- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 19, 2000

'Gut instinct'

"Senator John McCain will go to South Carolina … to say he 'made a mistake' during his presidential campaign," Katie Couric reported yesterday on NBC's "Today."
Howard Fineman of Newsweek told NBC viewers that Mr. McCain will appear today in South Carolina to say "that the mistake he made was following George W. Bush's plan to stay silent on this very important symbolic racial issue" of the Confederate flag that flies over the South Carolina Statehouse.
Mr. McCain whose Confederate ancestors owned an antebellum plantation in the Mississippi Delta region believes he "should have followed his gut instinct, which was to come out against flying the flag from the dome," Mr. Fineman said.

Carpetbag cash

"Virtually all the unregulated 'soft money' raised by Hillary Rodham Clinton this year came from out-of-state residents," Robert Hardt Jr. and Deborah Orin report in the New York Post.
"Of the $1.39 million she has collected since January," the Post reports, "only $81,000 was contributed by New Yorkers."
Among Mrs. Clinton's soft-money donors: Movie star Tom Hanks, $5,000, and Grammy-winning music producer Quincy Jones, $10,000.

Al the Duck

At a Beverly Hills fund-raising event Saturday with Vice President Al Gore, President Clinton "heaped perhaps the most lavish praise that a president has ever showered upon his understudy," but "it seemed next to impossible for Gore to outshine the big guy," Edwin Chen and Elizabeth Shogren observed yesterday in the Los Angeles Times.
In his speech, Mr. Gore told the show-business crowd that the possibility of George W. Bush winning the White House "would be like a bunch of investors in your industry saying, Well, let's get rid of the team that made [Academy Award winner] 'American Beauty' and get the ones that made 'Howard The Duck,' " a notorious 1986 flop.
But "Howard the Duck" was produced by "Star Wars" legend George Lucas, and Mr. Gore's remark "caused some chuckles and plenty of buzz among an audience that seemed surprised by the slap."
Among the celebrities in the audience was Ron Howard, whose career got a major boost when Mr. Lucas cast him in 1973's "American Graffiti"
In his own speech, Mr. Clinton made jokes at Mr. Gore's expense and remarked: "I actually liked 'Howard the Duck.' "

FEC disses suit

The Federal Election Commission yesterday dismissed a complaint by the presidential campaign of George W. Bush against a Web site that parodies the Texas governor.
The Bush campaign filed the complaint against Zack Exley of Somerville, Mass., and the Web site he started, www.gwbush.com.
In dismissing the complaint the FEC said it found "no evidence of serious intent" to violate campaign laws and considered the matter "less significant relative to other matters pending before the commission," Reuters news agency reported.
Mr. Bush's official Web site is www.georgewbush.com.

Scalia disses Congress

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia yesterday chastised Congress for enacting provisions that allow quick court review of new laws that push "the edge of the constitutional envelope."
"I think that is disturbing because it indicates that Congress is increasingly abdicating its independent responsibility to be sure that it is being faithful to the Constitution," the justice told a telecommunications symposium sponsored by Michigan State University, according to the Associated Press.
"My court is fond of saying that acts of Congress come to the court with the presumption of constitutionality," Mr. Scalia said. "But if Congress is going to take the attitude that it will do anything it can get away with and let the Supreme Court worry about the Constitution … then perhaps that presumption is unwarranted."

Y'all come

Defying the NAACP's tourism boycott of South Carolina, the newly formed Southern Party will hold its national convention June 30 and July 1 in Charleston, S.C.
"Please join us in the marvelous festivities we are putting together to celebrate the rebirth of the South's political effort to regain independence and self determination through the ballot box," the party announced on its Web site, www.southernparty.org.
Among the party's aims are "to defend the proud heritage of Dixie from attack," with the ultimate goal of "a free and independent Dixie."

Democrat sues Bush

Texas Gov. George W. Bush has been named a defendant in a lawsuit by the fired head of the Texas Funeral Service Commission.
Eliza May accuses Mr. Bush of impeding an investigation of a company that had given him campaign contributions, Jim Vertuno of the Associated Press reports.
Miss May, former Texas Democratic Party treasurer, claims she lost her job over an investigation of Houston-based Service Corporation International. She filed her wrongful termination lawsuit last year and amended it on Monday to include Mr. Bush.
The lawsuit accuses the Republican presidential candidate of conspiring to interfere with the agency's 1998 investigation of the company.
Service Corporation International, one of the world's largest funeral home and cemetery operators, is headed by Robert Waltrip, who contributed $45,000 to Mr. Bush's gubernatorial campaigns, according to the lawsuit.
Mr. Waltrip also served as a trustee for the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station and donated more than $100,000 through his company toward construction.
"Their claims pertaining to the governor are feeble and of no merit," said Mr. Bush's spokesman, Mike Jones.

GOP MIA?

Is there a Republican Party in Massachusetts?
"The GOP has encountered such a dearth of candidates … that to date only one of the state's 10 Democratic House members … faces a Republican challenger who has ever run for elective office," reports Bob Hohler in the Boston Globe.
Among the Massachusetts Democrats getting a free pass from the GOP is Rep. Martin T. Meehan, who is seeking re-election to a fifth term after reneging on a 1992 promise to limit himself to four terms in the House.
Mr. Meehan "appears poised to win a fifth term in November without serious Republican opposition, and perhaps no general election opponent at all," Mr. Hohler writes. "With less than a month to go before the May 9 filing deadline for the 2000 federal elections, state Republican leaders harbor little hope of running established candidates against more than one or two Democratic incumbents."

Revolution is over

The anarchists and others who came to town protesting the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank weren't really radical, according to one veteran of the 1960s protest movement.
"This is not a demonstration," said Vladimir Budney, who was a one-man counterdemonstration Sunday. "This is a rock concert held at the expense of the local population."
Mr. Budney, who had a long, white beard and gave his age as "over 50," carried a sign that said "Stop A16 Anarchy," which someone tried to burn. A16 was the name of the umbrella effort to close down the IMF meeting.
"I'm asking them to go back to Berkeley and Seattle," he told Frederic J. Frommer of the Associated Press.
A veteran of the civil rights marches in the '60s, Mr. Budney lectured one young protester outside a police barricade near George Washington University: "A political demonstration is when you get a bunch of people together, and you influence a member of Congress, and you get a bill introduced."
The "radical" tactics of the anti-IMF protesters were obsolete, Mr. Budney told AP.
"The revolution is over," he said. "[Former Soviet leader] Mikhail Gorbachev abandoned it."

'Except better looking'

The next generation of Bushes made its debut on the front page of the New York Times yesterday, as Frank Bruni profiled George P. Bush.
George P., 23, the eldest son of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, is campaigning for his uncle, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
George P.'s middle initial is for Prescott, after his great-grandfather, the late Connecticut Sen. Prescott Bush.
A graduate of Rice University in Houston, George P. taught high school in Florida for a year but now lives in Brentwood, Calif., and hopes to attend law school.
Mr. Bruni notes that George P.'s "mother, Columba, is Mexican," and that George P. was one of the grandchildren to whom then-Vice President George Bush referred to in 1988 as "the little brown ones."
George P. Bush has grown into a handsome young man. One of uncle George W's campaign aides told Mr. Bruni, "He's like Ricky Martin, except better-looking… . Chicks ate him up."

Robert Stacy McCain can be reached at 202/636-3249 or by e-mail at mccain@twtmail.com.

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