An Insertion Meant for Deletion

By Al Kamen
Monday, October 3, 2005

And now, reason No. 1,446 that Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes is having a hard time working the crowd in the Muslim world.

An ad listing Boeing, Bell Helicopter and other companies making the troubled Osprey CV-22 attack helicopter appeared in the National Journal last week. It shows soldiers rappelling from the chopper onto the roof of a building, which says in Arabic on the side, "Muhammad Mosque."

"It descends from the heavens. Ironically it unleashes hell," the ad touts. "The CV-22 delivers Special Forces to insertion points never thought possible."

Like a mosque?

The folks at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), naturally, were furious and protested. Within hours, the companies and the National Journal responded. "We consider the ad offensive, regret its publication and apologize to those who like us are dismayed with its contents," Boeing said.

The companies said they had tried to pull the ad several weeks ago. It ran, National Journal Executive Vice President Elizabeth Baker Keffer told CAIR in an e-mail, "as the result of a clerical error on our part. We had received specific direction from the agency representing Boeing/Bell to not run the ad. We have apologized to Boeing, their partner Bell and their advertising agency [in Irving, Tex.] for this mistake. We accept full responsibility for the error."

Praise, Bury -- Same Difference

Despite predictions that he would face intense Democratic opposition, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. sailed through to confirmation last week on a 78 to 22 vote. And many senators heaped lavish praise on him, according to a list compiled by Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.).

"Incredible. Probably one of the most schooled appellate lawyers . . . at least in his generation," said one senator.

"A judge [who] will be loyal and faithful to the process of law, to the rule of law. A great legal mind," said a second senator.

"Qualified to sit on the highest court in the land. Humble. Personally decent. Very able. Very intelligent. Unflappable," said a third.

"A very smart man. An excellent lawyer. A very affable person. A thoughtful mainstream judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals," said a fourth.

And those were people who voted against him: Democratic Sens. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.), Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), Barack Obama (Ill.) and Harry M. Reid (Nev.), in that order.

In Roberts's Footsteps

Speaking of Roberts, his replacement at Hogan & Hartson as head of the appellate group, Gregory G. Garre , is the pick to be No. 2 in the solicitor general's office -- a job Roberts once had. Garre, who also clerked for the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist , worked as an assistant solicitor general.

The Last-but-Not-Least Portfolio

Chatter at the White House last week was that it is looking as if Meghan O'Sullivan , who's been handling the Iraq portfolio at the National Security Council since Robert Blackwill left 11 months ago and worked for former Iraq viceroy L. Paul Bremer in Baghdad, is the leading candidate to be deputy national security adviser for Iraq and Afghanistan. This would fill the last of the six deputyships at the NSC under a reorganization earlier this year.

Word was there'd been a search for a while for a more gray-bearded type, perhaps a two-star or three-star general who had served in Iraq. Another candidate, former charge d'affaires in Baghdad James F. Jeffrey , left to be senior adviser on Iraq at the State Department.

Category 4 Politicking

The Democrats are using fuzzy math against a Louisiana state senator running for Congress, his campaign says.

An item Friday here and in other papers said state Sen. Craig F. Romero (R) distributed a document when he was in town recently that indicated that if residents made homeless in his district by Katrina didn't return, Republicans would have a better chance of winning the seat next year. That's sure what it looked like.

But that conclusion, campaign consultant Brent Littlefield said Friday, distorts the data. The fact is, he said, if the residents all came back, the GOP would gain votes, not lose them. Romero was not advocating the displaced should not go back home. The Democrats, Littlefield said, "are playing politics with the hurricane."

This is shaping up to be a fun race down there.

Credit Where It's Due

An item Friday failed to note that the translation of one of Egyptian cleric Mohammed Sayed Tantawi 's television interviews was done by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company