- The Washington Times - Friday, February 11, 2000

Word play

John McCain says that George Bush "twists the truth like Clinton," but Mr. McCain seems to be playing word games when it comes to one of his own advisers.
When former Rep. Vin Weber, a political and economic adviser to Mr. McCain, told The Washington Times that if he were back in the House he would vote for Mr. Bush's tax plan, the senator denied that the Minnesota Republican was one of his economic advisers.
"He's a great friend and adviser, but he's not … he himself would be the first to tell you he's not an economic adviser," he said on ABC's "This Week."
But in a statement issued shortly after The Times story appeared, Mr. Weber said that the McCain economic plan was "a plan I helped to devise."
We always thought that if you are enlisted to put together a tax-cutting economic plan, that makes you an "economic adviser."

The Third Way

Edward H. Crane, president and CEO of the Cato Institute, says he is encouraged by the "Third Way" politics espoused by the current occupant of the White House and a number of European leaders.
"I think one of the clear indications that liberty has the long-term momentum today is the so-called Third Way. Because, believe me, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and those other European politicians wouldn't be adopting that phrase the Third Way if socialism wasn't as thoroughly discredited as it is," Mr. Crane writes in the Cato Policy Report.
"They are leftists who are trying desperately to hide that fact from the voters. To a large degree they've succeeded. But such deceit won't be successful over the long haul as it becomes increasingly evident that, whatever they call themselves, they always end up promoting more state intrusion into civil society. The Third Way politicians are trying to sugarcoat statism in the rhetoric of free markets and reinventing government, but in the Information Age they are sooner or later sooner, probably going to be exposed for the statists that they are."

The cover-up

New York Times columnist William Safire describes Justice Department official Lee Radek as "the chief of the cover-up" involving 1996 campaign finance violations by higher-ups in the Clinton administration.
Mr. Safire said he bumped into Mr. Radek the other day at Loeb's delicatessen on 15th and I streets and asked him why the trial of Maria Hsia, a former fund-raiser for Vice President Al Gore, was being held in Washington rather than in California near the Buddhist Temple where she is accused of illegally laundering campaign cash via Buddhist nuns.
" 'We thought it would be a better venue,' the chief of the cover-up replied. From his concealing standpoint, he's right the nation's capital is far better for acquittal or most lenient sentencing of the defendant."
Mr. Safire also noted that by holding the trial here, Janet Reno's Justice Department "was certain it would get a Clinton-appointed judge," because the chief federal judge has been bypassing normal procedure in such cases.

Voting for 'Nobody'

Buoyed by the success of his dog Ernest as a write-in candidate for Congress in 1996, Al Shugart is spending more than $1 million to encourage disenchanted Californians to vote for nobody, the Associated Press reports.
Mr. Shugart, 69, is the co-founder and former chief executive officer of Seagate Technology, the world's largest computer disk drive maker.
He is also the author of Proposition 23, a measure on the March 7 ballot that would allow Californians to cast protest votes for "None of the Above" for all state and federal offices. It is similar to a groundbreaking state law in Nevada.
Even if "None" drew the most votes, the leading candidate would win.
"We want to give people the option of protesting," Mr. Shugart said. "Right now, the only option to protest is to not vote, and then you're just viewed as apathetic."
The official name of the campaign is "Friends of Ernest," named for Mr. Shugart's 110-pound Bernese mountain dog, who died last year.
Ernest never got on the ballot in the 17th Congressional District local election officials refused to accept his nomination papers but he still drew 2,001 write-in votes.
The latest Field Poll shows the measure trailing, with 46 percent against it and 36 percent in favor.

Cocktail politics

On the vice president's plane, even the cocktails are salted with campaign politics, Associated Press writer Glen Johnson reports.
Flying out of Olympia, Wash., late last week, Al Gore proudly poured for his entourage some Washington state wine, which, he noted, "is ranked at the top along with the California wines."
Knowing that New York, as well as California, votes on March 7, a reporter teased Mr. Gore: Are you dissing New York wines?
Nah, he replied.
But just to be safe, by Tuesday night, he had stocked Air Force Two with New York's Great Western champagne.
And since Florida's primary is March 14, Mr. Gore, padding through the cabin in flip-flops, ordered that the bubbly be served mimosa-style with Florida orange juice.

Lott's correction

A fund-raising committee led by Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott has corrected reports to the Federal Election Commission, acknowledging that erroneous figures were submitted earlier because a bookkeeper embezzled about $85,000.
John Dowd, the attorney for Mr. Lott's New Republican Majority Fund, said Thursday that the money was stolen by the bookkeeper last year to support a drug habit.
He said the political action committee was not seeking prosecution because the former employee "told us the truth, restitution was made and he went into rehabilitation." The individual has not been charged.

Fund-raiser-in-chief

President Clinton is poised to go on a fund-raising tear for the Democratic National Committee, attending four or five events a month for the next three months, White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said Thursday.
"Are we going to go out and raise, try to help Democrats by helping raise resources? You're absolutely right," Mr. Lockhart said.
The money raised by Mr. Clinton will go toward a variety of efforts, DNC spokeswoman Jenny Backus told the Associated Press. She denied that some funds would be spent on so-called "issue ads" to run well ahead of the fall campaign, a strategy Mr. Clinton employed in 1996 against Republican challenger Bob Dole.
So far this year, Mr. Clinton has raised about $4 million for the DNC at 10 events, the spokeswoman said. The president helped raise $19 million in 1998, and $22 million last year, she said.

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