- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 10, 2000

Gore's Gulf bargain

Former Sen. Alan Simpson, now director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, says that in 1991 Sen. Al Gore offered his vote on the Persian Gulf war to whichever party would give him the most face time.
"Well, it was the most troubling thing I'd ever seen with any colleague, because [Mr. Gore] came into the cloakroom and [Senate Minority Leader Bob] Dole and I were sitting there. We'd agreed on two hours [of debate] on each side, and he said, 'Bob, how much time will you give me if I support the president [George Bush] on this vote?' " Mr. Simpson recalled in a recent interview on MSNBC's "Hardball" with Chris Matthews.
Mr. Dole, after learning from Mr. Gore that the Democrats had offered seven minutes, said he would give the Tennessean 15 minutes. Mr. Simpson then jumped in, saying, "Maybe we can get you another five, so you'd have 20 minutes, Al."
Mr. Gore said he would think about it overnight.
"And he went back to his office, and we sent word over there that he could speak during the news cycle in the debate," Mr. Simpson said.
Mr. Gore then phoned Howard Green, the secretary of the Senate, to warn that if he didn't get the promised 20 minutes, he would switch back to opposing the Gulf military mission.
"I always felt he might have had two speeches written," Mr. Simpson said.

Watts' flag position

Rep. J.C. Watts Jr. of Oklahoma, the only black Republican in Congress, says the Confederate battle flag should not fly above the South Carolina Statehouse.
However, the fourth-ranking official in the House Republican leadership refused Tuesday to criticize Republican presidential candidates for declining to take a similar stand.
"I personally believe the flag should come down," Mr. Watts told USA Today's editorial board.
But he said he understands where Republican presidential front-runners George W. Bush and John McCain "are coming from."
Mr. Watts said it's not fair to criticize Republicans when many South Carolina Democrats favor keeping the flag flying. "We've got to be careful," he said. "We don't want this to become a Republican issue."
Asked whether Mr. Bush or Mr. McCain could improve his standing among black voters by selecting a black running mate, Mr. Watts said: "I don't think Colin Powell would be interested."

Clinton-shock

Republican voters' sudden romance with Sen. John McCain "is yet another example of Clinton-shock," writes Peggy Noonan, the former speech writer for Presidents Reagan and Bush.
"The effect of Mr. Clinton on Republicans, as much as it has been talked about, is still not fully appreciated. But the sheer concussive effect of having a president who Republicans think is a bad man, not a patriot, a truly harmful presence in American life the effect of Bill Clinton on on-the-ground Republicans has been so utterly jarring that it has left them abandoning the logic that has long guided them, and supporting in droves a man they don't especially agree with, for the simple reason that they feel sure he is not Bill Clinton," Miss Noonan said in an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal.

Gaining in Michigan

Sen. John McCain of Arizona is in a statistical dead heat with Texas Gov. George W. Bush among likely Michigan voters in the state's upcoming Republican presidential primary, according to a poll released yesterday.
Mr. McCain, who has been gaining on Mr. Bush for months in Michigan, had the support of 45 percent of those who said they would vote in the Republican primary Feb. 22, compared with 43 percent for Mr. Bush. Other candidates captured 12 percent in the Detroit Free Press/WXYZ-TV poll.
The poll, taken Friday through Monday, surveyed all those likely to vote in the Republican primary, including Democrats or independents. EPIC/MRA, the Lansing, Mich., firm that conducted the poll, said one-third of Republican primary voters in 1996 were not registered Republicans.
Among Republican voters only, Mr. Bush led Mr. McCain 52 percent to 37 percent, an increase of 12 percentage points for Mr. McCain. Publisher Steve Forbes had 4 percent support, as did former ambassador Alan Keyes.
The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

Hillary's donors

"Mrs. Clinton's network of donors includes Texas trial lawyers, Hollywood celebrities, New York investment bankers and others who assisted the president in collecting the largely unregulated donations known as soft money to bolster his re-election," the New York Times reports.
"Several of her donors stayed at the president's invitation in the Lincoln Bedroom in the White House and attended the so-called White House coffees, gathering that aroused criticism that president was using his official residence for inappropriate or even illegal political activities," reporter Clifford J. Levy said.

Clinton's cash

President Clinton helped raise $850,000 for Democratic political coffers at two fund-raising dinners Tuesday.
An upbeat Mr. Clinton delivered a scaled down version of his 89-minute State of the Union address at the first event, a dinner at the Hay-Adams Hotel to raise money for the Democratic National Committee.
"I think that it is imperative that we should not squander this moment in time under the illusion that because things are going so well, that there are no consequences to what we say, to what we do and what we advocate," Mr. Clinton told the 40 guests, who paid $15,000 per couple.
He noted that it was the first time in more than two decades that he was not running for office.
The event was due to raise a total of $350,000, White House officials told Reuters news service.
A second dinner, at the Georgetown home of prominent Washington cardiologist Dr. James D'Orta, was expected to raise $500,000 for the Democratic National Committee, the officials said.

Tribute to Reagans

Reps. Jim Gibbons, Nevada Republican, and Jennifer Dunn, Washington Republican, have introduced legislation to award both Ronald and Nancy Reagan with the Congressional Gold Medal. They were joined by a bipartisan group of more than 200 co-sponsors.
Nancy Reagan said she was "deeply honored" by the effort. "What a wonderful 89th birthday tribute to my husband," she said.

Bush dad nixed

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush yesterday asked his father to cancel his March 9 address to Florida's Legislature, blaming an Orlando senator who said a "sinister political motive" was behind the visit.
Announced last week, former President George Bush's talk would have been five days before Jeb Bush's brother, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, will try to win Florida's presidential primary.
Senate Minority Leader Buddy Dyer, a Democrat, wrote the former president to say he would not attend the March 9 joint session because he thought it "contrived."
Jeb Bush yesterday fired off an unusually personal and biting letter to Mr. Dyer, the Cox News Service reported.
"Your cynical assumptions about the timing of his visit could not be more inaccurate," the governor wrote, adding that a general speech to a legislature is a weak form of manipulation.
"But Buddy, this isn't about politics not for me it's about family," Mr. Bush wrote Mr. Dyer. "I love my 75-year-old Dad more than life itself, and I will not subject him to petty partisan attacks directed at me, through him, in the golden years of his life."
Republicans attended a joint session four years ago by President Clinton, then running for re-election.

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