- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 24, 2000

Mischief-making

While most TV analysts Tuesday seemed to believe that virtually all the Democrats who voted in the Michigan Republican primary did so out of support for the maverick candidacy of Arizona Sen. John McCain, former Democratic strategist George Stephanopoulos saw it differently.
"Never before have you seen so many Democrats, I think, in the last 10 years vote in a Republican primary," Mr. Stephanopoulos observed on ABC's "Nightline."
"Even more interesting to me, 7 percent of the electorate were liberal Democrats, 6 percent were African-Americans. These are not voters who are going to vote for the Republican nominee in November. This was definitely a mischief-making vote in Michigan, and it's going to ensure that there's mischief throughout the Republican nominating process."

Nelson to run

Former Nebraska Gov. Ben Nelson yesterday announced he will run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by fellow Democrat Bob Kerrey.
Mr. Nelson, a 58-year-old millionaire lawyer, was heavily recruited by party leaders who anticipate a tough battle for the open seat with Republicans, Reuters news agency reports. No other Democrats are expected to challenge the popular former two-term governor for the nomination. Nebraska holds its primary on May 9.
As the Democratic nominee, he will face the survivor of a Republican primary field that has swelled since Mr. Kerrey announced on Jan. 20 that he would not seek a third term.
The leading Republican candidates are state Attorney General Don Stenberg, Secretary of State Scott Moore, Lincoln physician Elliott Rustad and Omaha businessman George Grogan.
Mr. Nelson won re-election as governor in 1994 by a wide majority and in his last year had an 80 percent approval rating, the highest rating in three decades for a departing Nebraska governor.
But his 1996 Senate campaign bid was unsuccessful. Mr. Nelson started out way ahead of Republican businessman Chuck Hagel, but was defeated 56 to 42 percent.

Leaning Republican

Two House seats held by retiring Democrats now "lean Republican," analyst Charles Cook says in the latest edition of his political report.
No open seats now held by Republicans were listed in the "lean Democrat" category.
The two seats are Pennsylvania's 4th District, which is being vacated by Democratic Rep. Ron Klink, and Virginia's 2nd District, which is being vacated by Democratic Rep. Owen B. Pickett.
However, Democrats do better in Mr. Cook's "tossup" category. Only five seats now held by Democrats were called tossups, while Republicans have 11 such seats.

Florio leads Corzine

Former New Jersey Gov. Jim Florio would easily defeat rival Jon Corzine for the Democratic Party's Senate nomination if the state primary were held this month, according to a survey released yesterday.
Mr. Florio, a veteran Democrat who was ousted from the governor's office by Christine Todd Whitman in 1993, drew support from 57 percent of registered Democrats, against 22 percent for Mr. Corzine, a wealthy political novice who entered the race after retiring as head of the Wall Street investment firm Goldman Sachs.
The survey conducted by Quinnipiac College in Hamden, Conn., also showed former presidential candidate Steve Forbes winning the Republican Senate nomination with 33 percent of the vote if he were to throw his hat in the ring, Reuters news agency reports.
Mr. Forbes, the millionaire publisher who dropped out of the presidential race two weeks ago, is viewed by some as a political celebrity who could help state Republicans capture the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Democrat Frank R. Lautenberg. However, Mr. Forbes has said he has no intention of entering the race.
Results for other Republican candidates showed registered party voter support for state Sen. William Gormley at 10 percent, U.S. Rep. Bob Franks and Essex County Executive James Treffinger with 8 percent each, and Murray Sabin with 4 percent.
Based on responses from 1,109 New Jersey registered voters polled Feb. 16-21, the survey had a 2.9 percent margin of error.
New Jersey is scheduled to hold its primary in June.

Dead and buried

New York Post columnist Eric Fettmann recalls that his newspaper endorsed then-Sen. Al Gore in the 1988 Democratic presidential primary in New York, and in 1992 urged Bill Clinton to choose Mr. Gore as his veep. The reasoning in both cases: Mr. Gore was a last bastion of moderation in a left-wing party.
"What in the hell were we thinking?" Mr. Fettmann writes.
"If one thing was abundantly clear during that 90-minute trash talk of a debate Monday night, it's that the moderate wing of the Democratic Party is dead and buried maybe for good."
The columnist added: "It also says a great deal about where the Democrats are headed, by the way, that [former New Jersey Sen. Bill] Bradley is convinced that Gore's past record is something of which he needs to be ashamed. Apparently, however, Gore feels the same way which is why he's gone to great pains to deny his past, even when the facts are crystal clear."

Private Lewinsky

"I hope I've matured," former White House intern Monica Lewinsky said Tuesday on ABC's "The View."
"I think I've certainly realized that there are consequences for the bad choices that we make and I really spent a lot of time working on trying to bring balance to my life with my weight, personal issues in therapy, and trying to have fun at the same time," she said.
As for another of her "bad choices," Miss Lewinsky said: "I think when I see the president, I see someone from my past. There are a lot of people from my past, and I think it brings up the same kind of emotions, nothing different."
Miss Lewinsky said she "didn't choose" fame. "I made mistakes. They were private mistakes, but I didn't choose to become a public person."

Oakar returns

Former Rep. Mary Rose Oakar, whose high-profile congressional career ended in disgrace, is running for a seat in Ohio's state legislature.
At 59, she is running in the Democratic primary March 7 to represent a district that cuts through working-class Cleveland neighborhoods and a few suburbs that were part of her congressional district.
When the House bank scandal broke in 1992, investigators learned Miss Oakar wrote hundreds of overdrafts. Her Republican opponent that year, Martin Hoke, portrayed Miss Oakar as a shady politician and won the election.
With Miss Oakar out of office, the overdrafts triggered scrutiny that resulted in a seven-count felony indictment. Ultimately, Miss Oakar pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors. She was fined $32,000 and placed on two years of probation.
As for problems from her congressional days, she said: "It's not only that I've put it behind me, but so have the voters. That makes me feel good."
She said the chance to represent her community again and to have a say on such issues as education and health care was too good to pass up, the Associated Press reports.
Now she teaches at a community college, is host of two radio shows and runs a political consulting business.

Unmanned verbiage

"It's no longer politically correct around the military to use the term 'unmanned aerial vehicles' for those robotic flying machines that don't have humans male or female at the controls," National Journal reports, pointing to "the latest batch of Pentagon budget charts."
"Call them 'unattended aerial vehicles' until further notice, please. So what does this portend for skippers of Navy ships used to bellowing 'Man overboard!' when a sailor falls into the sea? 'Crewmember awash!'?"

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