- The Washington Times - Monday, November 6, 2000

Birthday kiss

Would you consider a peck on the cheek from your spouse a sufficient birthday present? How about a two-hour trip to New Jersey?

Al and Tipper Gore got plenty of attention with their smooch at the Democratic National Convention, but George W. Bush seemed to be aiming for just enough mileage to keep him out of the doghouse.

Wife Laura turned 54 on Saturday, and about 12,000 people serenaded her with "Happy Birthday" at a town-square rally in suburban Philadelphia.

"How does it feel to be 30?" he jokingly asked his wife.

Another rendition of the song and a huge chocolate cake were served up later as the Bush campaign plane flew from Philadelphia to Newark, N.J.

Mr. Bush stood beside his wife to help lead the plane's passengers in the song. What did he get for her birthday? Reporters wanted to know.

A sheepish look crossed his face. He shrugged if to suggest "nothing," then gave her a showy kiss on her cheek.

"A kiss," he said. That was all? Even Laura Bush looked a little dubious.

"Well, how about a trip to Jersey?" Mr. Bush offered.

The Texas governor was getting a second chance in the gift department yesterday, the couple's 23rd wedding anniversary.

Guess who?

Perhaps President Clinton thinks his voice is so well-known he does not need to identify himself in tape-recorded phone calls to the party faithful. Or maybe Al Gore asked Mr. Clinton to remain anonymous.

Or maybe it was just the answering machine.

In any case, recorded calls from the president went out yesterday morning to registered Democrats in Maryland and, presumably, the rest of the country. Here's what turned up on one answering machine:

"I'm calling to remind you just how important this election is. The stakes are very high. Make no mistake, the prosperity we worked so hard to build is on the ballot this election. Vote Democratic Nov. 7 to expand the prosperity to all families and keep it going. This could be the closest election in 40 years. Every vote counts. Don't let the Republicans take us back to where we were eight years ago. We've come too far to turn back now. Vote Democratic Nov. 7."

Voter guide 'recalled'

The Nebraska Christian Coalition asked churches not to hand out a voter guide compiled by its national organization because some candidates have complained that the guide skews their positions.

Senate candidate Ben Nelson and congressional candidate Alan Jacobsen, both Democrats, said the guide blatantly misrepresents their stands on key issues such as abortion, the Associated Press reports.

In one case, the guide lists Mr. Jacobsen as undecided on a proposal he has openly supported, to ban desecration of the American flag.

It says Mr. Nelson refused to respond to questions on whether he supports a ban on partial-birth abortion and the elimination of the federal estate tax. Nelson aide Scott Hoffman said the former governor replied on a state Christian Coalition questionnaire that he supports both.

"I think it's unfortunate that this has happened," Mr. Hoffman said Saturday. "Even with the effort to recall them, I think a lot of these things will still be distributed."

Nebraska Christian Coalition board member Mike Avery said the inaccuracies were unintentional. The guide specifies that it is for "educational purposes only and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any candidate or political party."

The Nader menace

The New York Times, for the second time in a week, agonized over the possibility that Ralph Nader might tilt the presidential election to George W. Bush.

"Ralph Nader seems at this point to be beyond the reach of reason, but there is still time for his voters to consider whether they want to be enablers for a political narcissist," the newspaper said yesterday in an editorial.

The newspaper, which has endorsed Al Gore, published an editorial last week imploring Mr. Nader to quit the race. (Mr. Nader scoffed at the idea.)

"Advocating defeat for your own cause in an election in order to come back stronger in the long run has a long, muddled tradition. The era of Richard Nixon was ushered in partly by sullen liberals who wanted to punish Hubert Humphrey in 1968. It is an act of supreme arrogance for Mr. Nader to consign the country to bad policies for some imagined ideological payoff down the road. Our advice to Green Party voters confronted with Mr. Nader's effort to elect Mr. Bush is to just say no," the newspaper said.

The Nader menace II

"Liberals turned on Ralph Nader in the closing days of the campaign with the savagery of drunken English soccer fans rampaging through a continental city," National Review chortles in an editorial.

"The kicks and cuffs came not just from Democratic hacks like NARAL, Friends of the Earth, and the Human Rights Campaign," the magazine noted, pointing out that the New York Times, the New Republic and Jonathan Alter of Newsweek have become almost hysterical over the Nader menace to Al Gore.

Falwell's memo

The Rev. Jerry Falwell put out a memo Friday to "fellow pastors, church leaders and friends" concerning revelations that Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush was arrested 24 years ago for driving under the influence of alcohol.

"Friends, in a press interview this AM, I said, We Baptists call this a great testimony. A DUI 24 years ago. Met and married a sweet Christian girl the next year. Billy Graham led him to Christ shortly thereafter. At age 40, became a teetotaler and hasn't had a drink in 14 years. Served two terms as governor of our second largest state. Reads his Bible and prays with his family. Bottom line: A perfect candidate for deacon or Sunday School teacher or driver of the church van."

Mr. Falwell added: "Now, the big question is Who dunnit? The attached article indicts a Gore supporter and henchman as the culprit. I wouldn't be surprised if the trail doesn't ultimately lead directly to the Clinton/Gore administration. A stink is now attached to Gore and will follow him into millions of voting booths November 7."

No apology necessary

Rep. Maxine Waters, California Democrat, is red-faced over a "printing error" in her political flyers that appears to have her endorsing Green Party candidate Ralph Nader for president.

Thousands of voters received one version of her "official sample ballots," which have bright red circles around the names of Mr. Nader and his running mate, Winona LaDuke, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

In another version, the names of Libertarian candidate Harry Browne and his running mate are circled, the paper said.

Mrs. Waters' campaign scrambled Thursday to correct the impression, telling all that the outspoken congresswoman from the Los Angeles-area district strongly supports Democrats Al Gore and his running mate, Joseph I. Lieberman.

"It was a printing error," Karen Waters, the congresswoman's daughter and spokeswoman, told the Times. "It has been corrected, and voters will receive a letter of apology."

But Mr. Nader's campaign said no apology was necessary.

"All we can say is, thank you, thank you, great campaign karmic gods," spokesman Ross Mirkarimi told the paper.

Some 10,000 to 15,000 voters saw the foul-up, Miss Waters said.

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