- The Washington Times - Friday, August 4, 2000

Governor Goofy?
Minnesota Republican Chairman Ron Eibensteiner refuses to apologize for calling Gov. Jesse Ventura "goofy" in his remarks to the convention.
In Tuesday's roll call of the states, Mr. Eibensteiner introduced the Minnesota delegation as being from described Minnesota as the "the land of 10,000 lakes and one goofy governor."
Mr. Ventura saw it as disrespectful and he challenged Mr. Eibensteiner to call him that to his face.
"It was meant to stir things up a little," Mr. Eibensteiner said today. "But I meant it. I do think he's goofy."

Introducing …
Laura Bush stole a moment in the sun today at a Republican women's salute for her, and in a twist, her husband had the honor of introducing her.
The Texas first lady, a former librarian and school teacher, was recognized for her work to promote childhood learning and family reading in her state.
"My experience as a mom and as an elementary school teacher taught me how smart children really are, how eager they are to learn and how easily we can fail them … if we don't have high expectations," said Mrs. Bush, at the tribute by the National Federation of Republican Women.
A cardboard prop book displaying her name and rows of school-age children framed the stage.
She was introduced by her husband, who called his wife a great mother "and if all goes well, a fabulous first lady for America."
He also praised her convention keynote hours before delivering his own: "Laura certainly raised the bar, if you know what I mean."

The "I" word
U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde of Illinois, who led the House impeachment proceedings, is happy that the issue has largely been ignored at the convention.
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said discussions of President Clinton's impeachment would validate Democratic claims that the whole issue was political.
"It had nothing to do with politics. It had everything to do with the Constitution," he said.
Mr. Hyde said vice-presidential nominee Dick Cheney handled the issue appropriately by talking about the need to restore integrity to the White House.
"I don't think you can reasonably expect the question of integrity in the White House to be a non-issue. It's THE issue, and so someone has to bring it up," he said.

No snub intended
In a departure from recent conventions, the Republican presidential ticket failed to speak to the California delegation.
But campaign strategists say nothing should be read into the decision.
"We're coming to California and we're going to win," said Karl Rove, chief strategist for George W. Bush, as California delegates cheered him today.
Mr. Rove and Bush international affairs adviser Condoleezza Rice were among several Bush surrogates, assuring them the campaign is committed to winning the state.
The week before the convention, the campaign spent $1 million on California advertising. Mr. Bush plans a two-day campaign visit next week.
Skipping California GOP events is nothing new for Mr. Bush. He missed the last three state party conventions, the most recent in February during the primaries.
Four years ago, native son and vice-presidential nominee Jack Kemp got an enthusiastic ovation from the delegation. Dan Quayle spoke to the delegation in 1992, after being chosen too late for a talk in 1988.
Arizona Sen. John McCain spoke to the California delegation Monday.
In late June, a Field Poll found Democrat Al Gore with a lead in California of 46 percent of those surveyed to 35 percent for Mr. Bush. In late July, a statewide San Francisco Examiner/KTVU poll by Research 2000 found Mr. Gore ahead 44 percent to 37 percent.
President Clinton won California by more than 13 percent in each of his elections, but the Bush campaign released a poll in mid-June that said Mr. Bush and Mr. Gore were in a virtual tie.
Going home
Retiring U.S. Sen. Connie Mack said today he would not be particularly interested in working in a George W. Bush administration should the Texas governor win the presidency.
Mr. Mack calls himself a big Bush backer, but he's ready to go home to Florida.
"My intents are not to be part of the administration," he said before speaking to Florida delegates at the convention. "I've made the decision to step down from politics."
Mr. Mack, the featured speaker at the delegation's breakfast, said he and his wife, Priscilla, are building a new house on Palm Island off the Southwest Florida coast.
"Priscilla's already moved back," he said.
Mr. Mack, 59, and his wife and daughter are all cancer survivors, and he said he intends to continue advocating medical research.
He also plans to enjoy watching his son, also named Connie Mack, begin a career in politics.
"I'm going to have to get used to being referred to as Connie Mack's father," he told the delegates. The younger Mack is running for a Broward County seat in the state House.

Never mind
A Bellevue-based Internet voting company was hired to count floor votes at the GOP national convention, but the convention was so lacking in controversy it wasn't needed.
"It seemed to be a very well-scripted convention," said VoteHere.net President and CEO Jim Adler. "That's probably why they didn't want to press the system into use."
Platform debates were settled before most delegates arrived here and convention organizers carefully avoided controversy this week, the better to push the campaign messages of presidential nominee George W. Bush.
"This is a Bush convention," said U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt of Spokane. "It's a fun time. This is a convention, it isn't Congress."
Some delegates, including Sharon Bumala of Battle Ground, wish there had been reason to power up VoteHere.net's system and let the delegates have their say.
"I would still like to see the grassroots have more of a role rather than have everything be orchestrated," Miss Bumala said. "It engages people more to be part of the system."
Despite the dearth of actual votes, VoteHere.net vice president of governmental affairs Deborah Brunton kept busy campaigning for Internet voting among delegates and elected officials.

Love is in the air
Call it Political Love Fest 2000.
Connecticut Republicans are finding that the once stiff Republican Partry has, well, mellowed out. So much so, they say, the convention is more akin to a love fest than a slugfest.
Not only are Republicans trying to be more inviting to minorities and other groups, they also want to defuse the fiery political debates that marked conventions of the past.
"A lot of times at a convention you see floor fights, arguments among delegates, raised voices and pushing," said delegate Vincent Caprio of Milford, Conn.
"Now everybody is getting along," he said. "People are hugging each other. People are kissing each other. Everybody is dancing in the aisles. It's been like a retreat."
Connecticut Republicans said the GOP has too often been portrayed as the party of "grumpy old men" or an exclusive group of "country club" big shots. They said they want to hold on to core values but present a more sensitive approach.
"If anyone came here hoping to hear heated political debate take place on the floor, it didn't happen," said delegation member Scott Douglass of Durham, Conn. "Don't think of this party in the stereotypical terms anymore."

Dressed to impress
Michigan alternate delegate Betty Norlin's sequined red-white-and-blue shirt fit right in with the balloons, campaign buttons and political ties at the Convention.
But her convention outfit was tame compared to some of the garb at earlier GOP conventions, where Michigan delegates decked out in zany hats, blinking pins and campaign signs made their political allegiances known.
Michigan GOP Chairman Rusty Hills agrees some of the more bizarre political outfits have disappeared as the party has outgrown the divisions it faced at earlier conventions.
"We don't have quite as many of the funny hat crowd," he said.
For the past 30 years, struggles between moderates and conservatives for control of the state GOP always had a few delegates looking for ways to proclaim their differences.
In 1988, the Michigan GOP convention delegation headed to New Orleans split between backers of George Bush, Jack Kemp and Pat Robertson; in 1996, Pat Buchanan delegates refused to fall in step with delegates backing Bob Dole.
This year, with the divisions between George W. Bush and John McCain supporters largely smoothed over and Mr. Bush calling for a more tolerant party stance, the hats and stickers and signs indicating internal disagreements have largely been kept out of sight.

Couric on Cheney
NBC "Today" show anchor Katie Couric this morning called Dick Cheney's acceptance speech "nasty," unaware that he used Al Gore's own words from 1992, a media watchdog group reports.
"Mild-mannered Dick Cheney: Who knew?" Miss Couric said, offering her on-air assessment to Tim Russert, who reminded her that Mr. Cheney's barb "It's time for them to go" was a verbatim slap at Republicans from Mr. Gore's 1992 convention address.
The Media Research Center said a review of "Today"'s July 17, 1992, airing found no complaints about Mr. Gore negativity after his speech. In fact, NBC's Margaret Larson called Mr. Gore "impassioned," the center reports.

Call it a bargain
Don't know how to celebrate next year's inauguration? The Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C., is offering a four-day sybaritic experience of Bill Gates-ian proportions.
"This package will appeal to a couple who enjoys indulging themselves in luxury and wants to mark the election of the first new president of the millennium in a memorable way," Ritz-Carlton General Manager James McBride said in a press release.
For just $150,000, a party-going couple will:
Travel by private jet from anywhere in the United States to Washington, D.C., where a 24-hour on-call chauffeur and butler will meet them.
Have a personal massage therapist on call 24 hours a day, offering a choice of Thai, Balinese, Chinese, Japanese and Swedish massage.
Receive a new $20,000 set of Louis Vuitton luggage.
Enjoy a lifetime membership for two at the new country club adjacent to the hotel.
Have a 25-person Cristal champagne and beluga caviar reception in the suite or a private dining room in the hotel's restaurant, Kobalt.
By the way, the package of perks was first offered in 1988 during President George Bush's inauguration for $15,000.

Handmade but not homemade
The convention script included "handmade" delegate signs painted by volunteers and 150,000 balloons timed to drop from the ceiling at just the right time.
Hours before today's final session, young volunteers carefully placed signs on delegate chairs. Handmade, yes, but not homemade by the delegates: they were put together well in advance — 30,000 of them.
The GOP even made sure to put some home-state references on the signs, such as "Bush Rocks Pa" and "North Carolina 4 GWB."
Others had creative artwork. One sign in the Texas delegation read "Bush Grande" and featured a nice drawing of the Lone Star State capitol building. "Terps for Bush," a reference to the University of Maryland mascot, had two smiling, red-and-black terrapins.
Every base was covered. For California, one sign had a pagoda and the words: "Asians for Bush."
As for the balloons, they were filled by 200 local high school students using compressors, and then tied by hand.

Watts decries "intimidation"
Rep. J.C. Watts of Oklahoma today criticized as "shameful" a call for the Internal Revenue Service to investigate a black minister who endorsed Texas Gov. George W. Bush during the convention Monday night.
"As a black minister, I am disappointed at this politically motivated intimidation of another black minister who exercised his constitutionally guaranteed right to free political speech," Mr. Watts said in a press release.
The Rev. Herbert Lusk, pastor at Greater Exodus Baptist Church, appeared via video feed from inside the church Monday night to speak glowingly of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
"We are supporting Governor Bush, and we are supporting him because we know that he understands that we must give faith a chance," Mr. Lusk said, according to transcripts of the speech.
Churches and other nonprofit groups that are exempt from federal taxes under Section 501(c)(3) of the tax code cannot endorse or oppose candidates for public office. They risk losing that status if they do so.
Americans for Separation of Church and State, a watchdog group based in Washington, D.C., said in a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rossotti that the comments may warrant an investigation.
"It appears that Reverend Lusk has violated federal tax law by announcing that we, meaning his church, are supporting candidate Bush," said Barry Lynn, executive director of the group.
"This type of tactic — calling the IRS to question his church's tax-exempt status — is no less than shameful," Mr. Watts said. "How many complaints have they made about ministers endorsing [Vice President] Al Gore?"
IRS officials declined comment on the letter, but the agency recently warned nonprofit groups to be careful in getting into politics.

Bush beads
First things first: They are not Mardi Gras beads. They may look like them, but they are not, Louisiana convention delegates quickly say.
They are "Bush Beads," red, white and blue plastic beads that light up.
"They cause a lot of comments," alternate delegate Joyce LaCour of Gonzales shouted from the convention floor last night. "Besides, if the lights go out, I can see my way up the stairs."
The beads are made by the New Orleans-based company, WTMG, short for We're Talking Mardi Gras. Company officials are in Philadelphia this week, selling the beads for $10 a piece at PoliticalFest, an extravaganza for political junkies. Chief operations officer Robert Day says he has sold and given away about 2,500 strands.
"I wear them because people immediately know I am from Louisiana," said Louis Perret, the Lafayette Parish Clerk of Court and an alternate delegate.
"While this may be a hot item," he said pointing to his pass to get him onto the convention floor, "these are even hotter," he said, thumbing the strand.
But don't call them Mardi Gras beads.
"They are not Mardi Gras colors," Miss LaCour said.
Traditional Mardi Gras beads are green, gold and purple.

Maneuvering
Theodore Roosevelt IV may be the grandson of a famous Republican president, but a GOP congresswoman tried to keep him off the stage at the convention because of his ties to the League of Conservation Voters.
Outgoing Idaho Rep. Helen Chenoweth-Hage sent a letter to Republican National Committee Chairman Jim Nicholson to protest plans for the appearance by Mr. Roosevelt, saying he is involved in groups "whose policies are in direct opposition to Western Republican views."
"These groups have worked very hard in recent elections to defeat Western Republicans," she said.
Mrs. Chenoweth-Hage, a staunch conservative who chairs the House subcommittee on forest health, consistently ranks at the bottom of the scorecard for the League of Conservation Voters, which has worked to defeat her.
"I am concerned that in our party's enthusiasm to win the election, we may be taking the easy route by simply portraying what we think people want to hear rather than taking the more difficult route of explaining the serious and carefully considered policy differences," she said.
Mrs. Chenoweth-Hage is retiring at the end of this term and had to leave the convention on Monday due to illness.
She has been a leading critic of Clinton administration policies, especially reductions in logging, proposals to make national forests off limits to new roads and federal attempts to protect Northwest salmon.

Who is Becky Beach?
Now Becky Beach has proof positive that she's really somebody to George W. Bush.
A Bush supporter from Des Moines, Iowa, Miss Beach got a special nod Wednesday when the GOP presidential contender visited the First Union Center to practice his acceptance speech to the convention.
Mr. Bush strode to the podium and looked over a nearly empty arena.
"My fellow Americans, I accept your nomination," Mr. Bush intoned, getting a feel for the microphone and the center's expanse.
"And will Becky Beach please behave herself," he added playfully, looking over to the blue VIP section just above floor level.
"Now you know I'm not kidding about knowing them!" Miss Beach said excitedly as she and the few other people on hand stood to applaud.
During the convention, Miss Beach, 44, had the delicate job of assigning limited VIP seating to members of the extended Bush family, their friends, special guests, each evening's speakers and celebrities.

Rhode Island write-off?
Strategists with the campaign for George W. Bush briefed the Rhode Island delegation today, the day the Texas governor accepts the nomination at the convention.
U.S. Rep. John Porter of Illinois gave the presentation at a morning breakfast sponsored by his colleague, U.S. Sen. John H. Chafee of Rhode Island, who died last year.
Republicans acknowledge Mr. Bush has almost no chance of winning Rhode Island, where Democrats control the General Assembly and unions are strong.
President Clinton won the state in the last two general elections, trouncing Republican Bob Dole 60 percent to 27 percent in 1996. Democrats are well organized in Rhode Island, while Republicans make up just about 10 percent of registered voters.
John McCain won the state primary, largely on the strength of independents, who make up more than half of registered voters.
Delegate John Holmes, the former state GOP chairman, joked that the only way Mr. Bush could win Rhode Island was to pray.
"I think today, as we look at it, Rhode Island is certainly an uphill battle," Mr. Holmes said. "There's a chance, but the likelihood is small, because Rhode Island is pro-union and a moderate to liberal state."

Hollywood comes to town
Arnold Schwarzenegger playfully jabs at Muhammad Ali, and Michael J. Fox steps in to "separate" the two.
Some Hollywood glamour — and plenty of Hollywood attitude — came to convention city with a star-packed party that served as a fund-raiser for Mr. Fox's Foundation for Parkinson's Research.
The week's hottest party ticket bought contributors the sight of Mr. Ali and Mr. Fox, probably the two most identifiable celebrities who are suffering from Parkinson's Disease.
Mr. Fox seemed genuinely touched by the former heavyweight champion's attendance.
"His being my hero predates my having Parkinson's," he said this morning.
Actors William Baldwin, Delroy Lindo and Mr. Fox's former "Spin City" colleague, Richard Kind, mingled with politicians such as Sen. Orrin G. Hatch of Utah and former New York Sen. Alfonse M. D'Amato among shoes and handbags at a newly opened Kenneth Cole store.
It was no coincidence the fund raiser, sponsored by George magazine and the Creative Coalition, was held in Philadelphia during the convention.
"Given the nature of this problem, Parkinson's is a nonpartisan problem, but it's going to take a bipartisan solution," Mr. Fox said.
A crush of hundreds of people outside the Cole store kept police struggling to keep the street open, at least until a downpour drenched those waiting in line. Anyone lucky enough to get inside barely caught glimpses of the celebrities, who were hustled behind a curtain that burly guards kept pulling shut to foil peeping toms.

Party crasher
The Republican Party says it's welcoming newcomers, but at least one person need not apply for a spot in the Florida delegation.
Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader scored a floor pass at the GOP convention hall last night and staked out a place near the Florida delegation.
Delegation Chairman Al Cardenas told Mr. Nader to get lost.
"I said 'You're in my territory, this is Florida's delegation,'" Mr. Cardenas said. "'Unless you move to Florida … please leave.'"
Frank Biasco, a delegate from Pensacola, said Mr. Nader was doing a television interview in the Florida floor space and some of the nearby Floridians started to chant loudly to interfere with the interview.
"I thought it was unbelievable," Mr. Biasco said. "I don't know if the Green Party has a convention, but that's where he belongs unless he's ready to switch."
What did the delegation chant? "Bush! Bush! Bush!"
"Not very creative," Mr. Cardenas acknowledged. "But he got the message."

Networking
Lt. Gov. Corinne Wood's name was plastered everywhere — on posters, on T-shirts, on hats. She stood at the lectern surrounded by her husband and children. She spoke about freedom.
If this were taking place in Illinois, it would clearly be a campaign rally.
"We're in Philadelphia and it's a convention event," Mrs. Wood explains, slowly and firmly. "This is a convention party and nothing more."
Maybe she thinks so, but other Illinois delegates think Mrs. Wood is preparing to run for higher office — just like Attorney General Jim Ryan and perhaps Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka.
They aren't signing up volunteers or pressuring people for support, delegates say, but they are making valuable new contacts, cementing old relationships and quietly discussing their political futures.
"You're reinforcing relationships with county chairmen who are there. You're beginning to see who might be a district chairman or a county chairman for a campaign," Mr. Topinka said before the convention began.
Mr. Ryan acknowledges being intrigued by a possible run for governor if Gov. George Ryan steps aside — an issue raised again by a recent Chicago Tribune poll that found only one in five voters thought he should get a second term.
Mrs. Wood is more coy about her interests, leading to endless speculation on whether she would battle Jim Ryan or seek to replace him as attorney general or perhaps run for the Senate.

A scoop of politics
Once they were booze-filled bashes. Today, many Texas Republican gatherings feature waiters serving scoops of Dutch chocolate and butter pecan, not glasses of chardonnay and bottles of beer.
The ice cream social, that Southern summer tradition at family reunions and church yard gatherings, has made its way into politics.
"It's just in our blood," said Marjorie Ford, an alternate convention delegate from DeSoto, Texas.
As she used a little wooden spoon to nibble on two scoops of ice cream, Miss Ford explained that she doesn't drink. But she enjoys attending a party, and eating ice cream reminds her of childhood happiness.
"We loved homemade ice cream better than life itself," she said.
With religious conservatives gaining control of the Republican Party of Texas, non-alcohol receptions have grown in number. Even at the Republican parties this week where beer, wine and hard liquor were served, some Texans were seen sipping club soda or juice.
Baptists make up the largest religious denomination in the Texas delegation, with 26 percent, according to a survey of delegates by the Associated Press. Ninety-five of the 124 Texas delegates responded.
Catholics make up the next largest religious group, with 16 percent. Eleven percent reported they are non-denominational. Other faiths had less than 10 percent representation.
"Alcohol is not nearly as prevalent as it used to be," said Butch Davis, a delegate from Houston and a member of the Texas party's executive committee. "More ice cream socials and dessert things have been gaining popularity."

Let us pray
Before George W. Bush accepts the Republican nomination for president Thursday night, convention delegates had better pray.
It doesn't matter what they pray for — or even who they pray to, but an Alabama delegate insists they must start the session with a prayer. Otherwise, technically speaking, the day's business won't count.
Some would disagree with Perry Hooper Jr.'s analysis of a rule mandating a prayer and the pledge of allegiance before all official meetings at the convention.
But Mr. Hooper ought to know. He wrote the rule.
"It was just something I philosophically thought would be appropriate," said Mr. Hooper, who is a state representative. "I believe in the power of prayer."
Mr. Hooper introduced the mandate four years ago as a member of the rules committee. The committee concurred on a voice vote, and a nearly identical measure was approved again for this year's convention.
In practice, it doesn't change much. Republicans have long started most of their meetings the way Hooper prefers. On Tuesday, a rabbi did the honors for the main session. Yesterday, it was retired San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young.
"He codified what was already in practice," said Tom Yu, spokesman for the Republican National Committee.

Another George wades in
George Stephanopoulos has seen a few arched eyebrows as he walked through what was once enemy territory, but no tomatoes or profanities aimed in his direction.
The former Clinton White House aide now works for ABC News, and is assigned as a floor reporter at the GOP convention.
He wasn't frightened about how he'd be treated, but admitted to some apprehension.
"I am unbelievably grateful," he said. "I have never been so graciously received. Everyone says, 'Welcome to our convention, it so good to see you here.' There were a few [people saying] 'Have you switched?'
"Maybe it goes with the tone of the convention," he said. "Everyone has taken their nice pills."
Mr. Stephanopoulos said he went on a scavenger hunt to see if any delegates were ignoring the directive not to go negative. He said he couldn't find one anti-Clinton placard, or even a button attacking his ex-boss.
"As a former operative, I'm incredibly impressed with the political discipline of these people," he said.

Singing up a storm
Maybe Jon Secada should put in for overtime.
The Miami-based singer was stalking a stage at the Philadelphia Museum of Art yesterday, trying to pump up a crowd of Republicans and reporters there to see George W. Bush's first appearance in the convention city this week.
He encouraged a singalong to his song, "Just Another Day Without You," and received a meager response.
"Come on, y'all," Mr. Secada pleaded. "It's my biggest hit."
When the song was over, he was expecting to introduce the candidate's nephew, George P. Bush. Instead, the signal came from offstage to stretch. He sang two more songs.
"We could do three hours here," he said. "We'll keep it going 'til we got to stop."
How was he rewarded for his efforts?
When George W. Bush thanked him at the beginning of his speech, he pronounced the singer's name "Seh-cay-dah." Mr. Secada pronounces it "Seh-cah-dah."

Volunteer spirit
Call it the Great Cowbell Caper.
When the Texas delegation decided it wanted cowbells to ring when George W. Bush gets the presidential nomination, it turned to its Philadelphia Friends: four volunteers assigned to answer the group's every question and cater to every whim. A day later, the cowbells were in hand.
It was a lot tougher than it sounds, finding 150 cowbells. The Friends launched Internet searches and phoned across the country. Farmers were contacted. Finally, the bells were located — someone was selling them a few blocks away, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
As it turned out, the Secret Service decided cowbells at the convention were a bad idea, but, for the Friends — 110 volunteers assigned to each of the state delegates and on duty 24 hours a day — it was mission accomplished.
"If a wheelchair is broken, we know where to send them. If a cell phone is broken, we know where to send them," said volunteer Leslie Morgan. "The Texas delegation is rowdy. They're backslapping. They give you hugs. We hug them back. We give them high fives."

Quote of the day
"I would never live it down if my brother didn't carry Florida. Imagine all the family gatherings for the next 20 years when he looked at me every time and said, 'What happened in Florida?'" — Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at a breakfast today.

The last word
"The Republican Party is a party that people think is all white, rich men. I'm not white, I'm definitely not rich, I've been black a long time and I'm a female." — Renee Amoore, a delegate from Pennsylvania.

From staff and wire dispatches

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