Inside Politics

Article excerpt

Byline: Greg Pierce

`BETRAYED' BACKER

Georgette Mosbacher, who was vice chairman of Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign in 2000, now says she feels "betrayed" by the Arizona Republican.

"I feel betrayed and I'm so very disappointed in John," Mrs. Mosbacher told the New York Post.

Mrs. Mosbacher, the wife of former President George Bush's commerce secretary, Robert Mosbacher, is one of the GOP's top fund-raisers and helped pour "several hundreds of thousands of dollars" into Mr. McCain's campaign coffers.

"I think John doesn't appear to be making any effort to work with the president. On the contrary," she said.

"I feel at the very least the obligation of every Republican is to give the president the benefit of the doubt and try to work with him. I don't think he did that," said Mrs. Mosbacher, who is a member of the Republican National Committee from New York.

CARTER RAPS BUSH

Former President Jimmy Carter strongly criticizes President Bush in an interview with a Georgia newspaper.

"I have been disappointed in almost everything he has done," Mr. Carter told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer in an interview last week from his home in Plains, Ga.

Mr. Carter berated Mr. Bush for not pressuring Israel to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, for threatening to abandon the anti-ballistic missile treaty and for not supporting human rights more strongly.

He said Mr. Bush has ignored moderates in both parties and called Mr. Bush's proposed missile defense shield a "technologically ridiculous" idea that will "re-escalate the nuclear arms race."

Mr. Carter said he had volunteered to be one of the few Democrats at Mr. Bush's inauguration because he was optimistic about the administration.

"I hoped that coming out of an uncertain election he would reach out to people of diverse views, not just Democrats and Republicans but others who had different points of view," Mr. Carter said. "I thought he would be a moderate leader, but he has been very strictly conforming to some of the more conservative members of his administration, his vice president and his secretary of defense in particular. More moderate people like Colin Powell have been frozen out of the basic decision making in dealing with international affairs."

He was also critical of President Bush for not calling for the removal of Israeli settlements on the West Bank.

"George Sr. took a strong position on that issue, and so did I," said Mr. Carter, whose offer to mediate the conflict was declined by both the Israelis and the Palestinians.

BESTING HILLARY

First lady Laura Bush has made a positive impression on the public during her first six months in the White House. Sixty-four percent have a favorable view, a new poll says, and she isn't running into the resistance faced by Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 1990s.

There is none of the partisan and sex-defined opposition Mrs. Clinton stirred, says the poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, although younger people like her somewhat less than older people.

Men were just as likely as women to have a positive view of Mrs. Bush. Only one-fourth of Democrats saw her unfavorably in the poll.

In contrast, half of Republicans viewed Mrs. Clinton unfavorably early in her husband's term and more than one-third of men viewed her unfavorably.

In the Pew poll, people over age 50 were even more likely to view Mrs. Bush favorably (73 percent) than those under age 30 (53 percent).

"Laura Bush has got very wide acceptance . . . she's almost the anti-Hillary," Carroll Doherty, editor of the Pew poll, told the Associated Press. "She's not nearly as divisive, broadly accepted, but she hasn't yet made a strong impression on the American people."

Mrs. Bush also has not altered her public persona as her predecessor had. …