- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 30, 2000

White male voters

"The good news for Gore in post-convention polling is that he has made dramatic inroads among women. The bad news is that, depending on the survey, he has made little or virtually no progress among men," Los Angeles Times reporter Ronald Brownstein writes.

"Gore advisers say their private polling shows him gaining ground with both men and women. But most public surveys found Bush retaining daunting leads among men, especially white men, even as women moved sharply toward Gore," Mr. Brownstein said.

" 'For white men, nothing happened at the [Democratic] convention,' said Republican pollster Bill McInturff.

"The post-convention Gallup survey showed Bush still leading Gore by 26 percentage points among white men; a survey last week for the Republican National Committee by McInturff's firm put Bush's lead among this group at 29 points. By comparison, Clinton lost white men by just 3 points in 1992 and 11 in 1996, according to network exit polls.

"As Clinton's numbers show, Gore doesn't need to win among white men no Democratic nominee has done so in more than three decades. But if Gore can't reduce Bush's towering lead among men, the vice president will need to sustain a double-digit advantage among women to prevail.

"In the end that may be difficult against Bush whose focus on education, and generally moderate tone, could make him an effective competitor for women's votes."

Close contest

"This race is settling down into a close contest and is likely to muddle along until something defines it, maybe the debates," G. Terry Madonna, a polling analyst at Millersville University in Pennsylvania, says of the presidential campaign.

The analyst made the comments to USA Today reporter Richard Benedetto, in the wake of the latest USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll, taken Friday through Sunday. It showed Republican George W. Bush leading Democrat Al Gore, 46 percent to 45 percent, a statistical dead heat.

The survey of 664 voters had a 4 percent margin of error. Green Party candidate Ralph Nader had 3 percent, while Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan had 1 percent.

Buchanan says OK

Pat Buchanan yesterday accepted an invitation from Judicial Watch to join a presidential debate on restoring ethics in government.

The Reform Party candidate joins Vice President Al Gore and Constitution Party candidate Howard Phillips in agreeing to the offer from the conservative legal-watchdog group.

Mr. Gore surprised some observers when his campaign gave the OK last week.

"Now that Vice President Gore, Patrick J. Buchanan, Howard Phillips and others have accepted or are about to accept Judicial Watch's invitation, this makes it all the more likely that George W. Bush will do so as well, particularly since he could not be seen to be dodging a debate of how to restore ethics to government, given his party's criticism of the Democratic Clinton-Gore White House over the past 7 and 1/2 years," said Larry Klayman, chairman of Judicial Watch.

Looking out for No. 1

"The tensions between the Al Gore and Hillary Rodham Clinton camps are mounting as Labor Day looms and the serious campaigning begins," New York Post columnist Neal Travis writes.

"I suppose it was inevitable, given the differences between the national race Gore is running and Hillary's more focused Senate attempt," Mr. Travis said.

"This week, for example, Gore strategists are planning to move a lot of his volunteers and paid staffers out of New York and into swing states such as New Jersey and New Hampshire. The latest polls confirm that Al has New York in his pocket, so why spend more time and money here?

"But Hillary, locked in a statistical dead heat with Rick Lazio, wants and needs all the help that she can get. The attitude is that Gore's workers in New York could be giving her a hand rather than dashing off to other states.

"It's the same with Gore's running mate, Sen. Joe Lieberman. Hillary would love to have him heavily stumping with her here, but her campaign has been bluntly told that Joe is needed in the swing states. 'The Clintons always looked out for No. 1, and now it's our turn to do the same,' says one Gore adviser."

'A no-brainer'

The Republican Leadership Council, an independent group that sees itself as the voice of centrism in the party, yesterday urged Texas Gov. George W. Bush to embrace the prescription-drug proposal sponsored by two Republican senators.

The plan, which RLC Chairman Scott Reed said was originally developed by his group, is being put forward by New Hampshire Sen. Robert C. Smith and Colorado Sen. Wayne Allard.

"One of the most respected independent pollsters in America, John Zogby, has found the RLC's prescription-drug plan beats the Clinton-Gore plan by 40 points," Mr. Reed said in a prepared statement. "It keeps Bush and the Republicans independent from the big drug companies and doesn't raise anyone's taxes. This is a no-brainer."

Mr. Bush has promised to unveil a prescription-drug plan next week.

Man of few words

Richard B. Cheney says he's a "man of few words" who prefers low-key campaign events without a lot of hoopla, unlike his Democratic rival.

"It's sort of in keeping with my quiet, low-key demeanor," the Republican vice-presidential candidate said yesterday after brief remarks to a Christian athletic group in Kansas City, Mo. "I come from the West, a man of few words."

His appearance at the national headquarters of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes was quiet, organized and relatively brief. Attended by about 75 people, it had no flag-waving crowds or campaign slogans shouted through a bullhorn, Associated Press writer Karen Gullo reports.

Mr. Cheney said he learned to be brief when he served in the House, where speech is limited. "Joe's from Connecticut, comes from the Senate where they make a lot longer speeches," he said, referring to Democratic vice-presidential candidate Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman.

Yabba dabba doo

Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joseph I. Lieberman used cartoon characters yesterday to contrast this year's presidential candidates, casting Republican George W. Bush as "The Flintstones" bumbling simpleton Barney Rubble and suggesting he doesn't understand the economy.

"America cannot afford to have a president in the 21st century who doesn't understand the terrain of the new economy," the Democratic vice-presidential candidate said in a speech to more than 2,000 union workers in Anaheim, Calif.

Mr. Lieberman did not mention Mr. Bush by name, but his speech fell into a Democratic strategy of painting the Texas governor as an intellectual lightweight, Associated Press writer Brigitte Greenberg said.

"It's just this simple: We as a nation cannot afford to make Barney Rubble investments in a George Jetson world," said Mr. Lieberman, referring to old cartoon series about Stone Age and Space Age families.

Others flaunt it, too

The head of the Anti-Defamation League, which criticized Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman on Monday for "flaunting" his religion, broadened the scope of his attack yesterday.

In an interview with Reuters news agency, ADL National Director Abraham Foxman also cited Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. George W. Bush and the Democratic presidential candidate, Vice President Al Gore, for inappropriately invoking religious faith in their campaigns.

"It began with Governor Bush, Vice President Gore and now Senator Lieberman, and there is the inclusion in the political process of almost 'vote for me because I believe in God,' " Mr. Foxman said. "This country was established not on freedom of the press, it was established on freedom of religion."

In December, Mr. Bush identified Jesus Christ as his favorite philosopher during a debate with his Republican primary opponents. Mr. Gore described himself as a "born-again Christian" on the CBS News program "60 Minutes."

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