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Detroit Mayor Hopes Judge Will Let Him Further Shame Democrats

By Mary Ann Akers And Paul Kane
Thursday, August 14, 2008

Detroit's embattled mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, a superdelegate to the Democratic National Convention, is holding out the possibility that he'll actually be able to go to Denver this month. In other words, the "hip-hop mayor" could get a new nickname: the Most Unwanted Man at the convention. (Besides maybe John Edwards.)

Even though he's currently wearing an electronic tether that prevents him from traveling outside the Detroit area, Kilpatrick hopes a judge will grant him permission to fulfill his superdelegate duty of nominating Barack Obama president at his party's convention, which is just a week and a half away.

Asked whether the mayor will be attending the Denver convention, Kilpatrick spokeswoman Denise Tolliver told On the Hill: "We're not sure yet." She said the mayor was waiting to see what happens today, when he's scheduled to be arraigned on felony charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, and on Friday, when he's due to appear in court on separate assault charges.

"He would have to get permission from the judge" in order to travel to Denver, Tolliver said. "I know that is something [his attorneys] are working on now."

Even if the mayor can't make it to Denver, his mother, Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-Mich.), who is also a superdelegate, definitely intends to be there. Something tells us the mayor's mom won't be seated in the background when the cameras are trained on Obama during his historic acceptance speech Aug. 28 at Invesco Field at Mile High.

Ditto for the mayor, if he does somehow persuade the judge to let him breathe a little mountain air before Sept. 3, when Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) has scheduled a hearing on whether to remove Kilpatrick from office.

Running Cats and Dogs

One of the most high-profile House races in the country has gone to the dogs. (And the cats.) Setting a new standard in campaign gimmicks, Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy in Ohio's hotly contested 15th District is touting endorsements from -- no joke -- area pets.

A news release issued by her campaign this week touts endorsements from "dozens of area cats, dogs and other pets." It quotes Murphy, one of Kilroy's three dogs, and Ella, the "spokescat" for Pets for Kilroy.

Kilroy, who faces GOP state senator and Iraq war veteran Steve Stivers in the open-seat race, is targeting that growing subsect of voters known as crazy pet owners -- the dog people and cat people, many of them DINKs (double income, no kids), who attend bark balls and the like and treat their pets as children. And yes, Kilroy is one of them.

She even created a Pets for Kilroy Web site ( http://www.kilroyforcongress.com/pets) that features her three dogs -- Murphy, Chase and Dodger. Proud pet owners can post photos of their four-legged friends and, more importantly, make a contribution to Kilroy's campaign. Republicans seem to think Kilroy's campaign stunt, in one of the most important races in the country, is preposterous.

"If these animals could speak to a pollster, they would probably tell you that Mary Jo Kilroy isn't qualified to be elected dog catcher," says National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Ken Spain.

Given that the contest between Kilroy and Stivers is neck and neck (or collar and collar), going to extremes to tug at the heartstrings of pet-loving swing voters may not be as goofy as it sounds. So don't be surprised to see Stivers counter with a campaign appearance by Barney, President Bush's Scottish Terrier.

Not the Typical Fan

Vincent Bugliosi, the lawyer whose biggest claim to fame is prosecuting Charles Manson, tells us that a "conservative Southern congressman" called him on June 16 to say he had listened to Bugliosi's book "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder" on tape and loved it. "He said he bought several copies of the book and told colleagues, 'Here, read this book. We've been lied to.' "

Bugliosi says he asked the mystery congressman if it would be better that the author not disclose the name of his biggest Republican fan on Capitol Hill. The congressman, according to Bugliosi, replied, "It's better that my name not come out at this point. But I promise you that after the election I'll be standing there by your side."

So Bugliosi would not name him but described him as "a southern Republican" who voted to authorize war against Iraq but later had a change of heart. "A man of deep conscience."

Would that be Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), who during the lead-up to the war in 2003 renamed french fries "freedom fries" in House eateries but who later concluded that the president took the country to war under false pretenses and soon began calling for troop withdrawal? Bugliosi would not say.

Jones, a seven-term incumbent, is running for reelection in a district that encompasses the Marine Corps' Camp Lejeune. Through his chief of staff and his press secretary, he declined to return repeated calls and e-mails seeking comment about Bugliosi's book.

The congressman's chief of staff, Glen Downs, when told that On the Hill would be writing that Jones listened to Bugliosi's book on tape and even bought copies of the book to hand out to colleagues, didn't steer us away. He said in an e-mail: "I don't have any info for you. . . . It's basically up to him if he wants to call and comment."

But we hear from another source that Jones was wild for Bugliosi's anti-Bush tome. Mike Hirsch, a grass-roots activist with the group Progressive Democrats of America, tells us he met Jones during a recent visit to Capitol Hill and discussed Bugliosi's book with him. Hirsch said Jones was "thrilled and excited, very exuberant about the book."

According to Hirsch, Jones was "raving" about the book. "It took me aback," Hirsch told us. He said it "struck me as unusual that you'd have a Christian conservative from the South" talking about a book that espouses the prosecution of President Bush for murder.

All we can say is, Jones has come a long way in his personal odyssey from eating freedom fries to reading books whose titles suggest Bush should be jailed for murder.

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