- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 11, 2000

Show us the money

If money buys power, Republicans are sitting pretty for the 2000 congressional races.

House Republicans yesterday reported having collected $90 million in the 18 months before the end of June almost as much as during the entire 1998 election cycle. Party officials say they expect to raise a record $125 million by year's end.

"Once again, we here at the [National Republican Congressional Committee] have out-raised the [Democrats] in both hard and soft money for the quarter, and we fully expect to report the largest cash on hand in the history of this organization," NRCC spokeswoman Marit Babin informs Inside the Beltway as both parties' House electoral committees yesterday released figures for the first 18 months of the 2000 election cycle.

"Additionally, we expect to have as much, if not more, in hard money than the DCCC, which can be spent directly on candidates," she says. "Ultimately, the elections come down to message, money and organization, and we're winning on every point."

Rhode Island Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, yesterday also reported record contributions pouring into his committee.

As in $60 million-plus raised between Jan. 1, 1999, and June 30, 2000. The Democratic congressional campaign war chest is almost 10 times as large as it was in the 1998 cycle, and nearly seven times bigger than in July 1996.

Mr. Kennedy says the 30 days of June will go down as the committee's strongest month ever, with almost $9 million raised. Money is coming in so fast, he says, it continues to "exceed our own expectations, shock the political professionals and terrify our Republican counterparts."

Mr. Kennedy released his numbers yesterday before the Republicans did.

Scary meets scary

One has to wonder what Susan McDougal convicted felon, ex-prisoner, former Whitewater business partner of President and Mrs. Clinton, and scary woman if there ever was one means when she says she supports the first lady's U.S. Senate bid because "she's a scary woman."
"I mean, she's a scary woman," Mrs. McDougal says of Hillary Rodham Clinton in a lengthy interview with NewsMax.com.
"You should have her," she tells the New York interviewer. "She'll go after what she believes in and I doubt that anyone could stand up to her."

Come up and see me

The historic Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles is booked solid for next month's Democratic National Convention, just like it was in 1960, the last time the city hosted a national political convention.
In fact, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) reminds us that both John F. Kennedy and his opponent for the top spot on the ticket, Lyndon B. Johnson, stayed at the Biltmore. Kennedy set up his headquarters on the eighth floor of the hotel, Johnson one floor below.
But when he wanted to escape "the pressure of the campaign," the DNC notes, Kennedy headed to the smaller and quieter Rossmore Hotel, where he stayed in Room 301. On the same block, just south of Hollywood, lived a number of movie stars, including Mae West, who resided there until her death.
Other highlights of the 1960 convention: Idaho Sen. Frank Church gave the keynote address, and a close friend of Mr. Kennedy's, Frank Sinatra, sang a jazzy rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" to the 4,000 delegates and alternates.

Iron man

Finally, speaking of presidential politics, here's a bit of political trivia to share with office workers: "Who ran for president against Harry S. Truman in 1948?"
Thomas E. Dewey is one correct answer. Those who know their presidential campaigns will point out that Mr. Dewey, a Republican, also challenged President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944.
But two additional candidates challenged Mr. Truman in 1948. One was the Progressive Party's Henry A. Wallace, Mr. Roosevelt's vice president during his third term and later secretary of commerce until fired in 1946 by the rising Mr. Truman.
And opposing Mr. Truman on the Dixiecrat, or States' Rights, ticket, was a 46-year-old Southern gentleman, South Carolina Gov. Strom Thurmond.
That's right, now-Sen. Strom Thurmond, South Carolina Republican, age 97 and counting.
"The senator is still extremely interested in presidential politics," Genevieve Erny, Mr. Thurmond's press secretary, told this column yesterday. "As I'm sure you are aware, he is supporting George Bush for the presidency and has participated in at least one fund-raiser for him."
And how's the health of the senator, who vows to serve out his seventh full term as an official centenarian?
"He's doing very well," says Miss Erny, blaming one of his most recent hospitalizations on a "stomach bug."
Mr. Thurmond's current term expires in January 2003. We'll be the first to announce his bid for re-election.

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