- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 5, 2000

Lazio's abortion stance

Rep. Rick Lazio, the Long Island Republican who is running against Hillary Rodham Clinton for a Senate seat from New York, says he would have no litmus test for judging Supreme Court nominees but would consider their stance on abortion.

"I think it's a consideration," Mr. Lazio told the New York Post in an interview Monday aboard his campaign bus. "I think, absolutely, you want to have that information on the record absolutely and I would want it on the record.

"You want to have as much information as you possibly can about a judge's philosophical proclivities and where they're headed and how they got there."

He added: "I want to know what they are saying. I want to know how they are reasoning on the [abortion] issue so we can make a judgment about whether this person has the intellectual capacity to make a good, reasoned judgment."

Mr. Lazio has come under fire from Mrs. Clinton on the abortion issue, even though he is pro-choice. She vows, if elected, to vote against any nominee who expresses qualms about an unlimited right to abortion, including Medicaid funding and partial-birth abortion.

Monday night tactic

"Talk about counterprogramming. Wily convention strategists for Vice President Al Gore think it may be wise to ask President Clinton to speak on Monday night, Aug. 14," National Journal reports.

"One reason is to speed along Gore's transformation into the Democratic Party's Alpha Male; the sooner Clinton speaks and exits the Los Angeles stage the better. The other reason is to force ABC television to rethink its plans to broadcast Monday Night Football that evening and squeeze its convention coverage into the game's halftime report," the magazine said.

Nader's charm

"Ralph Nader, as expected, won the Green Party nomination and, buoyed by speculation about his possible marginal effect in key states (California, Michigan), plans to run an aggressive campaign, bashing both parties," National Review notes in an editorial.

"Don't hold on to your hats. Third parties always fade in the stretch. Even George Wallace and Ross Perot (the first time out) the only recent third-party candidates to break into double digits fell off from their campaign peaks," the magazine said.

"Nader, who has the charm of an East German bureaucrat, is fashioning an appeal to the hard Left, even though the lesson of American exceptionalism is that there isn't much of one in this country. The only candidate who might really suffer because his supporters find Nader's rants against the 'insatiable corporate culture' compelling is Pat Buchanan."

Stumping for vets

Republican Senate candidate Rick Lazio marched in three Fourth of July parades in northern New York yesterday while trumpeting his accomplishments for veterans in Congress.

In addition to pointing at his own record, Mr. Lazio's campaign pressed its criticism of Democratic opponent Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was with President Clinton in New York City observing OpSail 2000, the parade of tall ships on the Hudson River.

"She's out taking an aircraft carrier for a vanity cruise and we're out here on Main Street," Lazio political strategist Mike Murphy told the Associated Press. "I think it really tells the story of the difference in the campaign."

At a breakfast for Korean War veterans in Saratoga Springs earlier yesterday, Mr. Lazio himself questioned the first lady's commitment to veterans.

"I think it goes back to, you know, 'What have you done for New York?' " Mr. Lazio said. "When New York needed Mrs. Clinton to fight for veterans health benefits, where was she?"

No-show

At least one Democrat is complaining about Rhode Island Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy's failure to show up at various public events, the American Spectator reports.

Mr. Kennedy is chairman of the campaign arm of House Democrats.

"At least six times this year, he's committed to appearing at major public events with Republican House members to speak about issues and the 2000 campaign and failed to show up," an anonymous Democratic fund-raiser on Capitol Hill told the magazine.

The fund-raiser added: "Kennedy didn't show up for a debate at the Heritage Foundation. Big deal. But he failed to show for appearances with Republicans at big Washington meetings for the National Association of Manufacturers and several other big lobbying groups. It was embarrassing. These are groups we're trying to get to donate to the party."

Bush joins parade

George W. Bush spoke of patriotism yesterday as he joined an Independence Day parade in Belton, Texas, never mentioning presidential opponent Al Gore.

"I love the Fourth of July. I love Texas, it's an honor to be here," the Texas governor told about 2,000 people outside the courthouse.

Mr. Bush, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, said, "Americans cherish liberty and Americans have sacrificed for it."

Belton, a town of about 13,000 in central Texas, is about 20 miles from Fort Hood, one of the country's largest military installations.

Campaign workers passed out red-white-and-blue pompoms and Boy Scouts and their parents waved American flags for media cameras. Smoke from barbecues that were fired up earlier in the day wafted through town, the Associated Press reports.

To occasional shouts of "Go get 'em George," Mr. Bush walked the parade route moving from side to side on the street to shake hands.

'Fair and clean'

Vice President Al Gore, campaigning for Hispanic votes in Southern California, congratulated Vicente Fox for winning Sunday's presidential election in Mexico.

Mr. Gore, the presumed Democratic presidential candidate, also congratulated the Mexican people for "an outstanding fair and clean election," Agence France-Presse reports.

"I congratulate the PRI [Institutional Revolutionary Party], because they have presided over an election process which was handled with grace and dignity and honored the Mexican people with a fair process," Mr. Gore told about 800 people attending the annual meeting in San Diego of La Raza, a leading Hispanic social service organization.

Mr. Gore also said the death of more than 500 illegal immigrants since 1995 along the U.S. border was "unacceptable."

"I'll pledge to you that if you elect me president, I will change that," he said.

Just for laughs

Robert Reich, the former labor secretary and Friend of Bill, is not looking forward to the national political conventions.

"The scripts are already written, and we have already heard them. The spectacle of thousands of Republicans gathering in Philadelphia for five days in August will cause the nation to lapse into a near-comatose state, the ideal condition for coping with the Democrats in Los Angeles two weeks later," Mr. Reich said in a column in the American Prospect magazine.

"Our only hope for surviving these two nonevents is a good laugh. (Apropos, Comedy Central has asked me to cover the conventions, joining the likes of Bob Dole. Barring an invitation from Al Gore to be his running mate, I plan to be there with CC.)"

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