- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 13, 2000

Battleground state

"Washington state, safely in the Democratic column in the last three presidential elections, is emerging as a battleground state this year," USA Today's Richard Benedetto reports from Seattle.
"The latest polls here showed Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush virtually tied. California, Oregon and Washington state were considered Gore strongholds, but the polls are raising hopes in the Bush camp that he can crack the Democrats' West Coast grip," Mr. Benedetto said.
"Gore, looking like anything but a front-runner on friendly turf, spent a 14-hour day in Washington state Friday."

The undertaker

"If Al Gore becomes president, he's going to owe Tom Daschle big time. The South Dakota Democrat is using his power as Senate minority leader to kill every tax cut passed by the House this year, so the veep can dodge a real tax debate with George W. Bush," the Wall Street Journal says.
"First, Mr. Daschle bottled up a correction of the marriage penalty, which passed the House with 48 Democratic votes. Next he sat on tax cuts for small business (designed to offset a minimum-wage increase) that got 41 Democratic votes. But now comes his biggest test, trying to bury the repeal of the estate or 'death' tax that passed the House Friday with 65 Democratic votes," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"Think about that: One of every three House Democrats voted to repeal this Progressive Era landmark. All four Democrats from Mr. Gore's state of Tennessee voted aye, as did 12 of 28 members from the liberal California delegation and (by our quick count) at least nine members of the Black Caucus.
"Add those Democrats and 213 Republican yeas to the handful of Republicans absent Friday and the House is close to having enough votes to override a promised President Clinton veto. Isn't this precisely the sort of 'bipartisanship' the Beltway media claim to want?
"Enter Undertaker Daschle. His mission, which he is only too happy to accept, is to use the filibuster to bury repeal before it even gets a Senate vote. You see, if a bill ever did get to the White House, and a veto fight ensued, voters might discover which presidential candidate really favors reducing their tax burden."

Avoiding impeachment

White House lawyer Bruce Lindsey acknowledged yesterday in court papers filed on behalf of the White House that he and other White House aides released friendly letters to President Clinton by Kathleen E. Willey to prevent a broader impeachment inquiry.
The filing said Mr. Lindsey, White House Counsel Charles F.C. Ruff and Deputy Counsel Cheryl Mills and other White House lawyers "concluded that Ms. Willey's allegations, without any context, might bias the public and Congress and thereby increase the potential for the expansion of the independent counsel's jurisdiction and the likelihood of impeachment proceedings against the president," the court papers stated.
The Justice Department papers, to which Mr. Lindsey swore to "under penalty of perjury," also stated that the advisers also took "general public confidence in the president's credibility" into account in publicizing Mrs. Willey's letters.
Mrs. Willey had accused the president of sexual assault.
The written explanation came in a lawsuit filed against the Executive Office of the President by former appointees in the Reagan and Bush administration whose FBI background files were gathered by the Clinton White House. The conservative public interest law firm, Judicial Watch, is representing the former appointees.
Judicial Watch, in a statement, said Mr. Lindsey could not remember "details" of conversations he had concerning the letters, but testified that Mr. Clinton agreed after her appearance on CBS' "60 Minutes" that the Willey letters should be released.
The letters were released in March 1998, a day after she appeared on "60 Minutes." Mrs. Willey is a former part-time employee in the White House social office and later the White House counsel's office.
The Washington Times reported in March that first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and Mr. Lindsey were involved in the decision to use the letters against Mrs. Willey, along with other White House lawyers.
The letters show Mrs. Willey continuing to support the president after the purported 1993 encounter that she said occurred in a study just steps from the Oval Office.

A Reagan coin?

Sen. Phil Gramm says he intends to put President Reagan's image on a circulating coin.
That's something "I'm going to make happen," the Texas Republican tells Cox News Service.
The Senate banking committee, of which Mr. Gramm is chairman, has jurisdiction over U.S. coinage and currency. Mr. Gramm has not yet filed a bill for a Reagan coin.
"I have it in the back of my …" Mr. Gramm said in an interview Thursday before pausing to correct himself. "I have it not so far in the back of my mind."
He added: "I think it would be very difficult to do it while he is alive." Mr. Reagan, 89, is ill with Alzheimer's disease.
While there is no law against it, a living person has never appeared on a U.S. coin.
If Mr. Gramm pushes to create a Reagan coin, it's not clear what denomination he would choose.
If politics enters the equation, the Lincoln cent is the only circulating coin that now features a Republican. Others bear the likenesses of Democratic icons the Jefferson nickel, the Franklin Roosevelt dime and the rarely used Kennedy half-dollar. George Washington graces the quarter.

Gore's 'risky scheme'

The group Capitol Watch, which says it prides itself "for being the watchdog for proposals regarding Social Security and Medicare," chided Vice President Al Gore in a statement last week.
The group says Mr. Gore broke his word on spending the Social Security Trust Fund the vice president's plan would use the Social Security surplus to pay for new benefits and that the cost of the proposals "is three times higher than his original estimate."
Capitol Watch said Mr. Gore's spending proposal "amounts to a risky scheme."

Campaign reformer

Vice President Al Gore promoted campaign-finance reform at a Democratic fund-raiser yesterday, then hit the trail with Jon Corzine, the Senate candidate whose $33 million primary bid is this year's big-money symbol.

Mr. Corzine, sitting next to Mr. Gore at a diner counter, kept an uneasy smile as Mr. Gore defended a candidate spending tens of millions of his own dollars.

"That's for the voters to decide," the Associated Press quoted Mr. Gore as saying. "There's no campaign-reform bill from any of the reform groups that I've seen that would have an effect on an individual spending his or her own money."

Mr. Gore said the problem is "special-interest" money in campaigns. He added that Mr. Corzine, a New Jersey Democrat, "will make a great United States senator."

Earlier, Mr. Gore spoke at a fund-raiser that brought in $400,000 for the Democratic National Committee at least some of it in the unregulated "soft money" that he says he will try to outlaw as president.

Last night, Mr. Gore also participated in a 90-minute televised forum sponsored by Oxygen, the new cable-television network devoted to women's issues.

The moderator was former White House Deputy Counsel Cheryl Mills, who played a key role in President Clinton's impeachment trial and is now an Oxygen vice president.

Oxygen promoted the event as "Al Gore gets in touch with his feminine side."

Facing a studio audience of 150 women, Mr. Gore promised more money for special education, pledged his support for affirmative action, and said he does not believe enough doubts have been raised about capital punishment to warrant a national moratorium.

Mr. Gore also detailed his support for the right to abortion and added, for emphasis, that the next president is likely to appoint enough justices to shape the Supreme Court for 30 to 40 years.

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