Sunday, May 30, 2004

Hot Corner: Nipping at the heels of the newsmakers

The new Al Gore is over the top

It's not clear yet whether Al Gore helps or hurts Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry. But one thing's for sure: With Gore throwing firebombs at President Bush's Iraq policy, Kerry can appear to stay on the high road for a while.

Last week, Gore sounded more like Howard Dean with a screaming end to a speech at New York University. He angrily called for the heads of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and CIA director George Tenet. "How dare they subject us to dishonor and disgrace! How dare they drag the good name of the United States of American through the mud of Saddam Hussein's torture prison!" he yelled. New York Post columnist John Podhoretz even went so far to call Gore insane.

Podhoretz exaggerates, but this new hyped-up Al is going to take getting used to. At least he lost the beard.

Secret plan, Part Deux

Looks like John Kerry's taking a page from Tricky Dick's playbook. Richard Nixon, during a private meeting with several editors in the spring of the 1968 campaign, discussed a vague strategy to extract the United States from Vietnam. Word spread that he had a "secret plan" to end the war, even though Nixon had said no such thing. But many say it helped Nixon beat Hubert Humphrey.

Fast-forward to spring 2004. During a recent interview with several journalists, Kerry said he'd get U.S. troops "home from Iraq with honor." Asked how long it would take, he said, "I'm not going to give you a specific date, but I'll tell you that I have a plan and I will put that plan in place." Kerry provided no details, leaving the political buzz mill to kick in. Maybe Kerry's got it all worked out with those foreign leaders who have secretly endorsed him.

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