- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 8, 2000

Gore ad draws fire

Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush and other top Republicans accused Vice President Al Gore of breaking his word yesterday by launching an advertising blitz paid for with unregulated "soft money."

The Democratic National Committee said that, starting today, it would begin running a pro-Gore television spot in 16 key states. The ad is financed partly by soft money, which Mr. Gore says he would like to ban from politics.

The ad, which ushers in the start of a new phase in the Nov. 7 presidential-election campaign after a lull of several weeks, spotlights Mr. Gore's efforts to stand up for the rights of retired workers to cover the cost of their prescription drugs under the Medicare program, Reuters reports.

"People can't afford these ridiculously high prices for prescription medicines," Mr. Gore, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, says in the spot.

"When their doctor prescribes medicine for their health and well-being, they ought to be able to take it," Mr. Gore says.

The ad will run in swing states where Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush are believed to be running neck-and-neck, including Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The first spot will be followed by others over the next 10 weeks leading up to the Democratic National Convention and eventually will cost $25 million.

Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson and South Carolina Rep. Lindsay Graham, who had backed campaign-finance reformer Sen. John McCain of Arizona in the Republican presidential race, denounced Mr. Gore for "blatant deception and manipulation" at a news conference at RNC headquarters.

Hollywood blacklist

Many Hollywood Republicans say they're afraid of being blacklisted because of their beliefs, according to a story by Lisa Arcella in the New York Post.

"They say the film industry that was devastated by Sen. Joe McCarthy's communist witch hunts of the 1950s has created its own 'un-American activities' purge," the reporter writes.

"And, they say, anyone who refuses to kowtow to the town's liberal majority ends up being vilified and losing work.

" 'All the studio heads are liberals and everyone who isn't a liberal is pretending to be because they think it will help them get ahead,' one closet GOPer said.

" 'That may sound cynical, but you have to work any angle you can to make it in this very tough business.' "

Rosie scenario

Everything's coming up Rosie for Al Gore.

The vice president visited Tuesday with TV talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell to promote "quality" child care at the upscale Children's All Day School in Manhattan, where tuition is $15,200 a year for tykes up to age 3, the New York Times reports.

"We should place a much higher value on child care," Mr. Gore told millions of viewers of ABC's "Good Morning America."

Mr. Gore praised the U.S. military because "they give training to the child care workers and compensate them adequately."

Mr. Gore promised that, if elected president, he would spend $38 billion of taxpayers' money to expand the federal role in child care.

Miss O'Donnell happily endorsed what Mr. Gore called his "family agenda."

The vice president said, "Working parents have a hard time balancing work and family." But Miss O'Donnell admits she's no ordinary mother.

"I'm very fortunate that I am very, very rich," the film and TV star said, explaining that taking care of her children is easy "because I'm a multimillionaire. I do it just about trouble-free."

Not everybody was as impressed with Mr. Gore as multimillionaire Rosie.

"Governor Bush is pleased that the 'new Al Gore' is talking about important issues of substance like child care rather than engaging negative political attacks," said Ari Fleischer, a spokesman for Republican presidential candidate and Texas Gov. George W. Bush. "Governor Bush worked in a bipartisan manner to double low-income child care funding in Texas and strengthen standards and training requirements for child care facilities in Texas."

The numbers

New Jersey Republican Rep. Marge Roukema ended up with 52 percent of the vote against state Assemblyman Scott Garrett, who had 48 percent, in the Republican primary Tuesday.

A group called the Club for Growth had given Mr. Garrett financial backing in an attempt to replace the liberal Republican with a conservative in the solidly Republican district. Another group, the Republican Leadership Council, had countered with ads supporting the congresswoman.

In another hotly contested Republican primary in New Jersey, former Rep. Dick Zimmer defeated former Rep. Mike Pappas, 62 percent to 38 percent. Mr. Zimmer hopes to regain his old seat from Democratic Rep. Rush D. Holt.

Lazio ties Hillary

Republican Rep. Rick A. Lazio has surged into a tie with first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in the race for a Senate seat from New York, according to a new poll.

The Quinnipiac University poll found that Mr. Lazio was backed by 44 percent of those questioned, while Mrs. Clinton also had the support of 44 percent. The survey has a margin of error of 3.2 percent.

Mr. Lazio entered the race just a few weeks ago, after New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani dropped out.

"Surprising good news for Rep. Lazio," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac Polling Institute. "New to the Senate race, he's in a dead heat with Mrs. Clinton and already on a par with the Republican he replaced, Mayor Giuliani."

Actress bashes Clinton

Actress Jane Alexander complains in a new book that she failed to get the backing she expected from President Clinton when she headed the embattled National Endowment for the Arts, its budget cut heavily by Congress on grounds it sponsored obscene art.

"Personally, he was warm and supportive, but his reach didn't seem to extend beyond the next handshake," she writes in "Command Performance: An Actress in the Theater of Politics."

"I wanted a vision for the next century that was more than 'building a bridge,' " the actress said.

She was grateful when he said in a State of the Union address that in the new millennium the United States should be "the world's beacon not only of liberty, but of creativity," and got a standing ovation, the Associated Press reports.

But, she added:

"He would never run out in front for the NEA or [the National Endowment for the Humanities] as long as the agencies remained a political liability. Why should he? He was interested in winning, and the endowments were not big win issues," she added, noting, "The first lady was out front and did say all the right things."

Mischievous Gore

Vice President Al Gore's mischievous side was on display yesterday on the small screens of his campaign plane in a spoof documentary on press secretary Chris Lehane nicknamed in the video "the mouth of the Al Gore presidential campaign."

With Mr. Gore, a longtime practical joker, consulting on the script, senior adviser Michael Feldman and ad-maker Bill Knapp assembled the spoof from footage collected by a Japanese television crew, which tagged after Mr. Lehane for a real documentary during the primaries.

The production "is shocking," Mr. Gore joked, for its bedroom scene (the crew was let into Mr. Lehane's hotel room while he slept) and a shower scene (Mr. Feldman, who bunks with Mr. Lehane on the road, shows up in a steamy bathroom mirror).

Hairstyling credits for the spokesman who, Mr. Gore has said, resembles TV's Eddie Munster went to Pennzoil.

Mr. Gore's real gift for the ubiquitous and hyper-talkative spokesman was a cake with icing spelling out "Happy 35th Birthday" and a cell-phone generator powered by squeezing a grip, the Associated Press reports. "Watch his triceps grow," Mr. Gore beamed. "He'll be like Popeye."

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