- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 23, 1999

Buyer's remorse

Hillary Rodham Clinton has not won over every Democrat in New York.
While she was headlining her party's gala holiday fund-raiser at the glitzy Pierre Hotel in New York City Tuesday night, some were grumbling that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. or Rep. Nita Lowey would have made better Senate candidates.
Mr. Kennedy, billed on the New York State Democratic Committee's program as "Champion of the Environment," shared the stage with Mrs. Clinton. Mrs. Lowey dropped out of the race when the first lady decided to run.
After Mrs. Clinton addressed 400 of the $125 to $5,000 contributors in the gilded ballroom, she moved to a smaller room for a separate $50-per-person "holiday dessert gala" attended by about 100 younger supporters.
Most of Mrs. Clinton's supporters never got a chance to meet her. As first lady, she is roped off from the crowds, and only a few dozen contributors were willing to stand in line to shake her hand.
The gala was the swan song for the state party's spokesman, Matthew Hiltzik, 27. Next month he is becoming corporate spokesman for Miramax Films in New York City. He will be replaced by Peter Kauffmann, 24, who is now a deputy press spokesman in the Democratic National Committee in Washington.

Another pop quiz

Sen. John McCain is the latest presidential candidate to flunk a "pop quiz," but unlike Texas Gov. George W. Bush, the Arizona senator escaped with almost no media attention, the London Telegraph reports.
The Arizona Republican had just held a public meeting in Burlington, Vt., when he was flummoxed by a reporter who asked him to name the prime minister of Ireland.
Mr. McCain replied: "It used to be Haughey, who's in serious trouble, referring to Charles Haughey, the disgraced former prime minister. Mr. McCain then played for time and offered the view that he was "pleased with the progress of the peace process." He tried to make amends by reeling off the names of David Trimble, the Ulster Unionist leader, and Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein president, but still could not name Bertie Ahern, Irish Prime Minister since 1997.
Mr. McCain also appeared to be stumped by a follow-up question, the Telegraph said.
He was asked: "Who is the governor of Vermont?" Mr. McCain said: "I just talked about him last night. He's a Democrat; he's a doctor… ."
When someone muttered "Howard," Mr. McCain recovered his memory, saying: "Howard Dean, and I believe he is a physician."

Ice cream war

Vermont politicians cannot swallow the idea of Ben & Jerry's ice cream company being sold to some out-of-state conglomerate, and a number of prominent vote-getters showed up at a protest rally in Burlington.
The company's board is entertaining offers, but it is not clear whether Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, the firm's founders and leading stockholders, will let a sale go through.
"Peter Clavelle, the Progressive mayor of Burlington, went to the protest, as did Rep. Bernard Sanders, the independent congressman whose district includes Burlington," the New York Times reports.
Even Democratic Gov. Howard Dean is involved in the issue, calling it a fight about globalization and the need to keep companies in the hands of Vermonters, reporter Carey Goldberg said.
Said Mr. Clavelle, the Burlington mayor: "Folks on Church Street in Burlington should have as much or more control over our economy as those on Wall Street."

McCain files suit

Arizona Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign filed a lawsuit in New York yesterday seeking to ease his task in getting on the ballot for the state's Republican primary in March.
Mr. McCain announced his intention to file the suit this month at a New York City press conference with his state chairman, Guy Molinari. The suit contends that the state GOP's current ballot access rules are unconstitutional because they present an "undue and overwhelming burden" upon presidential candidates.

Watts denies report

Oklahoma Rep. J.C. Watts yesterday disputed a report that he was leaving Congress. He said he planned to serve out his term and to continue in his post as chairman of the House Republican Conference.
"I intend to finish my two-year term as conference chairman," Mr. Watts said.
Mr. Watts' third term in Congress expires in January 2001. His spokesman, Bill Shapard, said Mr. Watts would make a decision early next year on whether to run for a fourth term.
"I haven't seen any indications that he wouldn't do it again," Mr. Shapard said. "That's a personal decision for him."
CBS News quoted sources as saying Mr. Watts was stepping down from Congress. The report gave no timetable or reason.
Earlier this year, Mr. Watts threatened to resign his leadership post in a squabble with Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas, according to leadership officials familiar with the incident. Mr. Watts then described the brouhaha as a "family" matter.

Coffers run low

Eight presidential candidates have qualified for a total of $34 million in federal matching funds, but a shortfall in the federal fund means only a portion will be paid out in January, the government reported yesterday.
Among Democrats, Vice President Al Gore qualified for $11 million and former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley qualified for $8.3 million. Among Republicans, Arizona Sen. John McCain was entitled to $4.2 million while conservative activist Gary Bauer qualified for just under $4 million and commentator Alan Keyes, just over $1.2 million.
The Treasury Department is set to make payments Jan. 3, but the exact amount of those payments was not released. Federal Election Commission officials expect it will come to 40 percent to 50 percent of the total.
Candidates eventually will get all of the money, but most will have to borrow the difference in the meantime.
The amount of money available to the candidates in January will be somewhat higher than first thought because Texas Gov. George W. Bush and publisher Steve Forbes decided to forgo federal dollars and several other candidates have dropped out.

No cauliflower?

The following item comes from Ramesh Ponnuru and John J. Miller at National Review's Web site (www.nationalreview.com):
"President Clinton and Hillary beamed with delight [Monday] as a children's choir from Santa Monica (that's Spanish for 'St. Monica,' by the way) changed the words to a popular Christmas song: 'On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me/12 eco-days/Save spotted owls/ Homes for the homeless/Food for the hungry/Produce organic/No cauliflower/Seas I can swim in/Air I can breathe/All solar power/No rush hour/Good guys on TV/And a world where people are free.' "

Last-minute listing

Thomas L. Jipping, director of the Free Congress Foundation's Center for Law & Democracy, notes that President Clinton had agreed to abide by a policy adopted in 1985 by Senate Majority Leader Robert C. Byrd and President Reagan that required timely notice when a president considers recess appointments.
Some Republican senators have accused Mr. Clinton of violating that agreement. Mr. Jipping agrees, saying: "Would Senator Byrd have accepted President Reagan submitting a list of recess appointments to an almost empty Senate three hours before adjournment?"

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