- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 19, 2000

Forget about us

Vice President Al Gore's campaign, which has averaged six press releases per day to the media, sent out a whopping 19 news alerts yesterday following the third and final presidential debate.

The releases attacked Texas Gov. George W. Bush's stance on practically every issue that came up during the debate from health care and prescription drugs to children and education.

"That's a lot," allowed one veteran flack on Capitol Hill who is so notorious for sending out press releases on every issue and topic that some Capitol Hill correspondents refuse to give him their fax number.

Oh, as for Mr. Bush's statement to "forget the journalists," it warranted two press releases.

Aruba anyone?

More griping by Democrats about the waning days of the so-called "do-nothing" 106th Congress, perhaps best summed up this week by Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle: "I have seen recesses that are more productive."

Overheard

"This drug czar lecturing on national security is like Janet Reno teaching a class on treason."

Democratic Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. of Ohio, reacting to word that White House drug czar retired Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey is stepping down from the Clinton administration to teach national-security issues at two colleges.

Hill pyrotechnics

More than the usual quantity of hot air will envelop Capitol Hill tomorrow, as the Heritage Foundation hosts the annual "Talkers Magazine Heritage Series" forum of radio talk-show hosts.

And with the likes of Oliver North and Ellen Ratner going head to head, it should be an extremely entertaining two hours (noon to 2 p.m.) of liberal, centrist and conservative discussion. The topic: the presidential election.

Among the outspoken arriving from studios in Washington and around the country: Jim Bohannon, Blanquita Cullum, Victoria Jones, Ellen Ratner, Chip Franklin, Tom Marr, Oliver North, Marc Bernier, Rollye James, Geoff Metcalf, Doug Stephan, Armstrong Williams and Lee Edwards.

Michael Harrison, editor and publisher of Talkers Magazine, will attempt to moderate the vocal bunch.

Texas prop

Democratic vice-presidential candidate Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman made a brief stop in the congressional district surrounding Odessa and Midland, Texas, and "snubbed officials from both cities, including the chambers of commerce, mayors, and even the chairman of the Democratic Party."

So charges Rep. Larry Combest, Texas Republican, who represents the district's constituents, including Democrats.

"He arrived with an agenda to embarrass our hometown son, Governor George Bush," says Mr. Combest, adding that the local media was also kept at arm's length by Mr. Lieberman's lieutenants.

"Only the candidate's hand-picked media could cover the story, with only biased facts," he says.

War sequel

Groundbreaking for the long-awaited World War II Memorial on the Mall in Washington is finally set for Nov. 11, Veterans Day.

As Rep. Bob Stump, Arizona Republican, observes: "It has taken three times as long to get from bill introduction to groundbreaking as it did to win the war."

Baking Hollywood

Images seen in childhood help to shape attitudes for a lifetime, and the violence-riddled material of today scares former Senate Majority Leader Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, who in his youth was terrified enough by "Hansel and Gretel."

"A story that is not without its own share of violence," notes Mr. Byrd, who is calling on presidential candidates Al Gore and George W. Bush to explain in detail their outlook toward the entertainment industry.

"Just as Hansel and Gretel were enchanted by the evil witch's gingerbread house, our children are dazzled by the entertainment industry's lurid images," says the West Virginia Democrat. "Of course, in the story of Hansel and Gretel, the children realize they are about to be cooked and eaten, and they trick the witch and shove her into the oven …

"But I am not suggesting that we shove the entertainment industry into the oven but perhaps we do need to turn up the heat."

Gracious grounds

Future visitors to the nation's capital will see a "more gracious" U.S. Capitol grounds, as granite paving soon will replace asphalt, while fountains, seat walls and plantings will be added to "reinvigorate" architect Frederick Law Olmsted's original landscape design of the 1870s.

Not disturbed will be a relatively unknown memorial site on the northeast lawn of the U.S. Capitol grounds a group of five crab apple trees dedicated to five brothers named Sullivan who died during World War II.

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