- The Washington Times - Friday, June 2, 2000

Hoffa's list

Teamsters President James P. Hoffa says he is taking names and kicking butt in the aftermath of House approval of the China trade bill.
"Those who would put trade over people are not our friends. That is why we are currently reassessing our relationship with all elected officials who failed to stand with us on an issue critically important to working Americans," Mr. Hoffa told the National Press Club Thursday.
Even Mr. Hoffa's own congressman, Rep. Sander M. Levin, Michigan Democrat, who backed the trade bill, is in hot water with the Teamsters now. "It will be very hard to back Levin," he said.
As for the Teamsters' presidential endorsement, Mr. Hoffa made it clear that the 760,000-member union isn't crazy about its options. "Maybe we won't make an endorsement at all," he said.

Tilted toward Bush

"Worth noting: It's a well-established fact that most reporters vote Democratic. So one of the most intriguing side points of the 2000 campaign is that the political press corps now seems to be tilted toward [George W.] Bush," the New York Post's Deborah Orin writes.
"Stories by reporters traveling with Republican Bush these days tend to be a lot more favorable, highlighting his folksy personality, while the Gore press corps has hit the veep pretty hard by highlighting his negative, attack-a-day strategy," Miss Orin said.
"Part of that, surely, is because Bush is far more accessible, with press conferences almost every day, and he's outlining some serious policy issues while Gore (like his Clinton Legacy Mate Hillary Clinton) tends to hide from press queries."

Dead heat

Vice President Al Gore and George W. Bush are locked in a virtual dead heat five months before the election, but Green Party candidate Ralph Nader could hurt Mr. Gore in a close race, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released Thursday.

The poll of 1,002 likely voters taken Monday through Wednesday found Mr. Bush, the Republican governor of Texas, barely ahead of the Democratic vice president 42-41 percent in a two-man match-up with 17 percent undecided.

Adding three third-party candidates Mr. Nader of the Greens, Pat Buchanan of the Reform Party and Libertarian Party candidate Harry Browne resulted in Mr. Bush stretching his lead to 42-39 percent. Mr. Nader polled 4 percent, Mr. Buchanan 2 percent, Mr. Browne 1 percent and the rest remained undecided, Reuters reports.

In both cases, the Bush advantage was well within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points, making the race a statistical dead heat. In most other recent polls, Mr. Bush has led Mr. Gore by 5 to 8 percentage points.

"Gore has made gains among independent voters and women and he is improving among black and Hispanic voters despite the fact that Bush has enjoyed a few very good weeks on the campaign trail," said pollster John Zogby.

Discord in Missouri

In Missouri, Republican congressional contender Teresa Loar charged Wednesday that "there's no room for women" inside her party, the Kansas City Star reports.
Mrs. Loar, running for the 6th District congressional seat being vacated by Democratic Rep. Pat Danner, said party leaders such as House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert had switched their allegiance to state Sen. Sam Graves, a new entrant.
Mrs. Loar, a Kansas City council member, said she got into the race last year after Mr. Hastert encouraged her to run. Back then, Mrs. Danner was gearing up to campaign for a fifth term, and the race looked far more formidable for a Republican.
Mrs. Loar said she was energized by Mr. Graves' entry and confident she could still win the Aug. 8 primary.
A Republican poll conducted after Mrs. Danner announced her withdrawal reportedly showed Mr. Graves with better than a 2-to-1 edge over Mrs. Loar. It also showed the largely rural district as strongly anti-abortion. Mr. Graves, unlike Mrs. Loar, is pro-life on the abortion issue.

New Clinton digs

President Clinton is considering establishing a rustic retreat in his childhood hometown of Hot Springs tied to his planned presidential library and policy center.

Negotiations have begun with relatives who own the estate of Mr. Clinton's late uncle, Raymond Clinton, the library's fund-raiser, Skip Rutherford, said Thursday.

"What we're considering is a retreat location associated with the programming of the policy center," Mr. Rutherford told the Associated Press. "But we're in the very early stages of negotiations on this particular site."

Unlike the library, which is to be built on land purchased by the city of Little Rock, the retreat land would be bought with private funds, Mr. Rutherford said.

The seven-acre site includes a five-bedroom home and a boat dock on Lake Hamilton.

Hot Springs also is the planned site of the William Jefferson Clinton Cultural Campus, at Mr. Clinton's now-vacated high school.

Calculated timidity

"When we last wrote about Marge Roukema, the New Jersey Republican was running for her life against a conservative GOP primary opponent. The latest news is that she's called in the big-money cavalry [of the Republican Leadership Council] to prevent the awful, horrible, unthinkable precedent that a congressional incumbent might actually lose," the Wall Street Journal says.
"We've been watching this otherwise obscure June 6 race because it illuminates the current condition of Congress. The GOP majority has lost its nerve, and one reason is the calculated timidity of incumbents such as Ms. Roukema. They tell the home folks they're reliably principled, but Inside the Beltway they block or complicate every conservative reform," the newspaper said in an editorial.

Unlucky rewrite

"The dominant emotion at this week's New York State Republican convention was relief that Rep. Rick Lazio has stepped in to replace Mayor Rudolph Giuliani as the party's Senate nominee. Sometimes this relief was unspoken, but in a surprising number of cases, top Republicans expressed it openly," New York Times editorialist Eleanor Randolph writes.
" 'I can tell you there was a lot of nervousness two weeks ago,' said Georgette Mosbacher, a prominent fund-raiser. 'Under everyone's breath we were saying, my God, can Rick raise the money? Are we too late? But no, the segue from Rudy to Rick was absolutely seamless.'
"Well, maybe not absolutely seamless. In a hastily scripted two-hour event, there were enough miscues to remind most seasoned viewers that this was a campaign still suffering through its toddler stage. The text of the speech handed out to the media, for example, was still titled 'Draft 13.' The unlucky rewrite contained stage directions for how Mr. Lazio was to punctuate a story about learning the value of labor from his father, who made the boy earn money for a baseball glove by working in the family store. 'At pretty low wages, I remember,' the text read, then added in parentheses, '(Smile).' Mr. Lazio did."

TV ad shot down

A group that supports construction of an anti-missile defense cried foul Thursday after CNN International declined to air an ad urging President Clinton not to let the Russian president "veto" the project in talks this weekend in Moscow.
The ad, by the Coalition to Protect Americans Now, was to have aired in Western Europe and Moscow.
The group said it was told that the ad "conflicts with our planned programming."
However, a spokesman for Turner Broadcasting tells this column, "Political advertising of any kind is not carried on CNN International."

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