- The Washington Times - Monday, May 1, 2000

Lott says no

Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott laughed when he was asked yesterday about a new report that says the Clinton administration has taken the unprecedented step of declaring the global spread of AIDS a threat to national security.

"I saw that in The Washington Post this morning… . I didn't see it in other papers," the Mississippi Republican said on "Fox News Sunday."

The Mississippi Republican made it clear he does not share the administration's concerns. "I guess this is just the president trying to make an appeal to … certain groups. But no, I don't view that as a national security threat. Not to our national interests, no," Mr. Lott said.

According to the report in The Post, the administration fears an AIDS epidemic could grow to catastrophic proportions, eventually toppling governments, fueling ethnic wars and seriously undermining free-market democracies.

As a result, the report said, the National Security Council has, for the first time, become involved in battling an infectious disease and is directing an urgent review of the government's efforts to combat AIDS.

The newspaper said the doubling to $254 million of budget requests to combat AIDS overseas and the creation earlier this year of a White House interagency working group are part of the new push to quickly address the administration's concern.

Tony Snow, host of "Fox News Sunday," asked Mr. Lott if he's prepared to support that funding request.

"No," Mr. Lott said.

No more questions?

Vice President Al Gore, carrying out a promise to stay until all questions had been exhausted, set a personal record with a four-hour "town meeting" Friday night.

"I've got to commend your stamina," said Roy T. Johnson Jr. as Mr. Gore wrapped things up at 11:15 p.m. local time in Albuquerque, N.M. "I can't believe how well you're doing."

While many of the questions were softballs, Jessica McKenzie, 17, challenged the vice president's position on partial-birth abortions.

"Why is it illegal to kill a baby five seconds after it's born and not illegal five seconds before it's born?" she asked.

Mr. Gore began on safe ground, the Associated Press reports. "Didn't she do a good job of presenting her point of view?" he asked the crowd, which agreed that she had. He then briefly defended his position that women should be allowed to choose abortion, but he spent more time emphasizing that everyone wants to reduce the number of abortions.

"I think he avoided the question," Jessica said later.

Attention deficit

Arizona Sen. John McCain "seems to have Sudden Attention Withdrawal Disorder," writes New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, referring to the Arizona Republican's lower-the-Confederate-flag speech in South Carolina and a highly publicized visit to Vietnam.

"Senator McCain said he was going to drop out of the presidential race. But he hasn't quite gotten around to it yet. He's still clutching the microphone and waiting for his close-up. And he's still scuffling with W., trying to out-macho, out-patriot and out-moralize the man who beat him," Miss Dowd writes.

Bush leads in Ohio

A new presidential poll of Ohio voters by the University of Cincinnati has George W. Bush leading Al Gore by 8 percentage points, Cox News Service reports.

The poll, conducted April 5 through 22 of 531 likely voters, found Mr. Bush ahead of Mr. Gore 47 percent to 39 percent in a state that political analysts say could go either way. Ralph Nader of the Green Party got 4 percent, Pat Buchanan of the Reform Party, 3 percent, with 7 percent undecided.

In Washington state, a newly released preference poll has Mr. Bush ahead 39 percent to 38 percent, with 18 percent of the respondents undecided. The poll, by Elway Research, surveyed 400 registered voters April 11 and 12 and has a margin error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

Cries of betrayal

"With cries of 'betrayal,' conservative pro-family groups upset with George W. Bush's outreach to homosexuals are demanding that the GOP presidential candidate dismiss gay activism and firmly state his opposition to gay marriage anywhere in the country or else," Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.

"Worried he's getting too cozy with gay supporters, 12 family groups, led by the Family Research Council, tell Whispers they are demanding a meeting to convince Bush of their claims that the 'homosexual agenda' is a danger to families. So far, no meeting is set," Mr. Bedard said.

"Some conservatives were alarmed last month when Bush met with gay activists and welcomed them to his campaign. They are also concerned that he hasn't vowed to fight gay marriage nationwide, not just in Texas. Now they want equal time and hope to force Bush to back their agenda. The unstated threat: No meeting means no helping on Election Day. Bush aides say the concerns are just wrong: Their candidate pushes a strong, traditional-values platform and opposes legal reforms sought by gay lobbies. And, anyway, gay-bashing doesn't fit his 'inclusive' campaign."

Rue the day

Milton Friedman, the Nobel laureate in economics, teamed up with the National Taxpayers Union last week to denounce the Justice Department plan to break Microsoft in two.

"Recent events dealing with the Microsoft suit certainly support the view I expressed a year ago that Silicon Valley is suicidal in calling government in to mediate in the disputes among some of the big companies in the area and Microsoft," Mr. Friedman said in a joint statement with the taxpayers group.

"The money that has been spent on legal maneuvers would have been much more usefully spent on research in technology. The loss of the time spent in the courts by highly trained and skilled lawyers could certainly have been spent more fruitfully. Overall, the major effect has been a decline in the capital value of the computer industry, Microsoft in particular, but its competitors as well. They must rue the day that they set this incredible episode in operation."

Toy story

The Libertarian Party says it is "baffled" by a proposal to have the city of Annapolis buy back toy guns.

They don't know whether to "support the program or snicker at it," the group said in a prepared statement.

Last week, Annapolis Alderman Cynthia A. Carter proposed that the city start a program to buy back water pistols, cap guns and other toy weapons to curb "violent behavior" among children. The first-term Democrat argued that children "can't distinguish between a real gun or a play gun" and said she would eventually like to make all toy guns illegal.

This is a real dilemma, said Steve Dasbach, the Libertarians' national director. "Do we praise this politician for going after toy guns instead of constitutionally protected real guns? Or do we point out that buying back toy guns will no more keep our streets safe than buying back non-alcoholic beer will keep Ted Kennedy sober?

"Or should we just give this politician an award for coming up with the most entertainingly goofy idea of the year?"

Unambiguous

Many news reports of last week's Supreme Court hearing on a case involving partial-birth abortions suggested that the justices would strike down state attempts to ban the grisly practice.

Whatever the court may decide, the American people are unambiguous. A Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll of 903 registered voters nationwide last week found that 61 percent would allow states to ban partial birth abortions. Thirty percent would not permit the states to implement such a ban, and 9 percent were unsure.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide