- The Washington Times - Friday, October 27, 2000

Polling corner

Republican George W. Bush remained ahead in three national tracking polls released yesterday, but Democrat Al Gore clung to a narrow lead in a fourth survey.
The CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll showed Mr. Bush increasing his lead to 7 points, 49 percent to 42 percent. The Republican led by only 5 points in the previous day's poll.
The Voter.com Battleground 2000 poll found Mr. Bush ahead, 44 percent to 40 percent. However, that showed Mr. Bush's lead cut in half from his 8-point advantage in the survey released on Monday.
The Portrait of America poll (www.portraitofamerica.com) gave Mr. Bush a 47 percent to 40 percent advantage.
The Reuters-MSNBC-Zogby poll had Mr. Gore ahead, 45 percent to 43 percent, unchanged from the previous day's survey.

Gore's fuzzy math

Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore gave himself a self-inflicted wound in his "fuzzy math" campaign battle with Republican rival George W. Bush, misstating the size of a trillion, Reuters reports.
Criticizing Mr. Bush's Social Security partial-privatization plan at a rally Wednesday in Tennessee, Mr. Gore said, "He is proposing to privatize a big part of Social Security and he's proposing to take $1 trillion, a million billion dollars out of the Social Security trust fund and give it as a tax incentive to young workers."
A trillion is one thousand billion, not a million billion.
Mr. Gore added: "I know that one and one equals two, but how do you give the same one trillion to two different groups of people. It doesn't add up unless you're using fuzzy math," he said.

Friends of Al

As the presidential campaign nears its conclusion, ABC, NBC and CBS appear to be pulling out the stops in an attempt to drag Democrat Al Gore across the finish line.
The Media Research Center reports that the three television networks have gone wild over a Rand issue paper that questions education gains in Gov. George W. Bush's state of Texas. The story, buried deep inside almost every major newspaper in the country, got top billing on the networks' evening-news programs Tuesday night, and ABC and CBS returned to the story on Wednesday.
By contrast, the story of Mr. Gore's secret deal to allow Russia to sell weapons to Iran was ignored by NBC and CBS. ABC, for its part, devoted 17 seconds to the story to point out that congressional Republicans investigating the matter were once again playing politics.

Another Gore supporter

"Viktor Chernomyrdin, the former Russian premier, indicated [Wednesday] that he is supporting Al Gore's bid for the presidency," the Wall Street Journal observed in an editorial.
"He was half of the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission that was supposed to build a new Russian friendship with the U.S.
"Appalled that the U.S. Senate is calling for a hearing into allegations that Mr. Gore secretly agreed to look the other way in 1995 as Russia sold arms to Iran, Mr. Chernomyrdin told journalists [Wednesday] the whole thing was a Republican ploy.
" 'What we did with Iran posed no threat to the United States,' he said. 'We found a decision that was in the interest of both the United States and Russia.' Mr. Chernomyrdin accused Republicans of 'waiting for this moment just before the election… . They are playing the Russian card.'
"Which slice of the U.S. electorate he's going to pull for Mr. Gore is hard to say. But at least he's more public with his backing than the Clinton-Gore foreign backers the last time around."

Alpha Al is back

The "boxers or briefs" question of the 2000 campaign has been asked.

"Leather or lace?"

Vice President Al Gore received the odd inquiry, reports Andrew Cain of The Washington Times from the campaign trail, yesterday at a town-hall meeting with 60 young voters at Scott Community College in Bettendorf, Iowa.

One young woman asked Mr. Gore whether he prefers women to dress in leather or lace.

"Lace," Mr. Gore said.

The question came during the taping of Queen Latifah's syndicated talk show, which included several forays into the wilder side of the vice president's personality.

The Democratic president nominee flinched when asked if he had played drinking games in college.

"Whoa. I hate to make light of that too much," he replied. "The answer is yes, but I think there is a problem, I really do and I think a lot of kids need to know that can get you in trouble."

Mr. Gore said he has never worn leather pants, but he occasionally wore a leather vest when he rode his motorcycle. He also said he once had four persons on his motorcycle during a double date in Boston.

The rapper-actress wondered aloud what the police thought of that sight.

"Actually, there was a blue light and I can't say for sure that they were coming after us but just on the chance they were we cut through an alley," Mr. Gore said.

He added that he still has a motorcycle driver's license and "might," as president, take to a bike again.

"I want to see the reaction from the Secret Service," he said with a chuckle.

For the day, Gore aides ordered up red campaign T-shirts with the slogan, "Too hot to stop."

But some first impressions just will not go away.

Scott Community College freshman Crystal Rush, 26, pronounced him cooler and "more people-oriented than I thought." But, she added, "he's still stiff."

Big contributor

A high-tech millionaire from Spokane, Wash., has dropped $537,000 into the state Republican Party's coffers, likely making the newcomer to politics the party's biggest individual donor ever, the Tacoma News Tribune reports.
Bernard Daines, founder of World Wide Packets, said Wednesday it's political philosophy not any particular candidate that motivated him to write the checks in September and October, the first time he's given to the state's Republicans.
He's also made donations to Republican candidates in the past year, including gubernatorial candidate John Carlson and Rep. George Nethercutt, though he said he didn't know most of them well enough to spend a lot on their campaigns.
"I'm just not that clued in to who to associate with. I have no agenda of being a political person. I just feel like one of the obligations of having money is spending it in good places," Mr. Daines said.
Mr. Daines, 56, made millions after selling Grand Junction Networks to Cisco Systems in 1995 for $350 million. In 1998, he sold another company, Packet Engines, to Paris-based Alcatel for $325 million.

Masked advantage

Jalem Getz puts little faith in polls and pundits. To predict who is going to win a presidential race, he looks to what he says is a time-tested indicator: Halloween masks.
Mr. Getz, founder of www.BuyCostumes.com, a seller of costumes, said the winner of every presidential election for nearly three decades has been foretold by sales figures for rubber masks of the candidates, the Associated Press reports.
"Based on the records since 1972, they have been right on every time," said Mr. Getz, whose company, based in Waukesha, Wis., has compiled sales totals from past election years from five mask manufacturers and 12 costume stores nationwide.
And this Halloween season, sales of George W. Bush masks lead those of Al Gore masks 57 percent to 43 percent, according to BuyCostumes.com figures.

Michigan race even

The race for Michigan's U.S. Senate seat is now about even, with Democrat Rep. Debbie Stabenow gaining 10 points on incumbent Republican Sen. Spencer Abraham in the last two weeks, a poll released yesterday shows.

The EPIC/MRA poll shows each candidate favored by 41 percent of Michigan voters, with 15 percent undecided.

"She's been able to cut through the clutter and get her message out," Michigan Democratic Party spokesman Dennis Denno said. "We said from day one, this is a thing we can win. That will continue until Election Day."

Mr. Abraham's campaign reacted with skepticism, saying an internal poll conducted for the campaign shows Mrs. Stabenow behind by eight percentage points. Abraham campaign consultant Mike Hudome said Mr. Abraham never expected to walk away with a big victory.

"I don't think any analyst has ever thought that this would be a 20-point election," Mr. Hudome said. "We're extremely comfortable with where we are."

Ed Sarpolus, vice president of EPIC/MRA, attributes Mrs. Stabenow's gains to unions, which have started phone banks and get-out-the-vote drives.

The poll shows her leading by 49 percent to 37 percent among union members.

The poll, which was conducted for the Detroit Free Press and WXYZ-TV of Detroit, questioned 600 likely voters Monday through Wednesday. The margin of error was plus or minus four percentage points.

Dual campaign

Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman will ignore today's deadline and maintain two political campaigns, running simultaneously for the White House job and for reelection to the Senate from Connecticut, his spokesman said yesterday.
"Sen. Lieberman is keeping his commitment to the people of Connecticut, and will remain a candidate for the U.S. Senate," his spokesman, Bernard Kavaler, told Reuters. "That will not change in the next day."
Under Connecticut law, Mr. Lieberman has until midnight tonight, or 10 days before the election, to bow out of the Senate race. He has said all along he had no intention of abandoning his dual candidacy despite some criticism.

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