- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 9, 2000

Prenuptial flop

Laura Bush was nervous enough before her prime-time address to the nation kicking off the Republican National Convention last week.

Imagine her terror upon realizing that much of her speech would have to be recited from memory.

"Unbeknownst to anyone in the whole world except her, much of her TelePrompTers were covered with confetti the confetti stuck to the TelePrompTers and she couldn't see a lot of her speech," a confidant of Mrs. Bush tells Inside the Beltway from Austin, Texas.

As a result, the once politically reluctant wife of the Texas governor and presidential front-runner, a former teacher and librarian, recalled much of her speech from memory, although a hard copy of the text sat on the lectern if she found herself in serious trouble.

"You had 25 million people watching, and this was their introduction to the potential first lady, and here she couldn't read the speech," says the confidant, who, like the rest of the nation, Democrats included, was highly impressed by her delivery.

"You know, Mrs. Bush and her husband had a prenuptial agreement when they were married in which he promised that she would never have to give a political speech, and she promised that she'd work out (exercise) with him every day, which is a religion with him.

"Neither one kept their promise for more than week. In fact, their honeymoon in 1977 was spent on [Mr. Bush's] congressional campaign in west Texas."

If that wasn't indoctrination enough, Mrs. Bush two years later would be helping her father-in-law, George Bush, run for president, although he was eventually chosen as Ronald Reagan's running mate.

"Then, four years later her father-in-law ran for re-election as vice president and won, four years later he ran for president and won, four years later he ran for president and lost, two years later her husband won the first of two gubernatorial contests, and now her husband is running for president.

"In other words, this is the fifth presidential campaign that Laura Bush has been involved in, which is more than a lot of people who've run for president," says the confidant.

Duds and Dole

Speaking of also-rans, 28 former presidential candidates tell all to author Brad Koplinski in "Hats in the Ring: Conversations with Presidential Candidates" (Presidential Publishing).

"I don't know why [Walter Mondale] and I and [Michael] Dukakis and [Jimmy] Carter are all singled out as four kind of duds in American politics, except that we lost," says former presidential candidate George McGovern. "You know, what's so great about George Bush and Gerald Ford and [Richard] Nixon being winners?"

Others interviewed include Mr. Dukakis, Gary Hart, Howard Baker and Eugene McCarthy all told, candidates going back as far as the 1948 elections.

"Overall, [Bill] Clinton's been good to the [Republican] Party," says a more recent contender, Bob Dole. "We've taken the House. We've taken the Senate. We picked up governorships. Picked up [400 or 500] state legislators."

Joining Mr. Koplinski, a Washington lawyer who worked on four presidential campaigns, for a book-signing at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Trover Shop, is former independent presidential candidate John Anderson, who is also featured in the book.

Daddy Mitchell

Fatherhood trumps political ambition.

Former Sen. George Mitchell told the Associated Press yesterday that he had taken himself out of consideration to be Al Gore's running mate last month because his wife is having another child.

The Democratic former senator majority leader from Maine said his wife, Heather, is 4* months pregnant with the couple's second child.

Mr. Mitchell, 66, said he told the Gore campaign he was withdrawing his name July 1.

"I thought about it, and discussed it with my family, and decided that under the circumstances, that it was best that I not be considered," he told AP. "It's highly, highly unlikely that I'd be involved in elected politics again."

Political dues

During the previous election cycle, Big Labor spent an estimated $500 million in "soft money" expenditures and electioneering, much of it collected from more than 12 million American workers forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment.

"During this election, the AFL-CIO brass have raised the stakes," says the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, "publicly bragging about their plans to spend record amounts of forced union dues for an all-out partisan political battle."

That said, the foundation will be on hand at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles next week to discuss its own election-year campaign of assisting workers whose union dues wind up in politicians' pockets overwhelmingly, Democrats.

Currently, the foundation's lawyers are providing free legal aid to more than 150,000 "victims" of forced unionism in almost 500 cases nationwide.

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