- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 23, 2000

Crucial endorsements

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rep. Rick A. Lazio picked up crucial endorsements yesterday in their Senate race the first lady won the backing of the state Liberal Party leader and the Republican congressman gained the support of the Conservative Party chairman, the Associated Press reports.
Unlike other states, New York allows major-party candidates to also count votes from third-party ballot lines, which can be critical in a close race.
No Republican has been elected to statewide office in New York since 1974 without Conservative Party backing, and no Democrat has been elected governor or senator in New York without Liberal Party backing since the party was founded in 1944.
The head of the Conservative Party, Michael Long, had refused to get behind the former Republican standard-bearer, New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, because of his support for partial-birth abortion and his closeness to the Liberal Party. Mr. Giuliani dropped out of the race Friday.
"It's going to be a real race. The difference is there's going to be a contrast here," Mr. Long said yesterday. "There's going to be a united front. Old alliances are going to be working together again."
Liberal Party leader Raymond Harding has been a top political adviser to Mr. Giuliani, and the mayor's withdrawal from the race cleared the way for Mr. Harding to support Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Harding said he was "100 percent" behind the first lady.

Knockout punch

"When a politician lies on the canvas, out for the count, victimized by an anonymous news leak about an affair at the precise moment that he is reeling from news of newly diagnosed prostate cancer it is a legitimate question to ask: Who threw the knockout punch?" writes Dick Morris, who was a longtime political adviser to the Clintons.
"How did it happen that Rudy's relationship with Judith Nathan, apparently not a state secret, was publicly exposed only a few weeks before his nomination for the Senate would have become irrevocable at the Republican State Convention?" Mr. Morris asked.
"I have no confirmed information on this subject. But I do have speculation informed by the flow of events which led up to the publication of the Rudy-Judith relationship and by my ongoing knowledge of how my former clients operate. They go for the jugular the knockout. And they do it secretly, clandestinely, all the while publicly acting above such revolting behavior… .
"Smearing with scandal is the Clintons' MO. When a politician running against a Clinton conveniently falls down so close to a nominating convention, we are entitled to probe who leaked the information that led to the knockout punch."

Champion fund-raiser

President Clinton is expected to raise $25 million tomorrow night at a Democratic National Committee gala, the jewel in his crown as the all-time leading political fund-raiser, the New York Times reports.
About 12,000 will attend the event at the MCI Center, reporters John M. Broder and Don Van Natta Jr. said.
"The occasion cements the president's legacy as the most prodigious political fund-raiser ever. Democratic fund-raisers and the White House estimate that Mr. Clinton is responsible for raising at least $500 million and perhaps as much as $1 billion since 1992 for his own campaigns and for Democratic candidates. He is also helping Vice President Gore and Hillary Rodham Clinton collect millions of dollars for their campaigns and is also soliciting money for his presidential library," the reporters said.
The reporters added: "Of course, some of Mr. Clinton's more brazen tactics, especially inviting big donors to sleep at the White House and to fly on Air Force One, have drawn criticism as well as scrutiny from federal investigators."

Fraudulent numbers

President Clinton regularly declares that his administration has added 100,000 police officers to the streets "ahead of schedule," and Vice President Al Gore credits the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) with lowering the crime rate. Both assertions are highly questionable, the Wall Street Journal reports.
A close examination of COPS, "using state and local audits of COPS grants and the Justice Department's own data, undermines those claims. Though they have produced noted successes in many cities, COPS grants have been misused by some localities, spawning delays, miscues and scandals, especially in the small cities that receive the balance of the awards," reporter Joe Mathews writes.
"The cities' struggles to meet COPS mandates are reflected in the officer count. The Justice Department, which once promised to have all 100,000 officers on the street by the year 2000, now acknowledges that only 49,000 new cops are out there. The number jumps to 60,000 if you count the 11,000 who are 'redeployed' not new police, but rather the government's estimate of the officer time saved in years by COPS grants for computers, updated equipment and civilian employees. What's more, Justice boosts its count by including about 2,000 policemen hired under a federal program that preceded COPS."

Keyes' warning

Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes plans to join the Constitution Party if Texas Gov. George W. Bush, the presumptive Republican nominee, chooses a vice presidential candidate who is pro-choice on the abortion issue. And Howard Phillips, the Constitution Party presidential candidate, says he would be willing step aside in favor of Mr. Keyes, USA Today reports.
"I'm open to discussing anything he would want to do," Mr. Phillips told reporter Tom Squitieri.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Keyes, whom the newspaper reported was still campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination, said the former ambassador would definitely join the Constitution Party if a pro-choice running mate is selected by the GOP, "but he has given them no commitment to run" for president.

Nader vs. Gore

Though national environmental groups are embracing Vice President Al Gore, some grass-roots conservationists are contemplating a protest vote for Ralph Nader.
Mr. Nader, a Green Party candidate, is winning support from people who normally vote Democratic by pressing hard-line environmental proposals on forest policy and other subjects, the Associated Press reports.
For example, during a campaign stop along the Sierra Nevada's eastern front, Mr. Nader won applause when he said, "I don't believe there should be logging in federal forests, period." He also advocated sweeping mine reform.
Mr. Gore "wrote a book in 1992 ["Earth in the Balance"], that he completely turned his back on," Mr. Nader said during a speech at the University of Nevada at Reno.
The message seems to be resonating with some environmental liberals who view President Clinton and his vice president as deal makers too quick to compromise.
"Most of my folks are going to vote for Nader. They will never vote for Al Gore again," said Tim Hermach, executive director of the Native Forest Council in Eugene, Ore.
The Sierra Club's national board has identified Texas Gov. George W. Bush, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, as the enemy, but hasn't decided whether to endorse Mr. Gore over Mr. Nader.

House-hunting

For a guy looking for a new house, Texas Gov. George W. Bush picked the right place for a speech yesterday.
"It's fitting, I guess, that I'm here in Washington talking to Realtors," Mr. Bush told about 1,500 people attending the midyear conference of the National Association of Realtors. "After all, I'm looking for a new house."
The audience, gathered a mile or so from the White House, laughed heartily, the Associated Press reports.

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