Swift boat ads were too hot for Fox News

“He’s just starting. You’re going to hear from him again.”
— Outgoing Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), after his 31-year-old son, Billy, lost his bid to succeed him in Saturday’s runoff election
“He’s just starting. You’re going to hear from him again.”
— Outgoing Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), after his 31-year-old son, Billy, lost his bid to succeed him in Saturday’s runoff election
tom fitzsimmons
Harvard University President Lawrence Summers speaking with Congressman-elect Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), Congressman-elect Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) and Congresswoman-elect Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) during Harvard's Newly Elected Members of Congress Program last week in Cambridge, Mass.

Chris LaCivita, the GOP strategist who advised the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth during the fall presidential campaign, said last week that Fox refused to air two Swifties ads that other cable networks, including CNN and MSNBC, had no reservations over.

He said Fox had “no problem with the facts; they just didn’t want to run them” because they were “too negative.”

According to LaCivita, a Fox representative said the ads were rejected because they used the word “betrayal” in regards to Sen. John Kerry’s actions after he returned from Vietnam. Betrayal is too strong a word because it implies treason, and treason is punishable by death, he was told.

LaCivita said he didn’t disclose that Fox refused the ads during the campaign because “our friends at the Kerry campaign would have made hay over it.”

He also told The Hill that the Swifties hoped to run their first ad on the Thursday of the Democratic National Convention, when Kerry gave his acceptance speech, but because a check didn’t clear, the organization had to wait until Aug. 5.

But by then, having seen that Kerry’s speech drew heavily on his military service, the 527 group knew it was on to something. “Oh boy, this is going to get fun,”

LaCivita remembers thinking. “Talk about leading with your chin.”

But LaCivita also described his work with the Swift boat veterans as very moving, as he recalled how the veterans “broke down and began to sob in the studio” during the filming of the ads.

Kerry adviser Mike McCurry, however, characterized the Swift boat campaign as neither fun nor moving, calling it the “most dishonorable thing I’ve ever seen in politics.”


The inaugural eBay game

Chris Cowen, a Minneapolis real estate investor, has found an even better investment — buying tickets to join President and Mrs. Bush at the Texas State Society’s inaugural gala.

Cowen, 31, bought four tickets to the Lone Star State’s party, considered the hottest in town on Jan. 20, for $125 each after paying $30 to join the Texas State Society, and quickly sold two of them for $3,000 on eBay, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

“It turned out to be the best investment I’ve made,” said Cowen, who bought his tickets before organizers of the Texas ball announced that the event was oversold.

Cowen also hopes to get tickets to the swearing-in ceremony from the office of Sen. Mark Dayton (D-Minn.).


TCU honors Bob Schieffer

If Bob Schieffer ever decides to retire as moderator of “Face the Nation,” he shouldn’t have much trouble finding a job teaching journalism in his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas.

That’s because Schieffer’s alma mater, Texas Christian University, has decided to name its journalism school after him.

“I was just blown away,” Schieffer said Monday. “I just hope that if any of my journalism professors are still alive, they break the news gently because I did not graduate with honors, although I graduated on time.”

Schieffer, 67, who was once a reporter for his college newspaper, said, “Having my name associated with TCU in this way is an honor far beyond anything I could have imagined.”

The new Schieffer School of Journalism will be dedicated in March. “I hear they’re going to call it the School of Horned Frogs Journalism,” he joked.

Schieffer said he’s also begun work on a new book about LBJ’s relationship with JFK.


Is rocker Bono changing sides?

U2’s Bono has long been known for his bipartisan efforts to lobby for Third World debt relief and funding to combat AIDS. Bono opened his own Washington office to court the likes of Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill.

But a lyric from U2’s latest album, “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb,” contains a line with an unmistakable Republican association.

The line appears in the song “Yahweh,” the Hebrew word for God. The line, “Take this city/A city should be shining on a hill,” is right out of Ronald Reagan’s 1984 “Morning in America” campaign. (Actually, Reagan credited Puritan John Winthrup with coining the phrase.)

Still, Bono doesn’t appear to be a fan of President Bush’s pre-emptive war strategy.

The song “Love and Peace or Else” contains the line “Lay down your guns/All your daughters of Zion/All your Abraham sons.”


Think of Bush as Maggie, Carson says

For the soon-to-be youngest ex-congressman in America, Brad Carson sure knows his history. The 37-year-old Oklahoma Democrat, who lost to former Rep. Tom Coburn in a bid to succeed Republican Sen. Don Nickles, likened America’s current political climate to the United Kingdom in the 1980s.

“I have a very bleak outlook,” he said at the American Democracy Conference at the Hotel Washington last week. “The systemic problems of the Democratic Party are so profound that tactical changes are not going to help us.”

Having lived in England from 1989 to 1991, he compared the Democrats to the Labour Party during Margaret Thatcher’s reign as prime minister. Large segments of the population hated her, he said, but she kept winning, just as President Bush and the Republicans have done.

Noting that being a conservative in Britain today is widely unpopular, he said, “We await our Tony Blair.”

Carson may be taking some of his historical insight to the classroom. He told The Hill that after returning to Oklahoma, he plans to practice law and perhaps teach a high school civics class.

One thing he said he has no plans to do is challenge Sen. James Inhofe (R) in 2008.

“Could you beat Jim Inhofe?” he asked. “We threw everything we had at Coburn and it still wasn’t enough.”

But, he said, Inhofe could always “pull a Bunning,” referring to Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), who had a much closer reelection race than expected this year after making several impolitic statements.

Also, he believes history may be on his side should he decide to run again. “There’s about a 15- to 20-year cycle. … Hopefully I’ll be young enough to one day take advantage of the prevailing winds rather than have them in my face.”


Costumed staffers get into the holiday spirit for benefit

A gaggle of staffers made their way to the Madison Hotel last week for the lighting of the hotel’s Christmas tree and to benefit local charities.

The guest of honor was Santa Claus himself, played by Mike Woody, an aide to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) on HELP Committee issues.

Woody was asked to play St. Nick by Lindsay Law, press secretary for Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.). Law was dolled up herself as none other than Dolley Madison, the hotel’s namesake.

Donning the costume was far easier for Woody than making his way to the hotel via a horse-drawn carriage.

“It was hard to maneuver it through traffic,” he said, especially since it was rush hour. “Some people didn’t think it was funny at all that Santa Claus was in their way, and other people had a little more Christmas spirit.”

Once he arrived, Woody joined the D.C. Boys Choir and The Madison, the Hill’s (and The Hill’s) favorite post-collegiate sorority, for the tree lighting.

The evening benefited the Many Hats Institute, which works to improve conditions for children and youth worldwide. Guests brought gifts for the children of the Spanish Education Development Center, the oldest bilingual preschool in the city.

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