Armitage's Election Hopes

By Zachary A. Goldfarb
Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Former deputy secretary of state Richard L. Armitage, who was an influential adviser to Colin L. Powell when Powell was secretary of state, has weighed in on today's midterm elections, saying they offer the United States a chance to win back lost allies around the world.

"The message I think from the electorate is that fear doesn't work. You've got to go back to what is traditionally ours, and we've got to go back to those things that made us important in the eyes of the world," Armitage said yesterday in a speech in Canberra, Australia, according to Reuters.

Armitage was the No. 2 man to Powell from the beginning of the Bush administration until their resignations in 2005. A former Navy officer, Armitage was seen as part of the wing of the Bush administration more cautious about invading Iraq. He recently acknowledged that in 2003 he was a source to the news media of the identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame.

Armitage said he expects Republicans to lose control of the House and perhaps the Senate. In an election dominated by a war that has turned off many U.S. allies, Armitage said Americans are concerned that international support for U.S. policy has declined since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

"We were exporting our anger and our fear, hatred for what had happened," Reuters quoted him as saying. "I think it's understandable to a certain degree, but we're well past that now and it's time to turn another face to the world and get back to more traditional things, such as the export of hope and opportunity and inspiration."

In particular, Armitage criticized the Bush administration for lacking a plan for bringing peace to the Middle East and for not acting more aggressively to stop Israel's bombardment of Hezbollah forces in Lebanon this summer.

Armitage expressed confidence that even if the Democrats do not win back control of at least one chamber of Congress, the greater number of Democrats in Congress would lead to increased oversight of the Bush administration and a more moderate approach to world affairs. "I've got a feeling that we're going to be slowing down a bit, not in the use of hard power where we need to but generally in our muscular approach to the world," he said.

New Rules, New Confusion

Signs of confusion over a bevy of new voting regulations sprouted yesterday from some of the country's battlegrounds.

Missouri's senior elections official said she was asked for photo identification at an early-voting site despite a court ruling against the requirement. "I'm guessing this may be happening in other parts of the state," said Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, who had opposed the photo ID requirement, according to the Associated Press.

She was eventually allowed to vote, but only after insisting she did not need an ID. "To have that experience personally was very troubling," she said.

In Ohio, elections officials asked counties to wait to tally absentee ballots until Election Day -- and then with bipartisan overseers.

But officials in Cuyahoga County, Ohio's most populous county, ignored the request and started scanning absentee ballots yesterday after a judge's order cleared the move, the AP reported.

Cuyahoga had 70,000 ballots to be scanned, and officials there were intent on finishing them by last night.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company