Dole Disses Anti-Kerry Group

Posted September 10, 2004 at 5:57pm

The Reserve Officers Association is distancing itself from a controversial anti-Kerry event held at its headquarters last week. So is former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.).

The event in question was last Thursday’s screening of a new documentary featuring former POWs trashing Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry for his anti-war sentiments after returning from service in the Vietnam War. Speakers at the event included veterans Ken Cordier and Paul Galanti, of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth fame. The filmmaker, Carlton Sherwood, and the Pennsylvania veterans who funded his film also publicized Dole as a featured speaker at the event.

[IMGCAP(1)] But Dole was a no-show, and the Reserve Officers Association, a federally chartered organization, scrambled to put up signs clarifying the group’s disconnection from Sherwood and his highly politicized film.

Mike Marshall, a spokesman for Dole, said Dole’s touted attendance at the trashing-of-Kerry event was “all a misunderstanding and blown out of proportion.” Dole, he said, originally thought he had been invited to speak at a “positive veterans’ event. Then he realized it was an attack on Kerry” and decided “it was not something he wanted to do.”

“If he has something to say about Senator Kerry’s record, he’ll do it on his own,” Marshall said. “This was really a snafu.” Part of the snafu involved the anti-Kerry film showing snippets of comments Dole recently made on CNN criticizing Kerry for making anti-war comments to Congress after his service in Vietnam.

Sherwood is a former reporter for the Washington Times who wrote a book called “The Persecution and Prosecution of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon.”

Democrats, predictably, were critical of the film and filmmaker. And they were pleased to see that Dole snubbed the event. “Nothing like friendly fire — when it comes to Republicans on Republicans, that is,” said Democratic National Committee spokesman Jano Cabrera.

The Reserve Officers Association, which has often worked closely with both parties on crafting legislation on armed services and veterans affairs, also went to great lengths to distance itself from the anti-Kerry film, called “Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal.”

Maj. Gen. Robert McIntosh, the ROA’s executive director, told HOH: “We were not part of it.” He said the organization often rents space to outside groups, unless “it is an anti-American group or some group that could be harmful to itself or others.”

The group’s national president, Maj. Gen. Bob Nester, went further to say that after the ROA rented space to the Pennsylvanians, the ROA “learned very late the true intent of those renting the fifth floor. We immediately called them informing them they could not indicate in any way that ROA supported their efforts.”

Indeed, the ROA posted legalistic disclaimers throughout the building stating that it had no affiliation with the event and that the “views expressed by groups renting our facilities are not necessarily those of the Reserve Officers of the United States and should not be construed as such.”

McCain vs. Limbaugh. Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh shocked the airwaves last week with rude comments about Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

The progressive advocacy group Media Matters for America brought to our attention comments Limbaugh made in a Sept. 9 broadcast of the Rush Limbaugh Show in which he criticized McCain for not publicly defending Bush over the latest National Guard flap.

“McCain is nowhere to be seen,” Limbaugh said. “Where is he?” Then he got ugly. “I’m wondering if McCain’s been taken prisoner and being held as a POW by the Kerry camp, in the Kerry Hilton, somewhere in the basement of the DNC. The McAwful Hilton” — an apparent reference to DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe.

McCain is taking the high road. His spokesman, Marshall Wittman, said the only comment he would provide is this:

“Senator McCain has made it crystal clear on numerous occasions that he believes the president served honorably in the National Guard.,”

When pressed about Limbaugh’s comments, Wittman said, “It’s just not truthful.”

Fat White Pink Boys. What’s up with Joe Scarborough? First, the member of the House GOP’s Class of 1994 hosts an MSNBC political chat show in which he occasionally says nice things about Democrats. Now he pokes fun of his own party in the new book, “Rome Wasn’t Burnt in a Day.”

The Republican who gets the harshest treatment is former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas). The Floridian paints Armey as a sneaky traitor who helped stage the coup against former Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) in 1997, then ratted the whole swarm out to Gingrich when he realized that he would not be assuming the throne.

“He supported our efforts and then after he found that we didn’t want him to be the next Speaker, he claimed to have a religious conversion and stabbed us all in the back,” Scarborough told HOH.

In the book, Scarborough writes that after the coup, Armey launched into action, “warning Gingrich of the plot and making a speedy retreat to what Lisa Simpson once described as the last refuge of the truly desperate: religion.”

The next morning, Scarborough writes, Armey told the others that what they were doing to Gingrich was a “sin” and that he and his wife “had gotten down on their knees the night before and prayed for guidance.”

He continues: “While Armey was busy holding the Son of God in front of himself as a human shield, all hell was breaking loose on Capitol Hill.”

Armey did not return a call seeking comment.

Scarborough also clears up a lingering Congressional mystery. While many on Capitol Hill suspected former Rep. Bill Paxon (R-N.Y.) leaked the coup story to the late rising-star reporter Sandy Hume, Scarborough says he is the one who gave Hume the biggest — and, tragically, the last — story of his career. “Sandy got his story while eating ribs in Shirlington with my ten-year-old son and me,” his book says.

Elsewhere in the book, Scarborough, a House Member from 1994 to 2001, writes an entire chapter called “Fat White Pink Boys.” These are the young, male Hill staffers who Scarborough says wear suspenders and “spread rumors about you when you retire to go spend time with your family.”

The Hill is full of ’em, Scarborough told HOH, “which is why there are so many desperate single young women.”

Fireman Curt. Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) sure can put out fires.

He first earned fame on the Hill in 1988 by fighting a fire in the Longworth Building office of then-Speaker Jim Wright (R-Texas). And then, 16 years later, on the first day of the GOP convention, Weldon was at it again.

Weldon, a volunteer fireman and founder of the Congressional Fire Caucus, visited a Manhattan fire station with New York City’s fire chief when fire alarms sounded. Next thing he knew, he was in the chief’s car headed for a two-alarm fire in Brooklyn.

Most of the fire had been doused when he arrived, but Weldon donned a helmet and some gear to help with cleanup duty.

“I didn’t take the boots because there was no danger of the fire hitting me,” Weldon said.

He spent three more hours Monday running around the city with Manhattan’s Engine 54 Ladder 4. Weldon went out on 15 calls, wearing a “DCFD” T-shirt he brought from D.C.

Unfortunately — or fortunately — none of the calls turned out to be real fires. Weldon, who has a degree in fire management, became a volunteer firefighter many moons ago and went on to fight some rather famous fires.

In 1975, he was assistant fire chief when two oil tankers collided on the Delaware River, sparking one of the largest fires in U.S. history.

A decade later, he heroically discovered the fire in Wright’s office and later declared on national television that the Congressional office buildings were “firetraps,” He introduced legislation that resulted in the fire alarm systems that are in place today.

First Tee Challenge. Democrats and Republicans square off this morning for the third annual First Tee Congressional Challenge at Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Md.

Democrats are vying to steal the coveted Roll Call cup, which Republicans won last year in a stunning, come-from-behind 11-9 victory.

Rep. John Tanner (Tenn.), captain of the Democratic team, says his squad looks strong this year. “We’ve got some people who have been playing this summer. So I think our team is honed to a sharp edge,” he said.

Rep. Mike Oxley (Ohio), the Republican squad’s captain, said, “This is the rubber match for athletic supremacy in Congress this year. The Democrats won the basketball game and the Republicans won the baseball game, so this is the tie-breaker.”

The charity event raises money for First Tee, which aims to make golf accessible to underprivileged young people.

Brody Mullins contributed to this report.

Please send your hot tips, juicy gossip or comments to hoh@rollcall.com.