- The Washington Times - Friday, July 14, 2000

Gephardt cancels

House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri canceled his weekly press conference Thursday at the U.S. Capitol amid increasing speculation that he is among the leading candidates to be Vice President Al Gore's running mate.

Mr. Gephardt's office gave no reason for the cancellation, but he surely knew that reporters would have besieged him with questions about higher office.

The former presidential candidate has not ruled out a spot on the Democratic ticket, causing consternation among House Democrats who view him as a crucial player in their effort to regain a majority in the chamber.

The guessing game

Former New Hampshire Sen. Warren Rudman, admitting that it's just "pure speculation," thinks George W. Bush has narrowed his veep list down to three people: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating "and a third person."

Some people in certain Republican circles think that third person is Mr. Bush's former rival for the nomination, Arizona Sen. John McCain, whom Mr. Rudman supported in the primaries.

But Mr. Rudman told The Washington Times Thursday that he knew of no back-channel discussions going on with Mr. McCain and the Bush campaign.

"This is not to say that nothing's going on, but if there was I think I would know about it," he said.

Still, Mr. Rudman is promoting Mr. McCain every chance he gets and he suggests that the idea of the once-bitter rivals joining forces on the GOP's ticket may not be as farfetched as some might think.

"He's a God-and-country guy and I suppose if someone came to him and said you have to do this, he'd consider it. Look at John F. Kennedy and LBJ, who didn't like each other."

Mr. Rudman added: "Bush and McCain don't hate each other. There is no deep-seated animosity between them. They've talked a number of times over the past few weeks about issues, strategies and the campaign. They get along."

DeLay's health

House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, 53, was hospitalized late last month for a rapid heartbeat and is taking medication to prevent blood clots, his office confirmed Thursday.

Mr. DeLay, Texas Republican and an instrumental fund-raiser for the GOP, was taken to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., on June 21 after he visited the Office of the Attending Physician at the U.S. Capitol and was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.

The third-ranking House Republican spent the night in the hospital and returned to work the next day. He is taking coumadin for 90 days as a precaution, said spokesman Emily Miller, who dispelled rumors that Mr. DeLay was considering retirement as a result of the episode.

"He's as fired up and ready to go as ever," Miss Miller said.

Mr. DeLay maintains a grinding schedule, working out daily at 8 a.m. and often staying in the office past midnight. His hospitalization was first reported Thursday in Roll Call.

Torricelli for governor?

Sen. Robert Torricelli, New Jersey Democrat, is seriously considering a run for governor, the New York Times reports.

Mr. Torricelli has been "burning up the phones" for two days, asking elected officials and political activists for their "private personal commitment: that if he runs, he'll have their support, and not to make any public endorsements in the meantime," an anonymous "influential Democrat" told reporter David M. Halbfinger.

A number of party leaders have urged Mr. Torricelli to enter the race, said Jamie Fox, a close adviser to the senator.

Whining and carping

A new poll shows Hillary Rodham Clinton winning only 54 percent of Jewish voters in New York, and her staff blames it all on the media, the New York Post reports.

The newspaper cited a two-page memo from Karen Adler, Mrs. Clinton's top adviser on Jewish affairs, in which the aide complained about what she called unfair treatment from the Jewish press and the general media in New York.

Reporter Gregg Birnbaum said the memo was given to the Post by a Jewish Democratic official concerned about the "whining, carping and kvetching" in the Hillary camp.

"The campaign's attitude is, 'If only the media treated us better, we wouldn't have these problems,' " the anonymous official told the newspaper. "That's just not true. They are in a bunker it's a siege mentality."

Bush winnows list

Texas Gov. George W. Bush said Thursday he has winnowed his list of possible vice-presidential candidates, and he quickly added that only his wife and the man in charge of the search also know who remains in the running.

With speculation rising about his pick in the run-up to the Republican National Convention, Mr. Bush said there has been "serious vetting" of medical, legal and financial records of the contenders. He indicated he doesn't intend to invite candidates for publicly disclosed meetings, saying, "I know everybody pretty darn well."

Aboard his chartered campaign plane, Mr. Bush said he had read a recent report that purported to list the names of three finalists, the Associated Press reports.

"It's not true. I promise you it's not true," he said.

Gore mulls timing

Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore, hoping to blunt his opponent's momentum, may announce his vice-presidential choice immediately after the Republican National Convention, campaign sources said Thursday.

The announcement, timed to draw attention away from Texas Gov. George W. Bush, would come the day after Republicans wrap up their Philadelphia convention Aug. 3 by nominating Mr. Bush as their presidential candidate, Reuters said. The report first appeared in USA Today.

Democrats begin their convention in Los Angeles 11 days later, at which the vice president will formally receive the presidential nomination.

GOP to fete Hoffa

Teamsters President James Hoffa not only will attend this month's Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, he will be honored there at a party thrown by GOP chairman Jim Nicholson, 10 congressional Republicans and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, the Associated Press reports.

This is the first time in 20 years that a union president has been honored by the GOP during one of its conventions, according to the Republican National Committee.

The Teamsters' endorsement in the presidential race is eagerly being sought by both the Republicans and Democrats and their likely presidential nominees, Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore. The union, with its 1.5 million members, has not endorsed a candidate yet.

Mr. Hoffa a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles next month met with Mr. Bush in April in Washington, and the presumptive Republican presidential nominee also spoke to members of the union's leadership on the telephone last month. Mr. Hoffa also had a meeting with Green Party candidate Ralph Nader in June.

Survivors

"In the spirit of the hit TV show 'Survivor,' if you were stranded on a tropical island with the following political figures, who would be the first person that you would personally vote off the island?" 1,001 voters were asked in a poll conducted for Hotline. The list included various presidential candidates and other well-known politicians.

The loser? President Clinton, who was the first choice of 25 percent to be thrown off the island.

"Who would be your second choice?" the pollsters asked.

First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton led that poll, the choice of 25 percent. Her husband still managed to come in second, with 17 percent.

"Apparently a voting alliance has formed around the notion that the Clintons would fail miserably at island politics where 'playing well with others' is vital to continued existence," said pollster Kellyanne Fitzpatrick.

The poll also asked, "who would you want to be the last survivor remaining?"

Winner: Texas Gov. George W. Bush, at 26 percent, the choice of almost twice as many respondents as any other candidate.

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