- The Washington Times - Friday, January 21, 2000

Walk, Hillary, walk

Once there were bumper stickers that alluded to President Clinton President Hillary Clinton, that is.
And once, the crowds used to chant, "Run, Hillary, run."
Things are not as rosy these days for the first lady, who has slithered down 20 points in an Associated Press poll.
Knee-deep in the impeachment proceedings a year ago, she was given just under a 70 percent approval rating by the AP. New numbers released Thursday show her hovering at 50 percent just 17 days before she announces her New York Senate bid Feb. 6.
The poll also revealed that 75 percent felt it was appropriate for a first lady to run for office, and a third thought that senator was her best option once Bill Clinton leaves office, with foundation head or writer/lecturer tied for second.
Mrs. Clinton is slightly more popular than her husband, whose favorable rating was at 47 percent in the poll of 1,022 persons taken in early January.

Party reminder

Nostalgic Republicans should remember to put a smiley face on the calendar soon.
Feb. 6 will be Ronald Reagan's 89th birthday.

The proper term

Yes, but is he presidential?
When push comes to shove, this is a prime qualifier for the candidates, embodying those intangible qualities of an ideal president.
Sen. John McCain has been acting presidential lately, at least according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
He has done "a presidential job putting together his proposed tax-cut plan, compared with the partisan plan advanced by Texas Gov. George W. Bush," the paper noted Thursday.
"Overall, McCain widely wants to make sure there is enough money in the mounting federal revenue surpluses to safeguard Social Security and Medicare and reduce the national debt."
Such goals "are one indication he is thinking like a president and not simply of winning his party's nomination, but of the good of the whole nation."

Truth and marijuana

Vice President Al Gore has admitted using marijuana during his youth, but a new book reportedly claims that Mr. Gore used drugs more frequently, and for a longer period, than he has acknowledged.
According to DRCNet, an on-line news organization, Newsweek had planned to publish excerpts of "Inventing Al Gore: A Biography" that detail the drug use in this week's magazine, but delayed the piece. Newsweek is the magazine that first learned of the Monica Lewinsky scandal two years ago, but famously delayed that story as well, leaving Matt Drudge to break the bombshell on his Drudge Report Web site.
The Gore book was written by Bill Turque of Newsweek's Washington bureau. Although Mr. Gore has said he used marijuana only occasionally and quit for good in 1972, the book quotes Gore friends saying that he smoked marijuana quite regularly right up until the week that he declared his candidacy for Congress in 1976.
Gore biographer Bob Zelnick made a similar assertion last year during an interview on Fox News Channel, although his book, "Gore: A Political Life," does not dwell on the vice president's drug use.

Gore's grannies

Mr. Gore has his own secret weapons, though.
Thursday, the Gore 2000 committee praised those who were "coming up with new and creative ways to inform the people of Iowa of Al Gore's vision for America."
Among members of "Team Gore":
"Grandmas for Gore According to reports trickling in from Gore 2000 in Fort Dodge, a group of grandmothers has formed itself into a gang whose sole design is to … elect Al Gore president. The grandmothers who have designed and wear their own T-shirts have been sighted stuffing envelopes, cold-calling Iowans, and occasionally cornering their fellow staffers with pictures of their adorable grandchildren."

Weather or not

A big snowstorm in Iowa Wednesday didn't faze the locals much, but slowed down all those presidential candidates in their zeal to reach the voters.
Will the weather matter in Monday's caucuses?
Iowa historian High Winebrenner has determined that another big snow would most likely help Vice President Al Gore.
"If Bradley is indeed drawing in some people who aren't committed to the Democratic Party and the process, one suspects he is hoping for good weather," Mr. Winebrenner told the Des Moines Register Thursday.
"On the Republican side, the advantage might go to Forbes, who is believed to have the best organization of any candidate. Supporters of George W. Bush might be tempted to do what [Democrat] Ed Muskie's backers did in 1972 stay home."
Should the candidates fret? Only Old Man Winter knows.
The long-range forecast for Monday calls for party-cloudy skies with a high of 37 degrees.

Tonald Drump

Come on and play nice, or he won't run.
Donald Trump hinted Thursday that unless the Reform Party stops all its crabby infighting, he will stay out of things.
Mr. Trump said he was "deeply concerned about growing divisions in the Reform Party. I strongly urge party leaders to sit down and negotiate their differences."
The waggish Mr. Trump then set his own conditions for the campaign.
"I would really like to make the race, particularly, if the nominees are 'Gush' and 'Bore,' " he concluded.

Gush & Bore, Part 2

Voter ennui?
A poll released Thursday from Harvard University's "Vanishing Voter Project" revealed that some people aren't paying much attention to all the hoopla in New Hampshire and Iowa this week.
Thirty percent of those surveyed said they had paid no attention whatsoever to the presidential election campaign in the past week; only 6 percent said they had given it a "great deal" of attention.
Another 58 percent said the campaign was "too long," while 70 percent said they "don't currently support a candidate."

Reflective moments

President Clinton has had some insightful moments of late. In an interview released Thursday by the Christian Science Monitor, Mr. Clinton said he has gained "a certain humility in recognizing how important forgiveness is, but how it doesn't count and it can't count unless you can give it as well as ask for it."
The president said he has had a hard time letting go of resentments.
"The thing that I have really had to work on is trying to gain some spiritual anchor that will enable me to give up resentments and disappointment and anger," he said.
Mr. Clinton also said he had looked for advice from former South African President Nelson Mandela.
"I've really tried to deal with this in a very serious way and I think I've learned quite a lot about myself in the process," Mr. Clinton said. "And it's an ongoing effort."

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