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Confused groups

Far-left group and the Democratic National Committee targeted the Wednesday Meeting of conservative activists, held at the headquarters of Americans for Tax Reform, trying somehow to link the weekly strategy gathering to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.

“Rain-soaked MoveOn activists heckled the roughly 90 lobbyists, libertarians, movement conservatives and Hill staffers who trooped into [ATR President] Grover Norquist’s Wednesday Meeting this a.m.,” Hotline reported.

“But just last week, a MoveOn co-founder, Joan Blades, helped get Al Gore into that same meeting.

“Gore relished the chance to ‘talk about global warming directly to the conservative base,’ said a Dem activist with knowledge of the arrangements.

“George Soros, MoveOn’s most famous financial backer, has also spoken at the meeting and encouraged Gore to take his global warming presentation there.

“Blades, who knows Norquist, brokered the introduction.”

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday, “The DNC plans to videotape participants as they enter and exit Norquist’s downtown Washington office building.”

A wag at Americans for Tax Reform remarked, “Had they been here just two weeks ago, the DNC could have videotaped Al Gore himself, perhaps gotten his autograph.”

Issues vs. scandal

“The Abramoff scandal is swallowing us all, and no matter what this committee does on the immigration resolution, all the press will write about is the scandal,” said Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett yesterday after the kickoff sessions of the two-day annual winter meeting of the 165-member Republican National Committee.

Dozens of members echoed Mr. Bennett’s concern, many complaining that the Republican response in Congress to the lobbying-bribery scandal has been weaker than that of the Democrats.

Both parties are attempting to one-up each other on reform proposals. But what RNC members told reporter Ralph Z. Hallow of The Washington Times is that most people on the committee and in the country care more about having the government enforce the immigration laws and secure the borders, and that many committee members don’t agree with the administration that this also means a guest-worker program or some sort of amnesty for illegal aliens.

Competing resolutions on the immigration issue are scheduled to be voted on by the full committee early today, and the outcome, members said, would be an indicator of what clout the White House still has with party leaders.

Pants on fire

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