- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 28, 2000

Where's McCain?

If you thought Sen. John McCain has been prominently and curiously quiet about the controversy over leaving military absentee ballots uncounted in Florida, you're correct. Sort of.

The Republican presidential runner-up and Vietnam POW has broached the subject of military ballots when asked about the contested results of the Florida voting, but he's stopped short of being more outspoken like Colin Powell, Norman Schwartzkopf and Bob Dole, for example because the Bush campaign "didn't want a lot of voices" in the debate.

Says a top Bush spokesman: "John McCain has done everything we have asked him to do at this stage."

Chad picker

"I'm not picking my nose, that's just chad."

Or so Fox News Channel reporter Carl Cameron unintentionally informed the nation from chad-strewn Florida on Sunday night, yet another broadcaster caught with his microphone open.

"I heard it too," said Fox anchor Brit Hume, fingering a network technician for not flipping off the reporter's mike after he had broadcast his report.

"We're pleased it didn't go on any longer," Mr. Hume said.

Buy a seat

Of the 11 or so photographers staking out Vice President Al Gore's mansion in Washington yesterday, only three were escorted inside for a photo-op with Mr. Gore as he spoke by telephone with Democratic congressional leaders who had traveled to Florida on his behalf.

When one Washington photographer kept out in the cold inquired why a photographer for the New York Times was allowed entry, Mr. Gore's spokesman replied: "Because they pay for a seat in our [campaign] van."

Intact Titanic

It was the moment half of the nation if not more was waiting for since Nov. 7: Texas Gov. George W. Bush appearing on national television to declare himself the election winner.

Every major news network except one broke into their regularly scheduled programming Sunday night to carry Mr. Bush's historic address live from the Texas state Capitol. But not NBC.

Not when it's the television premiere of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet scurrying about the soppy decks of the sinking "Titanic."

ABC, CBS, FOX, CNN: "The election was close, but tonight, after a count, a recount and yet another manual recount, Secretary Cheney and I are honored and humbled to have won the state of Florida, which gives us the needed electoral votes to win the election. We will therefore undertake the responsibility of preparing to serve as America's next president and vice president."

NBC: "I promise you will go on living, Rose, and have lots and lots of babies."

"You make a decision to keep the movie audience updated, which we did," Barbara Levin, director of communications for NBC News, tells this column from New York.

"We broke in live for those markets not in the movie; for markets in the movie we turned around a couple of special reports. That way we were able to keep the movie intact."

City on hold

"Presuming, of course, that there will be a president to be inaugurated, the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C. is featuring the 'Classic American Liberty Package' in celebration of this nation's unique transfer of power."

First sentence of the Four Seasons Hotel presidential inaugural advertisement.

What a riot

The Gore campaign's latest mailing steers readers to an article that appears on the msnbc.com site, headlined sensationally enough: "Winning by intimidation: A Republican riot squad in Miami shows GOP will try to win at all cost."

Florida threads

Thanks to Adrian Cronauer, a lawyer with Burch & Cronauer, for sending us the latest craze in Florida T-shirt slogans: "My grandparents moved to Florida and all I got was three lousy recounts."

Eating chad

The American Spectator Educational Foundation holds its annual Washington Club dinner tomorrow at the Four Seasons Hotel, always one of the most elegant evenings of the season, and this year with a new twist.

After 33 years, the American Spectator magazine is now part of Gilder Publishing, whose head high-tech guru George Gilder has persuaded magazine editor in chief R. Emmett Tyrrell that there is life after Bill Clinton.

As in the New Economy.

As a result, the foundation has a new name and new mission: The American Alternative Foundation, which will develop new voices in American media by providing scholarships to college undergraduate and graduate student journalists who espouse traditional values.

Mr. Tyrrell, who will continue as chairman, says tomorrow's menu consists of chad roe and copious quantities of vin rouge, blanc and bleu.

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