- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 1, 2000

Ugly scene

When Vice President Al Gore held a "town meeting" Sunday in Somersworth, N.H., two high-profile allies of Bill Bradley Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey and New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler showed up outside to respond to any charges thrown out by the veep.
Gore supporters, apparently including a campaign aide, responded in a way that can only be described as mean-spirited.
"One Gore backer stomped into a pile of filthy slush right in front of Kerrey, splashing mud on his trousers, while another shouted at Nadler: 'Get out of here, fatso.' " the New York Post reports.
"Other Gore allies one wearing the radio earpiece that's a mark of campaign aides shouted, 'Quitter, Quitter,' at Kerrey, who's retiring from the Senate, and stuck Gore placards in the way as Kerrey and Nadler tried to talk to reporters," reporter Vincent Morris said.
"Asked about the whole ugly scene, Gore campaign spokesman Chris Lehane replied: 'First Amendment. They have the right to say what they want.' "

Gore's whoppers

Vice President Al Gore's claims since withdrawn that he invented the Internet, was the inspiration for "Love Story," and indirectly helped write Hubert Humphrey's presidential-nomination acceptance speech at the 1968 Democratic National Convention does not completely surprise those who worked with Mr. Gore in the past, the Boston Globe reports.
"To some who recall Gore's first run for the presidency in 1988, such claims have a familiar ring: In that campaign, Gore appeared to overstate his exposure to danger during his military service in Vietnam; erroneously claimed that his investigative reporting at the Tennessean in Nashville in the 1970s had sent people to jail; and falsely insisted that half of his staff members were women," reporters Walter V. Robinson and Ann Scales said.
"In two memos to Gore in late 1987 and early 1988, his press secretary, and then his communications director, warned Gore that he had developed a record for stretching the truth. 'Your main pitfall is exaggeration,' Arlie Schardt, the campaign's communications director, warned Gore in March 1988.
"In September 1987, Mike Kopp, the campaign's press secretary, told Gore in another memo that his image 'may continue to suffer if you continue to go out on a limb with remarks that may be impossible to back up.' "
The Globe reporters also said that Mr. Gore's current campaign spokesman, Chris Lehane, last week denied that Mr. Gore had ever claimed credit for inventing the Internet. When read the exact quote "I took the initiative in creating the Internet" Mr. Lehane then noted that Mr. Gore had apologized for the misstatement during a debate in December.

The money race

New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani ended 1999 with $2.7 million more in the bank than first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, his likely opponent in New York's Senate race.
Mr. Giuliani's "Friends of Giuliani Exploratory Committee" had $7.4 million cash on hand as of Dec. 31, 1999, compared with $4.7 million for Mrs. Clinton's main committee, partial finance reports released late yesterday by the campaigns show.
The reports provide the first glimpse at the campaigns' overall financial health, although their spokesmen released rough fund-raising figures in mid-January. The full massive reports will be made public later this week.
Information provided to The Washington Times also shows that two special committees created to help Mrs. Clinton raised nearly $3 million in the last six months of 1999.
New York Senate 2000, a joint fund-raising committee between her campaign and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, raised about $2.5 million, Democratic sources told The Washington Times' Barbara Saffir. About $1 million was "hard money" donations that will directly benefit the first lady's campaign.
Federal Election Commission records also show that the New York Democratic Victory 2000 committee raised $449,700. That committee, created to host two August fund-raisers for Mrs. Clinton on Long Island, was formed by her campaign, the DSCC and the Democratic National Committee.
Mrs. Clinton's own committee raised $6.8 million in contributions from July 1 to Dec. 31. It also received $1.16 million in funds from other committees.
Mr. Giuliani raised $8.8 million during the same period.

About-face

The New Jersey Conservative Party's leadership, which Wednesday endorsed Arizona Sen. John McCain in the Republican presidential primaries, yesterday rescinded the endorsement at the urging of its members.
"In speaking with NJCP members throughout the state, I have received strong criticism for [endorsing Mr. McCain] and I therefore must rescind the endorsement," party Chairman Len Marshall said.
Mr. Marshall said he had violated the spirit of the party's by-laws when he endorsed Mr. McCain in the primary races throughout the country without members' consent.
"After hearing about the endorsement, some were upset that I endorsed McCain, period," Mr. Marshall told Reuters news agency in a phone interview. He said other members were upset they had not been consulted first.
Mr. Marshall said members will decide at the party's convention April 8 if they want to throw their support behind one of the candidates. The bylaws make no allowance for endorsing candidates in other party or state primary elections.

Bauer flip-flops

Texas Gov. George W. Bush won the prized "golden spatula" yesterday for a near-perfect pancake flip, but Gary Bauer went one better he tripped and flipped himself off the stage.
Three Republicans presidential candidates showed up to demonstrate their skill with the skillet. Mr. Bush won 9.7 points out of 10 with an immaculate four-foot toss, which he caught perfectly on his outstretched spatula. That was enough to walk away with the grand prize the golden spatula, Reuters news agency reports.
Mr. Bauer was not quite so adept. After making a hash of his pancake, he tripped, somersaulted backward and ended up in a heap on the floor. He was unhurt.
Alan Keyes also showed up for some flipping, but could not match Mr. Bush's elegant style.
Mr. Bauer had the best line of the morning, Reuters reports. Asked why publisher Steve Forbes did not show up, he said, "He's over on the other side of town at a Faberge egg-scrambling contest" a reference to the millionaire publisher's private collection of the rare, jewel-encrusted eggs made for the last czar of Russia.

Ventura's leftovers

Cemeteries are a waste of land, gun-control advocates are ignorant and he was destined to become Minnesota's governor, Jesse Ventura says in the March issue of Playboy magazine.
He also reveals that he drinks very little these days, but when he does, it's for a purpose to get drunk, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune reports.
The comments are leftovers from Mr. Ventura's controversial interview in the November issue of Playboy, in which he raised a tempest by calling organized religion a "sham," derided people who are suicidal and joked that he would like to be reincarnated as a size 38DD bra.
Playboy fashioned unused portions of that interview, conducted last summer, into a question-and-answer article for the issue that will hit newsstands Monday.

Watts to run again

Rep. J.C. Watts Jr., Oklahoma Republican and chairman of the House Republican Conference, yesterday ended months of speculation that he would not seek re-election, announcing he intends to seek a fourth term.
Mr. Watts also confirmed he would seek re-election as chairman of the conference.
Mr. Watts threatened to quit as conference chairman last summer after a turf battle with House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, Texas Republican.

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