- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 20, 2000

Bush gains

Vice President Al Gore's lead in the CNN/USA Today/Gallup tracking poll continues to shrink. Meanwhile, Texas Gov. George W. Bush's lead in the voter.com Battleground 2000 tracking poll continues to grow.
The latest numbers from CNN/ USA Today/Gallup: 48 percent to 44 percent in favor of Mr. Gore.
The latest numbers from Battleground: 41 percent to 37 percent in favor of Mr. Bush.
Both surveys show that voters have been moving Mr. Bush's way in recent days.
On Saturday, CNN/USA Today/ Gallup gave Mr. Gore an 8-point lead. On Sunday, it was down to 5. The latest three-day rolling survey, completed Monday, shows that Mr. Bush now trails by only 4 within the poll's 4-point margin of error.
On Monday, Battleground had Mr. Bush up by just 2 points, 41 percent to 39 percent. The results released yesterday showed the Bush lead had grown to 4. The Battleground survey, conducted by Republican pollster Ed Goeas and Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, has a 3.1 percent margin of error.

A coincidence?

Perhaps it is just a coincidence, but Texas Gov. George W. Bush's recent surge in the polls came just after news reports over the weekend that actor Alec Baldwin said he would leave the country if the Republican presidential candidate should prove victorious.
Actress Kim Basinger, the wife of Mr. Baldwin, told Focus magazine that her husband is serious: "Alec is the biggest moralist that I know. He stands completely behind what he says."
She added: "I can very well imagine that Alec makes good on his threat. And then I'd probably have to go, too."
However, in what could be bad news for Mr. Bush, the actor now says he intends to stay in the country no matter what.

Abraham widens lead

Republican Sen. Spencer Abraham has opened a 12-point lead over his Democratic challenger in Michigan, two-term Rep. Debbie Stabenow, according to a poll released yesterday.
Mr. Abraham, seeking re-election for the first time, leads the Senate race by 44 percent to 32 percent, according to a Wayne State University/Detroit Free Press poll of 600 likely voters surveyed Sept. 6-13. The margin of error was 4 percentage points.
The better-funded Mr. Abraham has widened his lead from a 5-point spread, 48 percent to 43 percent, in mid-August, with the help of a television advertising blitz attacking Miss Stabenow as a tax-and-spend liberal, Reuters reports.
Twenty-four percent of respondents said they were undecided, up from 9 percent in the mid-August poll.
Mr. Abraham leads Miss Stabenow among women and independent voters. Miss Stabenow gained a reputation as an advocate for women and children.

Corzine's revelation

Jon Corzine, the Democratic candidate for a U.S. Senate seat from New Jersey, has finally conceded what Republicans have been charging: Some of his "charitable" contributions went to groups that later endorsed him.
Mr. Corzine has spent months avoiding disclosure of his charitable contributions. However, under pressure, he held a news conference Monday where he revealed that $100,000 had gone to groups that later backed his candidacy.
"He insisted … there was no connection between his charitable donations and his political campaign," New York Times reporter David M. Halbfinger writes. "But some of the information gave at least the appearance that charitable giving and political support were not entirely unrelated and raised questions about how forthcoming Mr. Corzine has been about his charitable donations."

Big mistake

Texas Gov. George W. Bush and his top advisers made one big mistake in challenging Vice President Al Gore to debate on NBC's "Meet the Press" and CNN's "Larry King Live": They assumed the media would hold Mr. Gore to his promises.
Instead, the media en masse adopted the Gore campaign's spin that Mr. Bush was trying to hold down the audience in effect, that the Republican was afraid of Mr. Gore by debating on the two network programs and only once in a version sponsored by the National Commission on Debates.
Mr. Gore had previously accepted invitations from the NBC and CNN programs and had taunted Mr. Bush, saying that he was willing to debate the Republican anytime, anywhere.
"We fully expected the media would help us demand that Vice President Gore live up to his word," Bush spokeswoman Karen Hughes told the New York Times. "Had the shoes been reversed, I think we would still be talking about why Governor Bush had backed off his word."
In the end, Mr. Bush, unable to get the media to focus on Mr. Gore's truthfulness or lack thereof, received bad press and was forced to accept the three commission debates.

Democrats cry foul

A conservative group is airing TV ads that urge voters to support Republicans, featuring a woman who says she pulled her son out of public school because there was drugs, violence and "a bit more diversity than he could handle."
Democrats argued that the ad had racist overtones, saying "diversity" was a code word for racial minorities.
The ad is running in Kansas City, Mo., where a bitter battle over school desegregation is being fought. The Republican Ideas Political Committee plans to show it and other ads in additional markets this fall, founder and conservative commentator Richard Nadler said.
Missouri Republicans are wary of the unsolicited help, Associated Press writer Laura Meckler reports.
"We don't have anything to do with that group and certainly wouldn't have anything to do with any ad campaign they're running," said Daryl Duwe, a spokesman for the Missouri Republican Party.
It's one of a series of spots the group is running.
A radio ad called "A Black Republican" features a black man talking about how he is now a Republican. "Democrats taught me to hate wealth. The Republicans helped me to get some," he says. Other ads deal with privatization of Social Security: one criticizing Democratic Vice President Al Gore and the other supporting Texas Gov. George W. Bush.
"The goal is to elect Republicans," Mr. Nadler said.

Race-baiting

"Along with the red, white and blue campaign placards now popping up on front lawns, there's one other sure sign that election time is just around the corner: a fresh bout of race-baiting from the White House," the Wall Street Journal observes.
"At the Congressional Black Caucus gala Sunday night, Bill Clinton told the assembled that 'if you want no more delay and denial of justice' for African-Americans, 'it would help if you had Al Gore and Joe Lieberman and senators like the first lady.'
"Republicans have seen this before," the newspaper said in an editorial. "In the last days of the 1998 elections Democrats ran radio spots suggesting that blacks who didn't go to the polls and pull the Democratic lever were casting 'a vote for another church to explode' and 'another cross to burn.' And earlier this year Al Gore's campaign manager, Donna Brazile, accused Gen. Colin Powell and Rep. J.C. Watts of preferring to 'take pictures with black children than feed them.'
"Someone owes every registered Republican an apology for this swill, not to mention the American people, circa 2000. Denial of justice? It's indefensible."

Another swipe

Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush, who not long ago had disparaging words for a New York Times reporter, took another swipe at the newspaper in an interview with Fox News Channel's Paula Zahn.
When asked about a recent New York Times piece calling both his and Vice President Al Gore's tax plans irresponsible, the Texas governor replied: "I don't think the New York Times does independent analyses, in all due respect."

Cue-card guy

Reading from cue cards, Jay Leno told his Burbank, Calif., audience last night, "Now, according to the latest polls, Al Gore is the handsomest, smartest, most qualified what?"
The camera panned to show Mr. Gore holding up cards that Mr. Leno was reading. "Look who the cue-card guy is," Mr. Leno exclaimed in mock surprise as Mr. Gore broke into a laugh.
"It's the man who invented the cue card, Al Gore. Wow," Mr. Leno said. "Nice to see you, sir."
The Democratic presidential nominee stepped to the front of the stage and slapped hands with members of the audience. Mr. Gore said he liked Mr. Leno's abbreviated monologue "because you had to cut short the jokes about me."
It was Mr. Gore's third TV stint this month. Earlier, he went on Oprah Winfrey's talk show and "The Late Show with David Letterman."
Moments before the vice president's appearance, Mr. Leno said Mr. Gore was getting awfully friendly. He showed a phony tape in which a Gore character greeted someone who was supposed to be singer James Taylor with a big kiss. It was reminiscent of Mr. Gore kissing his wife, Tipper, at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles last month.

And the winner is …

A 71-year-old former librarian who spent a paltry $40,000 on her Democratic campaign for Congress won the primary against Rep. Michael P. Forbes, New York Democrat, by a 35-vote margin, officials declared yesterday.
The final vote from the recount of the Sept. 12 primary gave Regina Seltzer 6,077 to Mr. Forbes' 6,042, said Suffolk County Democratic Elections Commissioner Neil Tiger. Mrs. Seltzer will face Republican Felix Grucci, a Brookhaven town supervisor, in the Nov. 7 general election.
Mr. Forbes, a three-term congressman who switched parties from the Republicans to the Democrats last year, amassed a $1.4 million war chest, some of that coming from a fund-raiser in April that featured President Clinton.
"I'm surprised, but I'm going to support the Democratic nominee," Mr. Forbes said, adding that he planned to call Mrs. Seltzer and wish her well. "I hope people will rally behind her."
Mr. Forbes said he would return to Long Island, spend more time with his family and go into some kind of business.
Mrs. Seltzer had said she ran for Congress because "we should have people in there who represent the ordinary person."
As for her no-frills budget, Mrs. Seltzer said: "I don't like to ask people for money."
Mrs. Seltzer said her desire to defeat Mr. Forbes was fueled less by his change in parties than his politics. Mr. Forbes supported ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich's "Contract With America" seven of 10 planks of which were signed into law by President Clinton and opposes legalized abortion.

Lazio responds

Rep. Rick Lazio said yesterday that it was "sexist" to portray his behavior during a recent Senate debate with first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton as too aggressive.
During last week's debate, the Republican left his podium and strode over to Mrs. Clinton's side of the stage brandishing what he said was a contract to ban so-called "soft money" from the campaign. She declined.
Mrs. Clinton's spokesman, Howard Wolfson, called Mr. Lazio's behavior "menacing," while the first lady shrugged it off, saying "the thing that probably prepared me best in dealing with things like that was having two younger brothers."
Yesterday, Mr. Lazio responded.
"The idea that somehow that there's a double standard because you're a man or a woman, and you can't make a point forcefully if you're a man, and the person you're making the point with is a woman, I just think that's sexist," he said during a campaign stop in Buffalo.
The Lazio campaign also announced yesterday that it is closing its "Friends of Rick Lazio" soft-money committee. The Clinton campaign had called the committee a symbol of Mr. Lazio's "hypocrisy" in light of his call for a ban on soft money, the term for unregulated donations from unions, individuals and corporations that generally cannot be directly given to a candidate's campaign.


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