Clinton foes score new YouTube hit
WASHINGTON - First came the Orwellian mash-up YouTube video that portrayed Hillary Clinton as Big Brother. Then came a clip of her off-key rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner." Now, a stinging 13-minute video by a bitter Clinton foe is finding its own Internet audience.
The clip, a preview of a longer film by one-time Clinton donor Peter Paul, has scored about 350,000 hits on YouTube during the past week, plus more than 1.4 million hits on Google Video, driving it to the top spot over the past two weeks.
Paul is a Hollywood entrepreneur, former partner of Spider-Man creator Stan Lee, and a convicted felon who has sued the Clintons in connection with a celebrity-packed fund-raiser he helped organize for her 2000 Senate race. A California appeals court earlier this month ruled that Clinton should be dismissed from the suit.
But Paul has devoted a website to the case and has been on tour in recent days showing his film, "Hillary Uncensored," at New England college campuses. His effort is getting help from two producers who set up the website for Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the 2004 campaign that went after Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry by raising questions about his decorated military service in Vietnam.
The Clintons have long argued that Paul's criminal record discredits him and in court pleadings have denied Paul's claims against them.
"Peter Paul is a professional liar who has four separate criminal convictions, two for fraud. His video repackages a series of seven-year-old false claims about Senator Clinton that have already been rejected by the California state courts, the Justice Department, the Federal Election Commission, and the Senate Ethics Committee," the Clinton campaign said in a statement.
Dodd opposes AG nominee
Democrat Chris Dodd stepped out yesterday as the first of the presidential hopefuls also serving in the US Senate to say he will vote against Michael Mukasey, President Bush's attorney general nominee.
Much of the nomination debate has focused on Mukasey's refusal to clarify whether he considers an interrogation technique known as waterboarding to be torture.
Dodd said that while he is troubled by that, he is more concerned about Mukasey's suggestion during hearings last month that the president could disregard a constitutional federal law on national security grounds.
That upsets the separation of powers and would continue a troubling expansion of executive power, he said. "You've opened up Pandora's box incredibly," the Connecticut senator told reporters in a conference call. "I just find it as fundamental as it gets."
Giuliani, health, and taxes
Rudy Giuliani has a new radio ad that lays out his prescription for dealing with 47 million Americans without health insurance: Give people a tax deduction to help them afford coverage.
In the spot, which his campaign said yesterday would air in New Hampshire, Giuliani proposes a deduction of $15,000 for a family or $7,500 for an individual, saying that would work much better than more government involvement.
"If we do that, and we end up with a market of 50, 60 million Americans buying their own health insurance, without a mandate, the cost of health insurance will come down and the quality will come up," the former New York mayor says in the ad. "Government has never been able to reduce costs. Government never increases quality. We have the best healthcare system in the world. We just have to make it better."
Giuliani also makes the ad personal, saying that he had a much better chance of surviving his prostate cancer several years ago in the United States than in Britain, with its government-run healthcare.
Giuliani is joining other Republican presidential contenders in proposing market-based solutions to healthcare. The leading Democrats are pushing for universal health coverage with more government participation, but not completely government-run.
Mayor backing Richardson
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. - Bill Richardson received the endorsement yesterday of Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand, the biggest coup of Richardson's New Hampshire campaign so far.
Marchand is not only the mayor of a city with the best Democratic primary turnout in the state, but he has also managed races for nearly every state and federal office. Last month he fulfilled a promise to drop out of the US Senate race when Jeanne Shaheen, a former governor and fellow Democrat, wanted to run.
Because of his background both as an operative and as a candidate, Marchand is expected to be a senior strategist and an active surrogate for the New Mexico governor.
JAMES W. PINDELL
Tancredo to exit Congress
DENVER - Republican presidential candidate Tom Tancredo said yesterday he will not seek reelection to his Colorado seat in the House in 2008 but will continue his long-shot bid for the White House.
The five-term lawmaker said illegal immigration, his core issue, now has national prominence and he doesn't need to remain in Congress to promote it.
"The issue now has a life of its own and it doesn't need one particular person to champion it," said Tancredo, 61. "I feel my job, my task, has been completed. And I am very much at peace with the idea that if I'm not elected president, then I won't be running" for another term in Congress, he said.