- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 13, 2000

Congress vs. Gore

House Republicans, irked by Vice President Al Gore's complaints about a "do-nothing" Congress, had some advice yesterday for the likely Democratic presidential nominee: Quit campaigning, come back to Washington and roll up your sleeves.
"Before he can criticize us … he ought to be willing to pitch in and help," said Rep. Roy Blunt, Missouri Republican and the point man in Congress for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Texas Gov. George W. Bush.
Republican lawmakers reminded Mr. Gore that, as president of the Senate, he could persuade Senate Democrats to act on stalled legislation such as health maintenance organization reform, a minimum-wage increase and a voluntary prescription-drug benefit for seniors.
Mr. Gore in the past week has been criticizing the Republican-led Congress for failing to complete those measures and Democrat-sponsored bills such as gun-control regulations.
Rep. Bill Thomas, California Republican, said he served with Mr. Gore in the House and that Mr. Gore has evolved into a presidential candidate who "doesn't give a damn."
"This guy running for president is not Al Gore," Mr. Thomas said. "Al Gore wanted to solve problems. This guy wants to drive a wedge."

Still a tie

A new poll shows first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rep. Rick Lazio still in a dead heat in their Senate race.
The survey, conducted by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, found the first lady and the Republican congressman from Long Island each favored by 45 percent of voters statewide.
That is statistically unchanged from a poll conducted in June by the institute. Other polls have shown the race to be equally close since Mr. Lazio declared his candidacy May 20.
In conservative upstate New York, Mr. Lazio has a slim lead, 47 percent to 41 percent. Mrs. Clinton leads in New York City, 61 percent to 30 percent. Mr. Lazio is ahead in New York City's suburbs, 59 percent to 33 percent.
The telephone poll of 1,086 registered voters was conducted July 5-10 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The line on Ridge

A new poll in Pennsylvania suggests that Gov. Tom Ridge would significantly help George W. Bush in winning that state's 23 electoral votes if Mr. Ridge is his running mate.
A statewide Keystone Poll found that the Texas governor holds a 44 percent to 40 percent lead over his Democratic rival, Vice President Al Gore, with a 3.4 percent overall margin of error.
But with Mr. Ridge on his ticket, Mr. Bush would lead 51 percent to 39 percent by drawing support from a bloc of undecided voters currently estimated as 12 percent, according to the poll.
Mr. Ridge has been prominently mentioned as a possible running mate for Mr. Bush, but his pro-choice position on abortion is seen as a problem.
The poll, published yesterday in several Pennsylvania newspapers, was conducted June 8 to July 9, Reuters reports. The poll involved 811 adult state residents, including 634 registered voters.
Poll results also held unwelcome news for Democrats in the state's Senate race, showing party nominee Rep. Ron Klink trailing Republican incumbent Sen. Rick Santorum by 15 percentage points.
The poll suggested that Mr. Klink's problems stemmed from low name recognition. Nearly 70 percent of voters across Pennsylvania said they had never heard of him.

Nader's ad man

The man whose irreverent advertising helped elect Jesse Ventura governor of Minnesota has signed on with Ralph Nader, the consumer activist-turned-presidential candidate.
William Hillsman created a series of offbeat, funny and ultimately successful ads for Mr. Ventura. It is not clear whether Mr. Nader will have enough money to mount much of a TV campaign, but Mr. Hillsman says he will work with whatever budget he's given, the Associated Press reports.
"Bill Hillsman and his company are known nationally as highly creative communicators who help bring underdog candidates and causes to victory," Mr. Nader told reporters yesterday.
Mr. Nader, the Green Party candidate, said he's raised about $1 million so far and hopes to raise a total of $5 million.

Leisurely pace

Perhaps it's the summer of content for Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush, sitting on a lead in the polls for a couple of months now, but the Texas governor is hardly burning up the campaign trail these days, Reuters reports.
While Democratic rival Al Gore moves among events, cities, states and even coasts in the space of 24 hours, the Texas governor's pace is more measured, less frenetic and occasionally even leisurely, reporter Patricia Wilson said.
Whether it's a sign of confidence that he has successfully set the agenda since the primaries, or a case of keeping his powder dry for the hectic months to come after the Republican National Convention that begins July 31 in Philadelphia, Mr. Bush insists it is not a measure of his determination or his commitment to winning on Nov. 7.
"This is a marathon," he constantly reminds reporters. "I'm a disciplined campaigner. I'm comfortable with the process and patient."

Big spender quits

The Philadelphia mayor's chief of staff has resigned after attracting criticism over million-dollar office renovations.
Stephanie Franklin-Suber said Tuesday she will leave the post Sept. 3 because the controversy has been too much of a distraction to Mayor John F. Street's administration, the Associated Press reports.
She was criticized last week after news that the city was spending $1.3 million to renovate offices for herself and the mayor. That included $59,000 for solid cherry furniture for her office.
She offered to reimburse $10,000 of the cost, and Mr. Street later said she probably could have spent less.
Mrs. Franklin-Suber said she believed her tenure was controversial mainly because she's a woman.
"It is still, in the year 2000, difficult for society in general to be comfortable with a woman in such a high position," Mrs. Franklin-Suber said.
Mrs. Franklin-Suber also had drawn criticism from City Hall insiders as overly demanding and imperious, but her supporters described her as intelligent and hard-working and said her critics couldn't stomach a strong black woman.

Oregon initiative

Conservative groups are pushing an initiative that would prohibit Oregon schools from "encouraging, promoting or sanctioning" homosexuality, the Associated Press reports.
The initiative would take away state funding from a school that violates the law.
If it qualifies for the November ballot, it will be the first time that a state votes on the issue, said Peter LaBarbera, spokesman for the Family Research Council and president of Americans for Truth, a group that opposes special rights for homosexuals.
"The gay school issue is hot everywhere," Mr. LaBarbera said. "If it's successful, it'll energize people who believe things have gotten out of control."
Supporters of the measure turned in 83,281 signatures to the secretary of state's office Friday. They need 66,786 valid names for the initiative to qualify and will receive results within 30 days.

Missouri poll

Texas Gov. George W. Bush is 11 points ahead of Vice President Al Gore in the state of Missouri, according to a Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. poll, reported yesterday in the Kansas City Star.
The survey of 624 registered Missouri voters had a 4 percent margin of error.

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