Rumsfeld Shrugs

Article excerpt


Rumsfeld shrugs

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday he believes the public push by several retired generals to force him from office is going to die out.

"Well, you know, this, too, will pass," he told Rush Limbaugh's nationally syndicated radio show.

Several general officers, including two with recent experience as division commanders in Iraq, have criticized Mr. Rumsfeld's management of the Pentagon and of the war, arguing that he should step down.

"I think about it, and I must say there's always two sides to these things, and the sharper the criticism comes, sometimes the sharper the defense comes from people who don't agree with the critics," Mr. Rumsfeld said.

He said he was pleased to see that retired Gen. Richard B. Myers, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and retired Gen. Tommy Franks, who developed and executed the Iraq invasion plan, had rebutted the critics and expressed support for him, the Associated Press reports. President Bush issued a strongly worded statement of support Friday.

Asked by Mr. Limbaugh why certain retired generals had chosen to call publicly for his resignation, Mr. Rumsfeld replied, "Well, I just don't know. I can't climb into other people's minds." He noted that retired Adm. Vern Clark, a former chief of naval operations, had said publicly that Mr. Rumsfeld is a suitably tough-minded leader. Mr. Rumsfeld's critics have said he is arrogant and disregarded the advice of military officers.

Santorum's cash

Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican, considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents, raised more than $3 million in the first three months of the year and has a 2-to-1 cash advantage over his leading Democratic opponent.

Mr. Santorum finished the quarter that ended March 31 with more than $9 million cash on hand, compared with $4.5 million for state Treasurer Bob Casey, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission yesterday.

Mr. Santorum has raised more than $16 million for the November election. Mr. Casey has raised more than $8 million - $2.2 million in the first quarter of 2006, his campaign said. The two are expected to face each other in what has been billed as one of the nation's most competitive Senate races. Polls have shown Mr. Casey with a double-digit lead over the two-term conservative lawmaker.

Mr. Santorum was scheduled to get some campaign help today from former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, the Associated Press reports.

A real long shot

A former Democratic senator from Alaska and outspoken critic of the Vietnam War announced yesterday his long-shot bid for the presidency in 2008 and a plan to reshape U.S. democracy.

Mike Gravel, a 76-year-old self-described maverick, said he wants to give citizens the direct power to make laws based on popular votes, not exclusively through elected members of Congress.

"Our three branches of government have become like an unstable chair, a three-legged chair," Mr. Gravel said. "The founders could not have envisioned how much money and special interests would corrupt the political process. Giving us Americans legislative power will put forth the fourth leg of our stool and make it stable."

Mr. Gravel, who served in the Senate from 1969 to 1981, advocates giving all policy decisions to the people through a direct vote, including health care reform, eliminating the IRS and income taxes, and declaring war, AP reports. …