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Tags: Obama | Nixes | Shrine | Visit

Obama Nixes Shrine Visit Over Headscarf Fear

By    |   Monday, 25 October 2010 12:35 AM EDT

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Evan Bayh’s $10 Million Could Fund White House Run
2. Patty Murray ‘Meat Suit’ Pic Banned in Washington
3. Slate: Newsweek Key to Time’s Survival
4. Sen. Scott Brown a No-show for GOP in Mass.
5. Obama May Nix Shrine Visit Over Headgear Rule
6. We Heard: Gary Condit;Tim Pawlenty; Chess Record

1. Evan Bayh’s $10 Million Could Fund White House Run

Retiring Sen. Evan Bayh has stockpiled $10.3 million in campaign cash he could use to run for governor in Indiana — or to challenge President Barack Obama for the 2012 Democratic presidential nomination.

Bayh’s latest Federal Election Commission report shows that he has by far the most cash on hand of any retiring senator who is not seeking elective office this year. But he has yet to transfer any of that cash to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Politico reported.

That seemingly has disappointed the DSCC chairman, New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez. When asked about Bayh’s campaign funds, he said: “We have certainly solicited and invited every member to give the maximum that they are able to help the effort.”

Bayh did transfer $500,000 to the Indiana Democratic Party in early October, following an earlier transfer of $1 million. But his reluctance to transfer more large chunks of his campaign cash to Democratic candidates or committees “only fuels speculation that Bayh may be saving his money for either another run at Indiana governor’s mansion or a future run for national office,” according to Politico.

Under Indiana law, Bayh could transfer his federal campaign stockpile into an account for use in a bid for governor. He also could fund a White House run, a political insider told Newsmax.

When asked last month if he would run for governor in 2012, Bayh said: “I honestly haven’t decided.”

In 1989, Bayh began serving as Indiana governor for two terms that were highlighted by a tax cut, budget surpluses and high approval ratings. He was then elected to the Senate in 1998 and re-elected in 2004.

In December 2006, Bayh confirmed he was creating a committee to explore a run for the Democratic presidential nomination, but several weeks later he announced he would not run and backed Hillary Clinton for president.

After Obama won the Democratic nomination, Bayh said he would accept an offer to run as Obama’s vice presidential nominee, but he was passed over for Joe Biden.

Bayh sounded a bitter note when he announced he would not seek re-election to the Senate this year, saying: "If I could create one job in the private sector by helping to grow a business, that would be one more than Congress has created in the last six months."

Editor's Note:

2. Patty Murray ‘Meat Suit’ Pic Banned in Washington

Taxpayer-supported Washington State Ferries, part of the Washington State Department of Transportation, customarily offers passengers copies of a free Seattle-area newspaper, the Seattle Weekly.

But WSF pulled from all its ferries an issue of the paper featuring a cover illustration that depicts longtime Democratic Sen. Patty Murray in a “meat suit” — draped in cuts of pork and sausage links.

The article about Murray — who is in a tight race with Republican challenger Dino Rossi — is headlined “Patty Murray: The Naked Truth,” and focuses on the “pork” that the senator has brought to her home state.

It discloses that Murray has secured earmarks worth $219.5 million for 190 projects in the 2010 federal budget — the ninth-highest earmark dollar amount for any senator.

Rossi has referred to Murray as “Pork Patty” in campaign materials, according to the Seattle Weekly article.

After learning that the issue was pulled from the ferries, Chris Kornelis of Seattle Weekly contacted WSF spokeswoman Marta Coursey, who said:

“We removed it because of the photo of Patty Murray. We thought it was distasteful” and “denigrating to women. It was not in keeping with what we want our customers to have in view. I thought it forwarded a disrespectful attitude toward a public figure.”

Kornelis pointed out that last year Murray secured $7 million in Recovery Act funds for WSF, and asked Coursey, “Is this just WSF sticking up for Patty?”

Coursey said: “No. It’s just a matter of putting a woman in a meat suit is just not something that we would condone.”

Editor's Note:

3. Slate: Newsweek Key to Time’s Survival

At first glance, it might seem that the recent sale of Newsweek magazine and its possible future demise bode well for its chief competitor, Time magazine.

Not so fast, says Jack Shafer, editor at large of the online magazine Slate.

The Washington Post Co. sold Newsweek to millionaire Sidney Harman for $1 and the assumption of $10 million in debt and other liabilities, and the magazine has since lost a number of its big-name reporters and commentators, indicating that “it’s fading,” according to Shafer.

But he notes that when the large-format general-interest magazines Life, Look, and the Saturday Evening Post battled one another the 1960s, the death of the Post in 1969 and Look the following year did not save Life, which folded in 1972.

“If Newsweek continues its wind-down, Time could join its stablemate Life in the glue factory,” Shafer observes. “Success not only loves competition, it requires it.”

Without strong competition from Newsweek, how would Time’s reporters “recognize their successes?” Shafer wonders. “Without Newsweek to sell ads against, how would Time’s ad-sales force self-define?

“My instincts tell that these two longtime foes share a life arc, and like long-married couples, the death of one will portend the death of the other.”

Editor's Note:

4. Sen. Scott Brown a No-show for GOP in Mass.

Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown has been busily stumping for fellow Republicans around the country, but he has been conspicuously absent in one state — Massachusetts.

Brown won a stunning victory earlier this year to capture Ted Kennedy’s former Senate seat, and is thought to have considerable clout in the Bay State, especially among independents.

But while he has endorsed all nine Republicans running for the House in his state, he has campaigned for only one.

“He’s spending all his time traveling outside Massachusetts, and it kind of blows my mind,” one GOP campaign official told The Hill newspaper. “He’s literally booked solid, with multiple events in multiple states. He’s busy in California, Florida, New Hampshire and Ohio.”

Some Republicans are particularly upset because they feel the GOP has an outside shot at winning several of the races in Massachusetts.

Democratic Rep. Niki Tsongas is running for re-election two years after she won her seat with just 51 percent of the vote. Democrat Bill Keating is only a slight favorite to beat Jeff Perry for the seat of retiring Rep. Bill Delahunt. And House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank loaned himself $200,000 this week to gird for what says will be “a flood of right-wing attack ads.”

Brown has actively campaigned only for Perry.

Tim Bonin, a spokesman for Republican Tom Wesley — who is running against 22-year incumbent Rep. Richard Neal — said: “We recognized that if we’re going to win this thing, we’re going to do it ourselves. We didn’t put out the [Brown] endorsement as a big part of our plan.”

There is speculation that Brown is eschewing the state races out of concern that his reputation could be tarnished if the GOP candidates there all lose — which is quite possible, according to Maurice Cunningham, a political scientist at the University of Massachusetts-Boston.

“It’s a good year for Republicans, but they are so weak up here and their benches are bare,” he said. “Even Brown, the most popular politician in the state, can’t pull one of these guys across the finish line.”

Editor's Note:

5. Obama May Nix Shrine Visit Over Headgear Rule

President Barack Obama may cancel a planned visit to a Sikh shrine in India because advisers feel the head covering he would be required to wear might fuel chatter that he is a secret Muslim.

Obama is scheduled to arrive in India on Nov. 6, at the invitation of Manmohan Singh, India’s first Sikh prime minister.

His original itinerary reportedly included a visit to the Golden Temple in the northern city of Amritsar, the Sikhs’ holiest site.

“Obama had planned to see the temple when he traveled to India next month but his advisers are said to have ruled out the headscarf option, fearing that in some people’s minds, it would connect him with militant Islamism,” Britain’s The Times reported.

Singh had told Obama in a letter that a visit to the Golden Temple would demonstrate “America’s respect for all faiths and traditions,” according to CNSNews.

The world’s 25 million Sikhs are followers of a monotheistic religion that dates back to the 15th century in India. They are sometimes mistaken for Muslims.

Sikh men wear turbans, and non-Sikh visitors to the temple are required to cover their heads. Temple guardians told The Times no exception to the head covering rule would be made for Obama.

“We are not making any special preparations for him, since everybody is equal in the eyes of God,” said S. Ram Singh, a member of the committee that manages the temple. “It is our tradition to cover the head when you are in [the temple] and even he will have to cover his head.”

A temple priest said a baseball cap would not suffice, The Times noted.

Asked about the reported cancellation of the shrine visit, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs did not respond directly, but said: “It’s a big country. We’d love to spend a lot more than the three allotted days that we have in India. This trip will focus our business on Mumbai and in the cities of Mumbai and New Delhi.”

Joseph K. Grieboski, founder and chairman of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute on Religion and Public Policy, expressed disappointment over the reported canceling of the temple visit.

He said in a statement: “This could have been a unique and historic opportunity for the president to stand in the holiest shrine of an often-discriminated religious minority and to speak for the rights of all minorities around the globe.”

Editor's Note:

6. We Heard . . .

THAT former Rep. Gary Condit is writing a book that will chronicle his relationship with intern Chandra Levy and the controversy surrounding her murder.

News of the book comes as an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, Ingmar Guandique, goes on trial for the murder of Levy, an intern at the Federal Bureau of Prisons who was originally from Condit’s California district.

Democrat Condit lost his re-election bid in 2002 after news broke that he had been romantically involved with Levy, who disappeared in May 2001. Her remains were found in a Washington, D.C., park a year later. Condit was never named as a suspect.

Bert Fields, Condit’s attorney and spokesman, told The Washington Post that the “tell-all” book won’t be shopped around until after Guandique’s trial, and called it “one of the most dramatic stories I’ve read.”

THAT Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said on Thursday he will announce his decision about running for the Republican presidential nomination in March.

Pawlenty has been spending time in early primary states, include Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, according to The State Column website, and has donated heavily to key candidates, “a sure sign that a presidential run is likely.”

THAT Israel has defeated Iran — in chess.

Israeli chess grandmaster Alik Gershon on Friday broke the Guinness World Record for simultaneous games played, a title previously held by an Iranian chess player.

Gershon, 30, played 527 concurrent games over the course of 19 hours in Tel Aviv, winning 87 percent of them, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

Morteza Mahjoob of Iran set the previous record in August 2009, playing 500 games over 18 hours.

Editor's Note:

Important from Dick Morris: We've Raised Over $2 Million to Defeat 100 Pelosi Democrats — Clock Ticking for You to Act and Make a Difference! Go Here Now.

Editor's Notes:

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Insider ReportHeadlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Evan Bayh s $10 Million Could Fund White House Run 2. Patty Murray Meat Suit Pic Banned in Washington 3. Slate: Newsweek Key to Time s Survival 4. Sen. Scott Brown a No-show for GOP in Mass. 5. Obama May...
Monday, 25 October 2010 12:35 AM
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