- The Washington Times - Friday, August 25, 2000

Ad axed

Texas Gov. George W. Bush yesterday praised a decision by Republicans to drop plans for a television ad questioning Vice President Al Gore and President Clinton's truthfulness.
"I don't think it's appropriate to challenge the man's credibility in that context," the Republican presidential nominee told reporters on his campaign plane.
The ad, which had been sent to television stations across the country, featured a 1994 interview in which Mr. Gore is questioned about calling Iran-Contra figure Oliver North a "pathological liar."
In the interview, the vice president is asked whether he and Mr. Clinton have always told the truth and Mr. Gore answers that they have.
But at the 11th hour, the Associated Press reports, Bush advisers and Republican National Committee officials objected to the spot.

'In the worst way'

Vice President Al Gore has a credibility problem, according to Democratic pollster Pat Caddell.

Mr. Gore's populist "fight for working families" rhetoric is "powerful," Mr. Caddell concedes, but doesn't match the Gore record.

"You might ask, where was the candidate who really believed that message?" Mr. Caddell said Tuesday on MSNBC's "Hardball."

"You had during this convention … you had tobacco companies, oil companies, including Occidental [which] by the way, Mr. Gore has an interest in … and pharmaceutical companies up the gazoo hosting him parties and giving him money at the Democratic convention, all while Gore is doing this. And … they're laughing up their sleeve. They know it's a joke. The only people who don't know yet are the American people," Mr. Caddell said.

"The problem is credibility, and the question is: When is the media going to start saying, 'You can't just get away with … reinventing yourself or making this up while you're taking millions of dollars in the back room'?"

Mr. Caddell says Mr. Gore's rhetoric is "really fraudulent in the worst way."

Al accepts

Vice President Al Gore has accepted an invitation from Judicial Watch to appear in an Oct. 20 presidential debate on the topic, "How to restore ethics to government."
Judicial Watch is a conservative public-interest law firm that has frequently done battle with the Clinton administration.
In a letter dated Aug. 22 which says nothing about the ethics in government topic Lisa A. Berg, director of scheduling for the Gore campaign wrote: "We believe that the American people would benefit from a robust series of debates. We accept your invitation to debate Governor Bush at a mutually convenient time."

Blame-game campaign

Republicans say it's because the Democrats can't field a team. Democrats say it's because they are too busy campaigning.
Either way, the annual softball game between the Republican National Committee (RNC) and the Democratic National Committee (DNC), scheduled for last night, is indefinitely postponed, the Associated Press reports.
Democrats say the RNC gave them only 24 hours' notice.
"We want to make sure that our all-star team is up to playing their 'Bush league' team," said Rick Hess, DNC spokesman and third baseman.
Republicans say the date was picked six months ago.
"I guess if the Democrats can't field candidates, how could they field a ball team?" asked RNC Chairman Jim Nicholson. "The Democrats have proven once again that they will do or say anything even when it comes to softball."

'Perfectly sane'

"Ezola Foster, Pat Buchanan's running mate on the Reform Party ticket, collected workers' compensation for nearly a year for a mental disorder she now says she did not have," the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday.
"Foster applied for workers' compensation in 1996, shortly after refusing to return to her job as a typing teacher at Bell High School," staff writer Doug Smith reported.
Mrs. Foster, 62, told the paper the "real reason she could not return to work … was that her outspoken opposition to illegal immigration had made her a target of what she claimed was hate-mongering and physical threats at an overwhelmingly Latino school."
She said her problems stemmed from a 1996 appearance on PBS' "The MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour" when she blamed illegal immigration for overcrowding in Los Angeles schools. Critics "called me a racist, a liar… . They called me a Nazi," she said.
Her doctor agreed to a diagnosis of a mental disorder that allowed her to receive benefits after she left the school, according to the newspaper.
"I am perfectly sane," said Mrs. Foster.

Steal this column

Dick Morris' advice to George W. Bush: Steal Al's issues.
"Bush has the edge on personality. Al Gore is ahead on issues. Gore can't steal Bush's personality. But Bush sure can steal Gore's issues," Mr. Morris writes in his New York Post column.
Noting that the vice president claimed "I am my own man" during the Democratic convention, Mr. Morris suggests:
"There is no reason why Bush cannot systematically steal all of Gore's differentiating issues. W. need not be locked in by the position of his party's majority in Congress. He is, after all, his own man, too."

Bishop battle

There's been a flap among Episcopalians about Washington Bishop Jane Dixon, appearing at last week's Democratic National Convention to boost the presidential hopes of Vice President Al Gore, according to Virtuosity, a conservative Episcopal Web site (www.virtuosity.bizland.com).
"It is one thing for Citizen Jane to support Mr. Gore," wrote David Virtue, "but it is quite another matter when she, as a bishop, dons the cloth and publicly supports a political candidate."
A call to Bishop Dixon's office near the Washington Cathedral reveals she moderated a prime-time group of panelists offering their memories of Mr. Gore. He is a family friend of Bishop Dixon, who attended college with his older sister, Nancy.
Still, Mr. Virtue asks, what if a conservative Episcopal bishop Bishop Dixon is quite liberal had made a similar appearance at the Republican convention?
"The screams of outrage would be heard for miles around and years to come," he writes. "When Pat Robertson endorsed the Republican Party, the authorities yanked his tax-exempt status. Pray tell me, what's the difference when Calamity Jane does the same thing? Why doesn't the government step in and yank the tax-exempt status of the Episcopal Church?"

Buchanan on ballot

State election officials in Iowa drew Pat Buchanan's name from a bowl yesterday, handing him a victory in one of many battles over who will be listed on states' ballots under the Reform Party banner in November.
"God was with us," shouted Edward Moses, a Buchanan backer, after Secretary of State Chet Culver drew the candidate's name from the glass bowl.
Both Mr. Buchanan and John Hagelin claim the party's national nomination and had sought to be listed on the Iowa ballot as the Reform candidate. Mr. Culver determined that he'd settle the issue by lot, with the winner listed as the Reform Party candidate and the loser going on the ballot as "nominated by petition," according to the Associated Press.

Bush ad blitz coming

The Republican National Committee is preparing to saturate the TV airwaves in nine states next week with about $5 million in ads boosting Texas Gov. George W. Bush.
That's on top of the $5 million that the Bush campaign plans to spend itself as the presidential ad war escalates.
Vice President Al Gore's Democratic campaign is already spending more than $5 million per week and the Democratic National Committee has already spent $30 million this summer $10 million more than the RNC.
The RNC is set to go with the new spot Monday.
Republican officials believe that the seven states where the upcoming RNC ad will run will be hard-fought through Election Day: Arkansas, Delaware, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin.
Republicans hope the other two states, Louisiana and Missouri, can be put safely into Mr. Bush's column with an early, aggressive ad buy.

Rim shot

NBC "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno: "George W. Bush said today that if he is elected, he will spend $5 billion to teach kids to read by the third grade. Here in California, we already have a billion-dollar plan to teach third-grade reading. We call it the 12th grade."

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

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