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Moore Says Weinstein Wanted Clinton Scene Cut

By Politics
Friday, June 22, 2007

Michael Moore is getting a lot of mileage out of the hit he takes on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in his provocative new movie "Sicko," which made its Washington premiere Wednesday night at the Uptown theater.

Moore said after the premiere that movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, a personal friend and supporter of the Clintons whose company financed the film, "begged" him to remove a scene exposing Hillary Clinton as the second-highest recipient of campaign donations from the health-care industry.

"I said, 'No, Harvey. I gotta do the right thing.' He understood."

Moore said he didn't know whether the Clintons asked Weinstein to make the call.

The film describes her as "sexy" and "sassy" as photos of Clinton over the years are splashed on the screen.

After her health-care overhaul plan failed, Clinton went "silent" -- as Moore put it -- on the need for health-care changes. And then she began raking in the dough -- big time -- from the industry when she started running for office.

Clinton's campaign had no comment on Weinstein's attempt to have the scene removed.

-- Mary Ann Akers

Edwards Revisits 'Two Americas'

Seeking to refocus his campaign around economic populism, former senator John Edwards (D-N.C.) released a plan yesterday to clamp down on predatory lending by banning abusive prepayment penalties, balloon loans and excessive fees, and by creating a "Family Savings and Credit Commission" to review financial products marketed to families. And last night he delivered a speech revisiting his 2004 campaign theme of the "two Americas" at Cooper Union in New York.

Edwards hopes to remind voters that even as he stakes out positions to the left of rivals on issues such as the Iraq war, his strongest suit is his case for reducing inequality in America. But the emphasis on lending and credit issues also carries some risk.

Attacking predatory mortgages offered by subprime lenders could require him to again defend his $500,000 part-time job last year at a New York hedge fund that has invested heavily in subprime lenders. Edwards has in the past also had to explain his 2001 vote in favor of a change in bankruptcy law that consumer advocates say made it harder for families to get out of debt. In a 2005 blog posting on that vote, he wrote, "I can't say it more simply than this: I was wrong."

-- Alec MacGillis

Car Trouble

There's something about New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich and black SUVs. The bottom line: If you're a politician, you don't want him near yours.

This week, Leibovich wrote about former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney's recent visit to New Hampshire. Driving behind Romney's SUV, Leibovich wrote that he was waved over to the side by Romney's security guy, who said he'd run the reporter's license plate.

Not so, says the campaign. No license plate check was ever run, they say. (Such a thing would be illegal in New Hampshire.) Leibovich sticks by his story, which said only that he was told by the Romney aide that such a check was run. "All I can speak to is the 15-second conversation we had when he came up to my window. He said, 'We ran your plates. You can't follow the governor. Please veer off.' "

Leibovich is quick to say there is no ill will. But it's interesting to note that Leibovich has a habit of writing about candidates and SUVs. Last year, while a reporter at The Washington Post, he wrote about following behind then-Virginia Gov. Mark Warner (D) in New Hampshire when the governor's driver jerked the SUV onto a sidewalk after being blocked by an idled school bus. He wrote: "The governor's communications director, Ellen Qualls, who is in the back seat, promptly calls up to Warner's car. 'You're creating a story here,' she says, trying not to be heard by the reporters, to no avail."

And in 2003, he wrote in The Post about riding in an SUV with New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) as the car hit 110 mph, making a 26-minute drive along Interstate 40 in 16 minutes.

-- Michael D. Shear

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