- The Washington Times - Friday, October 13, 2000

One less cliffhanger

"At least one Senate race can be taken off the cliffhanger list," the Wall Street Journal reports.
"Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Rick Santorum is up by 20 and 19 percentage points in a pair of recent polls over Democratic rival Ron Klink. Mr. Santorum had been marked for an upset, but has fared well against an opponent whose anti-abortion stance and soft record on gun control went far to alienate him from his own party," reporter Nicholas Kulish writes.

Sigh-a-nara

"Wednesday night's presidential debate may have been held in the Wait Chapel at Wake Forest University, but TV viewers didn't have to wait long to divine Al Gore's strategy," USA Today political columnist Walter Shapiro writes.
"From the moment that Gore said 'I agree with that' in response to an answer from George W. Bush, it was clear that the vice president had taken on a new debate persona. Early on, Gore even said, 'I think the idea of humility is an important one.'
"While Bush, of course, had a seat at the table, Gore was the man on the hot seat. Displaying the resilience of a veteran of four national campaigns, Gore had no problem bidding sigh-a-nara to the mannerisms that proved so grating last week in Boston. Rather than opting to transform himself into the Tennessee mauler, Gore instead became that Nice Guy from Nashville," Mr. Shapiro said.
"The Democrat was so eager to please, so courteous toward Bush ('I believe he has a good heart'), so deferential toward moderator Jim Lehrer ('I've tried so hard not to' break the debate rules) that you expected Gore to promise that, if elected, he'd come by every weekend to mow your law. Dale Carnegie couldn't hold a candle to the reinvented Gore. His was the voice of Thumper Rabbit, staking his political fortunes on the credo: 'If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.' "

Lethal parody

"Suddenly we're in a brave new world where 'Saturday Night Live' and the Internet are really driving politics," the New York Post's Deborah Orin writes.
"Democrat Al Gore is fighting a 'fibber' label that got pinned on him not by TV network news shows or elite newspapers but by cable shows, Web chat and late-night comics especially a killer debate sketch on 'Saturday Night Live,' " Miss Orin said.
"It's the flip side the negative of this year's big trend to have Gore and rival George W. Bush star on shows like 'Oprah' to appeal to voters who don't usually watch politics.
"But 'Saturday Night Live' showcased Gore's lack of charm, as an impersonator fibbed, made faces and, when offered a closing statement, raised his hand and smarmily asked for two.
"It was such a lethal parody that Gore's aides made him watch 'SNL' before [Wednesday] night's second debate to drum in precisely what he did wrong."

Helms' vow

Sen. Jesse Helms, dispirited by legislative gridlock and the waning strength of the conservative movement, is ready to quit the Senate and work to help combat Third World poverty "if the Lord would show me how," the Hill newspaper reports.
The North Carolina Republican told reporters Albert Eisele and Betsy Rothstein that he was deeply impressed by a meeting with the leader of an Irish rock group who lobbied for Third World debt relief on Capitol Hill last week.
"I told him this, and I mean it, if I can find some way that the Lord would show me how to really help these people, I'd quit the Senate and try to do it. I told Bono that. He is working hard and I'm going to try to help him the best I can."

No relation

Vice-presidential candidate Joseph I. Lieberman said yesterday he was not a relative of Hillel Lieberman, an American-born Jewish settler killed last weekend in Israel in the rising violence between Israelis and Palestinians.
The victim's family had told the New York Times that he was a second cousin of the Democratic vice-presidential candidate, that their grandfathers were brothers. But Mr. Lieberman, who was in Texas yesterday, said in a telephone interview with reporters, "To the best of my knowledge, I am not [related]."
The Connecticut senator said he called the victim's family in New York on Monday and spoke with his father, Rabbi Sidney Zvulun Lieberman, the Associated Press reports.
"I told him where my grandfather was from in Poland, and he said he was probably not the person that he had thought he was," Mr. Lieberman said. "In any case, it's a tragedy and I extended my condolences."

Love letter

The Republican candidate for district attorney in Albuquerque, N.M., says he accidentally sent his opponent an e-mail love note intended for his wife.
His opponent, Democrat Kari Brandenburg, says the message was designed to intimidate, and she called it sexual harassment, the Associated Press reports.
The offending portion of the e-mail, sent Sept. 23 by L. Skip Vernon, read: "Even if we could be together we probably wouldn't get along but I would keep you entertained and thinking. I think you would always need the variety of frequently differing others. Too bad. Might have been a fairy tale."
"It was an accidental mistake," Mr. Vernon said Wednesday. "I ended up clicking on Kari Brandenburg instead of Lee Ann Vernon."
Miss Brandenburg discounted the explanation.
"I think the story that it was going to his wife is not credible and if you read it, it doesn't sound like it went to her," she said.

Debate-o-rama

Those of you who just cannot get your fill of political debates should turn to C-SPAN tonight.
From 8 p.m. to 3 a.m., the cable network will show tapes of seven debates from various U.S. Senate and gubernatorial contests around the country.
A debate between New Jersey Senate candidates Jon Corzine, a Democrat, and Rep. Bob Franks, a Republican, begins at 8.
A debate between Montana Senate candidates Conrad Burns, the Republican incumbent, and Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat, begins at 9.
A debate between Nevada Senate candidates Ed Bernstein, a Democrat, and former Rep. John Ensign, a Republican, begins at 10:30.
At midnight, you can tune into a debate between New York Senate candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton, a Democrat, and Rep. Rick A. Lazio, a Republican.
At 1 a.m., you can see Indiana Gov. Frank L. O'Bannon, a Democrat, debate Rep. David M. McIntosh, a Republican, in that state's gubernatorial contest.
At 2 a.m., Washington Gov. Gary Locke, a Democrat, debates John Carlson, a Republican, in that state's gubernatorial contest.
At 3 a.m., the candidates for governor of Montana, Republican Judy Martz and Democrat Mark O'Keefe, will debate.

Polling corner

George W. Bush was ahead of Al Gore in two national tracking polls released yesterday, but a third survey showed a tie.
All of the polls were conducted prior to Wednesday night's presidential debate. Because the tracking polls are three- or four-day averages, and there is a one-day lag in tabulating and releasing the information, they will not fully reflect the debate until Sunday at the earliest.
The Voter.com Battleground 2000 poll showed Mr. Bush with an advantage of 44 percent to 40 percent.
The Portrait of America www.portraitofamerica.com poll gave Mr. Bush the edge, 45 percent to 40 percent.
However, the Reuters/MSNBC/ Zogby poll found the two candidates in a dead heat, with 43 percent each.

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