- The Washington Times - Friday, November 3, 2000

Canadian interpreter

"If you're planning on visiting the United States of America from an English-speaking country, here are some local phrases you may find useful over the next few days," writes Mark Steyn, a columnist for the National Post in Canada.
"1) 'Cliffhanger.' This is the one-word headline on the cover of the latest Newsweek, over a picture of Al Gore and George Bush. In most English-speaking cultures, a 'cliffhanger' means a contest whose outcome is in doubt until the very end. But in the United States it means a contest where one fellow is hanging off the cliff flailing wildly while the other's up on top leisurely playing the 18th hole before heading into the clubhouse for a celebratory drink. So, if you're an English cricketer passing through Manhattan and you run into a Newsweek editor, don't go, 'I say, old boy, I see those jolly old Yankee chappies finished off those blithering Mets in just five games, what? A smashing victory, doncha know, pip-pip.' The correct expression is: 'I see this Subway Series of yours is an absolute cliffhanger. There's no telling how it's going to turn out.' Note: You may have to speak up over the cheers of delirious Yankee fans.
"2. 'Dead heat.' According to The Washington Post, 'A series of national polls showed the race anywhere from a dead heat to one with Bush clearly in the lead.' Translated into English, this means: 'Except for a couple of weeks in early September, Bush has consistently led Gore in almost every single poll conducted over the last two years.' "

All toward Bush

A poll released earlier this week by the Pew Research Center found Republican George W. Bush leading Democrat Al Gore 47 percent to 43 percent. But especially interesting were accompanying comments by Andy Kohut, the Pew Research Center's director.
"Every indication in our poll is either unchanged or positive in Bush's direction," said Mr. Kohut, quoted yesterday in the Los Angeles Times.
"Over three October surveys, he's steadily increased the percentage of people who say he is likable, honest and able to get things done; the qualifications gap between him and Gore is also much diminished. There is nothing here that would lead me to say that there are signs of a nascent Gore movement; it is all pushing toward Bush," Mr. Kohut said.

Can I finish?

Reform Party founder and Texas billionaire Ross Perot last night gave his endorsement to Republican George W. Bush.

Appearing on CNN's "Larry King Live," Mr. Perot praised Mr. Bush's record as governor of Texas as qualifying him for the White House.

Mr. Bush "has done an outstanding job as governor," Mr. Perot said, and "has demonstrated the ability to be a person who knows how to administer and govern."

"It's fantastic. I'm glad to have his support," Mr. Bush said of the Perot endorsement, during an impromptu press conference in Milwaukee last night. "I'm proud to have [Mr. Perot] on my team."

The endorsement ends years of bad blood between Mr. Perot and the Bush family. In 1992, Mr. Perot got 19 percent of the popular vote in his independent presidential bid, helping defeat President Bush, father of the Texas governor. Mr. Perot got 8 percent of the vote when he ran again in 1996.

Perot supporters formed the Reform Party after the 1992 election, but Mr. Perot declined to make a third White House run this year.

Mr. Perot said last night he was "disappointed" by the division in Reform Party ranks this year, when many members left after former Republican Pat Buchanan got the party's nomination.

Despite his own third-party campaigns, Mr. Perot last night told his supporters that "in the real world," their choice in Tuesday's election was between Vice President Al Gore who once bested Mr. Perot in a trade treaty debate on Mr. King's show and Mr. Bush. The Republican candidate, he said, "is clearly the better of the two men."

Lazio pulls ad

Rep. Rick Lazio pulled a TV ad criticizing Senate opponent Hillary Rodham Clinton for supporting a global-warming treaty that the ad described as a "radical" measure that cost the state thousands of jobs.
The withdrawal came "out of respect for the League of Conservation Voters," Mr. Lazio said Wednesday night.
"The ad runs counter to the intent and spirit of our endorsement," said Betsy Loyless, political director for the national environmental group, which backed both candidates.
The ad, airing upstate, claimed Mrs. Clinton, "supports a radical environmental treaty that would wipe out thousands of manufacturing jobs in New York," the Associated Press reports.
Mr. Lazio has said he does not support the Kyoto treaty because many nations with poor records on pollution have yet to accept it.

Flynn backs Bush

Raymond Flynn, the Democratic former Boston mayor who served as the Clinton administration's first ambassador to the Vatican, has endorsed Republican George W. Bush for president.
"I decided that it is better to be a good American and a good Catholic than a good Democrat," Mr. Flynn said at a press conference Tuesday in Pittsburgh.
"On issues that are so important to the Catholic community life, education, taxes, values there is only one choice on Election Day. We can no longer tolerate the gruesome procedure known as partial-birth abortion. The Clinton-Gore administration twice vetoed legislation that would have ended this procedure."

Patrick Kennedy's slur

Rhode Island Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, chairman of the campaign wing of House Democrats, called present and former House Republican leaders "a fascist kind of crowd" in an interview with Voter.com.
"If you want to know what happens when people don't turn out [to vote], all you need to do is look at Newt Gingrich, Trent Lott, Dick Armey, Tom DeLay, because this is the crowd that gets elected when working people don't show up," Mr. Kennedy said.
"This is the right-wing crowd that does get elected. If you're a student of history as I am, you study history, the fact of the matter is, we've always battled the right wing. There's always been a fascist kind of crowd in every society who's reactionary, that scapegoats people, who's more interested in power than the exercise of power for the good of the commonweal. So we have that battle today."

Candidates' encounter

You've heard the phrase "two ships passing in the night;" yesterday the campaign planes of Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Joseph I. Lieberman encountered each other on the tarmac at Lambert International Airport in St. Louis.
Mr. Lieberman was preparing to board his plane to depart St. Louis yesterday morning when Mr. Bush's campaign plane landed and taxied to within several hundred yards of the Democrat's mother ship. Mr. Bush emerged from his plane and waved in the general direction of Mr. Lieberman's aircraft, but the two candidates did not see each other.
Reporters from both campaigns embraced briefly on the no-man's land of the tarmac before being shooed back to their respective sides by campaign staffers.

The NAACP plan

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said yesterday it will urge black Americans to vote on Election Day via live radio broadcasts from voting places in a number of battleground states.
The nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization has teamed up with black celebrities including ABC-syndicated radio talk show host Tom Joyner and Black Entertainment Television's Tavis Smiley for the most aggressive voter turnout drive in its 91-year history, Reuters reports.

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