- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 27, 2000

Wrong state

Get that campaign a map.

New York Senate candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, who proudly proclaims she has visited all 62 of the state's counties, made a wrong turn last Thursday when she appeared on a radio station in Erie County, Pa. She apparently believed she was on the air in New York.

"Last week, I was up your way talking about my upstate economic agenda," Mrs. Clinton told her befuddled radio host during a 10-minute interview on the 1,000-watt WLKK, which is located about 20 miles from the New York border.

The signal almost reaches the state line.

The Rick Lazio campaign has offered the first lady some help in her future bookings.

In an e-mail, Lazio campaign manager Bill Dal Col said, "Hillary's campaign should know that our staff will be ready in a Pennsylvania minute to help book Mrs. Clinton on radio stations in Albany, Ga.; Rochester, Minn.; Manhattan, Kan.; Rome, Italy; Geneva, Switzerland; Jamestown, Va.; Auburn, Ala.; Watertown, S.D.; Corning, Ark.; Syracuse, Ind.; Buffalo Grove, Ill.; and Batavia, Ill."

Cheney's fund raising

As secretary of defense, Richard B. Cheney entertained major Republican contributors at private meetings at the Pentagon, the Associated Press reports, citing documents gathered by congressional fund-raising investigators.

Mr. Cheney, named Tuesday as the Republican vice-presidential candidate, was host for at least two GOP donor gatherings inside the Defense Department in 1991 and in 1992, the records show.

"If he's having an open house for contributors at the Pentagon, it does bring back reminiscences of the Lincoln Bedroom," said Larry Makinson, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a group that opposes current fund-raising practices.

Mr. Makinson was referring to President Clinton's practice of inviting heavy contributors to stay overnight at the White House.

On Aug. 19, 1992, members of the Presidential Roundtable (minimum donation $5,000) attended a briefing with Mr. Cheney, according to the minority report written by Democrats on the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee that investigated campaign finance practices.

A Republican National Committee brochure that touted the benefits of joining the Presidential Roundtable included a picture of Mr. Cheney briefing members at the Pentagon.

McCain praises Kerry

Sen. John McCain said yesterday that Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry would make an excellent running mate for Vice President Al Gore, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee.

Speaking at a news conference where he appeared with Mr. Kerry to promote Internet privacy legislation, the Arizona Republican praised Mr. Kerry's legislative ability and service to his country, Reuters news agency reports.

"I think [he] would be helpful to Vice President Gore," Mr. McCain said of his fellow Vietnam War veteran.

"Therefore, I strongly recommend that the vice president not select him," said a joking Mr. McCain.

Martinez joins GOP

California Democratic Rep. Matthew Martinez, who lost a bid for renomination in last spring's primary, said yesterday he will switch to the Republican Party for the final few months of his House term.

Mr. Martinez was welcomed at a morning caucus by House Republicans, but the move will have little effect on the battle for control of the House of Representatives in November's elections, Reuters news agency reports.

Mr. Martinez, who has frequently voted with the Republican majority, lost his renomination bid in March in the heavily Democratic district east of Los Angeles to state Sen. Hilda Solis, who is unopposed in the general election.

Mr. Martinez said he was switching parties because Democrats had turned their backs on him, while Republicans had been supportive since his primary loss.

"I no longer want to be part of a party where loyalty is not rewarded with support," Mr. Martinez said, adding that Republicans were more understanding of American values.

The move gives Republicans 223 members in the House, with Democrats holding 210 seats and two independents.

Hillary's hard line

Hillary Rodham Clinton said U.S. aid to Palestinians should be cut off if they unilaterally declare statehood.

"It must be clear that any unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood would be entirely unacceptable and should be met with a cutoff of United States assistance," she said in a statement released Tuesday night, after the Camp David peace talks collapsed.

The New York Senate candidate's position appeared to go beyond what President Clinton has said in urging the Israelis and the Palestinians to keep trying to reach an agreement, the Associated Press reports.

A trilateral statement from the United States, Israel and the Palestinians on the Camp David summit said that both sides "understand the importance of avoiding unilateral actions," but Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has threatened to declare statehood if no agreement is reached by Sept. 13.

In 1998, the first lady spurred controversy when she said that a Palestinian state was "very important" to Middle East peace.

New Jersey poll

Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush are locked in a tight race in New Jersey, where Green Party candidate Ralph Nader garners 7 percent of the vote in a hypothetical match-up, according to a new poll.

Results of a Quinnipiac University poll showed Mr. Gore, the presumptive Democratic nominee, leading Mr. Bush 46 percent to 41 percent in a two-way race, with a 3.3 percent margin of error.

When Mr. Nader and Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan were thrown into the mix, Mr. Gore's lead over Mr. Bush slipped to 42 percent to 38 percent, with Mr. Buchanan claiming 2 percentage points.

Hey, big spenders

Under the leadership of a Republican Congress, federal spending is surging at the fastest clip in more than 20 years, according to a Cato Institute study.

The 106th Congress is well on its way to becoming the largest-spending Congress on domestic social programs since the late 1970s when Jimmy Carter sat in the Oval Office and Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill was speaker of the House, say study authors Stephen Moore, Cato's director of fiscal policy studies (on leave), and Stephen Slivinski, a Cato fiscal policy analyst.

Total federal non-defense spending is projected to grow by 11 percent from 1999 to 2001, the largest increase since a 12 percent jump during the 95th Congress (1977-78), say the authors in "Return of the Living Dead: Federal Programs That Survived the Republican Revolution."

The authors blamed the situation on the "inability or unwillingness of Republicans to eliminate virtually any government program."

Health and education

Delegates to the Republican National Convention say education should be the No. 1 priority of the next president, while Democratic delegates put health care at the top of their list, according to interviews by the Associated Press.

Education is a close second for the Democratic delegates, who will convene in Los Angeles beginning Aug. 14. Taxes are No. 2 for the Republicans, whose convention begins Monday in Philadelphia.

The concerns shown in the AP interviews of both delegations are in line with the major platform issues of the parties' nominees. Republican Texas Gov. George W. Bush has promised education reforms and deep tax cuts, while Democratic Vice President Al Gore has pledged to make sweeping changes in health care as well as implement various education measures.

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