- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 18, 2000

By boat, rail

Bouncing out of their national conventions, Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush are planning telegenic travels into the final phase of their presidential campaigns, the vice president by boat, the governor by train.
Mr. Gore will travel by boat on the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes, putting ashore to campaign in the swing states of the Midwest, the territory both camps regard as crucial in the Nov. 7 election, the Associated Press reports.
The details of his voyage are not set yet, nor is it known whether his vice presidential nominee will accompany him, as he did with Bill Clinton on a bus trip in 1992 and 1996. The boat trip is to follow the Democratic convention, which will nominate Mr. Gore on Aug. 16 and end with his acceptance speech the next night.
Mr. Bush's travel mode would be more traditional. His campaign is tentatively planning railroad trips through swing states of the Midwest and in California after the Republican convention adjourns Aug. 3.

Corruption of the law

"You don't have to be a 'Clinton hater' to smell something fishy about the prosecution of Charles Bakaly III, formerly spokesman for Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr," Wall Street Journal editor Robert L. Bartley writes.
"The New York Times says trying him on criminal contempt of court charges is 'unduly punitive and extreme.' Julian Epstein, Democratic House Judiciary counsel, brands it 'a terrible prosecution,' " Mr. Bartley noted.
"Does it cross the bounds of 'hate' to draw the obvious conclusion? To wit: This is the latest instance of the Clinton administration abusing the judicial process to settle scores and hound its critics. That is to say, the latest evidence of the corruption of the law by Janet Reno's Department of Justice."

Gingrich's view

Vice President Al Gore reinvents himself so often in the presidential campaign he has become the Democratic Party's Richard Nixon, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says.
In an interview broadcast yesterday on NBC's "Today" show, Mr. Gingrich said Mr. Gore has been both negative and "kaleidoscopic" in his campaign, changing his image as frequently as Mr. Nixon did during his campaigning.
"They used to talk about a new Nixon, but we get a new Gore about every 10 days," said Mr. Gingrich, who resigned after the Republicans lost seats in the November 1998 election.
"I think he's the Democrats' Richard Nixon. Very smart, very aggressive, very combative, but not somehow able to build a positive majority. If he wins, he'll win by by tearing Bush down. He won't win by building up a Gore agenda."
Asked to comment on the campaign of Republican Party candidate George W. Bush, Mr. Gingrich described the Texas governor as a very smart political leader who had a real chance to "move this country a long way."
Mr. Gingrich said Mr. Bush had been "almost perfect" on the issues he had chosen, but the candidate's message has yet to resonate with voters.

Ignoring the evidence

The TV networks mostly ignored an EPA memo showing that the agency knew that its own regulations were primarily responsible for a boost in gas prices in the Midwest, the Media Research Center reports.
The Environmental Protection Agency not only denied what it knew to be true, but said it suspected oil companies were gouging consumers. That accusation was duly reported by all the networks.
Only CBS picked up on the EPA memo, first reported by The Washington Times.
"All three broadcast networks skipped it Friday morning and CNN ignored it, too, on Friday night, as did ABC and NBC on Saturday and Sunday night," the Media Research Center said.
On Friday night, CBS did mention the memo, but "Evening News" anchor Dan Rather "still couldn't resist opening with this jab at the side which was vindicated as he buried the real news of Clinton team duplicity: 'Republicans today sided with the oil companies against the Clinton-Gore administration on the question of who and what is to blame for higher gasoline prices.' "

Huckabee's ammo

"Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is proof that not every politician is scared of the anti-gun crowd," Paul Bedard writes in U.S. News & World Report.
"Huckabee is handing out 12-gauge shotgun shells manufactured in Arkansas by Remington Arms. Stamped on every shell: 'Gov. Mike Huckabee.' The firm is providing the shells as souvenirs for the governor's duck-hunting guests," Mr. Bedard said.
"George W. Bush, who brings his campaign to Arkansas this week, could be the first to get one of only two prototype shells. And the guv plans to invite Bush back to use it on some birds after the election."

Mrs. Cohen's China tie

The wife of Defense Secretary William S. Cohen said yesterday she may become a co-host of a talk show on China's state-run television.
Janet Langhart Cohen, a former television talk-show host, raised the idea during a visit to the China's CCTV last week in Beijing, Agence France-Presse reports.
"The Chinese were quite enthusiastic about it, and we're going to try to work out the details in the next few weeks," Mr. Cohen told reporters on the flight home.
Mrs. Cohen said she was exploring the idea with the male anchor of a talk show aired by CCTV, which has a viewership of 200 million people in the mornings and 400 million in the evening.
"I would interview American and Chinese, and he would do the same and then we could exchange that," she said, adding that live television hookups would let her do her segments from Washington.
"His format is live. It's about a half-hour show. He brings in the everyday Chinese," she said, describing the show as similar to a town hall meeting.
She described the show as a "potpourri of talk" aimed mostly at women.

Groups show muscle

Outside groups played an unprecedented role in key primary elections this year, a new report finds, with conservative groups battering Arizona Sen. John McCain in South Carolina and labor unions providing crucial support to Vice President Al Gore in Iowa.
"If the level of ferocity of the primaries is any indication of the cross-party battles in the fall, we are in for a very bloody fight," said the report, "Getting Inside the Outside Campaign," released yesterday.
The research was led by David B. Magleby of the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy at Brigham Young University. It was based on tracking of election activity by academics in several key states, including Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, which hosted the first three caucuses and elections of the 2000 primary season. The Pew Charitable Trusts provided financing, the Associated Press reports.
Much of the communications to voters were through television commercials, but the report also documents extensive use of mail to homes, e-mail, targeted phone calls and radio spots, which are cheaper than TV and can be more carefully targeted to certain types of voters.

Helping Bauer

"It's payback time for Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican," National Journal reports.
"No, he has not set out to settle an old score. Rather, the former White House contender is asking 80,000 or so of his contributors to send checks to a former rival for the GOP nomination, conservative activist Gary Bauer, to help him retire his campaign debt," the magazine said.
"In a letter to 'mail donors' [not the thousands who gave through the Internet], McCain noted that Bauer was 'willing to put his neck on the line for us' when he endorsed the Arizonan's candidacy after dropping out of the race."

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