Dispatches > The Buzz

Flash Traffic

Political buzz from Washington

Issue: "Interview with Larry King," July 28, 2001

Wall Street Journal pundit Paul Gigot is switching rivers from the Potomac to the Hudson. The Journal's longtime "Potomac Watch" columnist is giving up both Washington and his column to become editorial-page editor of the paper in New York. Starting in September, he'll serve as the Journal's first new editorial-page chief in 29 years. Gigot, 46, replaces Robert Bartley, who's approaching the paper's mandatory retirement age of 65. Gigot told WORLD his move to a new life in New York would probably spell an end to his regular gig sitting beside liberal Mark Shields on PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer since it's a segment heavy on Washington news. (He had replaced David Gergen in that chair, after he joined the Clinton White House.) Winner of the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, Gigot won't easily be replaced. He says he won't immediately name a successor to attempt his influential Friday inside-politics column, although he anticipates the Journal will select a new editorialist in the nation's capital who will eventually land a column. He says he'll miss living inside the Beltway: "Politicians have made Washington a pretty comfortable place to live." The new job offer came as a surprise: "I just found out a week ago. They asked me if I wanted it. I said it's the best job in American journalism." From his new office in New York, he pledges to continue the page's long tradition of supporting "free people and free markets." Gigot will supervise not only the editorial page, but also the paper's free website, OpinionJournal.com. Guess who's thinking about running for Congress? Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, the woman beloved by Republicans and demonized by Democrats, is beginning to tell friends she's seriously considering running for the 13th district Sarasota seat opening due to the departure of Rep. Dan Miller … If she goes forward, expect a brutal battle: Harris certainly knows what's ahead, and is weighing whether she and her husband want to put themselves and their 19-year-old daughter through the process. The Pentagon has agreed to help a Hollywood production of a film about the 1993 disaster in Somalia that left 18 American soldiers dead. The Revolution Studios film, based on the best-selling novel Black Hawk Down, is being filmed in Morocco … The Pentagon has sent four U.S. Army Ranger Black Hawk helicopters and their crews, and officials say the government is being reimbursed its $3 million costs. "We provide support based on what we perceive to be the value in the end," said Pentagon spokesman Marine Lt. Col. David Lapan. "In this case obviously everybody knows the negative outcome of Mogadishu, but anybody who read Black Hawk Down knows there was some heroic and courageous stuff that happened." In a National Journal interview, departing National Organization for Women president Patricia Ireland was asked if she admired any conservative thinkers. After she named the late Barry Goldwater (who in his later years became a harsh opponent of religious conservatives), she added Carmen Pate, a former Concerned Women for America staffer who now advises crisis pregnancy centers … "I believe that when she proselytizes me periodically, it's because she really believes so strongly [that this is an] important decision for my eternal life." Abortion enthusiast Gloria Feldt demands that Attorney General John Ashcroft stop what's going on at the late-term abortion shop of George Tiller in Wichita, Kan., "before more blood is shed." No, not that. The Planned Parenthood chief doesn't like the peaceful protests marking the 10th anniversary of the summertime pro-life protests in that Midwest city. Ms. Feldt took to the National Press Club in Washington to browbeat reporters who weren't sufficiently hyping the story of "severe violence" at abortion clinics. Since five years have elapsed since John Salvi committed the last anti-abortion murder at a clinic, Planned Parenthood was defining violence down. Its "2000 Chronicle of Clinic Violence or Harassment" handed out at the press conference listed under "malicious criminal acts" the story of a Florida affiliate that "received anti-choice literature over their general e-mail address. The message consisted of Bible verses on a purple background."

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