- The Washington Times - Monday, March 6, 2000

Liddy to the rescue?

"Sensing that Gov. George W. Bush is having trouble proving he is as much of a hotshot reformer as slumping foe Sen. John McCain, advisers are again looking to Elizabeth Dole as the savior," Paul Bedard writes in U.S. News & World Report.
"If Bush gets the nomination, he'll need McCain's supporters to beat Vice President Al Gore. And that's why friends of Dole are pushing her as Bush's running mate. Bush allies agree that Dole could sell the reform banner more easily and cherry-pick McCain's maverick backers simply because she's a woman," Mr. Bedard said.
" 'Think of it this way,' says one. 'In American politics, women equal reform. The makeup of her vote looks very, very much like McCain's. They both draw heavily from independents, Democrats, left-of-center Republicans. While her vote is particularly female, she draws the same kind of votes as McCain, male or female. A woman, regardless of her actual stand on various issues, is most often perceived by the electorate as pro-choice, softer on social issues, and for campaign-finance reform issues.' Dole isn't saying no."

An anguished howl

Arizona Sen. John McCain's speech last week in which he lashed out at religious conservatives the Revs. Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell bore "an eerie resemblance … to a kamikaze ride, in which the old fighter jock plowed his A-4 into the deck of George W. Bush's aircraft carrier," Joe Klein writes in the New Yorker.
"Over all, the performance provided an invaluable if somewhat unintentional demonstration of just what the nation might expect from a McCain presidency: great courage and high-wire imprudence. And a distressing solipsism," Mr. Klein wrote.
"It is striking how personal McCain's Virginia Beach address was. He didn't bother to build a case against his opponents. Their main offense was that they had misrepresented him. The tone was an anguished howl: 'I am a pro-life, pro-family fiscal conservative and advocate of a strong defense. And yet Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and a few Washington leaders of the pro-life movement call me an unacceptable presidential candidate. They distort my pro-life positions and smear the reputations of my supporters. Why?'
"And again and again the same essential point. He had been attacked unfairly. But what positions, exactly, had Pat Robertson taken, and enforced, which had led the Republican Party astray? The candidate didn't say. There was a slapdash carelessness to the whole thing astonishing for a moment that not only will serve to define John McCain's candidacy for all time, but also may have sealed the fate of the Republican Party this year."

Falwell and McCain

The Rev. Jerry Falwell is a staunch supporter of Texas Gov. George W. Bush, but he says he will support Sen. John McCain, if the Arizona Republican wins the GOP presidential nomination, even though Mr. McCain last week described him as an "agent of intolerance."
But Mr. McCain, in an interview yesterday on CBS' "Face the Nation," said he doesn't want Mr. Falwell's support "unless he changes his views about a lot of issues."
Mr. McCain explained: "Mr. Falwell alleges that President Clinton is a murderer. I don't believe that that's the case, and I don't think there's any place in American politics for those allegations. He would have to start off by recanting that."
On ABC's "This Week," Mr. Falwell vehemently denied ever accusing Mr. Clinton of murder. "I never in my life have accused the president of a crime of that sort. Certainly not murder," said the chancellor of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.
At issue is a videotape Mr. Falwell promoted on some of his television broadcasts in 1993 that featured remarks by a man whose father had served as a security guard for Mr. Clinton when he was Arkansas governor. "I feel that Bill Clinton had my father killed to save his political career," the guard's son said on the tape.
The tape in question was called the "Clinton Chronicles" and was produced by a group called "California Citizens for Honest Government," Mr. Falwell said yesterday.
"I have no idea of the rightness or wrongness of the charges in the tape. I have never done any investigative reporting," he added.
Asked if it was responsible of him to sell a tape that was making charges that might not be accurate, Mr. Falwell said on ABC: "When I presented the tape, I made it very clear nothing was verified."

'Victim of bigotry'

As a self-proclaimed "pre-Vatican II" Roman Catholic, Pat Buchanan says he finds Bob Jones University's anti-Catholic views "dead wrong."
Nevertheless, the Reform Party presidential hopeful feels no animosity toward the school in Greenville, S.C. Instead, he portrays it as a scapegoat and the "real victim of bigotry" in media fallout from the Republican presidential primary.
"I have spoken twice at Bob Jones University. They invited me down there in '92 … and in '96," Mr. Buchanan said yesterday on "Fox News Sunday." The former aide to Presidents Nixon and Reagan was an unsuccessful Republican candidate for president in those two elections.
"They treated me with great deference and respect. I enjoyed the trip. They were very gracious to me," Mr. Buchanan said of his hosts at the university.
"I think the real victim of bigotry in this whole thing has been the national press' liberal bigotry in piling on Bob Jones University, simply because they adhere to an old biblical view, and they try to run their little college on the basis of that view," Mr. Buchanan said.
Asked if he believes Mr. Bush made a mistake by going to BJU and not criticizing its policies, Mr. Buchanan said, "No, he didn't make a mistake. I have gone there. Reagan has gone there. Others have gone there.
"The mistake … George Bush made was in allowing the press to beat him up and back him down to the point where he's running around apologizing," the third-party presidential candidate added.

The Hsia problem

Will the felony convictions of Maria Hsia, a longtime fund-raiser for Vice President Al Gore, create problems for Mr. Gore's presidential campaign?
Not surprisingly, two influential U.S. senators a Democrat and a Republican disagree.
Sen. Robert G. Torricelli, New Jersey Democrat, and Sen. Chuck Hagel, Nebraska Republican, were both asked about it on the syndicated talk show, John McLaughlin's "One on One," which aired locally yesterday.
Mr. Torricelli said there's "no doubt" the guilty verdicts against Hsia, who first began raising campaign cash for Mr. Gore more than a decade ago, will be "brought forward" as a campaign issue by Republicans.
"But there was never an allegation that Al Gore knew, or anyone around him knew, of these reimbursements… . I have had several of these contributors who foolishly do these reimbursements… . Many of us within the Congress [have]," the New Jersey Democrat said, referring to Buddhist monks and nuns who made contributions to the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign and were illegally reimbursed by their temple.
Mr. Torricelli added: "It's very hard to avoid in a campaign. So there's no reason to know that Al Gore knew about it. Indeed, no one has suggested that he did."
But Mr. McLaughlin actually laughed at that assertion. "Well, I think there's been some suggestions floating around, don't you, Senator Hagel?" he asked.
"Well, I have heard two or three. That's just rumor, though," replied Mr. Hagel, who is supporting a fellow Republican senator, John McCain of Arizona, for president.
Mr. Hagel added: "Obviously, … we all know that that is going to be … a soft underbelly of the Gore campaign. And I think the Republicans will go after him on that."

Minnesota withdraws

The Reform Party of Minnesota split Saturday from the national organization, cementing the internal divisions that left the party in shambles.
"If we don't leave the national party, we will have no honor and we will doom ourselves to failure," state party Chairman Dean Barkeley said during the meeting in St. Paul.
The move comes three weeks after Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura abandoned the party over a dispute about the party's presidential candidate. He walked out a day before the party sacked its chairman and Ventura ally Jack Gargan at a meeting that at one point devolved into fistfights.
Delegates at a special state convention Saturday voted 151-23 to leave the national party and become the Independence Party of Minnesota, Agence France-Presse reports. Most of the opponents wanted to keep the Reform Party name.
Although Mr. Ventura did not attend Saturday's meeting, the former professional wrestler is expected to play a major role in the party. The new party plans to hold caucuses tomorrow, when more than a dozen other states hold presidential primaries.
The party plans to put up candidates for several local and national positions, including the U.S. Senate.

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