- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 31, 2000

Jackson rips Powell

The Rev. Jesse Jackson criticized retired Gen. Colin Powell yesterday for his endorsement of George W. Bush, saying the Republican presidential candidate's stance on affirmative action would have kept Gen. Powell from the nation's top military position.
"The gifts of Colin Powell would have been aborted by the Bush brothers' reaction to affirmative action," said Mr. Jackson, also referring to Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. "Ironically, Powell is now supporting a team that, if they are successful, the opportunity he had under Democratic policies of affirmative action would be lost to others.
"What was good for him would not be good for the next generation," he said.
Gen. Powell, reached through his office, told the Associated Press that he would not directly comment on Mr. Jackson's remarks, but added: "Affirmative action in the military has thrived under both Republican and Democratic administrations."
Mr. Jackson made his remarks during his keynote address at the Independent Insurance Agents of America's convention in Orlando, Fla.

Behind the spin

"All weekend, Democrats on the chat shows spoke in unison when it came to one very important point about the contest between George W. Bush and Al Gore: 'This race is a dead heat,' " New York Post columnist John Podhoretz observes.
"So said former Clinton pollster Doug Schoen on the Fox News Channel in exactly the same words spoken [Sunday] on 'Fox News Sunday' by Gore adviser Bob Shrum and later in the day on CNN by Mark Fabiani, Gore's deputy campaign manager. And all three men spoke the phrase 'dead heat' with a good deal of passion," Mr. Podhoretz writes.
"It's almost unheard of. Here we have partisan spinners doing their best to convince people that their candidate is merely tied with the other guy. They're not assuring audiences that Gore is going to win. They're only trying to throw cold water on the notion that the race is all but over.
"As with every word spoken by a spinner, you cannot take what these men and other Democrats are saying at face value. You have to look behind their words to the subtext. The subtext is that they believe Al Gore is losing by a not-insubstantial margin."

Desperate times

"The Desperation Index, a reliable election indicator, shows the Gore campaign rocketing up the desperation charts," New York Times columnist William Safire writes.
"Only [Sunday], Joe Lieberman after renewing his offer of respects to America's most virulent anti-Semite found nothing wrong with a TV spot paid for by the NAACP that associates George W. Bush with dragging a black man to death. While Republicans condemn such below-the-belt ads by extremist supporters, desperate Democrats accept all the racist or senior-scaring help they can get."
Mr. Safire added: "Nowhere is Democratic desperation more evident than in the liberals' savaging of Ralph Nader. The same crowd that stood on principle for Pat Buchanan's right to draw votes from Bush now frantically accuses Nader of hypocrisy, egomania and unforgivable spoilerism for daring to offer voters a chance to voice their protest."

Going negative

The Michigan Democratic Party has been telephoning voters there with a recorded message from Texas resident Ann Powers, who suggests her husband died in a nursing home because of regulatory laxity by Gov. George W. Bush, USA Today political columnist Walter Shapiro notes.
"Last Thursday, about the time that Michigan Democrats introduced Powers' recorded voice on unsuspecting voters, Al Gore's campaign issued the year's most thin-skinned press release. Headlined 'BUSH GOES NEGATIVE AGAIN,' the release sarcastically chided the GOP nominee for unleashing 'a stream of negative attacks against Gore,' while campaigning in Pennsylvania," Mr. Shapiro writes.
"How vituperative was Bush? The first rhetorical example cited by the Gore team should chill the heart of every fair-minded voter: 'My opponent is opposed to trusting people with their own money.' Wow, talk about vicious big-lie tactics. Not since the hatchet-man heyday of Richard Nixon has any Republican launched personal invective like 'My opponent has a one-size-fits-all answer [on prescription drugs] dictated by and for Washington.'
"Let's see if we have this straight. According to the hypersensitive Gore campaign, Bush is the 'Initiator of insults' for claiming, 'My opponent thinks that Washington knows best' about education. But when the Michigan Democratic Party sets up phone banks to spread Powers' charge that Bush, in effect, is guilty of negligent manslaughter, that's just factual information that undecided voters deserve to know."

Sierra-Nader war

The head of the Sierra Club yesterday lashed out at Ralph Nader for a letter to voters in which the Green Party candidate criticized Vice President Al Gore's environmental record.

Mr. Nader also was accused of breaking a promise to many of the supporters who helped get his name on the ballot in most states.

"You pledged you would not campaign as a spoiler and would avoid the swing states," wrote Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club. "Your recent campaign rhetoric and campaign schedule make it clear that you have broken this pledge."

Mr. Nader dismissed similar claims during a news conference yesterday, the Associated Press reports. He said he had promised to campaign in all 50 states when he accepted the Green Party's presidential nomination.

Mr. Nader said last week in an open letter to environmentalists that a Gore win means "that any and all environmental positions taken by the candidate will be subject to mutation and subjugation to his corporate agenda… . [and] that the environmental community is for sale."

Mr. Pope's letter said a win by Republican George W. Bush would be too catastrophic for such caviling.

"Until you can answer how you will protect the people and places who will be put in harm's way, or destroyed, by a Bush presidency, you have no right to slander those who disagree with you as 'servile.' " Mr. Pope said.

'The Body' clams up

Gov. Jesse Ventura, a man with a reputation for speaking his mind, apparently won't share his preference for a winner in the presidential race.

Not even fellow political outsider Ralph Nader is likely to get the former pro wrestler's open support, although the two will share the stage for a town-hall meeting today in Minnesota, a state still up for grabs.

"He just is sticking with his decision not to endorse," Ventura spokesman John Wodele told the Associated Press.

Mr. Ventura's appearance at the University of Minnesota for the ABC program "Nightline" could help muffle the warning from some liberals that a vote for Mr. Nader is a wasted vote or an effective vote for Republican George W. Bush, said Nader spokeswoman Stacy Malkan.

Bipartisan solution

Want to save Social Security? Have more babies, say Pro-Life Students.
Yesterday at Union Station, the College Park, Md.-based group was distributing fliers announcing, "Only cure for Social Security: Less Taxes, More Children."
The flier refers to the declining number of U.S. workers per retiree from an 8-to-1 ratio in the 1950s to a projected 2-to-1 ratio by 2020 and says, "Children are needed to support the infrastructure, buy stocks and houses [and] pay Social Security."
The fliers include the Internet address for the group's Web site www.prolifestudents.org which explains, among other things, the "dangerous myth" of overpopulation.

Boo

From "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno": "Hey, you really want to scare Al Gore this Halloween? Dress up as Ralph Nader."

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