- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 25, 2000

Polling corner

One national tracking poll yesterday showed Democrat Al Gore gaining a 1 percentage point lead over Republican George W. Bush, but three other surveys found Mr. Bush holding a narrow advantage or pulling further ahead.

The CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll, which has shown more volatility than other surveys, gave Mr. Gore an advantage of 46 percent to 45 percent. On Sunday, the same poll had Mr. Bush up by 9 points.

At the same time, the Voter.com Battleground 2000 poll found that Mr. Bush had gained his biggest lead since that survey began daily tracking six weeks ago 46 percent to 38 percent.

On the other hand, the Reuters-MSNBC-Zogby poll had the race holding steady at 44 percent to 42 percent in favor of Mr. Bush.

The Portrait of America (www.portraitofamerica.com) poll gave Mr. Bush a 47 percent to 41 percent lead.

Remote scenario

"Talk about Election Day surprises. Consider this possibility: George W. Bush and Al Gore each win 269 electoral votes on Nov. 7, leaving each man one short of the 270 needed to win the presidency," Louis Jacobson writes in National Journal.

"It's a remote scenario, to be sure, but not an impossible one. Douglas Bailey, the founder of the the Hotline, now owned by National Journal Group, came up with a plausible way for Bush and Gore to tie, 269-269; he allocated the swing states of Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, and New Jersey to Gore, and Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin to Bush. To arrive at a tie, Bailey didn't have to hand any staunchly Republican states to Gore or any Democratic bastions to Bush," Mr. Jacobson said.

In the event of a tie, individual members of the Electoral College might be tempted to break precedent and vote against the wishes of their respective states, the columnist said. But, assuming an Electoral College deadlock held up, each state's U.S. House delegation would vote internally to see which candidate it would support. Whichever candidate won a simple majority of 26 states would be the winner.

Wisconsin survey

Republican George W. Bush has pulled ahead of Democrat Al Gore in the swing state of Wisconsin, 49 percent to 40 percent, according to a new poll.

The survey of 587 likely voters was released Monday evening by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, a nonprofit group that says it pursues various public-policy issues.

It was based on a telephone survey between Oct. 18 and 21 conducted by Harris Interactive. It had a 4-point margin of error.

The group said the finding was about the same as one from a similar poll it conducted in June. The latest poll found third-party candidates Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan with 5 percent and 1 percent, respectively.

No publicity, please

Without ceremony, President Clinton yesterday signed the breast cancer legislation that New York Rep. Rick Lazio helped shepherd through Congress.

Mr. Lazio, of course, is the Republican opponent of Mr. Clinton's wife, Hillary, in the battle for a U.S. Senate seat from New York.

The legislation would provide health care to thousands of women with breast cancer, Reuters reports.

White House spokesman Jake Siewert said yesterday he was "not aware" of any pressure from Hillary Rodham Clinton or her husband to avoid signing the Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act in public.

Mr. Lazio was a key supporter of the bill and would typically be invited to any bill-signing ceremony.

Asked if the bill was being signed privately because it would appear awkward having Mr. Lazio share the stage with the president, Mr. Siewert told reporters: "I don't know that that was the consideration, but I think that whenever we make decisions about bills we have probably a couple dozen bills awaiting the president's signature now we always try to decide what the best forum is and what's not the best forum," he said.

The White House plans to hold an event later in the year to commemorate passage of the breast cancer legislation, along with some other bills signed privately, such as the Ryan White Act and the Children's Health Act.

Free air time

PBS stations will turn over two and a half minutes of airtime for eight nights to George W. Bush and Al Gore to deliver campaign messages.

Starting tonight, one presidential candidate each weeknight will use the time. First person up will be determined by a coin toss and Mr. Bush and Mr. Gore will alternate nights through Nov. 3. The election is Nov. 7.

The messages will air each weeknight following Jim Lehrer's "NewsHour."

The 347 PBS stations are allowed to rebroadcast the messages or show them at different times. But they have to make sure it is at a time when the messages will get a similar viewership, and they must not show one candidate more than the other, the Associated Press reports.

Backhanded choice

Republican presidential hopeful George W. Bush has been riding high on endorsements lately picking up the nod from such reliable Democratic papers as the Portland Oregonian and the Seattle Times.

And this week, he picked up a backhanded endorsement from a most unlikely source 1980s comedic icon Emo Philips in the satirical journal the Onion.

"I think they're both hell-bent on taking away our liberty," said Mr. Philips, who is making a comeback effort after a decade-long hiatus. "I would have to say that if you choose the lesser of two devils, you've got to pick the most incompetent one."

"I think Gore is very intelligent, so you don't want to choose him. I think Bush is one of those cute little fumbly Disney devils from the film 'Hercules' with his pitchfork, and he's always getting into shenanigans. He's the one I would have to choose because he's like the cute little fumbling devil, and he'll probably even make things better that's how fumbling he is."

Mr. Philips' odd endorsement comes in the same edition of the paper that leads with an entirely made-up article headlined "Bush horrified to learn presidential salary."

"Bush was further disturbed to learn that the salary was not to be bolstered by incentive clauses," the paper writes.

Fuzzy geography

One of Vice President Al Gore's daughters experienced a bout of what could be called "fuzzy geography" at a campaign rally in Everett, Wash., stumbling over a state capital lesson she said her father helped her learn.

Kristin Gore, 23, said at a rally that her father had helped her in many areas of her childhood comforting her when her dog died, attending her soccer games, and helping her memorize names of the Beatles' albums "in chronological order."

"He also was the guy who helped me study for my third-grade state-capital quiz Seattle, I got it down," she said, clearly startling the large crowd.

The capital of Washington state is Olympia.

Both Gores let the error slide, Reuters reports. "More importantly," than the other lessons, Kristin said, "he and my mother have taught my sisters and my brother and me the value of public service."

Push for Bush

Frederick Douglass Gray of Capitol Heights, Md., dropped by The Washington Times' offices yesterday, driving his 1948 Chevrolet panel truck covered with Bush-Cheney campaign signs.

"All the way with Bush-Cheney," proclaims a large sign atop the blue-green truck, which Mr. Gray says he will drive to every county in Maryland between now and Election Day.

The Prince George's County resident and World War II veteran was an alternate delegate to the Republican convention in Philadelphia this summer.

Mr. Gray says he gets the most positive reactions from police.

"Law enforcement officers stop and ask me for literature and yard signs," he says.

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