- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 30, 2000

Granny was snubbed

Vice President Al Gore, in announcing Monday that he is a born-again campaign finance reformer, referred to 90-year-old "Granny D's" yearlong coast-to-coast walk to draw attention to the issue, referring to her as the embodiment of a grass-roots effort.

However, on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" Tuesday, Anthony Brooks reported that Doris Haddock Granny D had sought to talk to Mr. Gore during her trek, only to be told it would cost her $500.

"She said when she was walking in Arkansas she presented herself at a Gore campaign event that turned out to be a fund-raiser," the reporter said. "She went to the door and tried to talk her way in."

Mrs. Haddock told the reporter: "And they said, 'Well, we'll be happy to have you speak to him if you can give us five hundred dollars.' And I said, 'Well, I'm traveling the pilgrim and I have no money and very well,' and I walked away."

Year of the Catholic

"If 1994 was the year of the Angry White Male, and 1996 was the year of the Soccer Mom, this is shaping up as the year of the Catholic voter," writes Wall Street Journal political columnist Gerald F. Seib.

"Rarely have so many political analysts concluded so quickly that the Catholic constituency is so important. In what figures to be a close presidential election, Catholic voters happen to be congregated in great numbers in the industrial states Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and New Jersey where the race will be decided," Mr. Seib said.

"On top of that, nearly all competitive Senate races this year are in states with many Catholics. 'Aside from their impact on the electoral college, they also are going to figure out the makeup of the Senate,' says GOP pollster Steven Wagner, who studied Catholic voters."

No fan of Giuliani

Mike Long, chairman of the Conservative Party in New York, doesn't have much good to say about New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.

"He's wrong on gay rights. He's wrong on gays in the military. He's wrong on the Second Amendment. And we don't know where he stands on our friends in Taiwan," Mr. Long told USA Today reporter Kathy Kiely.

Most of all, Mr. Long objects to Mr. Giuliani's support of partial-birth abortions.

The Senate contest between Mr. Giuliani and Hillary Rodham Clinton "is really a race between two Democrats," Mr. Long said.

In New York, candidates can run on more than one party line, and no Republican has won statewide office since 1974 without Conservative Party support.

Mr. Long says he is working with the Right to Life Party to find a candidate both parties can endorse, a move that could hurt Mr. Giuliani's chances.

Slim lead

Another poll shows that New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani has been hurt by his handling of a police shooting of an unarmed man. But unlike the Zogby poll published Sunday, the survey released yesterday shows Mr. Giuliani holding a slim lead over rival Senate candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The latest poll, from Marist College's Institute for Public Opinion, had the Republican mayor favored by 46 percent of registered voters and the first lady backed by 43 percent, a statistical tie given the poll's margin of error of 4 percentage points.

A New York Post poll, done by Zogby International, also showed the race had become a statistical dead heat Mrs. Clinton at 45 percent and the mayor at 42 percent.

Gephardt vs. Gebhardt

It's Gebhardt vs. Gephardt in a Missouri congressional primary that has House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt accusing Republicans of dirty tricks.

The 12-term St. Louis congressman, whose name is Richard A. Gephardt, drew a Democratic primary challenge on the last day of filing from Richard A. Gebhardt, a 65-year-old political newcomer from St. Peters near Mr. Gephardt's home base of St. Louis.

That prompted Mr. Gephardt, who hopes to become House speaker if the Democrats regain control, to submit paperwork changing his ballot name to "Richard A. (Dick) Gephardt," the Associated Press reports.

"It is the name by which I have been known since childhood. Furthermore, I wish to avoid any confusion caused by others who wish to mislead and confuse voters," Mr. Gephardt wrote on his name-change paperwork.

Richard A. Gebhardt on Monday entered the race for the Democratic nomination in the Second District. But he switched the next day to the Third District, giving Mr. Gephardt his only opposition in the Aug. 8 primary. Residency in a congressional district is not a requirement to run.

Asked Tuesday why he changed races, Mr. Gebhardt said he would rather file against Mr. Gephardt "than the people over in the Second."

Sharpton's lawsuit

The Rev. Al Sharpton turned up on the steps of the Republican National Committee headquarters at 301 First St. SE yesterday to announce that he is suing the RNC and its chairman, Jim Nicholson, over a letter Mr. Nicholson wrote to The Washington Post.

Mr. Sharpton, charging that his reputation had been besmirched, said he was suing for $30 million.

In the letter, which was published on March 11, Mr. Nicholson objected to the newspaper describing Mr. Sharpton as a "civil rights leader." Mr. Nicholson pointed to Mr. Sharpton's involvement in the Tawana Brawley hoax and said he had incited violence that led to deaths in two other incidents.

Mr. Nicholson, in a prepared statement yesterday, said: "I stand by my statement to The Washington Post: Al Sharpton is no civil rights leader. He is a hatemonger, an anti-Semite and a racist, and for him to be a political partner of Al Gore and Hillary Clinton, for Hillary Clinton to honor him by spending Martin Luther King's birthday with him, for him to be given the first question at a Democrat presidential debate, for him to be recognized as a leader of the Democrat Party, is shameful."

Mr. Nicholson added: "I welcome this opportunity to better inform the American people about Al Sharpton's record."

Hacker attack

A hacker cracked into Marquette University's Web site Tuesday and replaced the main page with a fake that falsely accused Vice President Al Gore of making outrageous comments during his address to the school, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

The sham Web page had counterfeit quotes about the vice president's speech at Marquette on Monday, claiming among other things that Mr. Gore said he plans to "rid this country of anyone who might question my motives, starting with deporting all Christians."

Nicholas LaJoie, a Marquette senior, discovered the vandalized Web page at Marquette while looking for a phone number on the school's site and notified school officials. He first just glanced at the fake Gore story, but then a bogus quote at the bottom of the page which read "Vote for me or die" caught his eye.

Staying neutral

President Clinton says he has no favorite among the Final Four contenders for college basketball's national championship.

Mr. Clinton, during a fund-raising event in Michigan Tuesday, was asked which team he will be rooting for. Michigan State University is one of the finalists in the men's basketball tournament.

"I'm just watching it," Mr. Clinton told an audience of about 250 people.

The University of North Carolina, University of Wisconsin and University of Florida are the other three Final Four teams.

The president said he did not have a favorite team in the tournament after his alma mater, Georgetown University, failed to make the 64-team field and Stanford University, which his daughter, Chelsea, attends, lost in an upset.

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