- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 20, 2000

His legacy

New Yorkers have named a new suspect in the Central Park "wilding" attacks on women: President Clinton.

Forty-two percent of those responding to a Web survey by talk-radio station WABC say that Mr. Clinton's "poor example to youth" is to blame for the sexual assaults on women that followed the June 11 Puerto Rico Day parade.

NewsMax.com says the poll results show "the extent to which the president's image as America's most prominent sexual predator has permeated the national consciousness."

Gore's worst nightmare

A 40-year-old "soccer mom" is Vice President Al Gore's "worst nightmare," writes Deborah Orin in the New York Post.

Barbara Comstock is head of the Republican National Committee's opposition-research team. A lawyer and former aide to Rep. Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican, Mrs. Comstock's "expertise is plowing through dense documents" to unearth unflattering facts about Democrats.

"It was her team that plowed through a big stack of publicly released FBI files from the [1996 Clinton-Gore campaign-finance investigation] and found Gore's 'iced-tea defense,' " Miss Orin writes, referring to the vice president's claim that he had to take a bathroom break during a key discussion about fund raising.

Compared to Mr. Gore's researchers led by David Ginsburg, 25 the Republican "oppo" crew is older and more experienced, Miss Orin reports. More than half of the Republican researchers have law degrees or master's degrees.

Only way she knows

First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton's early barrage of negative TV ads in her Senate race against New York Rep. Rick Lazio is about her, not him, says Bill Bennett.

"I think what's really behind this is her huge negatives," the former Education Department secretary said Sunday on ABC. "She's got very big negatives in New York and [there are] very little negatives for Lazio. They're trying to put negatives in his column. It doesn't look like his negatives will approach hers."

For her part, Mrs. Clinton explained her attack ads by telling Newsday, "It's the only way I know to run a campaign."

Pro-life of the party?

Wisconsin Gov. Tommy G. Thompson says he's not sure that the Republican Party can avoid a fight over the abortion issue when the party convenes July 31 in Philadelphia.

At a meeting in Dayton, Ohio, yesterday, Mr. Thompson chairman of the Republican platform committee said he hopes for a "fresh" platform that will "broaden the base" of the party, the Associated Press reports.

And he wants to avoid a convention fight over the issue.

"We're hoping to mitigate any strong opposition," Mr. Thompson said. "It's just not going to be that the abortion issue is going to define the Republican Party."

Saying he doubts the strong pro-life plank of the Republican platform will be changed, Mr. Thompson said he could not guarantee a repeat of the 1996 convention fight by pro-choice party members to change the party's stance on abortion. "I'm not willing to make that statement at this point."

Outside the platform hearings, abortion opponents demonstrated with signs reading: "Keep the Party Pro-Life."

'Pure paranoia'

Former Clinton campaign adviser Dick Morris says that Rep. Rick A. Lazio, New York Republican, has to take a strong pro-choice pledge if he wants to win the Senate race against Mr. Morris' ex-boss's wife, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"It is not enough for Lazio to hide behind the bland formulation that he is 'pro-choice,' " Mr. Morris wrote yesterday in the New York Post.

Mr. Morris says Mr. Lazio must pledge to vote against any Supreme Court nominee who does not support the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision.

However, such a pledge would be entirely symbolic, Mr. Morris said, because "the fear of the left of a rampaging Supreme Court taking away abortion rights is pure paranoia." Mr. Morris notes that four of the court's most reliable supporters of unrestricted abortion were Republican nominees.

Playing with fire

Former '60s radical turned conservative author David Horowitz "has stepped into a new role: Republican Party theoretician," writes Scott Sherman in the latest issue of the Nation.

Mr. Horowitz's pamphlet, "The Art of Political War," has been endorsed by 35 state Republican Party chairmen, Mr. Sherman writes, and "the Heritage Foundation sent 2,300 copies to conservative activists."

Mr. Horowitz former editor of the radical journal Ramparts and also a former contributor to the left-wing Nation "is a man willing, maybe even eager, to play with fire," Mr. Sherman writes.

Most recently, Mr. Horowitz has criticized feminist Betty Friedan and attacked advocates of reparations for slavery.

Debate battle

Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader filed a lawsuit against the federal government yesterday, arguing that arrangements for upcoming presidential debates violated the law.

In his filing in U.S. District Court in Boston, Mr. Nader argued the Federal Election Commission had disregarded a 1907 law banning corporate sponsorship when it set out the rules for presidential debates to be held later this year.

The FEC stated in regulations adopted before the 1996 presidential election that the Commission on Presidential Debates a bipartisan group arranging the encounters could raise funds from corporations and labor groups to help pay for them, Michael Carney reports for Reuters.

"This thing is turning into a beer commercial," Mr. Nader said. Sponsors of the presidential debates in 1992 and 1996 included Anheuser Busch, Phillip Morris and Ford. The first two companies are beer makers.

Mr. Nader and other third-party candidates are upset at a debate commission rule that only candidates reaching 15 percent support in the polls can take part.

Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan is challenging this regulation in court. He argues that the debate commission is dominated by the two major parties, which have a common interest in excluding third-party candidates.

Damage control

Most New York voters don't seem too interested in the various scandals in first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton's past, but her Senate campaign isn't taking chances.

The Clinton campaign "has been concerned enough to poll voters on their views about the investigations" into scandals such as Whitewater and Travelgate, "which are nearing completion with her campaign in full swing," the New York Times reports.

Mrs. Clinton told the Times she is not concerned about independent counsel Robert W. Ray's report on her role in the firing of seven longtime employees of the White House travel office.

"I have no concern about these things," she said. "I don't know how it will be used to be damaging to me, if that's the idea behind it."

New NRA members?

More than a dozen members of the New Black Panther Party brandished "shotguns, AK-47s and other rifles" Friday as they marched through the streets of downtown Houston, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Protesting the scheduled Thursday execution of Texas death-row inmate Gary Graham, the armed Panthers protested at the Texas state Republican Party convention, where Gov. George W. Bush's wife was a featured speaker.

Chanting "black power," the gun-toting protesters were led by Quanell X, who demanded "an immediate moratorium on the white supremist, racist and classist death penalty."

No firearms charges are expected against the Panthers, because Second Amendment rights are protected in Texas.

"It is legal in Texas to carry such firearms openly as long as the carrier is not a felon and does not aim the weapon at anyone," the Chronicle reported.

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