- The Washington Times - Monday, June 23, 2003

Targeting Dean

Gun-control advocates yesterday taunted presidential candidate Howard Dean, calling him an extremist and not their kind of Democrat.

“Former Vermont Governor Dean says he’s from the ‘Democrat wing of the Democratic party.’ As far as gun-safety advocates are concerned, give us a Democrat from some other wing of the Democratic Party, please,” the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said in a press release.

Mr. Dean believes that gun laws should not be a federal issue; individual states should determine what, if any, restrictions to impose.

“Perhaps Dean will have success in convincing criminals to promise not to carry their guns across state lines, and convincing gun traffickers not to buy or sell them across state lines. Governor, guns cross state borders. Maybe it’s you who should stay at the state level,” the Brady group said.

Said Mary Leigh Blek, president emeritus of the Million Mom March: “Hey, Howard: We don’t need a pro-NRA president. We’ve already got one. Americans who care about getting guns off our streets need to know there is virtually no difference between Governor Dean and President Bush.”

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, united with the Million Mom March, said: “An e-mail alert will go out to all Brady members nationwide today, educating them about Dean’s wrongheaded view of gun-safety policy, and advocates of reasonable gun-safety laws will be encouraged to attend Governor Dean’s campaign appearances and tell supporters about his extreme views on gun issues.”

Trailing at home

Sen. Bob Graham, Florida Democrat, trails President Bush by double digits in Mr. Graham’s home state, according to a poll published yesterday.

In a hypothetical matchup between Mr. Bush and Mr. Graham, the poll of 600 Floridians who regularly vote in statewide elections put the president ahead 53 percent to 40 percent, with 7 percent undecided, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.

The survey was conducted for the newspaper by Research 2000, an independent polling firm based in Rockville, Md.

Mr. Bush led Mr. Graham among voters in all regions of the state except South Florida, the Democratic stronghold in Florida, where the senator led 53 percent to 36 percent.

The president was backed by a majority of those sampled in all adult age groups, except for those 60 and older, who favored Mr. Graham 49 percent to 45 percent.

Some of the president’s strongest support came from Hispanics, who backed him over Mr. Graham by 68 percent to 29 percent.

Mr. Graham did much better when matched up against his Democratic rivals for the presidency. He was the choice of 49 percent of the Florida Democrats sampled, followed by Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman and Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri, who each drew 10 percent. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts was favored by 8 percent of Democratic voters, and five other candidates drew 6 percent or less.

Kerry tops Dean

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry holds a lead of 9 percentage points over rival Howard Dean in a poll of likely Democratic voters in New Hampshire, according to a survey released yesterday.

The poll of 400 Democratic voters conducted June 17-19 comes within days of another survey that showed Mr. Kerry with a 10-point margin over Mr. Dean, the former Vermont governor.

In the most recent poll, Mr. Kerry, a Massachusetts senator, had 30 percent support to Mr. Dean’s 21 percent. The Research 2000 poll conducted for the Concord Monitor had an error margin of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri was at 11 percent, Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut 10 percent and the remaining candidates were in single digits: Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina at 3 percent, Sen. Bob Graham of Florida at 2 percent, and Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio, Carol Moseley Braun and the Rev. Al Sharpton, all at 1 percent.

Retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark, who has not announced his candidacy, was at 2 percent.

Eighteen percent were undecided.

In a poll of 600 likely voters, including Republicans and Democrats, the survey found President Bush easily outdistancing Mr. Kerry, 57 percent to 30 percent.

Giuliani’s future

Former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani plans to return to public office, but says he has yet to decide whether to aim for the U.S. Senate, the governor’s mansion, or maybe even the White House.

In an interview published in the latest issue of Time magazine, Mr. Giuliani also said the city risked making a major mistake with the redevelopment of the devastated World Trade Center site.

On his return to politics, Mr. Giuliani, 59, said any campaign was still a “couple of years” away.

“And whether it’s Senate, governor — I don’t know what else there would be — those will all be things that I would look at,” he said.

Asked if he had any presidential ambitions, Mr. Giuliani was more circumspect.

“I have no idea. I’ve never really seriously sat down and thought about it,” he said. “I almost think it’s arrogant, something you just don’t do unless there’s a realistic possibility.”

When asked about the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site, Mr. Giuliani said all the designs so far had made a memorial to the dead secondary to the replacement of office space.

“I’m very, very afraid that future generations are going to be very angry that we did not appropriately, on a grand enough scale, remind people of what happened,” he said.

Ventura’s TV show

Months after announcing that he would soon get his own nightly cable show on MSNBC, former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura has yet to hit the airwaves on a regular basis, the Associated Press notes.

The former pro wrestler and Hollywood action star has denied rumors that his show, announced in February, is in trouble. But MSNBC does not expect it to debut until late summer or early fall, and the lengthy rehearsal time has led to speculation that it might never make it onto the air, reporter Jeff Baenen writes.

MSNBC President Erik Sorenson insisted that the cable channel is committed to Mr. Ventura and called the show’s development “right on schedule.”

Mr. Ventura said in February that the show would air in about a month, and the initial delay was blamed on the war in Iraq. Last month, Mr. Ventura said the show probably would be on the air around June 1.

The hourlong show will air weeknights at 9 Eastern against competition from CNN’s “Larry King Live” and Fox News Channel’s “Hannity & Colmes.”

Union backs Gephardt

Democratic presidential candidate Richard A. Gephardt collected his fifth union endorsement Monday, winning the support of the 100,000-member International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Shipbuilders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers.

Charles Jones, president of the union, said the organization was backing Mr. Gephardt because the Missouri congressman has “always been there for us,” particularly on issues such as work rules, free trade and the environment.

Mr. Gephardt has gotten the endorsements of the 50,000-member union representing workers who maintain bridges and tracks for railroads, the 150,000-member union of office and professional employees, the 135,000-member iron workers union and the 100,000-member bricklayers union, the Associated Press reports.

The AFL-CIO, the umbrella group for 65 unions, will decide in August whether to endorse a candidate.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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