- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 26, 2000

Rolling out the ads

Back in New Hampshire, the presidential candidates are rolling out ads aimed at an electorate that appears closely divided among the leading contenders.
Republicans Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Arizona Sen. John McCain and Democratic former Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey all have new ads ready to go, and Vice President Al Gore is likely to release one later this week, the Associated Press reports. As undecided voters make up their minds, the idea is to hit the one or two themes that matter most.
Mr. Bush yesterday released a new ad taped Monday in Iowa that was designed as an upbeat "closer," hitting issues of taxes and education. It also spotlights the issue that, according to entrance polls, helped Mr. Bush in Iowa Monday: Voters think he can win in November.
"I believe my compassionate conservative vision can unite America and win the White House," Mr. Bush says in the new spot. He also hits another issue that won support of Iowans, moral values: "The next president," he says, "must work to strengthen families and restore values."
With just a week until the next voting, the fresh spots are aimed at delivering a final pitch or a powerful endorsement.
Mr. McCain, meanwhile, was pushing one of his strongest credentials: military experience.
"There's only one man running for president who knows the military and understands the world," says the new McCain ad, which began airing Monday.
On the Democratic side, Mr. Bradley's new ad features Niki Tsongas, the widow of Paul Tsongas, winner of the New Hampshire Democratic primary in 1992.
Mrs. Tsongas compares Mr. Bradley to her late husband, saying Mr. Bradley supports working people and trumpets "big ideas," just as Mr. Tsongas did. And she swipes at Mr. Gore without naming him.
"What disappoints me now is, just as with Paul, Bill's record is being distorted," she says in the ad. "But we don't have to listen to the distortions."

Trump wants truce

New York tycoon Donald Trump sent letters yesterday to Reform Party Gov. Jesse Ventura and party founder Ross Perot asking them to broker a peace deal within the party.
"In recent weeks, I have become concerned by the increasingly bitter divisions in our party," Mr. Trump wrote. "The prospect seems very real for competing conventions and continued strife among the factions of the party."
Meanwhile, Reform Party Chairman Jack Gargan yesterday called an emergency national convention of all members March 18-19 in Chicago to attempt to work out differences about a convention site.
In his letter, Mr. Trump characterized himself as "very interested" in running for president as the party's nominee, but believes his prospects will be hampered if the "fratricide" continues.
Mr. Gargan responded: "All [Mr. Perot] has to do is say the word and [his supporters] will back off their persistent road-blocking of everything we need to do to move this party forward."
Russell Verney, a Perot ally, said: "No question in my mind it will be worked out. The party is bigger than any of this momentary confusion that's going on." But Mr. Verney balked at allowing the convention anywhere other than California.

Bush's 'moment'

Texas Gov. George W. Bush wonders aloud whether his "moment in time" has come.
If his father had been re-elected president in 1992 and if the younger Bush had stumbled in the 1994 Texas governor's race, he says he would not be running for president today.
"If I hadn't quit drinking, I doubt I would be here today," Mr. Bush said aboard his campaign plane as he flew east for the sprint to the New Hampshire primary after his victory in the Iowa caucuses.
The hourlong interview with four reporters touched on topics both personal and political, from his expectation that this week will be one of the most intense of the campaign, to his longing for his own bed and the one reminder he carries with him wherever he goes: his feather pillow.
"I rest better, and I'm more comfortable and I'm happier when I'm with my family and with the pets and with the routines that I'm comfortable with," Mr. Bush said, his starry red tie loosened around his neck, a jacket emblazoned with a Texas lone star zipped around his chest.
"This is the longest I've been away from my house and my family probably ever."
Actually, his wife, Laura, napped nearby, the Associated Press reports. His best friend, Don Evans, sat in the seat across the aisle.

Hillary's alibi

First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton suggested yesterday that some people may dislike her because she is a woman in public life or maybe it's her hairdo.
She later said she was kidding about the remark about her sex, but added that "it would be great if New York joined the rest of the country in electing a woman statewide."
New York has never elected a woman running alone to statewide office, though three have been elected lieutenant governor as part of a ticket with a male governor.
The state's current governor, Republican George E. Pataki, said after being told of Mrs. Clinton's remark: "I don't think gender has anything to do with it."
"When you don't live in a state, I don't care what your gender is, it's a legitimate issue. When you have certain philosophical positions that are, I believe, out of touch with the vast majority of New Yorkers, that's a legitimate concern."

The Alaska results

As in Iowa, the pecking order in Alaska's Republican straw poll was Texas Gov. George W. Bush followed by publisher Steve Forbes.
Only the distance between them was a lot closer, the Associated Press reports.
Mr. Bush netted 1,571 votes, or 36.3 percent, in the statewide contest, while Mr. Forbes captured 1,566, or 36.2 percent.
Sen. John McCain of Arizona (412 votes) edged out radio commentator Alan Keyes (411 votes). Further back were pro-family activist Gary Bauer (207 votes) and Sen. Orrin G. Hatch of Utah (163 votes).
Earlier Monday, in the Iowa caucuses, Mr. Bush collected 41 percent of the GOP votes, with Mr. Forbes second at 30 percent.
"After being so close in Iowa, we're walking on top of the world," said Don Devine, deputy campaign manager for Mr. Forbes who flew in from Virginia for the event. "It gives Steve the impetus going into New Hampshire that we need."
Registered Republicans gathered across Alaska to cast their votes in the nonbinding straw poll. The party's official endorsement comes at the state convention this summer.

Falwell sues

The Rev. Jerry Falwell has sued the White House and the FBI for denying a request for information about him that he contends is kept in a "secret" Justice Department database about religious and anti-abortion leaders.
The lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court, contends the database is used to keep information intended for use in smear tactics. Mr. Falwell sought the information last summer under the Freedom of Information Act after being told of the supposed database by Judicial Watch, a conservative Washington legal group that said it learned of the material through an anonymous source.
Mr. Falwell contends that keeping information about him in the database is a violation of the Privacy Act, which makes it illegal for the government to keep a file on a person without a lawful reason.
The FBI and the White House, in documents filed with Mr. Falwell's lawsuit, have questioned the existence of the database. The documents were responses to Mr. Falwell's FOIA requests.

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