- The Washington Times - Friday, April 14, 2000

Bush, McCain to meet

Texas Gov. George W. Bush and John McCain will meet in Pittsburgh May 9 for the first time since the Arizona senator folded his Republican presidential candidacy.

"Of course I want his support, but I don't know if it will happen as a result of the meeting," Mr. Bush told reporters Thursday in Austin, Texas. "John wants to visit. I want to visit."

Speaking to reporters, Mr. McCain said, "I'm sure we'll have a fruitful discussion," including possible ways of helping out in the Republican campaign.

Asked whether he hopes to address the party convention this summer, he said, "that's a decision Governor Bush will make."

Mr. McCain has already pledged to support the nominee of his party, but has said the enthusiasm he puts into the effort will depend in part on Mr. Bush's willingness to adopt elements of the senator's "reform agenda."

Mr. McCain has begun campaigning for Republican candidates for the House and Senate, and in a separate announcement during the day, his office said he would travel to Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey over the next two days on behalf of Republican congressional hopefuls, the Associated Press reports.

Gore's foreword

Vice President Al Gore refuses to back away from the apocalyptic warnings in his 1992 book, "Earth in the Balance," the Los Angeles Times reports, citing a foreword Mr. Gore has written for a new edition to be published on Earth Day, April 22.

"Far from softening his controversial views on the environment, Gore warned that, unless the trend is halted, sea levels could rise high enough to cause 'a catastrophic mutation in our physical and human geography,' " reporter Edwin Chen writes.

"Gore makes these and other potentially controversial assertions including a spirited defense of his advocacy of abolishing the internal combustion engine in a new and wide-ranging foreword to his 1992 book, 'Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit,' which is about to be reissued."

The reporter added: "Its publication will be a sharp reminder that the environment looms as perhaps the trickiest issue confronting not only Gore but also Texas Gov. George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential campaign forcing both men to engage in the sort of complex calibrations usually reserved for three-dimensional chess."

President Reno

"The two hottest issues in America right now are Elian Gonzalez and Microsoft and, on both, Bill Clinton is acting as if the president's name was Janet Reno," the New York Post's Deborah Orin writes.

"Profile in courage? Bully pulpit? Clinton is acting like a bystander while the buck stops at Reno's desk," Miss Orin said in a column Thursday.

"If anything goes wrong, he'll let her catch the flak for him just like she did with the Waco disaster that killed more than 30 people."

Miss Orin added: "Can anyone imagine Ronald Reagan or, for that matter, Jimmy Carter or Harry Truman hiding behind his attorney general?"

Ridge: Remove plank

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, a possible vice-presidential choice for Texas Gov. George W. Bush, believes the uncompromising anti-abortion plank in the official Republican platform is hurting his party.

In an interview Wednesday with Reuters reporter Alan Elsner, Mr. Ridge said he would prefer to see the plank either dropped or at least revised to express respect for the views of those in the Republican Party who support abortion rights.

"I think there is a significant minority within the party that would either like it removed from the platform or at least a recognition that decent, God-fearing people don't always have the same view on this," Mr. Ridge said.

"The fact that it fails to recognize that good people could differ is not the best kind of signal that you would want to send in my judgment," he said.

The Republican platform calls for the passage of an amendment to the Constitution declaring that life is sacred and begins at conception. Such an amendment would outlaw all abortions without exceptions.

Mr. Ridge, a second-term governor, has attracted considerable attention as a possible running mate for Mr. Bush because of his popularity in a key swing state.

Although Mr. Ridge is pro-choice on the abortion issue, he supports a ban on partial-birth abortions. He also supports requiring parental consent for abortions for minors and enforced waiting periods and opposes any use of government funds for abortions.

Giuliani ahead

New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has moved back ahead of Hillary Rodham Clinton in the latest poll, but within the margin of error.

The survey by Zogby International found the mayor leading the first lady, 45 percent to 44 percent, which is within the poll's 3.8 percent margin of error.

Mr. Giuliani had fallen behind Mrs. Clinton in recent polls, apparently because of a backlash over the mayor's handling of the latest police shooting of an unarmed man. Those poll results were big news in the media, while the latest survey has been hardly noticed.

Million Mutt March

"The nation's capital is bracing for the Springtime Invasion of the Demonstrators," New York Times columnist William Safire observes.

"The corner outside my office is patrolled by helmeted cops ordered to smile at marchers while snarling traffic; barricades channel the flow of picketing, chanting paraders; windows are being boarded up by nervous restaurateurs," Mr. Safire writes.

"I love it. No dissident Chinese is allowed to protest in Tiananmen Square, and no apathetic Russian can be moved to hold up a sign in Red Square, but the streets around the White House are filled with Americans espousing their causes."

In addition to the current protests against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Mr. Safire cited the upcoming Earth Day rally "hosted by the ABC news hawk Leonardo DiCaprio," the homosexual "Millennium March for Equality," the "Million Mom March," and the "Million Mutt March." The latter event, Mr. Safire's favorite, will promote adoption of mixed-breed dogs. The columnist noted that nowhere near a million mutts will show up, but "it's just the alliteration every march now needs."

Newspaper reader

President Clinton, responding Thursday to a question at a meeting of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, said he gets most of his news through newspapers rather than traditional television networks.

"I hate to say this it will get me in trouble with the networks … and I need the exposure still. But because of my schedule, usually my only source of news is the newspaper," he said.

"Normally I'm not home at the time of the evening news, but I watch CNN a lot because I can get it any time of the day or night," he said.

A resurgence in newspapers' importance could be driven by new discoveries in human genetics and other technologies, where the impact is too complex to be presented in other news media, he added.

"In a funny way even if you feel beleaguered now, the nature of what is unfolding may make newspapers and old-fashioned newspaper work more important in the next few years," he said.

Connecticut poll

Vice President Al Gore has moved ahead of Texas Gov. George W. Bush in Connecticut, according to a presidential poll released Thursday.

The Quinnipiac College Poll found that Mr. Gore has taken a 48 percent to 39 percent lead over Mr. Bush. In February, the race was considered a dead heat among Connecticut voters, while in October 1999 Mr. Bush led Mr. Gore.

"What seems to be helping Gore is that people perceive him as doing a better job on the issues that they care most about health care and education," said Douglas Schwartz, poll director.

"Clearly, Bush was bloodied in his tough [Republican] primary fight with [Arizona Sen. John] McCain," Mr. Schwartz said. "He has lost his lead over Gore in both New Jersey and Connecticut both battleground states.

"Bush's turn to the right appears to have hurt him with independents and Democrats in Connecticut," Mr. Schwartz added.

Quinnipiac College in Hamden, Conn., surveyed 950 Connecticut registered voters between April 5 and 10. The survey had a 3.2 percent margin of error.

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