- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 21, 2000

Funny business

Federal officials are investigating whether allies of Sen. Robert G. Torricelli tried to keep a jailed political fund-raiser from cooperating with authorities, the New York Times reported yesterday.
The donor, David Chang, admitted in June that he broke election laws by funneling $53,700 into the New Jersey Democrat's successful 1996 Senate campaign. He pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor election-law violations and a felony obstruction charge telling a potential grand jury witness to lie.
As part of a plea bargain, he agreed to assist investigators.
Chang has told authorities that after he was arrested in December, he was visited in the Hudson County jail at Kearney, N.J., by several strangers, the Times reported.
Chang told prosecutors that one of the men told him not to cooperate with authorities, while another simply put a finger to his lips, the Times said.
Chang attorney Bradley D. Simon told the Associated Press he couldn't discuss the Times report because of the pending investigation.

The horse race

Al Gore increased his lead to 6 percentage points, 49 percent to 43 percent, in the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup tracking poll. The three-day rolling survey included results through Tuesday, with a 3-point margin of error in either direction. Mr. Gore had led 48 percent to 44 percent in the previous day's results.
George W. Bush saw his lead decline to 1 percentage point, 40 percent to 39 percent, in the latest Voter.com Battleground 2000 tracking poll. The three-day rolling survey included results through Tuesday, with a 3.1 percentage point margin of error. Mr. Bush had led 41 percent to 37 percent in results released the previous day.

Nethercutt wins

Despite reneging on the term-limit pledge that helped usher him into Congress, Rep. George Nethercutt, Washington Republican, survived his first ballot-box test since breaking his promise.
Mr. Nethercutt, whose campaign pledge to retire after three terms helped him oust Speaker of the House Tom Foley in 1994, overcame a primary challenge Tuesday from former radio talk-show host Richard Clear. Mr. Nethercutt won 45 percent of the vote to Mr. Clear's 20 percent, with the rest spread among other candidates.
Mr. Nethercutt will face former congressional aide Tom Keefe, who won the Democratic primary. Mr. Keefe recently moved to the district from Idaho.
Meanwhile, 41-year-old Internet executive Maria Cantwell, a former congresswoman who spent $5 million of her money in her quest for the Democratic Senate nomination in Washington, says she will spend "whatever it takes" to defeat Republican Sen. Slade Gorton in the fall.
In Massachusetts, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy won the Democratic nomination without any opposition, while another term-limits pledge breaker Democratic Rep. Martin T. Meehan defeated two primary challengers, the Associated Press reports.
And in an Oklahoma runoff, lawyer Brad Carson won the Democratic nomination to face Republican automobile dealer Andy Ewing for an open House seat.

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."

Dirty minds

When Oprah Winfrey asked George W. Bush to describe his favorite dream, Mr. Bush responded by raising his right hand in what most people thought was an imitation of taking the oath of office for the presidency. It got a good laugh from the talk-show host and her studio audience, but some reporters had a different interpretation of the gesture.
"The show left one little mystery," the New York Post's Deborah Orin reported.
"When Oprah asked his favorite dream, a speechless Bush sat back and gave a quizzical grin, then held up his hand in a gesture that might have indicated the thought was private.
"He and Oprah quickly laughed and clasped hands. Bush aides later insisted he was indeed showing how he'd take the oath of office as president and it was 'ridiculous' to suggest anything else."

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