- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 1, 2000

No tax pledge

New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen said Tuesday she will seek a third term, but won't renew her vow to veto income taxes.
"Twice before as I ran for governor, I told the people of New Hampshire that I would veto any broad-based tax, and I fought hard to keep that commitment," the Democrat said. "But this year, I cannot make that same promise, whatever the political price."
Failing to take the pledge has been a kiss of death in New Hampshire politics. But this year candidates face a changed landscape Mrs. Shaheen and state lawmakers have been grappling with an education-funding crisis triggered by a 1997 court ruling that demanded they find a fairer way to pay for schools.
Three likely candidates a Democrat, a Republican and an independent back an income tax to pay for schools.

Bush's abortion stance

Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, has asked presumptive Republican president nominee George W. Bush to clarify his position on abortion.
"While you take a pragmatic posture that allows for children to be killed in some cases, [Vice President Al] Gore never met an act of abortion he didn't like and says so. But the fact is that both of you sanction the killing of innocent babies in the womb," she said in a letter yesterday to the Texas governor.
Mrs. Brown said that on Mr. Bush's Web site he states that "all children should be welcomed into life," but that the governor admits to a number of exceptions.
"It occurs to me, Governor Bush, that perhaps you might make one fundamental point rather than the continued flow of rhetoric," Mrs. Brown wrote. "If it is true that you consider yourself to be pro-life … then perhaps you should define who you mean when you talk about children."

Evil genius

Even though Rhode Island Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy drew publicity as the man behind the Democratic lawsuit that accuses Republican Whip Tom DeLay of racketeering, most Republicans do not think Mr. Kennedy has the mental wattage to dream up such a maneuver, the Weekly Standard's Matt Labash writes.
"The man Republicans are crediting instead as the evil genius behind the [anti-racketeering] suit is Robert Bauer, a whiskered, bespectacled campaign-finance authority who looks more like a humanities professor than a pit-bull litigator. Bauer, a managing partner at Washington, D.C.'s Perkins, Coie, has served as the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's outside counsel since 1977, and the [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's] attorney since 1981," Mr. Labash said.
"Bauer's most important role, however, isn't playing offense, but defense. Unlike the flamboyant Bob Bennett or Abbe Lowell, Bauer has quietly become a Zelig, popping up in almost every case involving an ethically challenged Democrat, a gig that keeps him busy."
He has represented former Democratic National Committee Chairman Richard Sullivan in the Clinton-Gore fund-raising scandals and former Rep. Tony Coelho, canonized "as the Democrats' reigning shakedown artist," Mr. Labash said.

Cuba and the caucus

Three members of the Congressional Black Caucus began a five-day visit to Cuba yesterday to explore the prospect of relaxing the United States' 38-year-old economic embargo against the communist country.
"Like no other time before, we are seeing different groups, like some Republicans, farm interests, church groups and others starting to push to end the embargo," said Rep. James E. Clyburn, South Carolina Democrat.
Mr. Clyburn, along with fellow Democratic Reps. Gregory W. Meeks of New York and Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, planned to meet with government ministers, educators and business people and tour the city of Santiago de Cuba, the island's center of Afro-Caribbean culture, the Associated Press reports.
While a total lifting of the embargo does not seem imminent, the lawmakers said they would be satisfied if the House approves sales of food and medicine.

Home funding approved

The Federal Election Commission yesterday dismissed a conservative group's complaint against Hillary Rodham Clinton over an arrangement for a home loan with a prominent Democratic fund-raiser.
The Conservative Campaign Fund alleged in September that the first lady and Terry McAuliffe violated federal election law when Mr. McAuliffe agreed to co-sign for the Clintons' $1.7 million home in Westchester County.
Criticism of the arrangement led the Clintons to finance the five-bedroom home themselves.
The group had argued that personal loans and guarantees for personal loans have always been treated as campaign contributions and subject to the same $1,000 limit. The FEC disagreed.

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