The Unvarnished Truth, Slightly Altered

By Al Kamen
Friday, July 21, 2006

The already bitter Ohio Senate campaign between incumbent Mike DeWine (R) and challenger Rep. Sherrod Brown (D) has been embroiled for a week over a controversial DeWine ad that uses a video of the World Trade Center in flames to attack Brown as soft on terrorism.

Brown and state Democrats blasted the video, which showed the south tower billowing smoke, saying it exploited Sept. 11 and smeared Brown.

Now, it turns out, the video was doctored. Eagle-eyed reporter Bret Schulte of U.S. News & World Report said yesterday that it "looked awful, it didn't look right," and he contacted an expert who confirmed his suspicions. "The north tower was hit first," the expert told him, so "the south tower could not be burning without the north tower burning." Also, the smoke on Sept. 11, the expert said, "was never in a halo like that."

A DeWine spokesman acknowledged the image was a "graphic representation" by the firm that produced the ad, which used a still photo of the towers with computer-generated smoke added. The campaign insisted that the facts are fine and well documented, and it promised to get a new image of the towers up right away.

And, of course, DeWine did not know the image was a phony, the spokesman said, and ordered it corrected.

And, of course, Brown's folks jumped all over the issue. Brown, in a statement, said DeWine "already is engaging in gutter-style politics. To distort images sacred to so many Americans is just shameful." This could be a very fun race.

Too Tough for Al Gore?

Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), who chairs the House Government Reform Committee, says he's most puzzled that former vice president Al Gore , author and star of the new global-warming movie "An Inconvenient Truth," couldn't make it to testify at a hearing Wednesday on that very issue -- especially since Gore was in Loudoun County signing his new book of the same title.

"We gave him an open invitation where we would work around his schedule," Davis told our colleague Juliet Eilperin. "For some reason he didn't decide to come."

"We don't know if (a) he was afraid to face me and my cross-examination, (b) he makes more money selling books rather than going on national television, or (c) he doesn't want Republicans to do oversight [on global warming] so they can continue to complain about us being 'do-nothing.' We're not sure which one it is."

An aide acknowledged that Gore was in the area Wednesday but then went off to San Francisco -- and was in Boston and Philadelphia the day before. Gore is pushing both parties to work on what he has called a "planetary emergency."

The book earnings go to a nonprofit, the aide noted, and Gore met this week with the decidedly skeptical Wall Street Journal and with GOP mastermind Grover Norquist 's group.

Well, that's hardly as tough as a Davis cross-examination.

Fine Jobs, Part I

Tired of your humdrum job? Looking for some excitement? The Department of Homeland Security's Transportation Security Administration has a job open for an "attorney adviser" to work in the chief counsel's office. Salary could be as much as $143,703, depending on your experience.

You say you really aren't very good at lawyering, and in fact don't know much about it? Not to worry. You need a law degree and bar membership, of course, but apparently not much more.

"Evaluation Criteria: Knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) are not required." Hurry, this is the job for you!

Fine Jobs, Part II

The Lincoln Group posts on Craigslist that it's looking for a research analyst, even willing to pay up to $180,000 for a good one. But there's a heavy emphasis on KSAs. They want people who can "analyze and provide advice on such issues as political legitimacy, nationalism, public confidence in the emerging government . . ." Advise them that confidence will improve if they can gain control of Baghdad and environs?

And they want a psy-ops expert with the "ability to work in a fast-paced, stressful environment." Lots of fringe benefits, though you'll "be based inside a secure U.S. military facility in Iraq."

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