- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 14, 2000

Kennedy landslide

Unlike Texas Gov. George W. Bush, Republican Mark Kennedy isn't letting a ballot recount prevent him from coming to Washington to participate in this week's congressional orientation.
Out of more than 275,000 votes cast in Minnesota's 2nd District, Mr. Kennedy holds an infinitesimal 149 vote lead over Democratic incumbent Rep. David Minge.
Still, Mr. Kennedy, 43, unpacked his bags yesterday with the rest of the freshman class to be taught the congressional ropes.
"There will be a recount," Mr. Kennedy's press secretary, Jeff Bakken, tells Inside the Beltway. "But [former congressman-turned-George W. Bush adviser] Vin Weber tells us if you beat an eight-year incumbent by one vote it's a landslide.
In fact, Mr. Kennedy is "one of only two Republicans in the country to unseat an incumbent Democrat," Mr. Bakken says.
So, is there any chance this Mr. Kennedy is related to the other clan of Kennedys on Capitol Hill?
"You're probably familiar with Patrick Kennedy," Mr. Kennedy informs Inside the Beltway, referring to the Rhode Island Democrat and son of Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy. "Well, we're both the third child of the youngest of four sons of Rose Kennedy.
"And Rose's father was not the mayor of Boston like the other Rose, but he was county commissioner of Swift County, Minnesota, [and] Charles Kennedy, husband of Rose and my grandfather, was mayor of Murdock, Minnesota."
The similarities stop there.

Squirrely candidate

"Throughout the last eight years and particularly during the campaign, I've wondered just exactly what was inside Al Gore," writes Inside the Beltway reader Ann Sheridan of Northwest Washington, who snapped today's hilarious photograph showing the vice president is the preferred candidate of at least one furry rodent.

First-time voters

Click into the official Web site of the Democratic National Committee and you'll find a link to the Palm Beach County (Fla.) Democratic Party, which this week has all the eyes it can muster on the county's presidential ballot recount.
The site, we can't help but notice, features several written questions posed to visitors: "As a Palm Beach County voter, what concerns do you have about the recount? Who deserves the Sunshine State?"
The initial responses:
"Can you say 'President Bush?' "
"What's sad is that Gore's state [Tennessee] didn't vote for him."
"I still think it's funny that these ballots have been used in the past in presidential elections. Did all these seniors finally decide to register to vote at the age of 65 never seeing these ballots until now?"

Duty and desire

What a difference two centuries make.
The year was 1789, and American citizens, just as today, waited anxiously more than two months for ballots to be counted in the nation's first election.
But they were on edge not just awaiting the official tally, but to learn whether George Washington, hero of the American Revolution, would even accept the nation's highest office if elected.
Unlike Al Gore and George W. Bush, explains Mount Vernon historian Jennie Saxon, Washington made it clear he had "no wish which aspires beyond the humble and happy lot of living and dying a private citizen."
On Feb. 4, 1789, 69 state electors, some elected by voters, others appointed by state legislatures and governors, gathered in their home states to cast votes, one for the first president of the United States, and a second for the vice president.
Within days, unofficial word reached Mount Vernon that Washington would be elected president. His reaction?
Unlike the candidates of today, Washington said he'd have no statement until such time he was officially notified by the electoral college of the vote count.
The government opened for business on March 4, but not enough congressmen were present and the official tally of the votes was postponed. On April 6, Congress convened again and this time the votes were tallied.
Finally, on April 14, the secretary of Congress arrived at Mount Vernon to deliver formal notification to Washington that, like it or not, he'd won all 69 electoral votes and was therefore the country's first president.
A unanimous endorsement, Washington observed that same day, that "scarcely leaves me the alternative for an option."

Fast mail

Finally, we wrote yesterday about two U.S. postal executives who were compensated $250,000 for relocating to new homes closer to their Washington office, one receiving more than $140,000 to move a grand total of 2.5 miles, reducing his commute by about one minute.
To which reader Dave Jones points out: "If the commute was reduced by one minute, then he must have been traveling at over 150 miles per hour."
That's right, Mr. Jones, or approximately 50 miles per hour faster than Al Gore's teen-age son, Albert Arnold Gore III, was clocked at doing through North Carolina in August.

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