guess it’s unlikely there will be a Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign if McCain and Kerry team up in 2008.


Foes pile on Hatch for his stance on copyrights

Despite a recent Supreme Court ruling essentially upholding his position, foes of Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) are making his position on intellectual-property rights an issue as he gears up for a reelection race in 2006.
During a Friday radio broadcast, outspoken Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban called Hatch out as a “digital Joe McCarthy.” Cuban, the founder of Broadcast.com, sharply criticized Hatch’s remarks that computers storing illegally downloaded files should be destroyed, calling the senator’s stance on file sharing anti-competitive.
According to the Associated Press, Cuban said he will donate to Hatch’s Republican rival for the nomination, state Rep. Steve Urquhart, and his possible Democratic challenger, Pete Ashdown.
Some point to Hatch’s songwriting hobby as compromising his views on intellectual property. Hatch has written hundreds of songs, many of which are copyrighted. “Souls Along the Way,” a love song he wrote for Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and his wife, wound up on the soundtrack to the movie “Ocean’s 12.” Hatch makes a few thousand dollars each year on royalties.
In an interview with The Hill on Monday, Urquhart stopped short of characterizing the senator’s motives but said Hatch’s “views on copyright are solidly in line with the past” and detrimental to the “small, innovative businesses out here.”
Hatch campaign spokesman Dave Hansen said he didn’t feel the issue would be a problem for the campaign: “He’s got a record that he’s proud of, and we’ll be happy to make that a campaign issue if that’s what people want.”
As for Cuban, Hansen said the owner “has had problems with his mouth before, and I think this is another example.”
More generally, Urquhart’s said his campaign themes are that Hatch is insufficiently conservative on some issues and that he ignores constituent service. “I don’t need to convince people it’s time for a change,” said Urquhart, a lawyer who wrote a state law against “spyware.”


CAFTA fallout

Meeks staffer pulls no punches calling CAFTA foes racist

A senior staffer to Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) sent out a caustic email that accuses a CAFTA opponent of being racist for criticizing Meeks’s yes vote on the trade legislation. Meeks was one of 15 Democrats to vote for the controversial trade treaty.

In the email, first posted by blogger Jonathan Tasini on the liberal Working Life blog, Mike McKay, Meeks’s senior policy adviser, rails: “We welcome your racists campaign [sic]. Keep it up. Instead of the 96% of the vote we got last cycle, you racists will help us get 100% for sure! …

“So keep up your racist campaign. But just a warning to you, when we respond back, you better be prepared. Because we will fight back your racist campaign of misinformation. And it will be just as ugly and nasty as you and your fellow Nadar klansmen [sic]. Put that in your elitist pipe and choke on it!”

The exact recipient could not be determined, but one source said that McKay has sent similar e-mails to several CAFTA critics.” The source has seen many of them.

For his part, Meeks, who was not in the country when the email was sent, said McKay is a loyal staffer but told him that such language can’t be tolerated. “I’m shocked by it,” Meeks told The Hill. “It does not reflect me at all. I would never use that language nor is that my opinion.”


Six stray Dems get their mugs on milk cartons

As payback for what it calls votes that insult “the core values of the Democratic Party,” the liberal Campaign for America’s Future called out six Democrats on Friday.

Sending out a mock “search party” for the six “missing in action” Democrats, the group handed out fliers at the Capitol South Metro stop that depicted the members on milk cartons.

The six Democrats — Sens. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) and Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) and Reps. Henry Cuellar (Texas), Ruben Hinojosa (Texas), Gregory Meeks (N.Y.) and John Tanner (Tenn.) — all voted for the bankruptcy bill, CAFTA, the class-action bill and the energy bill.

“Republicans abusing their power with Washington lobbyists have created a corporate feeding frenzy in Congress,” said Toby Chaudhuri, communications director for the group. “Most Democrats stood up against this corruption and fought for working people, but these six went astray.”


Williams: Not getting off the donkey

D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams isn’t quite ready to announce if he’ll run for reelection, but if he does it will be as a Democrat and not an independent, as some political observers have suggested.

However, Williams said that even though he’s a Democrat, “I basically function more as an independent.”

Speaking at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast last week, Williams, wearing his trademark bow tie and nibbling at a plate of scrambled eggs and bacon, said he’s ”going to let people know in September” if he’ll seek another term.

And while he pronounced President Bush “a good neighbor” of the District who’s “always been accessible,” he added, “I have to say publicly that I do regret that he’s not supported full representation” in Congress for D.C. residents.

“He doesn’t seem to be plugged in to that issue,” Williams declared.


Six members make Forbes list of powerful women

Five senators and one House member made this year’s installment of Forbes magazine’s list of the most powerful women in the world.

In the upper chamber, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) led the pack at No. 26, followed by Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) at No. 42, Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) at No. 54, Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) at No. 58 and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) at No. 87.

The only House member to make the list was Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), at No. 76.

Other Washington notables were Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who led the pack at No. 1, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor and first lady Laura Bush.

Forbes said the rankings are “based on a composite of visibility (measured by press citations) and economic impact.”