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Safire: Don’t Overlook Burr

Safire: Don't Overlook Burr

William Safire, who has devoted several national columns to criticizing the FCC vote on ownership, has this analysis of the situation on Capitol Hill:
“Media moguls profess not to worry about the Senate’s threatened rollback because they think they own Billy Tauzin, chairman of the relevant committee in the House. But Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina, has introduced a rollback bill similar to Stevens’s in the Senate, and already has a majority of co-sponsors on Tauzin’s committee,” Safire writes this week in the New York Times.
“An old GOP hand tells me Tauzin has ‘no interest’ in stopping media mergers anywhere, but ‘always leaves himself wiggle room if there’s heat from home,'” he continued. “No heat is coming from the White House, where Karl Rove has not awakened to this ‘sleeper issue.’
“Burr should be of considerable interest to the GOP, however. He will be the challenger to Sen. John Edwards next year unless Edwards resigns to run for president. National exposure as the congressman who stopped the power grab would help Burr pick up a Senate seat for the GOP, central to Bush hopes for a successful second term.
“That prospect should get White House attention,” Safire wrote. “In the House, co-sponsorship by half the members gets Tom DeLay’s attention, and the bill already has 146 of the 218, one-third Republican.”