- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 26, 2000

Polling corner

Republican George W. Bush held seemingly solid leads in three national tracking polls yesterday, while Democrat Al Gore holds a statistically insignificant lead in a fourth survey of the presidential race.
The CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll found Mr. Bush with a 48 percent to 43 percent advantage over Mr. Gore. Just the day before, the survey had given Mr. Gore a one-point lead.
The Voter.com Battleground 2000 poll had it 45 percent to 39 percent in favor of Mr. Bush.
The Portrait of America (www.portraitofamerica.com) poll also gave Mr. Bush the lead, 47 percent to 41 percent.
However, the Reuters-MSNBC-Zogby poll released last night said Mr. Gore had a two-point lead 45 percent to 43 percent after being ahead three points in the previous day's poll. The gap was less than the poll's 3-percentage-point margin of error.

Franks gains

Republican Rep. Bob Franks has closed in on Democrat Jon S. Corzine in recent weeks in their bid for New Jersey's open U.S. Senate seat, according to a poll released yesterday.
The Quinnipiac College survey of likely voters showed Mr. Corzine, the former Goldman Sachs co-chairman, leading Mr. Franks, a four-term congressman, by 46 percent to 41 percent.
In an editorial yesterday endorsing Mr. Franks, the New York Times cited the multimillionaire Mr. Corzine's big campaign spending as one reason for recommending its readers vote for the Republican.

The new Lieberman

The Washington Post, which has endorsed Al Gore for president, lashed out at Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joseph I. Lieberman yesterday.
"Joseph Lieberman's reputation for integrity was expected to help deflect the character question from the Democratic ticket. With Joe Lieberman, it was thought when he was picked, Al Gore would get a running mate closely identified with the president's policies who was also an outspoken critic of Mr. Clinton's ethical lapses.
"But the Joe Lieberman introduced to the American people in Tennessee is not the Democratic vice-presidential candidate now on the campaign trail. Sen. Lieberman's earliest champions have had to swallow deeply as they watched him waffle on tort reform, affirmative action, school vouchers, Hollywood and Social Security privatization issues on which he had shown a refreshing willingness to stand up for what he believes," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"But nowhere is the change more apparent and dismaying than in Mr. Lieberman's pandering to the Nation of Islam leader, Minister Louis Farrakhan. Mr. Lieberman has put his reputation for principled behavior at serious risk by becoming the first candidate of any major party presidential ticket to express a desire to meet with Mr. Farrakhan, a man who openly scapegoats Jews and espouses bigotry of the worst kind."
The newspaper added: "Was it an attack of amnesia or cowardice or a morally backward desire to ingratiate himself with followers of Louis Farrakhan that made Joe Lieberman embrace the leader of the Nation of Islam?
"Whatever the explanation, it was pitiful to watch. Sen. Lieberman said, with no credible evidence, that Mr. Farrakhan 'wants to change… . He wants to be more constructive.' The only change we've seen is in Sen. Lieberman. And it's been for the worse."

The vast conspiracy

Hillary Rodham Clinton blamed an unnamed 'someone' yesterday for her returning $50,000 raised for her Senate campaign by a group that backs the use of force against Israel.

"All $50,000, every penny of it, is going back," Mrs. Clinton said, adding that she and her campaign workers had no idea the American Muslim Alliance was behind the June 13 fund-raiser in Boston.

Mrs. Clinton said she thought the event had been organized by Boston businessman Shahid Ahmed Khan. The Associated Press reported yesterday that no Boston phone listing for him existed.

But the American Muslim Alliance Web site features a photograph of Mrs. Clinton at the Boston fund-raiser holding a plaque inscribed with the group's name.

The New York Daily News quoted the chairman of Massachusetts chapter of the alliance as saying it had taken over sponsorship of the event "about one week" before it happened.

The group's national president, Agha Saeed, has said the Palestinians have the right to use "armed force" against Israel.

Mrs. Clinton stopped just short of blaming a vast conspiracy for the flap.

"Somebody was trying to take advantage of me," the first lady said. "We have 13 days left in this election. Fasten your seat belts. You have no idea what's going to be thrown at me."

Dueling surveys

Vice President Al Gore has a 10-point lead over Texas Gov. George W. Bush in Illinois, according to a poll published yesterday, roughly the same lead he has held in the state since last summer's nominating convention.
The Chicago Tribune/WGN-TV poll of 899 likely voters questioned Friday to Monday had an margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. It found support for Mr. Gore at 45 percent and support for Mr. Bush at 35.
Those results contradicted a poll released Sunday by the Chicago Sun-Times and Fox News that showed Mr. Gore ahead only 45 percent to 43 percent. That survey of 600 likely voters was conducted last week and had an error margin of plus or minus 3.9 points.
The Tribune said there was some good news for Mr. Bush in the poll among those questioned who were "most likely" to vote. Among those respondents, Mr. Gore's lead was only six points.

Campaign kegger

How to raise political money without being stuffy: Five kegs, six live rock bands and championship wrestling. Oh, yeah, and don't forget the spaghetti dinner.
Pat DiNizio, lead singer of the New Jersey-based band the Smithereens and a Reform Party candidate for a U.S. Senate seat from the state, is weary and leery of the typical high-end fund-raisers.
"Our campaign is so fundamentally grass roots, it's beyond belief," Mr. DiNizio, 45, told The Washington Times. His mother is his campaign treasurer.
"We want to show people what a real fund-raiser is like, and that's not a bunch of stuffed shirts at $5,000 a plate," he said.
The event tomorrow, at an Italian-American hall in Scotch Plains, is a $20-a-plate affair.
The proceeds will help pay for a trolley car, which Mr. DiNizio plans to use as a campaign vehicle for a week, playing music from the back at each stop and telling anyone interested that there is an alternative to the other candidates, Republican Rep. Bob Franks and Democrat Jon S. Corzine.

Extra dough for GOP

George W. Bush's presidential campaign contributed $1 million each to the Republican House and Senate campaign committees Tuesday for the final days of the battle to preserve their majorities, party officials reported.
In addition, Dan Mattoon, deputy chairman of the House campaign committee, said Republican vice-presidential candidate Richard B. Cheney's assistance is expected to mean at least another $1 million.
The money was left over from Mr. Bush's primary campaign, one Republican official said. Mr. Bush's options included giving it to charity or another political committee or returning it to donors.

National dad

Forget soccer moms Tipper Gore made a pitch for her husband as the ultimate football dad.
Mrs. Gore told crowds at a rally at a Louisiana airport Tuesday that Mr. Gore breaks off from the campaign trail every Saturday to fly home and watch their son, Albert III, play football for Sidwell Friends School.
"It matters that you know about this person's character," Mrs. Gore said at the rally in Shreveport. "If he puts his family first, he will put your family first."

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