2007-06-01 21:34:47 –
WASHINGTON (AP) – Republican Fred Thompson took the first formal step toward a widely expected bid for the presidency, establishing a preliminary campaign committee on Friday.
The «testing the waters» committee allows Thompson _ a former Tennessee senator and actor best known for his film and television roles, including as a prosecutor on NBC’s «Law & Order» _ to raise money, hire staff and gauge support without officially committing to a White House bid and without having to publicly disclose donations or expenditures.
The «Friends of Fred Thompson» committee was incorporated in papers filed with the state in Nashville, Tenn.
Thompson, 64, a Southern conservative with a right-leaning Senate record, would shake up an already unsettled race for the Republican nomination led by Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney. Many conservatives have expressed dissatisfaction with the current field of 10 candidates.
By creating the committee now, Thompson avoids having to report to the Federal Election Commission his fundraising totals, donor identities or expenditures on July 15. That’s the filing deadline for the second quarter of the year, and the top-tier Republican candidates, as well as seven underdog contenders, must abide by it.
Thompson’s timing could significantly dampen the fundraising ability of his potential Republican rivals during the homestretch of the second quarter financial reporting period. Donors who otherwise would have contributed to other Republicans, instead, may choose to give to Thompson.
Officials close to Thompson say he’s more likely than not to formally enter the race, perhaps as early as July, and open headquarters in Nashville and the Washington, D.C., area. However, they caution, he’s made no final decision about going forward.
Over the past few weeks, Thompson has begun surrounding himself with advisers who served under Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Among those also expected to play a role: Mary Matalin, a former adviser in the current Bush administration, and Tim Griffin, an ex-aide at the Republican National Committee who as a U.S. attorney in Arkansas was involved in the controversy over the firings of federal prosecutors.
Although he ranks well in national popularity polls, Thompson would enter the race several months behind Giuliani, McCain and Romney in building a campaign organization, raising money and collecting key endorsements.
Given the disparities, he has indicated he favors a nontraditional campaign and already has had a strong presence on the Internet, raising the possibility that he could eschew a traditional media strategy.
“…the army has no other choice but finish them off”
TRIPOLI, Lebanon (AP) – Lebanese tanks and armored vehicles battled their way into the neighborhoods of a Palestinian refugee camp Friday in some of the heaviest fighting since violence broke out between the military and al-Qaida-inspired militants nearly two weeks ago.
“Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faiths, but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.”
Co-founder of CAIR
“We are not fighting so that you will offer us something. We are fighting to eliminate you.”
— Hussein Massawi, Hezbollah leader
Eliyahu advocates carpet bombing Gaza
Matthew Wagner, THE JERUSALEM POST
All civilians living in Gaza are collectively guilty for Kassam attacks on Sderot, former Sephardi chief rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu has written in a letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Eliyahu ruled that there was absolutely no moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians during a potential massive military offensive on Gaza aimed at stopping the rocket launchings.
The letter, published in Olam Katan [Small World], a weekly pamphlet to be distributed in synagogues nationwide this Friday, cited the biblical story of the Shechem massacre (Genesis 34) and Maimonides’ commentary (Laws of Kings 9, 14) on the story as proof texts for his legal decision.
According to Jewish war ethics, wrote Eliyahu, an entire city holds collective responsibility for the immoral behavior of individuals. In Gaza, the entire populace is responsible because they do nothing to stop the firing of Kassam rockets.
The former chief rabbi also said it was forbidden to risk the lives of Jews in Sderot or the lives of IDF soldiers for fear of injuring or killing Palestinian noncombatants living in Gaza.
Eliyahu could not be reached for an interview. However, Eliyahu’s son, Shmuel Eliyahu, who is chief rabbi of Safed, said his father opposed a ground troop incursion into Gaza that would endanger IDF soldiers. Rather, he advocated carpet bombing the general area from which the Kassams were launched, regardless of the price in Palestinian life.
In the letter, Eliyahu quoted from Psalms. “I will pursue my enemies and apprehend them and I will not desist until I have eradicated them.”
Eliyahu wrote that “This is a message to all leaders of the Jewish people not to be compassionate with those who shoot [rockets] at civilians in their houses.”