"Tancredo Takes a Tough Stance," reporter Mark Santora's contribution to the Times' weekly political column "The Caucus," takes a rather hostile anti-Republican tone that portrays second-tier candidate Rep. Tom Tancredo as an extremist who has gone too far even for a party that likes to posture as tough.
"Tough is a brand all the Republican candidates want to own as they run for president. Tough on terrorism, tough on crime, tough on Democrats.
"But Representative Tom Tancredo, Republican of Colorado, is standing out from the pack, advocating a position that even the most hawkish members of his own party deem irresponsible.
"During a debate in Iowa on Sunday and in other recent campaign appearances, Mr. Tancredo said that the United States should reserve the right to bomb Islam's two holiest sites, Mecca and Medina, in retaliation for a major terrorist attack on American soil....A State Department spokesman called his comments 'absolutely crazy.' None of the other candidates on the stage with him during Sunday's debate came to his defense."
By contrast, when Democratic candidate Barack Obama suggested the United States invade an ally, Pakistan, to go after Al Qaeda, possibly destabilizing a nuclear power, Jeff Zeleny's August 2 report didn't find anything controversial or gaffe-like. Zeleny simply summarized Obama's position in his lead sentence:
"Senator Barack Obama said Wednesday that the United States should shift its military focus away from the Iraq war to a broader fight against Islamic extremism, vowing to dispatch American forces to eradicate terrorist camps in Pakistan if that nation failed to take such action."