- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 22, 1999

Coming up empty

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert and other Republican leaders were unable to recruit a well-known candidate to run for the seat held by retiring Rep. John Edward Porter, Illinois Republican.
The filing deadline was Monday.
Mr. Porter announced in October that he was retiring. Democratic officials are united behind a state lawmaker they consider a top-tier candidate. Republican voters will have to choose from 12 lesser-known candidates, Bloomberg News reports.
The recruitment battle in Mr. Porter’s district and 23 other open seats is pivotal in determining which party controls the House. Republicans now have a five-vote margin.
Democrats worked to virtually clear the primary field for one candidate, state Rep. Lauren Beth Gash, who got 72 percent of the vote last year, reporter Laura Litvan said.
Republicans tried to woo four top-choice candidates Lt. Gov. Corrine Wood and three state legislators but none opted to run.

Pardon me

Vice President Al Gore refused to say whether he would pardon President Clinton for any potential legal offenses arising out of last year’s sex scandal, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Mr. Gore, appearing taken aback, called the question “completely hypothetical.” He added, “I don’t think it’s responsible to … I don’t think it’s a responsible way to deal with an issue like that, the political context.” Mr. Gore was asked the question at a meeting with the Los Angeles Times’ Washington bureau.

Not her village

The prestigious Republican women’s club that helped women gain the right to vote is not too pleased with the prospect of Hillary Rodham Clinton becoming the first first lady to run for the Senate.
As a matter of fact, the 89-year-old Women’s National Republican Club is selling anti-Hillary buttons by the bagful at its New York City headquarters.
“I am really astounded by the number of women who buy them,” club President Lila Prounis told The Washington Times. “They feel that she reinvents herself all the time, that New York is not her village and that she isn’t the person who should take care of our children.”
The group’s $1 black-and-white button depicts Mrs. Clinton with a red line across her face.

Subtle differences

The debates between Democratic presidential candidates Bill Bradley and Al Gore reveal rather subtle differences, New York Times columnist Gail Collins writes.
“On the issue of Social Security entitlements, for instance, as far as I can determine Mr. Gore would cut off both his hands before he would allow anybody to raise the eligibility age, whereas Mr. Bradley would probably only chop off one hand and a couple of additional fingers.”

Twin debaters

“Two things are becoming increasingly clear about Democratic presidential candidates Al Gore and Bill Bradley as they continue to debate: For one thing, the two don’t like each other. For another, the differences between them are mainly biological, not political,” the New York Post says.
“Sunday’s clash on ‘Meet the Press’ contained some of the sharpest discord between the two, but it was basically much ado about nothing. What few policy differences they actually expressed, mostly on health care, were relatively minor,” the newspaper said in an editorial.
“As former White House spokesman Mike McCurry noted, it was ‘kind of like trying to choose between Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi. In the end, they’re still largely in the same place philosophically.’ “

Tryout camps

“It’s too early for final judgments about the [presidential] campaigners, but perhaps not too soon to judge the campaign,” the Wall Street Journal says.
“This election isn’t likely to feature any Clinton-Carville-Morris muddying of the false ‘center.’ The two Democrats are running as liberals, reflecting the truer legacy of the tax-and-try-to-spend Clinton years. And the Republicans still standing are identifiably conservative, a reflection of both Ronald Reagan’s enduring influence and Steve Forbes’ success in ‘96 at forcing his party to assert that legacy,” the newspaper said in an editorial.
“On balance, Campaign 2000’s autumn tryout camps have been productive. Pat Buchanan walked out of camp and declared himself an unsigned free agent. Presumptive opening-day starter Al Gore suddenly found himself in a fight with a retired athlete. And the Republicans are delightfully butting heads over questions of character and the fundamentals of governance. Once the millennial interregnum passes, we predict big crowds for the primaries.”


In Sunday’s “Meet the Press” debate against Bill Bradley, Vice President Al Gore “came off looking like a little yapping Chihuahua,” says Byron York of the American Spectator.
“The one thing you should not do next to a 6-foot, 5-inch Rhodes scholar [and] NBA champion is belittle yourself,” Mr. York said Monday on MSNBC. “And, you know, Gore was literally shrinking as we watched him.”

Bradley’s ‘the man’

Political observer Chris Matthews scored Sunday’s Democratic debate a victory for Bill Bradley.
“If you look at them both clearly, you say, ‘Bradley’s the man.’ Gore’s kind of the kid trying to act like the man,” Mr. Matthews said on his CNBC “Hardball” show Monday.
Being “the man” may explain why Mr. Bradley is a hit with female voters, Mr. Matthews theorized. “Women are all telling me this, [Mr. Bradley] is more authentic, he strikes you as being a real guy. He may not be the handsomest guy in the world but he’s a real guy. Gore is stiff, he’s sort of robotic.”

Cash on hand

A wealthy contributor to the political campaigns of Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Sen. Charles E. Schumer is a suspected member of a Brooklyn-based Russian crime syndicate whose company has laundered millions of dollars, internal FBI documents say.
Semyon “Sam” Kislin, 64, with family members and businesses, gave $46,250 to the mayoral campaigns of Mr. Giuliani, a Republican, in 1993 and 1997, and $8,000 to the Senate campaign of Mr. Schumer, a New York Democrat, in 1998.
Mr. Kislin and his family have also donated to the re-election campaigns of President Clinton and former Sen. Alfonse M. D’Amato, New York Republican, the Associated Press reports.
Mr. Kislin, a commodities trader prominent in the Russian Jewish emigre community in Brooklyn, has denied any money laundering or other wrongdoing. His suspected involvement with such groups was first reported Tuesday by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group based in Washington.

Steady support

A ballot measure that would ban legal recognition of same-sex marriage has the backing of a slim majority of likely California voters, but a large number of undecideds could mean trouble for the initiative, according to a poll released yesterday.
About 51 percent of 475 likely California voters surveyed by the Field Poll from Dec. 3 to 14 said they would support the March 7 ballot measure that would restrict the definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman. Forty percent said they would vote no, and 9 percent were undecided.
Support for the measure, known as the “Knight Initiative” after its sponsor, conservative Republican state Sen. Pete Knight, has remained steady since October, when 50 percent of the voters polled said they would back the measure.
But poll director Mark DiCamillo said that with only 27 percent of voters polled even having heard of the measure, the battle could go either way, Reuters reports.

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