Kerry and Kofi: Senator John Kerry is adding his voice to those in support of embattled United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, whose resignation is being demanded by a growing chorus of American lawmakers enraged by the U.N.’s oil-for-food scandal that allowed Iraq to evade international sanctions.
“John Kerry does not believe there’s evidence that Kofi Annan needs to resign, but rather the abuse at the U.N. oil-for-food program is wrong, and must be answered, especially by the watchdog members in charge of its supervision who were asleep at the switch,” Kerry spokesman David Wade wrote in an e-mail message.
Some two-dozen Republican members of Congress have signed a non-binding resolution introduced last week in the House by Rep. Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican. Senator Norm Coleman, a Minnesota Republican who is investigating the oil-for-food scandal, started the bandwagon rolling by calling for Annan’s resignation in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece. Meanwhile, some House Democrats, led by Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, wrote a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell in support of Annan.
So far, however, the administration has stuck by Annan. The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., John Danforth, told reporters recently that he has “great confidence in the secretary-general.” But Annan might want to get ready for a blow. According to The Washington Post, the phrase “‘full confidence’… has become a Bush euphemism, a warning to the person in question that this might be a good time to circulate the résumé.”
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Insult to Injury: A Jewish Democratic group is citing Republican “lies” and “slurs” about Israel in its latest pitch for funds.
“Masquerading as the guardians of bipartisan support for Israel, the GOP launched a cynical program designed to turn support for Israel into a partisan issue,” the National Jewish Democratic Council wrote in an e-mail solicitation. “They spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy full page — even multi-page — ads that portrayed the leaders of the Democratic Party as aligned with Israel’s enemies. But we didn’t let them get away with it.”
The group cited “a particularly offensive piece of direct mail” sent by the Florida and Ohio Republican parties to Jewish voters that “suggested that Senator Kerry had sought and received support from Yasser Arafat and antisemitic former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed.
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Keeping Count: Kerry garnered 75% and President Bush 24% of a sample of 1,095 Jewish voters taken recently through an interactive survey at the Web site of pollster John Zogby, Zogby told the Forward in a telephone interview December 9.
“Those numbers are consistent with what we’ve seen and done all year,” Zogby said.
Zogby was eager to debunk an inaccurate statistic attributed to his firm that has begun appearing on Jewish blogs. Those blogs cite a paper posted at his firm’s Web site that gives 64% as the percentage of the Jewish vote garnered by Kerry; the blogs extrapolated from that figure to give Bush 36% of the Jewish vote.
Zogby said the Kerry figure cited in the paper came from a sub-sample of 38 Jewish voters in his first telephone survey post-election of 1,000 voters. Such small sub-samples are not considered valid. Bush got 24% of those 38 folks, and “for reasons we’re not sure, ‘Nader and Other’ got 10%,” according to Zogby.