- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 12, 2000

No respect

U.S. Senate candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton disrupted services at a New York church Sunday to launch an attack on rival candidate Rep. Rick Lazio on the steps outside, the New York Times reports.

"Mrs. Clinton's campaign aides clearly saw a significant opportunity here," reporter Adam Nagourney wrote, referring to Mrs. Clinton's decision to hold a news conference on the church steps to play up the White House release of a photo showing Mr. Lazio, the Republican candidate for the Senate seat from New York, shaking hands with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in 1998.

"In her public schedule, reporters were instructed to arrive at the [First Baptist Church of Crown Heights], on Eastern Parkway, no later than 10:30, to be in their seats when services began then, presumably to avoid disturbing churchgoers. But when Mrs. Clinton arrived at 11 in the middle of the service, reporters and camera crews were summoned outside where Mrs. Clinton held a brief news conference devoted almost entirely to the subject of Mr. Lazio and Mr. Arafat," the reporter said.

Of tennis, taxes

"Despite her winged victory in the U.S. Open on Saturday, Venus Williams is really no different than most other Americans in the seven-digit tax bracket," writes USA Today political columnist Walter Shapiro.

"When Bill Clinton telephoned the most famous Venus on the Planet Earth after she had won $800,000 by defeating Lindsay Davenport in straight sets, Williams used her access to the president to request a small favor: 'Can you lower my taxes?'

"In lobbying for a personal tax break, Williams sounded a theme that Clinton must hear often as he works the mendicant circuit, banging his tambourine at fund-raisers. The president, who had already risked the wrath of feminists and tennis fans by darting out of Arthur Ashe Stadium before the women's finals, answered in trademark obliging fashion by fibbing that he'd try," Mr. Shapiro said.

"Displaying a mastery of recent political history that most other 20-year-olds can't match, Williams cracked, 'Should I read your lips?' "

Of polls, panic

"Well, the Gore surge has halted the race is almost exactly where it was a week ago in the newest polls but the Republican terrors continue apace," New York Post columnist John Podhoretz writes.

"At this moment, you'd be hard-pressed to find a non-spinning Republican operative or thinker who is sublimely confident that Bush is going to win," Mr. Podhoretz said.

"Bush complained last week that Washington Republicans who were fretting publicly about the state of his campaign were like soldiers jumping out of the foxhole before the first shot is fired. That was arrogant and counterproductive and yet another sign that Bush's nice-guy image may bear as much resemblance to reality as Al Gore's populist pose.

"What Bush ought to understand is that since his candidacy was created by polls, he has no right to complain if Republicans panic when his poll numbers take a hit."

The good old days

The Delaware News Journal and challenger Delaware Gov. Tom Carper both want Sen. William V. Roth Jr., Delaware Republican, to pull a television advertisement featuring an endorsement of Mr. Roth by the News Journal.

Jo Anne Barnhart, spokeswoman for Mr. Roth quoted in a News Journal article this weekend, called the complaints "ridiculous," saying it is common practice to use articles and editorials in advertisements.

Of course, campaigns usually use recent endorsements, unlike the News Journal editorial, which ran in 1994.

By way of background, in 1994 Mr. Roth was running against Delaware state Attorney General Charles M. Oberly and the News Journal wrote, "Sen. Bill Roth has earned the chance to serve once again." (A quick eye can see in the television advertisement that the editorial ran six years ago.)

In 2000, Mr. Roth is running against Gov. Thomas R. Carper, who is less than amused by the advertisement, and the News Journal has yet to make any endorsements.

Mrs. Barnhart said in a statement released yesterday the campaign will continue to run the advertisements with the date larger on the screen. But, she said, the fracas is only proof Mr. Carper has lost his "focus."

Mr. Carper sees things otherwise. In the words of spokesman Brian Selander, "This is definitely an attempt to mislead Delaware voters."

Then, with a hint of a laugh, Mr. Selander added, "This is proof that Tom Carper is focused on the future, while Bill Roth continues to dwell on the past."

Poll vs. poll

Two weekend polls disagreed wildly about Hillary Rodham Clinton's support among Jewish voters in the Senate race in New York. As if that weren't enough, both surveys were done by the same organization.

The New York Post poll released Sunday showed Mrs. Clinton's support at 70 percent versus 23 percent for Republican Rep. Rick Lazio, while a poll conducted for Albany's Times Union and the Buffalo News found Mrs. Clinton leading 52 percent to 34 percent.

"I think the truth is probably somewhere in the middle," said pollster John Zogby, whose organization conducted both surveys.

Some analysts believe that to win statewide in New York, a Democrat needs at least 60 percent of the Jewish vote.

Mr. Zogby said the Post poll had been partially conducted on Saturday during the Jewish Sabbath, when observant Orthodox Jews are forbidden to use the phone. This could have led to an undercounting of Orthodox voters, who tend to be less supportive of the first lady, he said.

Mr. Zogby said the relatively small number of Jews polled about 80 in each survey could also have skewed the results, the Associated Press reports.

An overall poll by Zogby reflected other recent surveys showing a tight race. It gave Mrs. Clinton 47 percent to Mrs. Lazio's 45 percent, a statistical tie given the margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Out of town

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman's Senate challenger is accusing him of being an absentee politician, forsaking his Connecticut constituents for a shot at the vice presidency even as he seeks re-election.

No one expects the attacks to do much damage, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Lieberman has missed all six of the roll-call votes the Senate has taken since the summer break during which he was tapped as Vice President Al Gore's Democratic running mate.

He plans to be in Washington tomorrow for a hearing on a Federal Trade Commission report accusing entertainment industries of marketing violence to minors. Otherwise, he isn't expected to spend much time in town during the waning days of this congressional session.

And other than a scheduled Oct. 19 debate against his Senate challenger, it's unlikely Mr. Lieberman will campaign heavily in Connecticut against Waterbury Mayor Philip Giordano.

Taking names

Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush "is making his own target list, of all those supposed allies who have publicly worried or whined every time anything went wrong. As always, George W. keeps score," Time reports.

A Bush adviser told the magazine: "When we win, all those people are going to be at the back of the line" for jobs and other goodies.

'Sellout' selling

"Sellout" has debuted at No. 10 on the New York Times bestseller list. The book's author, David P. Schippers, former chief investigative counsel for the House Judiciary Committee during the Clinton impeachment inquiry, accuses Republicans and Democrats alike of failing to do their duty.

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