- The Washington Times - Monday, January 17, 2000

A loyal reader

It appears that first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton is reading her hometown newspaper pretty closely.
On Jan. 5, the day The Washington Times became the only newspaper to report that the Senate candidate was registered to vote in New York and Arkansas simultaneously, she zipped off a letter to Carolyn Staley at the County Clerk's Office in Little Rock.
"It has come to my attention," Mrs. Clinton wrote on White House letterhead, "that there is some concern about my present voter registration. Since I am now officially a resident of another state and will be voting there, you are hereby authorized to remove my name from the Pulaski County, Arkansas Voter Registration records." She signed it "Hillary."
Ms. Staley told Barbara Saffir of The Washington Times that she honored Mrs. Clinton's request, although as of Friday, she still had not received official notification from Westchester County, N.Y.
However, Ms. Staley has yet to hear from her old friend President Clinton, who is is still registered to vote in Arkansas. After the story appeared in The Times, he told reporters he planned to switch his registration to New York to dispel rumors that he might run for the House or Senate in his home state when he leaves the Oval Office.
If Mr. Clinton doesn't register by Feb. 11, he can't vote for Vice President Al Gore in New York's March 7 presidential primary.

Forget Donald

Tim Russert, host of NBC's "Meet the Press," didn't have any luck getting Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican and presidential hopeful, to respond to criticism about him made by billionaire Donald Trump, a potential Reform Party presidential candidate.
Mr. Trump has called Mr. McCain a "hypocrite" on the issue of campaign-finance reform, given all the contributions Mr. McCain has received from special interests.
Asked to respond to Mr. Trump's swipe, Mr. McCain chuckled and said: "There's a lot of things I'll respond to in this campaign. Donald Trump is not one of them."

The Iowa vote

Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush seem virtually certain to win the Iowa Democratic and Republican caucuses, respectively, in eight days, Reuters news agency reports.
The real question is, by how much, the wire service said. As usual in Iowa, the name of the game is meeting and, if possible, exceeding expectations.
Polls show Mr. Bush gaining around 45 percent of the Republican vote in Iowa, about 25 points ahead of his nearest rival, publisher Steve Forbes.
Arizona Sen. John McCain, who has emerged as Mr. Bush's toughest challenger nationally, is not campaigning in Iowa and is winning about 8 percent in polls.
In the Democratic race, Mr. Gore has held a steady 20-point lead over former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley and has the support of most of the party establishment and labor unions.

Keyes' prayer

Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes created perhaps the biggest stir at the presidential debate Saturday in Johnston, Iowa, when he used his closing statement to instead lead the audience in prayer.
"Dear Lord our God, give us the wisdom and the sense of humility that we will return to those principles which acknowledge your authority as the source of our rights and our liberties," said Mr. Keyes, a career diplomat who is sometimes mistakenly credited with having a preacher's background.
An analysis of the debate in yesterday's editions of the Des Moines Register, the state's largest newspaper, said Mr. Keyes' prayer "might have been a bit much, even for those who like their policies with a heavy dose of religion." But Republican rival Steve Forbes said yesterday the prayer was "obviously very effective."
"It's never been done before," Mr. Forbes said. Asked by a reporter if it raised concerns of separation of church and state, Mr. Forbes replied, "I didn't know a debate stage was either church or state, so I don't think anything was violated there."

Spanish speakers


The Republican candidates for president engaged in a dialogue in Spanish during the debate Saturday in Iowa, the meaning of which was lost on most of the nationally televised audience.
It began when Alan Keyes asked Gov. George W. Bush of Texas about a town in his state that has decreed all its official business will be conducted in Spanish.
Mr. Keyes accused Mr. Bush of doing nothing about it, prompting Mr. Bush to reply in Spanish, "That's not the truth."
"It is the truth! It is the truth, sir!" Mr. Keyes said in Spanish.
Mr. Bush began to respond in English, but Mr. Keyes again said in Spanish, "It is the truth."
"Uno momento," Mr. Bush said, asking for Mr. Keyes to wait.
Sen. John McCain of Arizona chimed in at that point in Spanish, "Let's go."
Mr. Bush then brought the debate back to English, commenting that he had objected to the town's move and had asked the state attorney general to investigate.

Gore, McCain lead

Vice President Al Gore leads Sen. Bill Bradley among people who say they plan to vote in New Hampshire's Democratic primary, says a Newsweek poll released Saturday.
In polling Wednesday through Friday, the newsmagazine said 50 percent of people who plan to vote in the Feb. 1 primary favored Mr. Gore to 36 percent for Mr. Bradley. The other 14 percent were undecided.
Newsweek said Arizona Sen. John McCain moved in the Republican campaign from a statistical dead heat to a slight lead over the national front-runner, Gov. George W. Bush of Texas. The poll showed Mr. McCain with 42 percent to Mr. Bush's 34 percent backing among people who plan to vote in the primary. Steve Forbes was the only other GOP candidate in double figures, with 11 percent.
Interviewers talked Jan. 12 through 14 with 848 registered voters who said they planned to vote in New Hampshire. The margin of error was 7 percent for Democrats and 6 percent for Republicans.

Bradley, McCain backed

The Boston Globe urged New Hampshire voters Saturday to cast their primary ballots for Vice President Al Gore, the Democrat best suited to continue the "economic good times," or Sen. John McCain, a Republican with "a whisper of Harry Truman about him."
The influential regional newspaper described Mr. Gore as a well-prepared candidate who has had a hand in foreign policy and knows the need for free trade.
Advising Republican voters in New Hampshire, the newspaper hailed what it called Mr. McCain's "forays into the unconventional," saying they were "sensible as well as bold."
While noting the Arizona Republican was a maverick, the Globe said "his Senate record … lends confidence that he can work effectively in Washington, even though he has been at odds with Republican leaders in Congress on key issues."

No surprise

Haley Barbour, the former chairman of the Republican Party, says no one should be surprised by the Boston Globe's endorsement of Arizona Sen. John McCain in the Republican primary in New Hampshire.
After all, Mr. McCain "is the liberal media's favorite Republican," Mr. Barbour said yesterday on CNN's "Late Edition."

Dull work

Irish rock band U2's lead singer Bono tells Newsweek that after a year of meeting with politicians and world leaders in his campaign to forgive Third World debt, he has not been seduced by the political world.
"They work harder than I thought they did," he said. "And they have duller lives."

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