Wednesday, June 23, 2004

A Different Kind of Heat Wave (

A Different Kind of Heat Wave ( "The White House preemptively gave the movie two thumbs down: 'Outrageously false,' said communications director Dan Bartlett, when he was asked about some of its allegations. Sizzling! countered Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), who plans a teach-in at a Seattle theater to tap into the 'anger brewing against this administration.'

The director, Michael Moore, predicted half his audience for his new documentary will be nonvoters and 20 percent Republican, and that those on the fence will be off it and on his side when the last credits roll. A group called Move America Forward has begun a letter-writing campaign asking theaters not to show 'Michael Moore's horrible anti-American movie.'

All this before 'Fahrenheit 9/11' has even officially opened.

Paul Rieckhoff fought in Iraq for a year and came back to start "Operation Truth" to tell Americans that war is not some video game. MoveOn touted him as a spokesman because he admires Moore and wanted to see the movie.

"It's thought-provoking. Sensational. Will really energize conversation," he said after he saw it. "It's obviously slanted in one way, so if you take it as your only source of information that would be pretty narrow. But some people will love it, some will hate it."

But, he added, "I'm ticked off at the way he portrays soldiers. It really makes them look stupid, like these testosterone-enraged mindless killers, like a bunch of barbarians. I'm going to tell him that."

Last night's U.S. premiere at the Uptown in Cleveland Park brought Moore and his wife, Kathleen Glynn, Harvey Weinstein of Miramax, the movie's distributor, and the city's liberal establishment, including a dozen senators and a large contingent from the Congressional Black Caucus.

So strong is the appearance of a campaign that David Bossie, president of Citizens United, accuses Moore of violating federal elections laws. A movie? Violating election laws? "Moore has publicly indicated his goal is to impact this election," Bossie said.

And even if he is preaching to his choir "the timing is exquisite," says presidential historian Robert Dallek. "He's catching Bush right when he's on the defensive, when Bush is stumbling badly in Iraq."

By Hanna Rosin and Mike Allen
Washington Post Staff Writers


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