- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 31, 2000

Education president

Both Bill and Hillary Clinton have skipped recent school board votes in Little Rock, Ark., and Chappaqua, N.Y., respectively, although the president claims he really did vote in the Arkansas election.
Meredith Oakley, associate editor and columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, wrote recently that the president "had the audacity to claim that he had postponed transferring his voter registration from his mother-in-law's Little Rock address to Chappaqua, which would enable him to vote for the missus in November, so that he could vote for the Little Rock School District's requested 5-mill tax increase. A subsequent check revealed that an absentee ballot was mailed to him, but he failed to return it. Who says success has changed Bill Clinton?"
In a follow-up Monday, the columnist added this item under the heading "News from Chappaqua": "K.E., our man on the scene in Bill and Hill's new hometown, reports that Hill pulled a Bill in the recent school election.
"No, she didn't fail to vote then claim she had. She merely failed to vote. That went over really well in this education-minded community."

McCain praises Bush

Sen. John McCain yesterday praised Texas Gov. George W. Bush for recent words on "trade with China, arms-control policy, and the urgent need for an effective missile defense" and especially for his stance against forcing the president's hand on troops in Kosovo.
"I'm a Republican whose party affiliation is premised in large part on my appreciation for the Cold War leadership of Republican presidents and members of Congress, and on the dominant internationalist tradition and respect for presidential prerogatives that have characterized our foreign-policy views for the past half century," Mr. McCain said in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.
"Therefore, I was pleased when the Republican nominee for president, Gov. Bush, demonstrated his strong identification with what were once considered core Republican values by calling on Senate Republicans to reject the attempted assault on the authority of the office he intends to inhabit. His timely intervention helped persuade several wavering senators to join established Republican foreign-policy leaders in the Senate such as Dick Lugar and Thad Cochran (and emerging leaders like Chuck Hagel, Mike DeWine and Spencer Abraham) in preventing further damage to the party's reputation for strong and responsible foreign policy. His leadership showed political courage, and I salute him for it."

Unforgivable, obscene

Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, New York Democrat, says it would be "unforgivable" to label his Social Security plan as "privatization."
"But it has already begun. These savings accounts are being referred to in New York Times reporting as 'partial privatization,' " Mr. Moynihan writes in an opinion piece in that newspaper.
Mr. Moynihan and Sen. Bob Kerrey, Nebraska Democrat, have introduced legislation that would allow people to invest a small portion of current payroll taxes into stocks and bonds.
"The term [privatization] goes back to the presidential campaign of 1964, in which Barry Goldwater made an offhand remark that Social Security should be made voluntary." Mr. Goldwater then was savaged as the man who would destroy Social Security.
"The charge is hurled at every opportunity. Establishing personal savings accounts is described as turning Social Security over to Wall Street. Dock workers would become day traders. A market turndown would wipe out benefits.
"The latter charge is obscene. The present progressive retirement benefit is fixed in our bill. There is no occasion to touch it.
"We add a savings plan modeled on the Thrift Savings Plan for federal employees, including senators. The government matches up to 5 percent of an employee's pay. The money is invested, at the employee's choice, in one of three plans, ranging from government bonds to a stock-index fund. The employee can switch around from time to time. If there is an element of risk even in a 40-year stretch, at no time are basic Social Security benefits at risk. Those are funded and solid, just as they are today and have been for 60 years."

Rewarding a friend

"Seats at official state dinners at the White House are political plums, which the president and the first lady use to reward their friends and punish their enemies," New York Post columnist Dick Morris notes.
"When former New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer was seated at Hillary Clinton's table during last week's state dinner honoring the president of South Africa, it was a loud signal that meant: Thank you for running with the story that exposed Linda Tripp's Pentagon personnel file and please continue to keep your mouth shut about who tipped you off," Mr. Morris said.
"It is no coincidence that in the very same week that the Pentagon inspector general determined that two top Defense Department officials had violated Tripp's privacy in releasing information from her personnel file to Mayer that Jane found herself seated amid the glitter at the first lady's table at a state dinner."
Mr. Morris, a former political adviser to Mr. and Mrs. Clinton, believes that the White House and Mrs. Clinton in particular was involved in the decision to leak the file.

'Total gossip'

For all the speculation, Texas Gov. George W. Bush says only two other people know what's going on in his thinking about a running mate: his wife, Laura, and Dick Cheney, who is heading the search.
Asked yesterday about the process, including a recent report that former Sen. John Danforth of Missouri was under consideration, Mr. Bush scoffed and said, "Total gossip."
The Republican presidential contender said his wife is simply interested in the process, while he and Mr. Cheney speak regularly to plot strategy, most recently on Monday.
"That's it, period," he told reporters as he flew to Colorado at the start of a four-day Western campaign swing.
He suggested that some of the speculation is fueled by the way he reacts to suggestions, the Associated Press reports.
"I say, 'I appreciate that piece of advice,' and all the sudden that becomes 'inside information,' " the Texas governor said.

McGovern's lunch plan

Former Sen. George McGovern yesterday urged creation of a "universal school-lunch program," which would guarantee 300 million children in the Third World access to one meal per day.
Mr. McGovern, who is now the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, said he discussed the idea with President Clinton and top administration officials Friday.
In a speech at the National Nutrition Summit in Washington, Mr. McGovern said a universal school-lunch program, modeled after the U.S. school-lunch program, was ambitious but "well within the reach of the international community."

Reform fails in Texas

The Reform Party, with its roots in the presidential campaigns of Dallas billionaire Ross Perot, will not be on the Texas ballot in November.

The party told the state's elections division yesterday that it would not petition for a ballot line before the 5 p.m. CDT deadline, the Associated Press reported.

Kelly Abt, a Texan on the party's national committee, said the two major parties had made it too tough for his party, which had never been on the ballot.

"The Democrats and the Republicans made the hurdles so high," he said, adding that Pat Buchanan, the party's likely presidential nominee, registered as an independent three weeks ago.

"Our likely presidential candidate decided to go the independent route because he came to the same conclusion," he said.

Mr. Buchanan registered as an independent candidate May 8 by submitting 129,000 signatures to the Texas elections office, more than twice the 56,116 signatures required of independents.

Jane Dees, an elections office spokeswoman, said the Green Party had submitted 74,000 signatures and the Natural Law Party had turned in 76,000 signatures comfortably more than the needed 37,380, she said.

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