- The Washington Times - Monday, December 13, 1999

McCain’s hair-trigger’

Utah Sen. Robert F. Bennett reports he has heard fellow Republican senators say they would not want to have Sen. John McCain’s finger on the nuclear trigger. But Mr. Bennett denied that such remarks were part of a “whispering campaign” that Mr. McCain is mentally unstable.
“I’m not sure I would want Al Gore’s finger on the nuclear trigger… . I would prefer George W. Bush’s,” Mr. Bennett said over the weekend on CNN’s “Evans, Novak, Hunt & Shields.”
Mr. Bennett added: “I think the most important attribute any president has to have is good instincts, much more than intellect. Now, you list the smartest presidents of my lifetime, and the list is going to include Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. You list the presidents with the best instincts, and you’re going to have Ronald Reagan, Harry Truman and Franklin Roosevelt.
“And I think John McCain’s instincts are more hair-trigger than I would like. That doesn’t mean that I think he’s unstable or that I think he’d be a dangerous president. It just means that I would prefer somebody else.”

A unique maneuver

Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who is running for president, was asked yesterday about Vice President Al Gore’s claim that he is the only candidate who supported campaign-finance reform before he ran for president.
“I just think that … while he was inventing the Internet, I was inventing television,” Mr. McCain replied on “Fox News Sunday.”
“I mean, he also said that he co-sponsored McCain-Feingold three years after he left the Senate. That’s a unique parliamentary maneuver.”
Mr. McCain added: “Look, I welcome the vice president’s involvement in this issue. But the real scandal in Washington was not Monica Lewinsky. It was the debasement of the institutions of government by the Clinton-Gore campaign renting the Lincoln bedroom, selling seats on official trade missions and, frankly, that will be a stain on American history.”

Race for redemption

Harold Ickes, senior adviser to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Senate campaign, denies telling author Gail Sheehy that Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy is a race for redemption.
“No, I did not say that, and I don’t believe it,” Mr. Ickes said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
“I think that there are people who do believe that, and people have said that to me. But I did not make the quote that Ms. Sheehy represents me as making in that book [Hillary’s Choice’]. But obviously there are a lot of people or a number of people who think that part of this is a race for redemption.”

Tough on crime

One reason that Republican Texas Gov. George W. Bush is running even in the presidential polls in Arizona with home state Sen. John McCain is that “he’s the only one who talks about crime,” says legendary Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
“He’s very tough on crime and very tough on juvenile justice,” says Sheriff Arpaio, who instituted the nation’s first female chain gang three years ago.
Attending a recent Bush event in Phoenix, Sheriff Arpaio said that even though crime statistics are down nationwide, “Crime is still an issue in the United States.”
The sheriff, who calls himself “an equal opportunity incarcerator,” also revealed his plans to eliminate rats in an inmates’ “tent city” that he started bring in rat terriers to hunt the vermin.
Sheriff Arpaio says the dogs cost $1.15 per day to feed; the inmates are fed for 90 cents per day.
“I’m very proud of that,” he said.

Actor joins contest

Television actor Noble Willingham has decided to seek a congressional seat in Texas. He will run as a Republican against Democratic Rep. Max Sandlin of in the state’s 1st District.
Mr. Willingham, who portrays C.D. Parker on the television show “Walker, Texas Ranger,” told supporters Wednesday at Republican headquarters in Longview that his final episode is the Christmas show. Writers tentatively plan to have his character win the lottery and take off to see the world.
Neither candidate is expected to have any competition to win the nomination of their respective parties, Cox News Service reports.

Louisiana gives up

Louisiana Republicans’ plans for a first-in-the-nation presidential caucus Jan. 15th were scrapped Saturday by a state central committee dominated by forces loyal to Gov. Mike Foster.
Party chairman Mike Francis said that a motion by Mr. Foster’s allies to do away with the caucus was out of order, but the committee overruled the chairman by a vote of 92 to 77.
The committee decided to choose its 29 delegates during the presidential primary in March.
Mr. Francis managed to conduct a caucus four years ago that drew less than 5 percent of the state’s registered Republicans. Last summer, he decided to try it again in January.
That didn’t sit well with Mr. Foster because major contenders for the GOP nomination stayed away from Louisiana’s caucus four years ago and planned to do the same next month.

Racially correct

“Facing charges of racism, lawmakers have put off a plan to streamline Justice Department anti-crime grants to states and cities,” Paul Bedard writes in U.S. News & World Report.
“The congressional budget writers were trying to centralize the spending power in the hands of an assistant attorney general. But blacks led by Jesse Jackson and Virginia Democratic Rep. Robert Scott complained to Attorney General Janet Reno that the move was a slap at Nancy Gist, a black Wellesley classmate of Hillary Rodham Clinton who heads a Justice agency that issues much of the money,” Mr. Bedard reports.
“Those charges sent the lawmakers running for the hills, angering some Justice insiders who insist race was irrelevant to the needed changes. Their politically correct solution: The reforms won’t be implemented until the end of Clinton’s term.”

Clinton’s next role?

Bill Clinton is being promoted as a possible successor to Jack Valenti at the Motion Picture Association of America, Dana Thomas writes in the New Yorker.
Mr. Valenti, 78, who has been president of the trade organization for 33 years, thinks Mr. Clinton might fit it in well in such a role.
“I’ve heard people talking about that,” Mr. Valenti said. “Well, yeah, it would be great. It really would. But he does bring a little baggage with him.”
Mr. Valenti added: “The movie business is a dazzling, fascinating, unpredictable world like politics and naturally Clinton is drawn to that,” Mr. Valenti says. “What’s more, if you’re in the insurance business or run the New York Stock Exchange, you’re not around beautiful women every day.”
The organization’s No. 2 man, Bill Baker, was heard discussing the Clinton rumors at the Cannes Film Festival, the reporter said, but White House officials were quick to dismiss the notion.

Minister of justice

Republican presidential hopeful Alan Keyes is already working on his Cabinet, and apparently Larry Klayman is his choice for attorney general.
“I think that we need to put someone in as attorney general who, among other things, will enforce the law and then get to the truth on behalf of the American people, and there’s nobody that has been doing that with greater courage and effectiveness even without any kind of official position than Larry Klayman,” Mr. Keyes said.
Mr. Klayman and his group, Judicial Watch, have brought a series of legal cases against the Clinton administration. Mr. Keyes made his remarks on Mr. Klayman’s weekly radio show, “The Judicial Report.”

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