Archive for the ‘Kennedy’ Category

American Media, Journalists Stampede to Love Obama; Healthy?

November 18, 2008

Perhaps it was the announcement that NBC News is coming out with a DVD titled “Yes We Can: The Barack Obama Story.” Or that ABC and USA Today are rushing out a book on the election. Or that HBO has snapped up a documentary on Obama’s campaign.

Perhaps it was the Newsweek commemorative issue — “Obama’s American Dream” — filled with so many iconic images and such stirring prose that it could have been campaign literature. Or the Time cover depicting Obama as FDR, complete with jaunty cigarette holder.

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 17, 2008; C01

Are the media capable of merchandizing the moment, packaging a president-elect for profit? Yes, they are.

What’s troubling here goes beyond the clanging of cash registers. Media outlets have always tried to make a few bucks off the next big thing. The endless campaign is over, and there’s nothing wrong with the country pulling together, however briefly, behind its new leader. But we seem to have crossed a cultural line into mythmaking.

“The Obamas’ New Life!” blares People’s cover, with a shot of the family. “New home, new friends, new puppy!” Us Weekly goes with a Barack quote: “I Think I’m a Pretty Cool Dad.” The Chicago Tribune trumpets that Michelle “is poised to be the new Oprah and the next Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis — combined!” for the fashion world.

Whew! Are journalists fostering the notion that Obama is invincible, the leader of what the New York Times dubbed “Generation O”?

Each writer, each publication, seems to reach for more eye-popping superlatives. “OBAMAISM — It’s a Kind of Religion,” says New York magazine. “Those of us too young to have known JFK’s Camelot are going to have our own giddy Camelot II to enrapture and entertain us,” Kurt Andersen writes. The New York Post has already christened it “BAM-A-LOT.”

“Here we are,” writes Salon’s Rebecca Traister, “oohing and aahing over what they’ll be wearing, and what they’ll be eating, what kind of dog they’ll be getting, what bedrooms they’ll be living in, and what schools they’ll be attending. It feels better than good to sniff and snurfle through the Obamas’ tastes and habits. . . . Who knew we had in us the capacity to fall for this kind of idealized Americana again?”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/16
/AR2008111602374_pf.html

Democrats say McCain can help mediate standoffs

November 6, 2008

Before resting from the grueling presidential race, John McCain began discussing with senior aides what role he will play in the Senate now that he has promised to work with the man who defeated him for president.

By BETH FOUHY, Associated Press Writer

Democrats, who padded their majorities in the House and Senate, have a suggestion: McCain can mediate solutions to partisan standoffs on key legislation as he did to help avert a constitutional meltdown over judicial confirmations in 2005.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain gestures during ... 
Republican presidential candidate John McCain gestures during his speech concession speach to Democrat Barack Obama during his election night rally on November 4, 2008 in McCain’s home town of Phoenix, Arizona. McCain, 72, now faces an uncertain future as the shell-shocked Republicans attempt to regroup with an eye on mid-term elections in 2010 and the next White House race in four years’ time.(AFP/File/Robyn Beck)

“There’s a need for the old John McCain, a leader who worked in a bipartisan way,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Wednesday.

GOP leaders, never fond McCain’s independent streak or blunt style, nonetheless are reaching out to keep him in the fold and keep Republican ranks as robust as possible during the next Congress, two knowledgeable GOP officials said on condition they not be named because the conversations were private.

One obvious focus will be the war in Iraq. After two years spent more on the campaign than in the Senate, McCain will return as the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee. That will put the four-term Arizona senator in a position to influence Democrat Barack Obama’s plan to set a timetable to withdraw U.S. troops from combat in Iraq.

“That would be good,” Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said in a telephone interview. “I would love to see McCain work with President Obama in dealing with Iraq in a way that Republicans and Democrats could agree on.”

During the campaign, McCain staunchly opposed setting such a time frame, even as the Iraqi government began working with the Bush administration to do so.

But in conceding the presidency to Obama Tuesday night at a Phoenix hotel, McCain pledged “to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face.”

He allowed that defeat was disappointing but said that starting Wednesday “we must move beyond it and work together to get our country moving again.”

Aides said they believed McCain would work well with Obama as president because much of his best work in the Senate had been done with Democrats, including a landmark campaign finance law he crafted with Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold and an unsuccessful effort with Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081106/ap_on_el_pr/mccain;_
ylt=Ar4bINtgYAiC6ERXEWDxqSCs0NUE

Health, Fitness of Top Candidates: Too Many Unknowns

October 20, 2008

Senator Barack Obama, 47, the Democratic presidential nominee, released a one-page, undated letter from his personal physician in May stating that he was in “excellent” health. Senator John McCain, 72, is a cancer survivor, and Senator Joe Biden has had emergency surgery on a brain aneurysm.

By LAWRENCE K. ALTMAN, M.D.
The New York Times

Fifteen days before the election, serious gaps remain in the public’s knowledge about the health of the presidential and vice-presidential nominees. The limited information provided by the candidates is a striking departure from recent campaigns, in which many candidates and their doctors were more forthcoming.

The scars on John McCain’s puffy left cheek are reminders of the extensive surgery he underwent in 2000 to remove a malignant melanoma.

Barack Obama, who started smoking at least two decades ago, has had trouble quitting. Mr. Obama says he quit last year but has “bummed” cigarettes.

In past elections….

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/20/us/
politics/20health.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

*********************

Healthy Chief Executive? What Do We Know?

By Robert Dallek
The Washington Post
Sunday, October 19, 2008; Page B03

The American public seems pretty sure that it knows everything it needs to know about whether John McCain and Barack Obama are healthy enough to be president. I’m not. And whenever I think about whether both men are fit to serve, physically speaking, I think about the sinking feeling I had one lovely spring afternoon in 2002 when an archivist at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library wheeled out the cartload of files showing how badly we had all been deceived about JFK’s health.

The secret details of Kennedy’s medical history were buried in 10 beat-up old cartons of records the library had held for 40 years. Past requests for access to these materials had all been refused by a committee of loyalists that included one of JFK’s closest advisers, speechwriter Ted Sorensen. To my surprise, the committee had given me the chance to read the files; I had to agree not to photocopy them but was free to take notes or read passages into a tape recorder. Now I — along with a physician friend, Jeffrey Kelman — felt as if I were breaching a wall of secrecy. Here were not the usual neat boxes of presidential records, preserved in red-blue-and-silver-trimmed containers, but musty cardboard cartons that seemed to have sat untouched in some corner of the library since Janet Travell, one of Kennedy’s physicians, had given them to the library after JFK’s assassination in November 1963.

Back pain forced President Kennedy to use an Air Force lift to board his plane.  Voters never knew the extent of his ailments.

The picture of health: Back pain forced President Kennedy to use an Air Force lift to board his plane. Voters never knew the extent of his ailments. (AP Photo/Harold Valentine)

Between May 1955 and October 1957, Kennedy had been hospitalized nine times for a total of 44 days, including one 19-day period and two week-long stretches. Despite his public image of “vigah,” as his accent rendered it, he suffered from bouts of colitis, accompanied by abdominal pain, diarrhea and dehydration; agony in his back triggered by osteoporosis of the lumbar spine; prostatitis, marked by severe pain and urinary infections; and Addison’s disease, a form of adrenal insufficiency. Some of his difficulties, such as his back pain and Addison’s, were open secrets among the press corps during his 1960 run for the White House, but the extent and severity of his problems — to say nothing of the promiscuous variety of medications and doctors he relied upon to maintain his health — had remained undisclosed. That’s largely because the Kennedy campaign made every effort to hide his health problems — obviously convinced that these disclosures, combined with his youth and Catholicism, would sink him.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/10/1
7/AR2008101702058.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

White House Denies Silencing Admiral Fallon

March 12, 2008
By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer

WASHINGTON – The White House on Wednesday rejected charges that it quashes dissenting views in the military, an accusation brought to light by the resignation of Navy Adm. William J. Fallon as commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East.
Adm. William Fallon

Dennis Cook, AO

A recent article in Esquire portrayed Adm. William J. Fallon, seen here on Capitol hill March 4, as the lone voice in the Bush administration who opposed taking military action to stop the Iranian nuclear program.

For Fallon, the perception of a disagreement with Bush’s policies on Iran rather than an actual rift was enough reason to step down.

“Recent press reports suggesting a disconnect between my views and the president’s policy objectives have become a distraction at a critical time and hamper efforts in the Centcom region,” Fallon said in a statement Tuesday in which he announced his resignation as head of U.S. Central Command, arguably the most important in the U.S. military.

Democrats seized on Fallon’s resignation as an opportunity to criticize Bush.

“Over the last seven Bush years, we’ve seen those who toe the company line get rewarded and those who speak inconvenient truths get retired,” Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said in a written statement.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., echoed Kerry’s comment and said, “The last thing America needs is an echo chamber of top advisers, especially on all-important questions of war and peace.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080312/ap_on_go_pr_wh/fallon_resigns;_ylt=AqT
FO0UTTct5ThkK51fFZjes0NUE

Top U.S. Officer in Mideast Resigns

March 12, 2008

By Thomas E. Ricks 
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 12, 2008; Page A01

The top U.S. commander in the Middle East, whose views on strategy in the region have put him at odds with the Bush administration, abruptly announced his resignation yesterday, calling reports of such disagreements an untenable “distraction.”

Adm. William J. “Fox” Fallon became head of U.S. Central Command last March, putting him ostensibly in charge of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But he clashed frequently with Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, over strategy and troop levels, Pentagon officials said. Though technically Fallon’s subordinate, Petraeus has more experience in Iraq and has forged a strong connection with President Bush.
Adm. William Fallon, commander of the U. S. Central Command, ...
Adm. William Fallon, commander of the U. S. Central Command, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington in this May 3, 2007 file photo. Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Tuesday, March 11, 2008, that Fallon is resigning.
(AP Photo/Dennis Cook)  

Fallon, 63, had made several comments reflecting disagreement with the administration’s stance on Iran, most recently in an Esquire magazine article last week that portrayed him as the only person who might stop Bush from going to war with the Islamic republic.

“Recent press reports suggesting a disconnect between my views and the president’s policy objectives have become a distraction at a critical time,” Fallon said in a statement. Though he denied that any discrepancies exist, he said “it would be best to step aside and allow” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates “and our military leaders to move beyond this distraction.”

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, seen here in February 2008, ...
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, seen here in February 2008, chose not to comment Monday on a magazine article that says the commander of US forces in the Middle East may soon be replaced because of his opposition to war with
Iran.  Gates suffered a shoulder injury this winter when he slipped on ice ourside his Washington DC home.
(AFP/File/Raveendran)


Fallon is expected to step down at the end of the month, after barely a year in his position, and just eight days before Petraeus is scheduled to testify before Congress about conditions in Iraq. Military officers said it appeared that it was made clear to Fallon that nobody would object if he stepped down.

Admiral Fallon reached this difficult decision entirely on his own,” Gates said yesterday in an unscheduled news conference. He added: “I believe it was the right thing to do, even though I do not believe there are, in fact, significant differences between his views and administration policy.”

The defense secretary also praised Fallon’s abilities as a strategist, even though it was the admiral’s strategic views that seemed to trouble the administration. “He is enormously talented and very experienced, and he does have a strategic vision that is rare,” Gates said.

The Esquire article, written by Thomas P.M. Barnett, a former Naval War College professor, asserted that if Fallon left his job anytime soon, it could signal that Bush intends to go to war with Iran. Asked about that yesterday, Gates called it “just ridiculous.”

Several Democrats were quick to accuse the administration of not tolerating dissent. “It’s distressing that Admiral Fallon feels he had to step down,” said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.). “President Bush’s oft-repeated claim that he follows the advice of his commanders on the ground rings hollow if our commanders don’t feel free to disagree with the president.” Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) asked whether Fallon’s resignation is a reflection that the administration is hostile to “the frank, open airing of experts’ views.”

A likely successor to Fallon is Petraeus, some defense experts said. The general could be promoted to the Centcom post and replaced in Baghdad by Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, who until last month was Petraeus’s deputy in Iraq. Odierno, who has been nominated to become Army vice chief of staff, developed a strong working relationship with Petraeus.

The top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, center, ...
The top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, center, arrives for a youth soccer tournament in central Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, March 1, 2008. Gen. Petraeus will ask President Bush to wait until as late as September to decide when to bring home more troops than already scheduled, a senior administration official said Friday.
(AP photo/Dusan Vranic)
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Another possible successor mentioned yesterday is Lt. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the head of Special Operations in Iraq. McChrystal recently was nominated to be director of the staff of the Joint Chiefs, a key Pentagon position.On Iraq, Fallon butted heads with Petraeus over the past year, arguing for a more rapid drawdown of U.S. troops and a swifter transition to Iraqi security forces. Fallon even carried out his own review of the conduct of the war — a move that surprised many Pentagon officials, in part because Odierno and Petraeus had already revamped U.S. strategy in Iraq and, with Bush’s approval, had implemented a buildup of about 30,000 additional troops, moving them off big bases and deploying them among the Iraqi population.

In the Esquire article, Fallon contends that Iraq was consuming excessive U.S. attention. In a part of the world with “five or six pots boiling over,” he is quoted as saying, “our nation can’t afford to be mesmerized by one problem.”

The article was “definitely the straw that broke the camel’s back,” a retired general said, especially because of its “extraordinarily flip, damning and insulting” tone. He noted that since it appeared last week, it has been the talk of military circles, where it was expected that Fallon would be disciplined.
 
Shah Marai/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images.
Adm. William J. Fallon, left, in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2007.

Fallon, one of the last Vietnam veterans in the U.S. military, was the first Navy officer selected to lead Centcom, a role traditionally granted to Army and Marine generals such as H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Tommy R. Franks and Anthony C. Zinni. One reason he was chosen to replace Army Gen. John P. Abizaid was because the administration — dealing with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as a diplomatic crisis over Iran’s nuclear program — wanted a seasoned officer who could step into the job quickly, without having to learn the ropes of top command, according to a person involved in his selection.

As a veteran of Pacific Command, where he focused on dealing with the rise of China, Fallon was seen as someone who would be comfortable operating at the highest levels of diplomacy and politics. He had told colleagues that he viewed Iran as a problem similar to China — one that mainly required steady engagement rather than aggressive confrontation. That stance put him at odds with Iran hawks both inside and outside the administration.

Peter D. Feaver, a former staff member of Bush’s National Security Council, said that the public nature of Fallon’s remarks made it necessary for the admiral to step down. “There is ample room for military leaders to debate administration policy behind closed doors,” said Feaver, a political scientist at Duke University. “However, taking such arguments into the media would violate basic democratic norms of civil-military relations.”

But Richard Danzig, who served as Navy secretary from 1998 to 2001 and has known Fallon for 15 years, said Fallon’s departure will leave a significant hole in a critical region. “Any turnover in Centcom has real costs, because this is an arena in the world, more than others, that depends a lot on relationships and extensive periods of conversation and mutual understanding,” he said.

That might prove especially true in Pakistan. Fallon had become a point man for crucial military relations there as the Pentagon implements a stepped-up program to help Pakistani forces deal with Islamic extremism along the border with Afghanistan. In visits to Islamabad in November and January, he cemented ties with Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani, the new armed forces chief of staff. The administration hopes that Kiyani will keep the military out of Pakistani politics while showing new aggression toward al-Qaeda and Taliban forces along the Afghan border.

Fallon’s departure also reflects Gates’s management style. During his 15 months at the Pentagon, the defense secretary has shown a willingness to move decisively in cases of internal conflict. A career intelligence officer, he demanded the resignation of Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey last year because of the way he handled the fallout from reports about substandard care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Gates also declined to nominate Gen. Peter Pace, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for a second two-year term, amid concerns that a Democratic-controlled Congress would grill Pace on Iraq.

Yesterday, Gates said the perception that Fallon disagreed with the administration’s policies was enough to concern Fallon that he may no longer be effective in the region. Gates quoted Fallon as saying that the situation was “embarrassing.”

Staff writers Josh White, Karen DeYoung and Peter Baker contributed to this report.

Related:
Admiral William Fallon Resigns as U.S. Mideast Military Chief

Esquire Magazine on Admiral William “Fox” Fallon

Back From Near Death Again: Cinderella McCain

March 6, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
March 6, 2008

Encyclopedias define “cinderella” as one who unexpectedly achieves recognition or success after a period of obscurity and neglect.

Mr. McCain went to the United States Naval Academy and served as a naval aviator — but he was widely known for his rebel ways.  He was almost killed flying jets even before he went to Vietnam.

While flying combat missions from an aircraft carrier, McCain was shot down over Hanoi.  He landed in the water where his communist foes fished him out and beat him.  They took him to the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.”

He was now a Prisoner of War (POW) with severe injuries.

It is difficult to imagine a more unlikely fantasy that a Prisoner of War – tortured, alone, largely forgotten by the bulk of his countrymen, and lost in an un popular war – returning years later to win his party’s nomination for President of the United States.
Vietcapturejm01.jpg
 In a broadcast from North Vietnam, October 27, Radio Hanoi reported that an American pilot identified as Lieutenant Commander John Sydney McCain, U.S.N., was rescued from Truc Bac Lake near Hanoi, October 26, after parachuting from his crippled aircraft, which had been hit by North Vietnamese ground fire. The broadcast said that McCain had been pulled from the water by North Vietnamese soldiers, treated for injuries and jailed. This photo shows McCain in the water.

Add to that the fact that last summer Senator McCain’s campaign for the nation’s highest office was on its knees financially and morale in his inept staff was so low that the Senator had to entirely retool his campaign.

Rush Limbaugh hated Senator McCain and told the greater world so. And the Governor of Arkansas attacked him from the right.

Even the Democrats said they’d rather run against Senator McCain than Mitt Romney or the others.

If that is not enough, many Republican Party stalwarts, seeing Senator McCain dealing with and sponsoring bills with the likes of hated liberal Senators Kennedy and Feingold, claimed they’d rather vote Democrat or not at all.

And his wife had a well know drug addiction – now healed.

Finally (though there are more reasons Senator McCain is a cinderella), conservatives said McCain was flat wrong on immigration.

Yesterday, the President of the United States, George W. Bush, endorsed the McCain run for the presidency – meeting candidate McCain at the ceremonial entrance to the White House normally reserved for, well, presidents and heads of state.

Don’t count John McCain out.

A Vietnamese veteran of the war in Southeast Asia said to me, “He’s lucky to be alive. But what he has done since the end of his POW days is pure McCain.”

U.S. Intelligence Chief Says Terror Threat Going Up

February 17, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
February 17, 2008

U.S. Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell said today, “Now, when the terrorist threat is increasing because they’ve achieved — Al Qaeda’s achieved de facto safe haven in the border area of Pakistan and Afghanistan — the threat is going up.”

DNI McConnell appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.

U.S. Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell speaks ... 
 When asked by Mr. Wallace to reflect on recent comments by President Bush, DNI McConnell said, “President Bush is repeating advice that I’m giving him. As you know, I am not a political figure. I am a professional. I’ve been doing this for 40 years.”

President Bush had said following recent Congressional action to limit U.S. intelligence evesdropping “The United States is now more in danger of attack.”

Earlier this week House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says, “The president’s comments are wrong, divisive and nothing but fear-mongering.”

Senator Ted Kennedy said, “The DNI’s latest comments show yet again the shamelessness of the administration’s tactics.”

McConnell said the terrorists have, “New information, new personalities, new methods of communicating.”

 The DNI said we are in a period of “Increased danger, and it will increase more and more as time goes on. And the key is the — if you think about the private sector global communications, many people think the government operates that.”

The congressional action would limit a governments ability to solicit and obtain communications intercepts and information from what are called “private carriers.”  Private carriers are usually telephone companies.

“Ninety-eight percent of it [telephone communications] is owned and operated by the private sector,” said McConnell.  “We cannot do this mission without help and support from the private sector. And the private sector, although willingly helped us in the past, are now saying, ‘You can’t protect me. Why should I help you?'”

About the terror threat McConnell said, “We have not located an Al Qaeda cell inside the United States that is directly associated with Al Qaeda.

“There are other groups that we watch closely, but the attempt on the part of Al Qaeda — they have safe haven,” said the DNI. “They have leadership. They have the middle-grade trainers. And they’re recruiting.”

“They have been successful in recruiting any number, and they’ve trained them in Pakistan and then sent them back to their home country,” he said.

“Often, they will try to recruit in a country that does not require a visa to get inside the United States,” McConnell said. “So you can see these are very sophisticated people, and they’re looking for any means to come back into the United States.”

“Casualties greater than 9/11 — that’s their objective,” said the DNI.

Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, right, looks ... 
Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, right, looks on as President Bush makes a statement regarding the Protect America Act, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2008, in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington.
(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

McCain: Last Man Standing

February 7, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
February 8. 2008

John McCain became the last man standing in the Republican Party primary today as Governor Mitt Romney droopped out.  Appropriately, Senator McCain addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference (C-PAC) today — meeting with the right wing of the right wing of his party; a group he avoided just last year.

Republican presidential hopeful, Sen. John McCain, R- Ariz., ...
Republican presidential hopeful, Sen. John McCain, R- Ariz., gestures during a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008, in Washington. McCain’s rival for the presidency, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, pulled out of the race Thursday during an earlier speech at CPAC.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The question now becomes, can a seventy-something year old man, senator, former prisoner of war and war hero be the acceptable Republican Party candidate for President of the United States or will Republicans turn their backs on him?

Just weeks ago, Mr. McCain was engaged in a disagreement with Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi over  earmark spending items. Cochran said Senator McCain was “erratic” and unfit for the White House. But Thursday, Cochran lined up behind his colleague. “Oh, yes, I’ll support John,” he said.

Cochran and other Republicans lined the aisles of the Senate chamber yesterday to congratulate McCain, who returned for the first time since Dec. 18 to vote on an economic stimulus plan.

But some Republicans, such as radio talk show host and respected ultra-conservative Rush Limbaugh, have suggested just that — saying they may boycott the presidential election rather than support Senator McCain.

In our view, ignoring Senator McCain and the presidential election is akin to handing the White House to either Hillary Clinton (and Bill) or Barak Obama — and the Democrat Party.

At the C-PAC today, Senator McCain said, “I know I have a responsibility, if I am, as I hope to be, the Republican nominee for president, to unite the party and prepare for the great contest in November.”

Hard-core right wing conservatives point to Senator McCain as one who broke with the party on immigration, opposed the Bush tax cuts and co-sponsoring legislation on campaign finance reform.

Mr. McCain even (gasp) participated in outreach to liberal Senate Democrats like Ted Kennedy and Russ Feingold.

Heaven forbid.

We think a little outreach is in order, frankly.

“My record in public office taken as a whole is the record of a mainstream conservative,” McCain said, calling attention to positions he said he has defended during his campaign.

Mr. Romney said, “I must now stand aside, for our party and our country.”

If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror,” Romney told the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.

Commenting on his front-runner status — a title he had and lost last year — McCain told the conference, “This time I now have that distinction and I prefer to hold onto it for quite a while.”

Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman endorsed McCain and urged all members of the GOP to do the same.

“Our party has had many outstanding candidates this year, but it is now time for Republicans across the country to unite,” Mehlman said. 

Veterans Day Memory: Tour with Diep

November 11, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
April 7, 2007

Diep is 65 years old and has only lived in the United States for about six month. In her homeland of Vietnam she taught English. She now works six days a week at Sears so she has no time for sightseeing.

Last Wednesday I asked Diep if she was ready for an “outing.” So we saw some sights in Washington D.C.

Arlington National Cemetery

We started a rather chilly and rainy spring day appropriately at the National Cemetery.

The entrance to Arlington features a kind of museum that we walked through solemnly.

There is a huge photograph of President John F. Kennedy’s funeral and I told Diep I could still recall the drums on that historic day. My eyes welled with tears so we ventured outside.

Diep marveled at the gravesite of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, our thirty-fifth President of the United States (1961-1963) who was tragically struck down by a sniper’s bullet.

His Inaugural Address offered the memorable injunction: “Ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.”

Some of the greatest quotes from President Kennedy’s speeches are engraved in the granite wall surrounding the gravesite.

I reminded Diep that I was a Naval Officer like the young John Kennedy but never in a position to achieve his honor and heroism as Commander of PT-109.

She looked with wonder upon the grave of Jacqueline Kennedy, wife of President John F. Kennedy. Also buried there are two young children, Arabella, stillborn in 1956 and Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, who was born in the summer of 1963 and only lived two days.

We walked from President Kennedy’s grave past the grave of Robert Kennedy and toward the tomb of the unknown soldiers.

Along this path one can see the graves of many famous Americans. I pointed out one of my favorites to Diep:  Peter M. Boehm enlisted as a bugler in the 2nd US Cavalry in 1858.

Peter M. Boehm, Second Lieutenant, Company K, 15th New York Cavalry, Aide and Bugler to General George Armstrong Custer. Boehm was awarded the Medal of Honor for capturing Confederate colors at Dinwiddie Court House, Virginia, on 31 March 1865.

Second Lieutenant Boehm also served in the “Indian Wars” but he was not with General Custer at the Little Big Horn.

He died peacefully on June 4, 1914 and was buried in Section 2 of Arlington National Cemetery. His wife, Ada Boehm, is buried with him.

We also visited old friends including Mrs. Margaret Meyer, wife of “The Father of AEGIS,” Rear Admiral Wayne Meyer, U.S. Navy.

We stopped by to visit with many old friends including Colonel Vance Hobert Hudgins, U.S. Marine Corps.
http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/vhhudgins.htm

At the Tomb of the Unknowns I told Diep that the sentry marched exactly 21 steps. Like the 21 gun salute, the 21 steps indicates honor. She counted the sentry’s steps with delight after that.

As we silently walked back to the enryway to Arlington, we saw a burial service in progress, complete with honor guard, gun salue, and a marching band. We stopped in silence to pay our respects.

Arlington is the place of symbolism and significance.

Georgetown

We drove past the U.S. Marine Corps Iwo Jima Memorial into Rosslyn then across the Potomac River into Georgetown.

Georgetown is home to plenty of trendy restaurants, salons and shops.

We stopped at Erwin Gomez’s Salon & Spa: where the rich and famous get facials, permanents, pedicures and the like. WOW! We couldn’t have afforded the simplest procedure!

We drove slowly through the historic city of Washington D.C., past the Lincoln Memorial, the White House and the rest.

Looking up to “Capital Hill” I told Diep that the City of Washington was planned and designed by the Frenchman Pierre Lafonte.  He wanted the American nation’s capital designed is a style like that of Paris.  As a result, Washington has several “circles,” like Dupont and Thoomas Circle.  Each makes for a beautiful mini-park inside the city.  Most circles feature some statue or monument to remind Americans of their history.

Smithsonian

At the Smithsonian I took Diep to the Vietnamese-American Exhibit. She marveled at the tribulations and the achievement of her countrymen.

I told Diep I cried when I first came here: but my wife, Lien, who experienced many of the hardships depicted seemed delighted to be reunited with the “Boat People.”
http://www.nowpublic.com/ever_see_a_grown_man_weep_in_a_museum

Diep enjoyed the exhibit greatly but she asked me to find for her the space exhibit. We walked to the National Air and Space Museum; the Smithsonian’s most visited museum.

In the main entrance lobby one can see some of the most famous U.S. spacecraft.

On July 21, 1969, American Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon.

The astronaut stepped onto the Moon’s surface, in the Sea of Tranquility, at 0256 GMT, nearly 20 minutes after first opening the hatch on the Eagle landing craft.We stood in front of the command module that brought Armstrong and his crewmates home: wide-eyed with wonderment.

Diep told me she was in Washington D.C. during that historic space flight. She was on scholarship from Vietnam!

World War II and Vietnam Memorial

We drove slowly past the World War II Memorial: a colossal and significant monument to the men and women who served.

I parked (illegally) and escorted Diep into the Vietnam Memorial; reminding her that it was designed by an Asian, Maya Ying Lin.

I scampered back to the illegally parked car but Diep stayed to soak in the significance of the Vietnam Memorial.

When she returned to the car she told me she found the names of two American soldiers she has met in Vietnam during the war.

As we ended our day Diep thanked me for being an adequate tour guide and said, “You were lucky to have been born in the United States of America.”

Indeed.

We experienced a moving and memorable day of  history together.  We both have memories we shall never forget.