- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 11, 2000

It's contagious

Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore has been badly bruised by his tendency to embellish, so it was somewhat surprising to see the chairman of the Democratic National Committee do the same thing Monday.
Joe Andrew, the DNC chief, introduced an ad that condemns Texas Gov. George W. Bush for not cleaning up air pollution in Houston, rated the worst in the nation.
Houston is "the dirtiest city, you know, in the world," Mr. Andrew said in a briefing for reporters.
This was too much for the assembled press corps, The Washington Post reports. One reporter shouted, "Mexico City?" Another yelled, "Calcutta?"
Mr. Andrew, caught in the act of embellishing, was forced to back down. "In the United States," he said. "In the United States."

Shetland whoppers

Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn says "lies" is too strong a word for the kind of exaggerations that keep coming out of Vice President Al Gore's mouth, because Mr. Gore usually has the essential ideas correct.
"But he inexplicably gilds them with, well, what? Nouns fail me. On-line journalist Mickey Kaus calls them 'fiblets.' I'm partial to 'twisties,' 'distortionettes,' 'demi-facts,' 'Shetland whoppers' and micro-bunk.' "

California race tightens

Republican George W. Bush is closing in on Vice President Al Gore in California, where a new poll shows the Republican nominee trailing by only five percentage points.
The Zogby International survey of 805 likely voters, conducted Oct. 6-8 after the first presidential debate, showed Mr. Gore leading 44 percent to 39 percent. Green Party candidate Ralph Nader had 6 percent; the survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.
Previous polls in California had Mr. Gore leading by as much as 13 percent, and the last Zogby survey in the state on Aug. 23 showed Mr. Gore leading by nine percentage points.
But Mr. Bush has continued to campaign in the state with the most electoral votes and began to air advertisements there within the past week.
The Zogby poll, released yesterday, showed Mr. Gore leading among women by 15 points and Mr. Bush leading among men by four points. Mr. Gore led among Hispanics 52 percent to 23 percent.
A Republican source close to the Bush camp said the campaign will spend about $1.6 million each week in California until Election Day, mostly on television ads in the Los Angeles area.
"California is not a lock for the Democrats," he said. "If they want it, they're going to have to defend it."

Talent on loan

Making a rare network television appearance, Rush Limbaugh was interviewed by NBC's Lisa Myers for "Today," giving millions of viewers their first taste of points he's been making on his top-rated talk-radio show.
Of Vice President Al Gore's tendency to shade the truth, Mr. Limbaugh said: "There's something wrong with the vice president's lying. Clinton lies to protect himself, to get himself out of trouble. There's no reason for Gore's lies. It makes me wonder: Is there some insecurity there? Is there some psychological problem?
"I sense a momentum shift amongst voters," Mr. Limbaugh said of Republican candidate George W. Bush's recent surge in public opinion polls.
Mr. Gore's decline in the polls, Mr. Limbaugh suggested, was a result of women who were turned off by the vice president's performance in his first debate with Mr. Bush.
Mr. Gore "came across to women as the first husband that divorced them," Mr. Limbaugh said. "He was condescending, always had to have the last word, he rolled his eyes when he heard something he thought was stupid. He sighed. He reminded women of their first husband they divorced and all their negative characteristics."

Lazio cries foul

Republican Rick Lazio charges that Hillary Rodham Clinton's Senate campaign helpers have been "sort of harassing" his wife, trailing her with video cameras at campaign stops.
"I just have come to accept it. That's the way they do business," Mr. Lazio said Monday on CNN's "Larry King Live."
Mr. Lazio said the Clinton "trackers," armed with video cameras, began appearing at his events in mid-May when he entered the Senate race.
Trackers, common in American politics, note what opponents are up to, and record any gaffes they might make. Mr. Lazio has said he does not use them; his aides routinely block the view of trackers sent by others, the Associated Press reports.

Just a joke

Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura was joking when he said he and President Clinton drank beer and gin and smoked cigars until 4 a.m. at the White House last week, his office said.
John Wodele, a spokesman for the governor, complained Monday that a Minneapolis Star Tribune story about Mr. Ventura's visit was inaccurate. The two men drank diet cola and only exchanged gifts of cigars, Mr. Wodele said.
Mr. Ventura told KCNN radio in Grand Forks, N.D., yesterday that the article was "titillating National Enquirer stuff."
On his weekly radio show, broadcast Friday from a restaurant in Washington, Mr. Ventura devoted several minutes to Mr. Clinton's invitation to spend a night at the White House. He talked of sleeping in the Lincoln Bedroom after staying up late with the president.
At one point in the show, Mr. Ventura said that the conversation with Mr. Clinton didn't get rolling until "the second shot of Bombay Sapphire [gin]."
Mr. Wodele chimed in with "joke, joke, joke." Mr. Ventura then said, "For the president's sake I'll say, 'Joke, joke, joke.' I don't mean to, you know, I'll survive it, but I don't want to, I don't want to cast anything onto the president to make anyone think that it was a Bombay Sapphire night."
In a written statement Monday, Star Tribune Editor Tim McGuire said, "If the governor's remarks were a joke, we certainly apologize for not being more skeptical."

Dirty tricks

Some Web sites about Reform Party presidential hopeful Pat Buchanan are baring more than politics.

They link to pornography, which has irked Mr. Buchanan and running mate Ezola Foster.

They are suing the Durham, N.C., firm of Rendina Solutions, which has registered Web addresses in Mr. Buchanan's name that link to pornography sites.

A federal judge yesterday transferred the case from San Francisco to federal court in North Carolina.

Mr. Buchanan's attorney, Mark T. Clausen, of Windsor, Calif., wants the sites shut down or for them to have a disclaimer and link to Mr. Buchanan's official site, buchananreform.org.

"We want this stopped," the lawyer said.

Mark Rendina, who is accused of registering the domain names, did not return telephone calls yesterday from the Associated Press. The lawsuit said Mr. Rendina offered to sell the domain names to Mr. Buchanan's campaign for $10,000.

Polling corner

Going into tonight's debate, Republican George W. Bush held a narrow lead over Democrat Al Gore in most national tracking polls.
The CNN/USA Today/Gallup tracking poll released yesterday found Mr. Bush ahead, 47 percent to 44 percent.
The Voter.com Battleground 2000 tracking poll released yesterday gave Mr. Bush a 44 percent to 41 percent lead.
The Portrait of America (www.portraitofamerica.com) tracking poll released yesterday said Mr. Bush held a 46 percent to 39 percent advantage.
The Reuters/MSNBC/Zogby survey released yesterday placed Mr. Bush ahead, 43 percent to 42 percent, the first time the Republican had taken the lead in that daily tracking poll, albeit within the margin of error.

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