- The Washington Times - Monday, June 12, 2000

Reality check

"To hear President Clinton tell it, he's a regular spendthrift, hanging out at the Big K and paying cash for the Blue Light Special on tube socks while hobnobbing with us regular folks," Paul Bedard notes in U.S. News & World Report.

" 'I try to go out and shop every buy something every few months, anyway, just so I keep in touch with people,' he says. Well … almost, associates say of the president's claim on Russian radio.

"Reality check: He's a rare shopper who's more likely to have an aide pay the tab with the president's credit cards Visa, MasterCard and American Express. What's more, when he does get the itch to buy a book, normally a stack at a time while on vacation at a fancy resort, or shop for his girls, typically at boutiques in Georgetown or Washington's Union Station, the Secret Service keeps people at bay, insiders say.

" 'The fact is he doesn't get a chance to shop. No president does,' says one friend. Nonetheless, it's true that he carries cash, typically about $200 in small bills. But it gets little use: He tosses it to an aide when golfing or shaking hands so it doesn't get in the way or get stolen."

Honesty and trust

Rep. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, yesterday chastised Vice President Al Gore for breaking his pledge that the Democrats would not be the first to use soft money to finance advertising in the presidential contest.

The Democratic National Committee last week began running ads to boost Mr. Gore's image. They were paid for in part with soft money given to the party rather than the candidate.

"The problem the vice president has this week is that on March 15th he got on national television, he looked the American people in the eye. He made a bold political statement," Mr. Graham said on CBS' "Face the Nation."

"A few months later when the polls go down he's backing off. This manipulation and deception has continued for 7 1/2 years. This is about honesty and trust. I can vote for somebody I disagree with politically. I can't vote for somebody I don't trust to tell me the truth."

Hillary's zingers

After more than seven years of enduring barbs as first lady, New York Senate candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton got her chance Saturday night to offer up zingers of her own as she took the stage with a carpetbag in hand at the nation's oldest continuous political gridiron show.

"I'm just like every other New Yorker with Secret Service protection," said the first lady, who moved into New York in January.

She noted she was already on her second opponent, and provided the audience of 500 at the 100th annual Legislative Correspondents Association dinner in Albany, N.Y., with a slide show of home photos all of them showing her wearing a New York Yankees' hat.

She was even wearing the hat, thanks to a digital enhancement, during her husband's first inaugural walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.

Hey, big spender

Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, says the only thing New Jersey Democrat John Corzine proved by spending $31.5 million to win his party's nomination for the U.S. Senate is that he "beat a fatally flawed candidate."

"He spent $30 million to beat Jim Florio," a former New Jersey governor tossed out of office after one term following hefty tax increases, Mr. McConnell said yesterday on CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer."

Spending that much money to defeat Mr. Florio, is "like the [Los Angeles] Lakers having to go into double overtime to beat the New Jersey Nets," Mr. McConnell said,

"I mean everyone knew that Florio was a flawed product. He was almost universally hated in New Jersey."

The good news, Mr. McConnell said, is that "it's not yet clear whether you can buy a seat in the Senate." He noted that Republican Michael Huffington "tried to do that in California in 1994 but did not succeed."

Promoting Rubin

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle says he does not have a favorite to be Vice President Al Gore's running mate in November, but the South Dakota Democrat was willing to provide names of Democrats he believes would be "great candidates."

Mr. Daschle offered his suggestions yesterday on CNN's "Evans, Novak, Hunt & Shields."

He mentioned six Democratic U.S. senators: Evan Bayh of Indiana, Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, John Kerry of Massachusetts, Dianne Feinstein of California, Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut and Bob Graham of Florida.

Show co-host Rowland Evans wondered aloud why Mr. Daschle did not initially mention former Treasury Secretary Richard Rubin, whom Mr. Evans described as "one of the hottest tickets in town."

"You didn't get me a chance. You interrupted," said Mr. Daschle, who by that point had mentioned Mr. Rubin.

Asked what Mr. Rubin would bring to the Democratic ticket, Mr. Daschle said: "Class, experience, articulate nature. He's got networks all over the country."

The Senate Democratic leader then got some help from Mr. Evans, who mentioned the economy.

"The economy, absolutely," Mr. Daschle said, adding: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Bob Rubin."

Daschle's prediction

Sen. Tom Daschle, in his appearance yesterday on CNN, said he isn't scared off by polls that indicate very strong popular support for the Social Security reform plan proposed by Texas Gov. George W. Bush.

The Bush plan would allow Americans to take 2 percentage points out of the Social Security tax and invest it.

Pundit Bob Novak asked the South Dakota Democrat if Mr. Gore should "modify his total opposition" to this plan, given the public support for it.

"It would be a disaster," Mr. Daschle said.

He pointed out that just last week "four respected analysts from nonpartisan organizations said that this would be a devastating blow to Social Security." Mr. Daschle said the critics predicted such a change would "shorten the life of the Social Security trust fund" and would sharply reduce Social Security benefits for those under 40 years old.

Mr. Novak wanted to know if Mr. Daschle will counter the favorable public opinion.

The Democratic leader replied: "I think public opinion is based on what they know at the time. What they know is that it provides them with a little more flexibility. What they don't know is that it takes about a trillion dollars out of the trust fund" and that it "means a reduction of about 40 percent in the benefits that people would be entitled to today."

"Once those facts are known, you're going to see entirely different" poll results, Mr. Daschle predicted.

Ex-candidate convicted

Former congressional candidate David Giles, a Democrat who lost races in Washington state against Republican Rod Chandler in 1986 and 1990, has been convicted of raping and molesting a teen-age girl.

A 12-member jury found Giles guilty last week. In December, a mistrial was declared after a jury deadlocked 6-6.

No sentencing date was set, but King County prosecutors said Giles should be sent to prison for at least 11 years, the Seattle Times reports.

No funds, please

Libertarian Party presidential candidate Harry Browne says he doesn't want taxpayer money and is refusing to accept matching campaign funds from the federal government, Cox News Service reports.

Mr. Browne said he is eligible to receive up to $750,000 for the primary season. He explained that taking the cash would betray his party's drive for a minimal government with no national tax, no gun-control laws, and no anti-drug law-enforcement programs.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide