- The Washington Times - Friday, July 28, 2000

Hoffa, Daley huddle

Teamsters President James P. Hoffa and Gore campaign chairman William M. Daley held a secret political meeting earlier this month in an attempt to bury the hatchet and discuss the union's support for Al Gore, The Washington Times learned Thursday.
The Teamsters, the largest union in several Midwest battleground states that will be crucial to Mr. Gore's campaign, has refused to endorse Mr. Gore and has threatened to remain neutral in the presidential election. And Mr. Hoffa had publicly grumbled that neither the vice president nor any of his campaign aides had made any attempt to hear his concerns about trade and other issues.
Sen. Robert G. Torricelli, New Jersey Democrat, set up the meeting in his Capitol Hill office two weeks ago to bring the two men together, union and Democratic officials said..
Bret Caldwell, Mr. Hoffa's spokesman, said Thursday that he could give "no details" on what came out of the closed-door meeting. "It was a continued discussion. There was no breakthrough," he said.

Daschle's worry

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, is begging Vice President Al Gore not to select as his running mate a senator from a state with a Republican governor, Roll Call reports.
"I respect their judgment, and I will be extremely supportive of whatever decision they ultimately make," Mr. Daschle told reporter Mark Preston. "But I am concerned. We are so close now to taking back the Senate that I would hope we wouldn't jeopardize our prospects for taking back the majority."
Mr. Daschle contacted the Gore campaign to make his concern known, the Capitol Hill newspaper said.
The recent death of Georgia Republican Sen. Paul Coverdell leaves the GOP with only a 54-46 margin in the Senate. The Democratic governor appointed former Gov. Zell Miller, a Democrat, to replace Mr. Coverdell.
A number of Democratic senators said to be vice presidential possibilities for Mr. Gore come from states with Republican governors, including Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, John Kerry of Massachusetts, Bob Graham of Florida, and Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut.
"This may explain, in part, why the name of Sen. Tom Harkin, Iowa Democrat, who hails from a state with a Democratic governor, is suddenly getting some attention as a possible veep," the reporter said.

Chelsea's plans change

Chelsea Clinton plans to skip the start of school at Stanford University this fall in part to campaign for her mother, Hillary Rodham Clinton, a White House spokeswoman said Thursday.

Miss Clinton, 20, is due to begin her senior year at Stanford. She plans to return to the Palo Alto, Calif., campus at midyear, after her mother's race for the U.S. Senate seat from New York.

She also wants to spend more time with her father as his presidency ends, said Mrs. Clinton's spokeswoman, Lissa Muscatine.

"Chelsea is taking off the fall quarter to experience and enjoy the final months of her father's presidency, and to support her mother and father in their various activities," Miss Muscatine told the Associated Press.

Miss Clinton has accumulated additional credits at Stanford to be able still to graduate on time in spring 2001, she said.

It is not clear whether Miss Clinton will stump apart from her mother, or whether she will speak formally at campaign events.

Miller sworn in

In a ceremony more somber than celebratory, former Georgia Gov. Zell Miller was sworn in Thursday to fill the Senate seat left vacant by the death of Paul Coverdell.
Before taking the oath from Sen. Strom Thurmond, South Carolina Republican, the president pro tem, Mr. Miller watched from the gallery as predecessors eulogized Mr. Coverdell.
Mr. Miller's first floor speech was dominated by memories of his Republican predecessor. The new Democratic senator acknowledged the emotional response by senators last week when word spread that one of their colleagues had died.
"I thank you for your words, your tears and your testimonies for one of Georgia's finest sons," Mr. Miller said. "You who served with Paul knew him well. I served with Paul and knew him well also."
Mr. Coverdell's unexpected death July 18 after a stroke made for a low-key swearing-in ceremony, the Associated Press reports. Fellow senators welcomed him warmly, applauding lightly after he officially became the state's junior senator, cutting the Republican majority to 54-46.
"He knows we have heavy hearts," said Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi. "We appreciate the way he has approached this already. He is one of our colleagues."

Counting chickens

California Rep. Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she has enough support from fellow Democrats to become majority whip, the No. 3 position in the House leadership, if the party wins control of the chamber in the November elections.

In her most confident statement yet about her prospects for capturing the post, Mrs. Pelosi told Hearst news service reporter Judy Holland that if Democratic lawmakers were to vote today, she would defeat her rival, Rep. Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland.

"I have a clear majority," she said. "It's undeniable that I have the commitments. I am very confident about the numbers that I have."

She said more than 80 Democratic representatives were supporting her. There are now 210 Democrats in the House and the whip would only open up if the caucus gained at least another eight members.

A sad story

Each state was supposed to send a version of the Liberty Bell to Philadelphia for the Republican National Convention next week. But South Dakota's won't make the trip.
"It exploded in the kiln," potter Ken Russell of Arlington, S.D., said Thursday in a telephone interview with Associated Press reporter Nancy Zuckerbrod.
"It would have been pretty," Mr. Russell added glumly.
The bell was about 2 feet tall and 22 inches in diameter, with a grain pattern carved on it to represent South Dakota's farmland.
Mr. Russell said the bell was supposed to be shipped to Philadelphia by July 20 but state party officials asked him to create it just two weeks earlier.
He let the bell dry for about a week, then put it in a kiln so it would dry faster.
Typically, a piece of pottery of that size should stay in the kiln for only eight to 10 hours, he said. But Mr. Russell, wanting to ensure the bell would arrive on time in Philadelphia, left it in for 20 hours.
"When the moisture inside the clay turns to steam, there's not room for it to escape, so it just explodes," he said.
The state bells will be displayed at the Pennsylvania Convention Center along with other works of art and memorabilia. It's part of PoliticalFest, a multimedia show that will try to capture some of the history and hoopla of the nation's political conventions.
Wyoming's bell is made of lariat rope and Alaska's looks like it is made of ice, said Jan Larimer, co-chairman of the Committee on Arrangements.
Indiana's is in "the shape of a basketball hoop," she said. "It's awesome."

The independent choice

George W. Bush continues to lead Al Gore among independent voters, according to a new Pew Research Center poll released Thursday.
The poll said that Mr. Bush leads his Democratic opponent 52 percent to 41 percent among this pivotal swing vote, an 11-point margin that the Pew report characterizes as "a slight lead." Slight? Eleven points?
Nevertheless, the Pew poll finds "Bush and Gore remain neck and neck in the presidential contest," 48-to-46 percent respectively.
On other matters, it finds that one in eight Americans (13 percent) "plan to watch all or most" of the Republican convention, with another 28 percent saying they will watch some of it.
Another key finding: "Overall, Gore's biggest potential weaknesses are that he panders and stretches the truth."

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