- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 7, 2008

CAMPAIGN

Pawlenty praises Obama’s optimism

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, often mentioned as a possible running mate for Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, said Wednesday that Republican candidates would do well to adopt a positive tone like that of Mr. McCain’s Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama.

“Say what you will about Barack Obama,” he told a conservative group, “people gravitate when you have something positive to say.” He added that Mr. McCain has been positive as well.

“People want to follow hopeful, optimistic, civil, decent leaders,” Mr. Pawlenty said in a speech to GOPAC, which helps recruit Republican candidates. “They don’t want to follow some negative, scornful person.”

Ronald Reagan still offers important lessons for today’s Republican Party, Mr. Pawlenty said, because the former president was civil, optimistic, pragmatic and a good communicator.

“He actually had some ideas,” he said, adding that the Republican idea factory has seemed “a little stagnant in recent years.”

Mr. Pawlenty, 47, said he came of age during Mr. Reagan’s tenure in the 1980s, but acknowledged the Republican icon is ancient history to young people.

“If you’re under 40, that was a long time ago, man,” he said to laughter.

The party needs to update its message to appeal to voters who want new ideas and government results and to counter the perception that Republicans are “not for the working person,” Mr. Pawlenty said. He advocated policies such as better training and performance pay for teachers, online-college education opportunities and reworking health insurance to reward providers that show good results and save money.

Mr. Pawlenty shied away from talking about joining Mr. McCain on the ticket.

FUNDRAISING

McCain to give away Stevens’ donation

SOMERSET, Pa. | Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain will give $5,000 that his campaign received from indicted Sen. Ted Stevens’ political action committee to the Flight 93 National Memorial, a campaign spokesman said Wednesday.

The Arizona senator’s campaign received a contribution in April from Mr. Stevens’ Northern Light PAC, said Paul Lindsay, spokesman for Mr. McCain’s campaign in Pennsylvania. Mr. Stevens was indicted last month on felony charges of concealing more than a quarter-million dollars in gifts and services from an oil company that helped renovate his home in Alaska.

A $58 million memorial is planned in the southwestern Pennsylvania field where the hijacked United Airlines airplane crashed on Sept. 11, 2001, killing all 40 passengers and crew. An official investigation concluded the four hijackers crashed the plane near Shanksville when passengers tried to wrest control of the cockpit.

Officials expect about 40 percent of the permanent memorial to be completed in time for a ribbon-cutting on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

Flight 93 was en route from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco.

POSTAL SERVICE

Lower volume cited for $1 billion loss

The Postal Service had a net loss of more than a billion dollars in the third quarter of the fiscal year, the agency said Wednesday.

For the quarter that ended June 30, the loss was $1.1 billion, which officials blamed on reduced mail volume in the slowed economy, coupled with rapidly rising transportation costs because of high fuel prices.

Operating revenue for the quarter was $17.9 billion, down $437 million, or 2.4 percent, compared with the same period last year.

Operating expenses totaled $19.0 billion, an increase of $178 million, or 1.0 percent, from the third quarter last year.

Total mail volume was 48.5 billion pieces, a 5.5 percent drop from the same period last year.

The agency said its fiscal 2008 year-to-date net loss totals $1.13 billion.

Postage rates went up a penny to the current 42-cent price in May. Another increase is expected next May.

Meanwhile, the post office said on-time delivery reached record highs for all three categories of first-class mail the Postal Service tracks. Overnight service was 97 percent on time, up from 96 percent the same period last year. Two-day service was 95 percent on time, up from 93 percent, and three-day service was 94 percent on time, up from 91 percent last year.

POLITICS

Nader: Third-party candidates struggle

Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader said Wednesday that he plans to get on the ballots in 45 states by the November election but complained that he and other third-party candidates still struggle for attention in the nation’s two-party political system.

Mr. Nader told reporters that third-party candidates are unfairly left out of debates and must fight aggressively to get their names on ballots, Hearst Newspapers reports.

At stake, Mr. Nader said, is “whether the American voters are going to get a broader discussion of subject matter that they are concerned about” that is “ignored” by leading presidential hopefuls.

His goal of being listed on the ballots in 45 states by mid-September compares with the 37 states where he was listed in 2004, the last time he ran for the White House.

Mr. Nader and his running mate, Matt Gonzalez, will be on the ballot in California, the nation’s most populous state, as nominees of the Peace and Freedom Party. Mr. Nader was not on the California ballot four years ago.

Mr. Nader said his presidential bid is designed to “keep the progressive agenda alive” and draw attention to issues that he said were being ignored by the presumptive Democratic and Republican nominees, Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain.

NATURAL RESOURCES

Pawlenty urges search for energy

It’s time for America to explore every kind of energy resource to decrease its dependence on foreign oil, and Republicans have been too far behind in the search, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Wednesday.

“We’re gonna need it all,” he said. “It’s not either-or. It’s all of the above.”

In a speech at the National Press Club, Mr. Pawlenty called on fellow Republicans to learn from “the Reagan playbook,” but to apply those principles to problems facing the country today.

Mr. Pawlenty, who is often mentioned as a potential running mate for Sen. John McCain, said Republicans must jump to the plate to address the energy crisis, one of the biggest challenges now facing the nation.

“I think Republicans preferably earlier, but now, better later than never need to boldly, aggressively tackle this issue, with the goal in mind being more supply, lower the price, more affordability of energy of all types,” he said.

Mr. Pawlenty said lawmakers in his state agreed to source 25 percent of the state’s energy by 2025 and they are looking at ways to further their use of sources such as biodiesel, ethanol, solar and geothermal power.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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