- The Washington Times - Friday, April 14, 2000

Hold your guns …

Frank Luntz, the GOP pollster and architect of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's "Contract with America," is warning trigger-happy Democrats that parents not guns are to blame for youth violence and school shootings of today.

"A decline in quality time parents spend with their children is the number one cause of youth violence and school shootings today, and a majority of Americans believe that additional gun control legislation would not have prevented the Columbine massacre," Mr. Luntz determines in an extensive national poll he conducted for www.YROCK.com and shares with Inside the Beltway.

Fully 42 percent of the 800 likely voters polled blamed the decline in quality time parents spend with their children as the root cause of violence, followed by 30 percent who identified the violence they see and hear on television, movies, music and video games. Only 11 percent singled out access to guns.

When asked to choose, a near-universal 84 percent said greater involvement by parents in the lives of their children would have a greater impact on reducing gun violence in schools, while only 14 percent believe more gun control legislation would have the greater impact.

. . . Hug your kids

We're told that President and Mrs. Clinton will host a "White House Conference on Teenagers: Raising Responsible and Resourceful Youth," in the East Room on May 2.

The first couple plans to discuss the role parents play in the lives of their teen-age children, and cite new research showing that the preteen years are as important as the first three years of life and set patterns for adult behavior and success.

Growing old together

Evangelist Billy Graham has canceled his long-scheduled Palm Sunday preaching engagement at Washington's Howard University to remain with his wife, Ruth, following emergency hip-replacement surgery on Monday.

And, we're told, because of his own doctor's orders for Mr. Graham to regain some strength.

Mr. and Mrs. Graham, 81 and 79 respectively, have been in and out of hospitals in recent months. Mrs. Graham's emergency surgery this week was her fifth hip procedure in four months, while Mr. Graham has been an outpatient of the Mayo Clinic because of an ongoing Parkinson's condition.

"Ruth and I both suffer from some problems of age," quips Mr. Graham, who was supposed to have preached to Howard's mainly black campus on "The Meaning of the Cross."

Two weeks to go

"Please let me finish my answer. I can see your mouth is wide open with your next question."

State Department spokesman James P. Rubin who announced two months ago that he is quitting his job at the end of April and moving to London to "chill out" and raise a family with his wife, CNN news correspondent Christiane Amanpour to a reporter this week.

Business of president

Wonder about the leadership potential of a Gore, Bush or Buchanan administration?

Look no further than a successful company down the street and its management team. So encourages Leadership Success Institute Inc., which identifies three well-accepted management behaviors that separate effective, successful top managers from the "also-rans."

"A leader who acts according to these standards will produce results 180 degrees different than one who follows the political model that has been the primary mode of management in Washington in recent years," says Institute President Denis Orme.

"This does not mean ignoring politics awareness and use of political tools and influences is an essential skill of top management," he says. "It does mean managing for results rather than for perception or short-term advantage."

The three behaviors that make a successful leader:

• Avoid polarization, which tends to lock people into inaction. Focus instead on changing attitudes, a course to initiating decisive action.

• A bias toward action, rather than explanations for inaction. Create specific goal-setting, demanding accountability in progress toward these goals and effectiveness in assembling teams to carry out programs.

• The ability to exercise intense influence over the beliefs, values, behavior and, most importantly, the positive performance of others.

Confused in Cadillac

We can't begin to weigh the stack of mail we've received in recent weeks from disgruntled taxpayers all across America. And it's not paying Uncle Sam so many hard-earned dollars that has everybody upset as we approach Monday's tax-filing deadline:

"Dear Inside the Beltway," writes Paul Hornbogen of Cadillac, Mich. "I am writing this quick note to tell you I just finished my tax forms. I am by no means wealthy, but poor. There must be an easier way for any average American such as myself to fill out these forms. I believe in paying taxes, but for God's sake, these forms are truly the creation of some liberal. Why cannot there be a flat tax or simpler form?"

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