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Weekly Wrap-up By: Dick Morris
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, March 19, 2007


A favorite Democratic issue has been the party’s demand for fair treatment for the prisoners held at Guantanamo. This week, Americans got a taste of why we keep these folks locked up when mega-terrorist Khalid Mohammed admitted to masterminding 29 attacks including planning 9-11 “from A to Z.” He also said he signed Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl’s death warrant and masterminded numerous other brutal attacks.

Don’t underestimate the political impact of his confession. It shows that Bush has captured the truly deadly al Qaeda operative and shows how much progress he has made in battling terror. It also undermines Democratic claims that these thugs in Guantanamo deserve our sympathy.
Meanwhile, the Democrats are trying to dominate the media – now that Bush has good news from Iraq – with the phoniest of all scandals since the Valerie Plane leak. They are outraged that Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales fired seven US Attorneys. 
But these officials serve at the president’s pleasure! He can fire any of them anytime for any reason. If he didn’t like their hairstyle, he could bounce them. In fact, their four year terms had all expired and they were being carried on month-to-month anyway. 
So what is the big deal? The Democrats (and some confused Republicans like Senator John Ensign of Nevada) say that Gonzales fired the prosecutors for political reasons – that they failed to be sufficiently aggressive in prosecuting certain cases such as voter fraud prosecutions. Well, so what? That’s why we have political appointees in the US Attorney jobs. If we wanted nonpolitical figures, we would make them civil service positions. We have an appointed Attorney General and appointed US Attorneys precisely so that the president can impact their prosecutorial decisions to conform to his policy and program priorities.
But watch the Democrats use this crazy issue to attack the Administration – especially after they couldn’t pass the Iraq troop withdrawal.
One of the worst mistakes of the Republican Senate leadership was its decision to block a vote on a cutoff of funding for the war. By using their power to stop the Democrats from bringing their initiatives to a vote, they denied their opponents the rope they need to hang themselves!
Now the Republicans have reconsidered their illogical position and have cleared the way for a floor vote on cutting off funding. By doing so, they let the Democrats go right ahead with their civil war, pitting pro-war Senators like Joe Lieberman against the anti-war elements in the party.  And remember that all Lieberman has to do is switch parties and the Democrats lose control of the Senate and their corner offices with it.
You can’t say that Obama isn’t learning from Hillary how to duck controversial issues. When he was asked if he agreed with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace that homosexuality is “immoral,” he punted and ducked the issue. So did Hillary who said “I’m going to leave that [whether it is immoral] to others to conclude.” (That has become one of her favorite sayings in the campaign. Watch for it. She leaves a lot to others….)
Of course once their campaign staffs got wind of their boss’ gaffes, they each put out statements saying that their candidate opposed General Pace’s characterization. Neither Obama nor Hillary want to alienate the large gay voting block in Democratic primaries or the large number of wealthy gay donors.
Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani is making all the sure footed moves that set him apart as the front runner. As Hillary falters, Rudy is moving ahead each week. Most polls now have him ahead of McCain by 2:1. Even Time Magazine, which had McCain ahead by 4 points in January now shows Rudy holding a commanding 14 point advantage.
McCain has virtually fallen out of contention and continues to drop like a stone in the national polls. Romney can’t seem to break into double digits and Gingrich remains on the sidelines. Newt’s friends tell us that he is determined to run but wants to wait until the field has cleared to get in. But by the fall, when he plans to announce his candidacy, Rudy will be so far ahead in the all important money race that Newt won’t be able to compete.
As Newt stays out, it looks increasingly like former Senator Fred Thompson might to jump into the Republican race. Pro-life, anti-gay, and pro-gun, he passes all the litmus tests and brings a star quality to the contest with his highly visible performances as District Attorney on the top rated TV show Law and Order.
And the more that you look at him, the more attractive he is.
Less well known is how he got to be a Senator in the first place. It seems that the Governor of Tennessee had a bad habit – later imitated by President Clinton and Hillary’s brothers – of selling pardons for cash. But unlike our former president, he didn’t cover his tracks by laundering the cash through his library but put it right in his pocket.
A member of the Pardons board found out about his shenanigans and went to Thompson, a private attorney at the time, to tell him about what was going on. Thompson courageously led the effort to expose the scandal and actually ousted the Governor from office.
Thompson could actually turn out to be a strong candidate for president and might give Giuliani a real run for his money. But voter connection with Rudy over his public heroism on September 11th is extremely strong and would be hard to weaken. In addition, Rudy’s lead and his fund raising abilities make him a tough opponent.
But a Thompson candidate would leave Republicans with a choice between two charismatic candidates with real records of accomplishment and even heroism. 
This week, a funny thing started to happen. From nowhere articles and clips embarrassing to Giuliani began making their way into the media. 
It all started when Rudy’s son complained that he was estranged from his father and bitter over his divorce and remarriage to Judith Nathan.
Then a 1989 film clip of Rudy endorsing Medicaid payments for abortion suddenly was all over the internet. Back when Giuliani had hair – sort of – he backed government aid to women seeking to terminate their pregnancies. Then the New York Times published a story that Rudy’s Houston law firm Bracewell $ Giuliani represented the Citgo Petroleum Corporation, the American subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company controlled by Hugo Chavez. The firm was paid $5,000 per month to lobby Texas state government on “tax, environmental, and permitting issues” according to a Citgo spokesman.
How did the Times learn about the Citgo relationship? Apparently some enterprising soul went through the filings of the Texas Ethics Commission to find this juicy nugget.
And, last week, coincidentally, the US Attorney’s office leaked to the media that it had explored a possible plea bargain with former New York City Police Commissioner and Giuliani associate Bernard Kerick who became known nationally when President Bush nominated him to be Homeland Security Chief, but then had to withdraw the nomination. Kerick has been found guilty of a state misdemeanor.
How did these four stories materialize? Our bet is that the Clinton Secret Police – the detectives Hillary has at her beck and call – have been working overtime to dig up dirt on Rudy to derail his candidacy. Hillary knows that Giuliani is her most formidable possible foe and is determined to throw mud at him to put obstacles in his path. Her ‘enforcer’ Howard Wolfson refused to respond when one interviewer asked him about whether the Clinton campaign was looking into the backgrounds of other candidates.
The Clintons invented the politics of personal destruction that Hillary now laments when other people criticize her and her husband.
Look for articles to spontaneously appear on all sorts of Giuliani business dealings.
                   STATE OF PLAY:
Hillary faltering. 
Obama surging. 
Rudy expanding his comfortable lead. 
McCain dropping. 
Romney stagnating. 
Newt procrastinating, and
Fred Thompson waiting in the wings.
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Dick Morris is a former adviser to President Clinton. To get all his columns e-mailed to you, register for free at DickMorris.com.

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