- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 3, 2000

Candidate Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton has discovered that personal questions considered out of bounds or not relevant to the role of being wife of a sitting president can and will be addressed to a candidate for the U.S. Senate.

Mrs. Clinton is careful to call such controversial questions like those raised recently in Buffalo about her marital fidelity "inappropriate." But that's not to say she isn't letting others speak out strongly on her behalf.

Chief spokesman is Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, New York Democrat, who labels the Buffalo branding "disgusting."

Henceforth, the congresswoman says she will monitor all media coverage of the Senate campaign, and warns if further "out of bounds" questions arise, she will "publicize" them.

An end result, of course, that every reporter/interviewer strives for when asking a controversial question. Oh, well, stay tuned.

Gored by Reagan

Speaking of hosts who hurl hardballs, Oliver North co-host of MSNBC's "Equal Time" with former Gore strategist Paul Begala, whose sister Kathleen is now Al Gore's communications director asked the vice president which Republican he'd most like to face if he's the Democratic nominee for president.

Speaking on a cell-phone en route to New York early yesterday, Mr. Gore replied: "You know, in 1980 I made the mistake of saying, 'If only the Republicans would nominate Ronald Reagan, then we'd be all right.' And I was humbled by that experience."

J.T. rejoins Jack

Empower America and its co-directors Jack Kemp and William J. Bennett have a new president and CEO after the resignation of Josette Shiner.

James R. "J.T." Taylor, formerly vice president of corporate communications for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, assumes the top post and will oversee a new legislative agenda to enhance the growth of technology, simplify the tax code, reform Social Security, strengthen education, and fortify America's national defense.

Mr. Taylor was also chief of staff to Rep. Sue Myrick, North Carolina Republican, and senior aide to Mr. Kemp during both the 1996 presidential campaign and during his four-year term as Housing and Urban Development secretary.

Not terrorists

Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer's office was the first stop yesterday for a gang of gagged and blindfolded members of the Citizens' Investigative Commission.

Actually, the scary-looking bunch was carrying a bushel of white blindfolds and handkerchiefs marked "FEC Gags," along with letters to various senators asking support for legislation to protect political speech on the Internet.

The Federal Election Commission, the letters complain, wants to impose campaign finance regulations on political Web sites and e-mail communications.

"It seems lame duck Bill Clinton is helping Al Gore again by asking the FEC to act like 'big brother,' " says the CIC's Scott Lauf. "These white gags and blindfolds symbolize the loss of free speech and ability to see the truth for millions of Americans if the FEC is allowed to get away with this."

A bill has been introduced in the Senate to protect freedom of speech on the Internet. Just this week, the Information Technology Industry Council released the High Tech Voting Guide for the 106th Congress, in which House Republicans earned an average rating of 90 percent and House Democrats 69 percent.

"When it comes to cutting-edge technology, this Republican Congress is wired for the future," says House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas. "We're keeping today's entrepreneurs free to pursue tomorrow's opportunities."

Dems for Pat

Although John McCain and Al Gore captured this week's political headlines, rest assured ex-Republican Pat Buchanan continues to seek the Reform Party's nomination for president. (Developer Donald Trump still can't decide what to do.)

And while an exit poll of voters in New Hampshire found 27 percent of Republican voters saying they'd consider voting for a Reform Party candidate this fall, an even more astounding 19 percent of Democrats say they'd consider voting for Mr. Buchanan, et al.

Eng honors Ung

The political lull between the primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina allows time to focus on the Khmer Rouge genocide trials set to begin shortly in Cambodia.

One victim of that frightening period in history takes us through a journey that her memory can't forget: Loung Ung, author of "First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers."

Miss Ung will win a small victory for her years of suffering when she's feted at a book launching at Georgetown's Cafe Milano next Tuesday night.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont and fellow Democrat Rep. Lane Evans of Illinois will be among the hosts, who also include Roland Eng, Cambodia's ambassador to the United States.

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