Saturday, October 09, 2004

What They're Saying: St. Louis Debate, Volume Seven

The Washington Post: "Mr. Kerry Seemed Unable, Even At This Late Date, To Articulate One Clear Position. 'I Do Believe Saddam Hussein Was A Threat,' He Said, But Only Minutes Later He Criticized The President For Being 'Preoccupied With Iraq, Where There Wasn't A Threat.'" (Editorial, "Round Two," The Washington Post, 10/9/04)

Philadelphia Inquirer's Dick Polman: "Kerry Was Also Forced Last Night To Defend Himself From Bush's Charge That All His Domestic Promises Would Trigger New Tax Hikes On All Americans. Even His Own Campaign, Since Spring, Has Failed To Explain How Kerry Would Pay For Everything By Simply Hiking The Taxes On Rich People." (Dick Polman, "Back And Forth They Went, Battling For Every Last Vote," Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/9/04)

Former Clinton Aide David Gergen: "The President Got The Upper Hand In Much Of The Foreign Policy Debate." (MSNBC's "News Live," 10/9/04)

Zogby Focus Group Of Ohio Swing Voters Shows President Bush Gaining Support After Debate. "Whether significant votes were swayed by either man's performance can't be known until opinions firm over several days and new surveys are taken, but one focus group of 12 swing voters in Cleveland organized by pollster John Zogby may offer clues to public reaction. Of the 12 voters, seven leaned toward Kerry as the debate began and stayed with him. Only one favored Bush before the debate, but four backed the president after it ended, primarily on his strength as commander in chief and his defense of the war in Iraq. One voter remained undecided." (Ron Hutcheson And Mark Johnson, "Sharp Exchanges Punctuate Debate On Host Of Issues," Knight Ridder Newspapers, 10/9/04)

Dayton Daily News: Kerry Failed To "Explain How His Proposed Tax Reform Will Save Many Jobs From Going Overseas." (Editorial, "Round 2: Bush Gets It Together," Dayton Daily News, 10/9/04)

Dallas Morning News: "President Bush Gave One Of His Best Answers About Iraq" During The Debate. (Editorial, "Heavyweight Round: Powerful Exchange Emphasizes Differences," The Dallas Morning News, 10/9/04)

Dallas Morning News: Kerry "Got Into His Old Mumbo Jumbo When He Said He Had A Plan For This And A Plan For That." (Editorial, "Heavyweight Round: Powerful Exchange Emphasizes Differences," The Dallas Morning News, 10/9/04)
Time Magazine's James Poniewozik: Kerry Was "Literally More Stiff Than Bush" And "Almost Seemed To Carry An Invisible Podium With Him." (James Poniewozik, "Round Two: Bush Versus Bush," TIME.com, 10/9/04)

St. Petersburg Times: "But As The 90-Minute Debate Wore On, The Famously Loquacious Senator Occasionally Lapsed Into Convoluted Answers For Simple Questions." (Editorial, "Round Two," St. Petersburg Times, 10/9/04)

The Nation's David Corn: Kerry's "I-Have-A-Plan" Line Had A "Hollow Feel." (David Corn, "Capital Games," The Nation Website, 10/9/04)

St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Jon Sawyer: "Kerry Appeared More Tentative, And Sometimes Defensive, In Answering Bush's Repeated Attempt To Define Him As A Big-Taxing, Big-Spending Liberal Out Of Touch With The Values Of Mainstream Americans." (Jon Sawyer, "Kerry, Bush Come Out Combative," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10/9/04)

The New York Times' Todd Purdum: In Contrast To President Bush, Kerry "Never Gave A Direct Answer" On Whether He Would Allow Tax Dollars To Pay For Abortions. (Todd S. Purdum, "Best Defense: More Offense," The New York Times, 10/9/04)

Arizona Republic: President Bush "Came Across Assured, Winking At People Off Camera, And For All Appearances Happy To Be There." (Editorial, "Round 2 To Bush," The Arizona Republic, 10/9/04)

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Parity in Style, Contrast in Substance

By John F. Harris
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 9, 2004;

ST. LOUIS, Oct. 8 -- There were two politicians at or near the top of their game on the stage Friday night, and the effect was striking.

In the second campaign debate, President Bush sharpened his performance considerably over his first encounter with Democrat John F. Kerry, the result being rough parity between the candidates on stylistic grounds. That put their differences on substance -- dramatically different governing priorities, and starkly different responses to whether the country is on the right course at home and abroad -- on even more vivid display.

An evening of tough and well-stated questions from undecided Missouri voters in the "town hall" format succeeded in laying bare more clearly than at any time this campaign season the essential choice facing voters on Nov. 2. In impassioned and plain-spoken language, Bush defended his course on Iraq, tax cuts and the right way to improve the economy, and said it deserved validation with a second term. In equally blunt terms, Kerry asked voters to perform a "gut check" and ask themselves if Bush's policies or his words -- which the Democrat labeled "Orwellian" -- held any credibility.

As he did in the first debate, Kerry turned every question into an opportunity for a scathing critique of Bush's policies. In several cases, he used Bush's own words against him, including promises about the right circumstances for sending troops abroad that Bush had uttered in the same auditorium at a debate four years ago. More often this year, it has been Bush who has sought to torture Kerry by summoning up old quotations.

But Bush responded to Kerry's charges this time with answers that were both more vigorous and more conversational than at the first debate, Sept. 30 in Miami.

Answering one question, he said he has no regrets about invading Iraq, rejecting a treaty on global warming, dismissing the Palestinian Authority's Yasser Arafat as a credible leader and negotiating partner -- decisions that raised objections in other countries.

"People love America," Bush said. "Sometimes they don't like the decisions made by America, but I don't think you want a president who tries to become popular and does the wrong thing."

With two debates down and one to go -- the last, on domestic policy, Wednesday in Arizona -- it did not seem likely that this debate will dramatically affect the dynamic of the campaign, in the way that Bush's weak performance in Miami clearly presented an opening for Kerry and tightened the polls to what is now essentially a tie.

The encounter at Washington University here also shattered some conventional wisdom about town hall debates. This had held that they were supposed to be more genteel affairs, because politicians supposedly do not wish to be too aggressive in a more intimate setting before real voters. Not so this evening: At every single question, Bush and Kerry challenged each other sharply, sometimes in caustic language.

Kerry said Bush's failure to plan adequately in Iraq meant "our kids are being killed" because they were inadequately armed and more nations are not contributing troops. He turned nearly every answer into an argument that the country needs to change course.

In his answers, Bush returned to familiar lines of attack: that Kerry is too irresolute a politician, and too liberal on issues involving taxes and support for the military, to be trusted to lead in an age of terrorism.

Both men moved effectively to address what had been potential deficiencies. In an answer about stem cell research and whether it involved taking a life, Kerry talked more personally about his Roman Catholic faith, mentioning his youth as an altar boy, than he typically does in public. Defending his plans to raise taxes -- but only on those with high incomes -- he joked that the only people in the room affected would be Bush, moderator Charles Gibson of ABC News and himself. Whether that line will come off as self-aware wit, or another way of saying that the audience looked like a bunch of schlumps to him, remains to be seen.

In the very first question, Kerry was pressed to answer Bush's most frequent criticism of him, when Cheryl Otis asked him to address the observation of her family and co-workers who believe the Democrat is "too wishy-washy." Kerry dismissed the criticism as a fiction of Bush's campaign, as he has done before, but this time with more specificity. Citing the USA Patriot Act, for instance, he said it is reasonable to have supported the legislation but have objections about how it is being applied, and noted that even prominent Republicans have similar concerns.

Plainly eager to rebut Bush's charge of liberalism, potentially devastating with independent voters, Kerry also accused him of "just trying to scare everybody here with throwing labels around. I mean, 'compassionate conservative,' what does that mean? Cutting 500,000 kids from after-school programs, cutting 365,000 kids from health care, running up the biggest deficits in American history."

Bush, too, made important alterations to his performance. He pushed back just as aggressively as he did in the first debate against Kerry's criticism, but he did so with less of the peevish edge and dismissive facial expressions that even his own aides agreed marred that performance.

After Kerry spoke on Iran, Bush joked, "That answer almost made me want to scowl."

The evening's format was one that posed challenges for which both men had reasons to be wary. In 1992, the town hall debate in Richmond effectively sealed the fate for President George H.W. Bush's troubled reelection candidacy, during an evening when the current president's father interacted awkwardly with questioners and kept glancing at his watch in a way that conveyed unmistakably that he could hardly wait to be somewhere else.

At the same occasion, challenger Bill Clinton displayed the raspy-voiced empathy that was his signature and helped set an new expectation for presidential politics: Candidates should be judged on the ease and persuasiveness with which they can converse in the language of the Middle American kitchen table.

The reality of this year's candidates -- two sons of privileged families, two Yale graduates, two millionaires -- is that they are far removed from that table. At the outset of his presidential campaign, Kerry acknowledged that he can strike people as distant when he joked that he was undergoing surgery to have his "aloof gland" removed. Bush, a natural back-slapper and towel-snapper, is generally credited with winning the "regular guy" derby. In political terms, however, he usually runs behind Kerry in the now-standard poll question of which person "understands the concerns of people like you."

But the St. Louis debate may have reshuffled expectations also for "town hall" debates. The questions voters asked were not parochial, and fit into none of the old conceptions about issues that supposedly concern "soccer moms" or "angry white men." They were the same questions, indeed, that any panel of think-tank experts might have composed. These question also proved that a year of tough campaigning has left the candidates sharper with their answers than ever

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Friday, October 08, 2004

One Step Closer to Major Immigration Reform, A Couple of Steps to Go

Stop the Madness at FAIR

Your quick response to our code red action alert yesterday was astonishing! The phone calls, faxes and emails you have made over the past few weeks in support of the 9/11 Commission immigration recommendations are making a real difference; that difference was demonstrated yesterday when the House defeated the Menendez substitute amendment (H.AMDT.785) by a vote of 203 - 213.

We attribute this victory to our committed activists and their countless efforts. The Menendez amendment would have stripped out all of the immigration-related recommendations in H.R.10.

However, our work is not yet over. There is still a looming threat that two amendments by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) could strip out some important immigration provisions. These amendments are expected to be voted on sometime today.

Click here to see how your member voted on the Menendez amendment, and then call to say thank you or to express your disappointment if your representative voted for the amendment. While you have them on the phone, ask them to oppose the Smith amendments detailed below.

Action Opportunity:
Call and urge your representative to oppose Smith Amendments #50 and #51 (see below for details) and then to vote for final passage of H.R.10. Find your representative's phone number here on our web site or call the Capitol switchboard (202-224-3121) and ask to be connected.


Type your zip code into the "take action now" box to send a FREE pre-written fax to your representative urging a NO vote on the Smith amendments and a YES vote for final passage of H.R.10.

Amendment Details:
Smith Amendment #50 - Rep. Chris Smith's (R-NJ) amendment removes the provisions allowing expedited removal of illegal aliens, terrorists, and criminal aliens present in the United States less than five years.


Smith (NJ) #51 - This amendment, also by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), strikes the section designed to prevent fraudulent asylum claims.

* Join FAIR's Action E-List for timely updates and alerts that tell you when and how you can make a difference!
* Support our work! We depend solely on contributions from people like you.
* For breaking immigration news, visit the Stein Report.

www.fairus.org
(202) 328-7004

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GOP MISCALCULATION Immigration Promises Not Moving Latino Voters

WASHINGTON (October 2004) -- A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies casts considerable doubt on the Bush Administration's assumption that immigration policy is an effective tool in wooing the Latino electorate. In ''Losing Ground or Staying Even? Republicans and the Politics of the Latino Vote,'' University of Maryland Professor of Government James Gimpel uses a variety of national and state polls to show that Hispanic political allegiance to the Democratic Party has remained consistent over the years, and that any increase in the proportion of Latinos voting Republican is principally a consequence of low turnout among Latino Democrats.

The Center will release Dr. Gimpel's report and host a panel discussion on the issue on Thursday, October 14, at 10 a.m., in the Murrow Room of the National Press Club, at 14th & F streets, N.W. The speakers will be:

* James G. Gimpel, Professor of Government at the University of Maryland, College Park, and author of ''Losing Ground or Staying Even? Republicans and the Politics of the Latino Vote.'' His most recent book is Patchwork Nation: Sectionalism and Political Change in American Politics.

* William Frey, Visiting Scholar at the Brookings Institution, Research Professor at the University of Michigan’s Population Studies Center, and author of ''Battling Battlegrounds'' in the September issue of American Demographics.

* Steven Camarota, Director of Research, Center for Immigration Studies.

The panel discussion is free and open to the public. The report will be available the day of the event at http://www.cis.org . For more information, contact John Keeley of the Center for Immigration Studies at (202) 466-8185 or jmk@cis.org.


# # #

The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent research organization that examines the impact of immigration on the United States. Support the Center by donating on line here: http://www.cis.org/support.html . ATTN Federal employees: The Center's Combined Federal Campaign number is 0895.


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Kerry Healthcare Plan's Staggering Cost: $1.5 Trillion

Candidate's proposal would raise taxes $969 per taxpayer, provide limited benefit

WASHINGTON, D.C. - John Kerry has promised to "pay for" all of his new spending proposals, including an estimated $1.5 trillion over 10 years for his healthcare plan. Unfortunately, American taxpayers would be the ones footing the bill. Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) today issued a report which estimates that Kerry will need to impose a tax hike of $969 per year on the average taxpayer, or nearly $10,000 over the next decade, to fund this program.

"John Kerry wants to implement a bloated, government-run healthcare program and stick American taxpayers with the bill," said ATR President Grover Norquist. "Kerry has made empty promises about preserving President Bush's middle class tax cuts, but the fact it is, he needs to raise taxes to fund this big government boondoggle."



Despite the Kerry healthcare plans' massive price tag, most of the benefit would be wasted. Nearly 60 percent of the plans cost would be used to pay for people who already have health insurance. The average person will receive a benefit of $451 dollars, which is more than offset by the increased tax burden.



In addition to healthcare, Kerry has plans for other expensive spending programs. ATR estimates that funding Kerry's full campaign platform will cost taxpayers an average of $1,771 per year. Paying for Kerry's laundry list of new expenditures would completely wipe out all of the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003.



"John Kerry is out of his mind if he thinks he can pay for all of his liberal, big-government proposals and not stick Americans with an across the board tax hike," continued Norquist. "John Kerry wants to wipe out all of President Bush's crucial relief and raise taxes on every individual, family and small business in America."



The analysis can be found at: http://www.atr.org/pdf_oct04/atr-kerry-healthtax.pdf




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Good Advice to President Bush: No More Mr Nice Guy

By Jane Chastain

The president of the United States is infected with a classic Republican disease: terminal niceness. While most of his colleagues in Congress are expected survive the next election, Mr. Bush has been given less than four weeks to live. Politically, he's on life support.

Much has been made about the Kerry flip-flops. David Bossie wrote an excellent book called, "The Many Faces of John Kerry." Last week's debate could have been called "The Many Faces of George W. Bush." On the cutaways, Bush was alternately bored and perturbed. When answering questions, he looked as if he were running for Miss Congeniality, not the leader of the free world.


A challenger always has an advantage in these debates. It's something called hindsight. Kerry exploited it to the max: "In the last four years, you could have ... you should have ... I would have ..."

Bush, acted as though he were running against a blank slate. He simply would not attack Kerry's 20-year record in the Senate. This is a republic, and much of the problems that we have as a nation today are a direct result of his oversight or his votes as a member of that illustrious body.

Yes, there was an intelligence failure, which no doubt contributed to the 9-11 attacks and led to some incorrect assessments as we invaded Iraq. Whose fault was that?

Before Bush came to Washington, Kerry served eight years on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and worked with Arizona Sen. Dennis DeConcini to gut the CIA. Kerry's record speaks for itself: He never once voted to increase intelligence spending and on three separate occasions voted to cut the intelligence budget.

In 1994, even DeConcini criticized his colleague from Massachusetts for trying to slash the intelligence budget by another $6 billion. Clearly, Kerry did not see the growing terrorist threat. If he did, his actions indicate he took no steps to prevent it from developing.

Kerry criticized Bush for the failures that remain to be addressed on airport security. But who has direct oversight over airport security? John Kerry does as a member of the Senate Transportation Committee.

On May 7, 2001, Brian Sullivan, a retired Federal Aviation Administration special agent from Kerry's state, wrote a letter to his senator warning that Boston Logan Airport was vulnerable to a "jihad" suicide operation which might be part of "a coordinated attack." He briefed Kerry on an undercover investigation he and another former agent ran for a Boston TV station. Then, he had the videotape of that investigation hand-delivered to Kerry's office by a current agent with the Transportation Security Administration.

It took Kerry's staff three months to respond. In short, Kerry couldn't be bothered. He offered to pass Sullivan's warning on to the TSA's inspector general, even though "Sully" had made it clear this was a dead end.

Mr. Bush, these are important matters that the American people need to know about. What better time to bring them out than in a high-profile debate? If these things were not in your briefing book, you should fire those responsible!

You simply cannot put these things in your commercials or leave them to the vice president, the spin-misters or address them in your speeches. With an election this tight – this close to the wire – the American people want to see how you do mano y mano.

Time to regroup and arm yourself for the next battle. Yes, battle!

Kerry went to Miami to destroy you. You were there to play nice. This may be good policy in kindergarten, but it is shortsighted, even silly, when you are fighting for your political life.

Liberal political pundits will do their best to convince you that the American electorate is turned off when a candidate goes negative. That's because liberals have so much negative to exploit.

John Kerry has had 20 years of bad ideas and bad votes in the U.S. Senate on domestic issues. If you ignore his record in the next debate, you don't deserve to win.

Four years ago, you were asked what historic figure you most admired. You answered, "Jesus Christ." Remember, Christ nor mince words when he chased the money changers out of the temple. He called them "a brood of vipers."

Your mother, Barbara, may have told you, "If you can't say something nice, don't say it at all." That doesn't apply here!

Nice guys don't always finish last, but nice guys who don't do their homework often do.


Jane Chastain is a WorldNetDaily columnist and radio talk-show host.


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Thursday, October 07, 2004

New Poll--Bad News For the President

By RON FOURNIER


WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen. John Kerry has taken a slim lead over President Bush, according to an Associated Press poll that shows the president's support tumbling on personal qualities, the war in Iraq and the commander in chief's bedrock campaign issue - national security.

Fewer voters than a month ago believe Bush is the best man to protect the country and fight the Iraq war.

The AP-Ipsos Public Affairs poll, completed on the eve of the second presidential debate, showed a reversal from early September, when the Republican incumbent had the momentum and a minuscule lead. With bloodshed increasing in Iraq, Kerry sharpened his attacks, and Bush stumbled in their initial debate.

Among 944 likely voters, the Kerry-Edwards ticket led Bush-Cheney 50 percent to 46 percent. The Oct. 4-6 survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.


(AP) President Bush solidified his advantage among men during the last month and holds his highest...
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The race was tied 47-47 percent among all registered voters, with a 2.5 point margin of error. Other polls show the race just as tight.

Nearly three-fourths of likely voters who were surveyed said they had watched or listened to the first presidential debate last week. Some 39 percent said they came away with a more favorable view of Kerry, while just 8 percent felt better about Bush.

"I was more comfortable with Kerry after the debate," said Louis Robinson, a 66-year-old retiree from Pittsburgh. "I just like the way he carried himself." Nearly a third of likely voters who watched said the debate gave them a less favorable view of Bush.

Nearly six in 10 of all the people questioned - likely voters or not - said the country was headed on the wrong track, reflecting a gloomy national mood that could jeopardize Bush's re-election bid. His overall approval rating among likely voters, 46 percent, was at its lowest point since June - down from 54 percent in late September.

Eric Schlichting, a suburban Chicago inventory manager who tends to vote Republican, said Iraq is troubling him.

"Up until the last 18 months, I was leaning toward Bush, but the more that happens the worse it gets," Schlichting said. "He sticks to his guns, but his aim is so far off that sticking to his guns is not paying off."

While national polls gauge the potential popular vote, the real race for the White House is playing out one state at a time. That competition is remarkably close, with analysts saying both candidates are within reach of the 270 electoral votes needed to claim the presidency.

Bush is threatening Kerry's claim to Democratic-leaning states such as Wisconsin, Iowa, New Mexico and New Jersey. Kerry is pressing Bush's advantage in the two most critical states, Florida and Ohio, as well as GOP-leaning Colorado.

Bush advisers privately acknowledge that in the first debate he cost himself by fidgeting and grimacing during Kerry's answers, and failing to seize upon openings the Democrat gave him. They felt better about Vice President Dick Cheney's performance Tuesday against Kerry running mate Sen. John Edwards, and predicted that Bush would be sharper - and tougher on Kerry - during Friday night's debate in St. Louis.

In the broad scheme of things, Kerry's advances in opinion polls may be nothing more than a political adjustment - a nudge of the pendulum rather than a big swing. But for some Republicans, the shift came as a shock, because they had looked at the first debate as a chance to put the race away.

Instead, Bush lost his momentum.

Bush strategist Matthew Dowd said he believes the president still leads Kerry, "but we're down from where we were last week. That's a fact. It's also the nature of the race. We've always said it was going to be a two- or three-point contest."

Said Kerry campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill: "Now that we're at the debates and people can see them on the same stage, they see Kerry has a plan to solve the problems in Iraq and that the president continues to focus on the past."

Dowd and his fellow Republicans have also said Bush would prevail because he's considered the strongest leader in a time of war. That is now open to debate.

On the question of who would protect the country, Bush led Kerry 51 percent to 45 percent among likely voters - down from the 20-point lead that Bush held in a Sept. 7-9 poll by AP-Ipsos.

Bush's approval rating on handling foreign policy and the war on terror was 49 percent - down from 55 percent in a Sept. 20-22 poll by AP-Ipsos.

Forty-four percent of likely voters approve of the commander in chief's handling of the war in Iraq, down from 51 percent in the late-September poll. It was 49-46 Bush on the question of who is best suited to handle Iraq, within the poll's margin of error.

On the eve of Friday's debate, Bush was forced by a critical new report to concede that Iraq did not have the stockpiles of banned weapons he had warned of before the 2003 invasion. Still, he insisted Thursday, "we were right to take action" against Saddam Hussein. Kerry renewed his assertion that Bush had misled voters and mismanaged the war.

Virtually across the board, Bush's approval ratings were as low as they have been since June. Kerry gained among women, opening a 12-point lead while slashing the president's advantage with men.

Less than half of likely voters, 47 percent, approve of Bush's performance on the economy and just 43 percent give him good marks for other domestic policies.

Bush and Kerry are considered equally likable, after Bush's ratings went down and Kerry's went up for an 11-point swing.

Slightly more voters consider Kerry honest, a reversal from last month. Far more voters consider Bush decisive (73 percent) than Kerry (43 percent), but the gap closed by 8 points.

Kerry widened his lead on the question of who would create jobs, with 54 percent favoring him and 40 percent Bush.


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Lest we forget the monsters we deal with

This from AP

WASHINGTON - The Education Department has advised school leaders nationwide to watch for people spying on their buildings or buses to help detect any possibility of terrorism like the deadly school siege in Russia.


The warning follows an analysis by the FBI (news - web sites) and the Homeland Security Department of the siege that killed nearly 340 people, many of them students, in the city of Beslan last month.


"The horror of this attack may have created significant anxiety in our own country among parents, students, faculty staff and other community members," Deputy Education Secretary Eugene Hickok said in a letter to schools and education groups.


The safety advice is based on lessons learned from the Russia incident. But there is "no specific information indicating that there is a terrorist threat to any schools or universities in the United States," Hickok said.


Federal law enforcement officials also have encouraged local police to stay in contact with school officials and have encouraged reporting of suspicious activities, the letter says.


In particular, schools were told to watch for activities that may be legitimate on their own — but may suggest a heightened terrorist threat if many of them occur.


Among those activities:


_ Interest in obtaining site plans for schools, bus routes and attendance lists;


_ Prolonged "static surveillance" by people disguised as panhandlers, shoe shiners, newspaper or flower vendors or street sweepers not previously seen in the area;


_ Observations of security drills;


_ People staring at or quickly looking away from employees or vehicles as they enter or leave parking areas;


_ Foot surveillance of campuses involving individuals working together.


The effort is the latest by the Education Department and other federal agencies to encourage school officials to maintain and practice a plan for responding to emergencies.


After the terrorist takeover of the Russian school, President Bush (news - web sites) asked his top advisers to review their strategies for dealing with hostage situations, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has said.


The federal government is advising schools to take many steps to improve the security of their buildings. Those include installing locks for all doors and windows, having a single entry point into buildings and ensuring they can reach school bus drivers in an emergency.


The Education Department sent its letter by e-mail Wednesday to school police, state school officers, school boards, groups representing principals and many other organizations.


The Homeland Security Department also sent a bulletin Wednesday to federal, state and local emergency officials to provide fresh guidance based on the review of the school siege in Russia

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Wednesday, October 06, 2004

John Edwards Got Outclassed By Dick Cheney

Newseek's Howard Fineman: "On Foreign Policy And Defense, [John Edwards] Got Outclassed By Dick Cheney. The Reason Is, Agree With It Or Not, Dick Cheney Clearly Has A Comprehensive Theory And Philosophy That He Shares With The President About How To Fight The War." (MSNBC's "After Hours," 10/6/04)

The Washington Post: "The Vice President Vigorously Defended The Administration's Record In Iraq And Repeatedly Turned The Focus To Kerry's Credibility." (Dana Milbank, "Candidates Play To The Jurors – That Is, Voters," The Washington Post, 10/6/04)

The Boston Herald's Mike Barnicle: "I Thought That Cheney Came Incredibly Well Prepared. Very Substantive, The Research That He Had Done--The Opposition Research Was Clearly Top Shelf. He Has, For That Format, An Amazingly, Amazingly Familiar Way About Him. It Was As If He Was There With Dr. Phil Being Interviewed. For A Guy Whose Reputation Is So Dark, So Brooding, He Was Very Comfortable, I Think, To The American Television Audience." (MSNBC's "After Hours," 10/6/04)

New York Times Columnist David Brooks: "I Thought There Were Some Points When Cheney Was Talking About Zarqawi Where He Seemed Like A Man Who Had Been In Charge And Really Had A Depth Of Experience That Maybe Edwards Couldn't Match." (PBS's "Special Coverage," 10/5/04)

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough: "I Think Dick Cheney Clearly Had The Upper Hand Tonight." (MSNBC's "After Hours," 10/6/04)

Fox News' Sean Hannity: "The Vice President Is Brilliant And He Won On Style and Substance Tonight And I Think He Just Outclassed Edwards On A Lot Of Areas." (Fox News' "Hannity And Colmes," 10/5/04)

The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol: "I Think Cheney Clobbered Edwards In The First Half Of The Debate On National Security. He Didn't Clobber Edwards. More Precisely He Clobbered John Kerry. He Put Kerry's Senate Record Front And Center And Edwards Never Defended Kerry's Record." (Fox News' "On The Record," 10/6/04)

The Chicago Tribune's Jeff Zeleny: "A Question Edwards Surely Needed To Answer Succinctly -- What Makes Him Qualified To Be A Heartbeat From The Presidency -- Was One Of His Most Meandering." (Jeff Zeleny, "'Fierce Proxies' For Their Bosses," Chicago Tribune, 10/6/04)

The Chicago Tribune's Jeff Zeleny: "If Democrats Hoped That Edwards' Winsome Smile And Persuasive Optimism Would Make Cheney Come Off As Gruff Or Irritated, They Might Be Disappointed." (Jeff Zeleny, "'Fierce Proxies' For Their Bosses," Chicago Tribune, 10/6/04)







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Cheney Crushes The Ambulance Chaser

NBC's Tom Brokaw: Cheney "Is The Authority" And Has An "Ability To Exude Self-Confidence Without Overstating It." (MSNBC's "Hardball," 10/5/04)

NBC'S Tim Russert: "I Think, Chris, Dick Cheney Could Audition For The Lead Role In The Apprentice, If Donald Trump Ever Gets Tired. I'm Sorry, Senator, You're Fired. You Just Don't Measure Up." (MSNBC's "Hardball," 10/5/04)

The Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes: "[Cheney] Looked Like A Man In Charge." (Fox News' "Special Coverage," 10/5/04)

Fox News' Jim Angle: "Brit, Well, Vice President Cheney Didn't Give An Inch And He Didn't Mince Words Tonight." (Fox News' "Special Coverage," 10/5/04)

MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell: "And There Did Seem To Be A Stature Gap. Dick Cheney Is One Of The Most Efficiently Tough And Calculating Characters That Any Of Us Have Ever Seen In Politics And What He Also Tried To Do, And I Think Effectively Tonight, Was Warm Himself Up A Little Bit." (MSNBC's "Hardball," 10/5/04)

The National Review's Jim Geraghty Calls Vice President Cheney's Performance "The Single Most Devastating One-Sided Drubbing Since Lloyd Bentsen Smacked Dan Quayle All Around The Stage In 1988." (Jim Geraghty, "Kerry Spot," National Review Online, 10/5/04, Http://Www.Nationalreview.Com/Kerry/Kerry200410052247.Asp, Accessed 10/5/04)

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough: "I Don't Think, Again, It Was So Much John Edwards' Weakness As It Was Dick Cheney's Great Gravitas." (MSNBC's "Hardball," 10/5/04)

The Village Voice's James Ridgeway: "Time After Time, Cheney Trapped Edwards Into Explaining Kerry's Positions, Forcing Him To Waste Time And Transform Himself Into An Often Embarrassing P.R. Guy." (James Ridgeway, "The Real President Stands Up," The Vilalge Voice Web Site, 10/5/04, http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0440/ridgeway2.php, Accessed 10/5/04)

The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol: "The Main Thing Out Of This Debate Is That Dick Cheney Put John Kerry's Senate Record On National Security Defense Right Back On The Table." (Fox News' "Special Coverage," 10/5/04)

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Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Cheney Is Drawing Blood

John Edwards is being eviscerated by Vice President Cheney .... there is no way this pretty-boy, ambulance-chaser should be a heartbeat away from the Presidency ... Edwards is just rehashing lame attacks that have no basis in any fact
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Fight White House Pressure to Strip Immigration Provisions from House Bill to Implement 9/11 Commission Recommendations

In an act of utter hypocrisy President Bush is quietly trying to strip the homeland security-related immigration enforcement and document security provisions from the House leadership bill, H.R. 10, to implement the 9/11 Commission recommendations. He is doing this even as he travels the country telling voters how committed he is to protecting homeland security.

In addition to the White House, House Democrats are pressing hard to get these key recommendations of the 9/11 commission removed from the bill. Your help is desperately needed now. With congress poised to adjourn for the elections on Friday, time is short. Take the actions described below to urge the House Leadership to hold the line against White House and Democrat demands to gut the legislation implementing the 9/11 commission's recommendations.


ACT NOW!

Click on the "take action now" box to send FREE faxes to the House leaders. Type your zip code in the "take action now" box to send FREE faxes to the your representative stressing the dire need for keeping the immigration-related provisions in H.R.10.

Follow up your faxes with phone calls. Call the White House comment line (202-456-1111) to leave a message for President Bush. Call the Capitol switchboard (202-224-3121) to leave messages for House Majority Leader Tom Delay, House Speaker Hastert, and your representative.

Background:
This past Saturday, the Bush Administration sent his White House lobbyists to the Hill telling the House Leadership to remove the immigration enforcement and document security provisions of H.R.10. Earlier last week, during committee consideration, several Democrats unsuccessfully offered amendments to water down or completely remove these provisions.

Tonight House Republicans will meet to decide whether to take H.R. 10 to the floor with or without the immigration provisions the White House opposes. The House will be debating H.R.10 beginning on Wednesday, and the open borders advocates will undoubtedly continue to push for the removal of these important provisions.

With your help, we will pound the House leaders with faxes and phone calls, urging them not to buckle under White House pressure by removing these provisions. If we win this one, and the immigration provisions make it through a House/Senate conference, we will score a major victory for immigration reform!

To learn just how big of a victory this could be, read our summary of the immigration-related provisions in H.R.10.


* Please forward this message to friends and email lists.
* For breaking immigration news, visit the Stein Report.
* Fax your legislators for free from FAIR's Legislative Action Center.
* Support our work! We depend on contributions from people like you.

www.fairus.org
(202) 328-7004
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Monday, October 04, 2004

Brokaw: You are a political Jihadist

This from Julian Guthrie of the San Francisco Chronicle

New York -- Network news anchors Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings launched a defense Saturday of their embattled colleague Dan Rather, saying the intensive criticism of CBS and its top reporter amounts to a smear campaign.

"There's a political jihad against Dan Rather and CBS," said NBC's Brokaw, referring to the network's reliance on forged documents to report a story challenging the president's National Guard service. "We know a mistake was made, but it's been blown out of proportion. It's an attempt to demonize CBS news. It's a demagoguery unleashed on the Internet
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Blown out of proportion? Demagoguery? Political Jihad? An Attempt to demonize CBS News?

Let's see, Tom. A left-wing producer--so far out even her father thinks she is an embarrassment--uses fake documents to attempt to discredit a sitting president and influence an election and the people bringing the message to light are the bad guys?

It's OK for mainstream journalists to lie now? To practice propaganda rather than journalism? And then react with arrogance and hurt when a bunch of people in pajamas and now--political jihadists--uncover the scandal?

Maybe its time to let Tom Brokaw feel the heat
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Ashcroft: U.S. will appeal terror-law ruling

Here's another example of the press being used by partisan political operatives--the ACLU. Read the rest of the story here.


By Shaun Waterman
UPI Homeland and National Security Editor

WASHINGTON, (UPI) -- Attorney General John Ashcroft said Thursday the government would appeal a New York court ruling declaring unconstitutional its power to issue secret subpoenas to Internet and telephone companies, as a GOP senator charged the judgment was being deliberately misrepresented for political ends.

Speaking to reporters in the Netherlands, where he is meeting with European officials, Ashcroft said the power to issue national-security letters -- as the secret subpoenas are known -- was "completely consistent with the United States Constitution."

Also Thursday, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, accused the American Civil Liberties Union and the media of misrepresenting the ruling as a blow to the USA Patriot Act.

"The power to issue these (subpoenas) goes back to 1986," he told United Press International. "It has nothing to do with the Patriot Act.

"This is another attempt by the ACLU and those who seek partisan gain from civil-liberties issues to scare the American people."

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero ruled Wednesday that the power to issue the letters, which require Internet service providers to hand over their customer records and bar them from ever disclosing the search took place, violated the First and Fourth Amendments.

The letters can be used to find the senders of anonymous e-mail messages or the hosts of chat rooms, for example, and are issued without judicial oversight.

The bar on disclosing these secret subpoenas is so broad that it could even apply to discussions with a lawyer, effectively barring the recipient from seeking legal advice or from having any recourse to challenge the subpoena.


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Sunday, October 03, 2004

Muslim overjoyed by space shuttle crash

By Jerry Seper
THE WASHINGTON TIMES

An Islamic spiritual leader scheduled for arraignment today on charges of counseling others to engage in a holy war against America told followers that he was "overjoyed" by the crash of the space shuttle Columbia, which killed six U.S. astronauts and one Israeli.
According to court records, Ali Al-Timimi, 40, of Fairfax, a primary lecturer at the Dar al Arqam Islamic Center in Falls Church, also known as the Center for Islamic Information and Education, said the Feb. 1, 2003, disintegration of the Columbia as it entered the Earth's atmospere brought welcome adversity to the United States.
"This morning, the world heard news about the crash of the space shuttle," Mr. Al-Timimi said, according to a six-count indictment handed up in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. "There is no doubt that Muslims were overjoyed because of the adversity that befell their greatest enemy.
"Upon hearing the news, my heart felt certain good omens that I liked to spread to my brothers," Mr. Al-Timimi said.
The space shuttle disintegrated 40 miles above the Earth. Debris and human remains were scattered over thousands of square miles in Texas and Louisiana. The seven astronauts were commander Rick Husband; pilot William McCool; payload commander Michael Anderson; mission specialists David Brown, Laurel Clark and Kalpana Chawla, a naturalized U.S. citizen from India; and Israel's first astronaut, Ilan Ramon.
Mr. Al-Timimi, a U.S. citizen, was indicted last week by a federal grand jury in Alexandria on charges of counseling members of the so-called Virginia jihad to wage holy war against the United States. He also was accused of aiding the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, violating the Neutrality Act, using firearms in the furtherance of crimes of violence and counseling others to use firearms and explosives.
He is scheduled for arraignment before U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema in Alexandria. If convicted, he faces life in prison.
U.S. Attorney Paul J. McNulty said Mr. Al-Timimi helped members of the Virginia jihad, mostly U.S. citizens, conspire to make war against the United States, supply services to the Taliban, take part in military action against foreign states, and use, carry, possess and discharge firearms and explosives in furtherance of crimes of violence.
The indictment said Mr. Al-Timimi told followers after the shuttle crash that the loss of the Columbia made him "feel good" and that it was a "strong signal that Western supremacy [especially that of America] that began 500 years ago is coming to a quick end ... as occurred to the shuttle."
It said Mr. Al-Timimi, noting that the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations had said Mr. Ramon was carrying all the hopes and ambitions of the Israeli people, told his followers, "All these hopes and ambitions were burnt with the crash and the burning of the shuttle and one of its astronauts, the Israeli."
It also said Mr. Al-Timimi said because the shuttle crashed near Palestine, Texas, "America will fall and disappear nearby Palestine."
According to the indictment, within five days of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon by 19 al Qaeda terrorists, Mr. Al-Timimi told Virginia jihad members Masoud Ahmad Khan, Randall Todd Royer, Yong Ki Kwon, Mohammed Aatique and Khwaja Hasan to join the mujahideen in Afghanistan,adding that U.S. troops in that country were legitimate targets and that they had a duty to "engage" them.
Mr. Al-Timimi has denied wrongdoing.
Royer, 30, of Falls Church; Kwon, 27, of Fairfax; Aatique, 30, of Norristown, Pa.; and Hasan, 27, of Alexandria, later pled guilty in the case, along with Donald Surratt, 30, of Suitland; and Ibrahim Al-Hamdi, 28, of Alexandria. Khan, 31, of Gaithersburg; Seifullah Chapman, 30, of Alexandria; and Hammad Abdur-Raheem, 35, of Falls Church, were convicted in March of terrorism-related offenses.


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NNN: Countries on high Alert after Al Qaida Threat

Dubai, Oct. 3 (NNN): A number of countries sounded an high alert across the length and breath of their lands after an audio tape said to have been recorded by a top leader of the al-Qaeda terror network, Ayman al-Zawahri, called for attacks on the America and its allies worldwide.

The tape Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama Bin Laden's deputy, aired on Arabic television channel al-Jazeera, calls for organised resistance against invading "crusaders" in the Muslim world.

In addition to the US and the UK, the speaker singles out Australia, France, Poland, Norway, South Korea and Japan.

He says the countries cited took part in the invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq or Chechnya and gave Israel "means of survival".

He also says it is the duty of every Muslim to liberate "Palestine", and says the West is complicit in the deaths of Palestinian militant leaders.

"In Palestine, we do not only face the Jews, but we also face the global coalition against Islam, led by the crusader and Zionist United States and the crusader West and the agent leaders behind them."

"We should not wait until US, British, French, Jewish, South Korean, Hungarian or Polish forces enter Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen and Algeria before we resist," said the tape, attributed to Osama bin Laden’s top lieutenant.

"Let us start resisting now. The interests of America, Britain, Australia, France, Poland, Norway, South Korea and Japan are spread everywhere. They all took part in the invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq or Chechnya or enabled Israel to survive."

South Korea Alert: South Korea put its security forces on alert after Muslims were urged to resist the United States and its allies around the world.

Unification Minister Chung Dong-young, who heads the National Security Council (NSC) that oversees all security portfolios — including intelligence, defence and foreign affairs — convened an emergency meeting on Saturday, an NSC spokeswoman said.

She declined to say what was discussed at the meeting, which was also attended by Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon, Defence Minister Yoon Kwang-Ung and other key security advisers. Security was stepped up at airports, ports, government buildings and other key sites, ministry officials said.

"We have assumed that South Korea could fall victim to terror attacks for a long time ago and prepared measures for such a possibility," said a defence ministry official on condition of anonymity. The Foreign Ministry repeated a government warning against travel to Iraq, saying the security situation was deteriorating rapidly in the Middle East.

Separately, YTN television said police has detained a man in his 50s who threatened he would explode the presidential blue house if his request to meet President Roh Moo-hyun was rejected.

Officials at the presidential office and police could not immediately confirm the report. The man was arrested after he drove his car with about 20 dynamite sticks into the presidential house.

Three South Korean civilians have been killed in Iraq in the past year, one an Arabic interpreter and devout Christian with missionary aspirations who was beheaded by Islamic militants in June. The militants who killed interpreter Kim Sun-il had demanded South Korea withdraw its 600 troops from Iraq and cancel plans to send 3,000 more soldiers.

Those extra troops have now been deployed, and on Friday they assumed military responsibility for northeast Iraq at a ceremony in the Kurdish capital Arbil.

Norway Alert: Norway has raised its level of alert after a message attributed to Al-Qaeda number two threatening the interests of several Western and Asian countries, officials in Oslo said.

The alert was raised from low to moderate, Joern Holme, head of Norway’s anti-terrorism services, said in a communique.

‘When Norway is threatened so directly there is every reason to take the threat seriously,’ he said.

US intelligence analysts have concluded that the message is authentic. Zawahiri, the right hand man of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, was last heard in a videotape broadcast by the Qatar-based news channel on September 9 in which he forecast a US defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Unusually for tapes attributed to Zawahri, the speaker alludes to the possibility that he might die.

"If we die or are detained, continue the path after us," the speaker is quoted as saying.

US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) analysts are said to have concluded that the voice on the broadcast is indeed Zawahiri.

Zawahri, a bespectacled Egyptian former surgeon, is believed to be the architect of the al-Qaeda ideology.

In 1998, he was the second of five signatories to Bin Laden's notorious "fatwa" calling for attacks against US civilians. He was a key figure in the Egyptian Islamic Jihad group, which later merged with al-Qaeda.

Zawahri's wife and children were reported killed in a US air strike in late November or early December 2001. He has been indicted in the US for his alleged role in the 1998 bombings of US embassies in East Africa, and was sentenced to death in Egypt in absentia for his activities with the Islamic Jihad group in the 1990s. He is believed to be hiding with the al-Qaeda leader on the Afghan-Pakistan border.

In a videotape released last month, Zawahri said the defeat of US-led forces in Iraq and Afghanistan was only a matter of time.

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