- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 27, 2000

Nethercutt and Bush

Some House Republicans have not been going out of their way recently to campaign with their party's presidential nominee, George W. Bush, believing that the tight race provides no coattails. But embattled Rep. George Nethercutt, Washington Republican, is only too happy to appear at Mr. Bush's side.
Mr. Nethercutt, targeted for defeat by U.S. Term Limits for breaking his pledge to serve only three terms in the House, stood on the platform with Mr. Bush late Monday night as the party's standard-bearer held a spirited rally in Mr. Nethercutt's home base of Spokane.
"I think that's nonsense," Mr. Nethercutt said of House Republican candidates who are reportedly cooling to Mr. Bush on the stump. "He's a great candidate with the right message. We'd better unite or we're hurting ourselves."
Mr. Nethercutt, who defeated House Speaker Tom Foley in 1994, told The Washington Times the Republican Party is "in fairly good shape to hold the House." And he said U.S. Term Limits, a group that spent about $1 million in an unsuccessful effort to defeat him in the Republican primary, will cease to be a factor nationally if he wins in November.
"If I win, they're through as a national political organization," he said. "It's nice to be the target."
He conceded again that his three-term pledge was a mistake but said of his re-election bid, "I did it for the good of my eastern Washington people."
For his part, Mr. Bush gave Mr. Nethercutt his tried-and-true compliment: "He's a good man."

Hillary's problem

"While both major post-debate polls that were released last week in the New York Senate race seemed to show Hillary [Rodham Clinton] ahead, they really show her losing," former political consultant Dick Morris writes.
"The New York Times-CBS poll has the first lady ahead by 48-39 while the Marist College poll has the race tied at 48-48. But both show her stuck at 48 percent of the vote. Even the Daily News poll, whose methodology in failing tightly to screen out unlikely voters makes it questionable, has the first lady coming in at 49 percent in the immediate post-debate period," Mr. Morris said in a New York Post column.
"If Hillary gets less than 50 percent of the vote in the final poll before Election Day, she will lose. If the final polls show Hillary defeating [Rick] Lazio by 48-44, she will likely lose the election by 52-48. Hillary has got to pull her poll number up to 50 percent in order to win. Forty-eight percent won't be good enough.
"Why? If there is one axiom which has emerged in modern American politics it is this: In a race involving an incumbent, the challenger always gets virtually all the undecided voters on election day. In this race, Hillary, the much better-known candidate, is functionally the same as an incumbent."

Nader, Buchanan nixed

Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan will not participate in the first presidential debate next week because they failed to meet the criteria for inclusion set by the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, the panel announced yesterday.
Only Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore will take part, the Associated Press reported last night. The first of three 90-minute presidential debates is set for Tuesday in Boston.
The commission requires candidates to appear on enough state ballots to have a chance of winning a majority of Electoral College votes and to average 15 percent support in five national polls.
Mr. Buchanan, the Reform Party candidate, and Mr. Nader, running under the Green Party banner, both have been mired in low single digits in these surveys.
The two men's running mates also will be excluded from the Oct. 5 vice-presidential debate.
Campaign officials said they were disappointed, though not surprised, by the announcement.
"The real loss here is for the American people," said Nader spokeswoman Laura Jones.
Buchanan spokesman Tim Haley said: "We clearly believe, as the only [third] party that is receiving taxpayer funds, that we ought to be in those debates."
The debate commission said it will reapply the criteria to the candidates before the other two presidential debates.

Dooley trails

Rep. Cal Dooley, California Democrat, is trailing his Republican opponent, according to a Fresno Bee poll published yesterday.
The survey of 408 registered voters found that Republican Rich Rodriguez leads Mr. Dooley, 42.4 percent to 38.3 percent. While those results were within the poll's margin of error 4.9 percentage points plus or minus the headline on the Bee story summarized the situation: "Dooley in duel of his career."

The horse race

Three national tracking polls continue to show an extremely close race for president, with one survey showing a tie and the two others giving Republican George W. Bush a small lead within the margin of error.
The CNN/USA Today/Gallup tracking poll, released yesterday, gave Mr. Bush a 46 percent to 44 percent advantage over Democrat Al Gore.
The Voter.com Battleground 2000 tracking poll, released yesterday, found Mr. Bush to be ahead by 44 percent to 41 percent.
The Portrait of America (www.portraitofamerica.com) tracking poll, released yesterday, came up dead even 42 percent to 42 percent.

Help for Klink

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is funding $1 million worth of ads for Pennsylvania Rep. Ron Klink in his effort to unseat Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, Roll Call reports.
In addition, a number of Democratic senators plan to hold fund-raisers for Mr. Klink, the newspaper said, including Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Barbara Boxer of California, Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin, and Tom Daschle of South Dakota.
"Everybody hates Rick Santorum," an unidentified "Democratic insider" told the newspaper.
Mr. Santorum, an abortion foe, on several occasions has put Democratic senators on the defensive about the issue, especially partial-birth abortion. Ironically, Mr. Klink also says he opposes abortion.

Priests take to air

Priests for Life, a Catholic group that works with clergy of all denominations to address the abortion issue, started a television advertising campaign this week.
The TV ads will be followed up by a mass mailing to every priest in the nation, urging them to address the abortion issue from the pulpit, the group said in a prepared statement.
The ad began airing Monday on cable television in heavily Catholic markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Kansas City.
In the ad, the Rev. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, speaks directly into the camera with the following words: "Hello, I'm Father Frank Pavone. The United States Catholic Bishops, in their document 'Living the Gospel of Life,' recently wrote that no public official can responsibly advocate for abortion. If those elected to public office can't respect the life of a little baby, how are they supposed to respect yours?"
The first phase of Priests for Life's television ad campaign is budgeted at $250,000. The group says it plans to spend as much as $1 million in TV advertising before the November elections.

Amanpour's standards

CNN foreign correspondent Christiane Amanpour, in a speech on journalism standards, urged radio and television news directors to take sides in the U.S. presidential election.
Addressing the Radio-Television News Directors Association convention, Miss Amanpour asked: "Why have we given George W. Bush such an easy ride until now when actually his qualification are questionable?"

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