- The Washington Times - Friday, December 24, 1999

McCain vs. Norquist

Americans for Tax Reform has begun running a television ad in New Hampshire that accuses Republican presidential candidate John McCain of aiding Democrats with his campaign-finance reform legislation.
The Arizona senator's campaign fired back Thursday, calling the anti-tax organization had a "notorious" leader and was a "special-interest group" that has been corrupted by so-called "soft money."
Here's the text of the ATR ad:
"He's the only Republican candidate approved by the liberal New York Times. Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Big Labor all endorse his top legislative priority. Senator John McCain helping Democrats pass a campaign-finance bill that would keep the Republican Party from fighting the liberal national media. Yet McCain's bill would leave labor unions, trial lawyers and pro-abortion groups free to attack Republicans. Just like they did for Bill Clinton. So call John McCain and tell him to leave the Republican Party alone."
The McCain campaign responded with a press release titled "Washington Lobbyist Takes to the Airwaves to Attack McCain and Preserve Self-interests," referring to ATR leader Grover Norquist.
"The race for the White House took a decidedly negative turn this week as one of Washington's most notorious special-interest group leaders began filling the airwaves of New Hampshire with false and negative attacks against Senator John McCain," the campaign said. "The purpose behind his attacks: To keep McCain from cutting off the soft-money spigot flowing into his group's coffers" from the Republican National Committee.
Soft money refers to unlimited and largely unregulated donations made to political parties, rather than directly to candidates.

Tolerance, for a change

Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush says that, unlike the current occupants of the White House, he would let people smoke there.
Mr. Bush, in an interview published in the Dec. 31 issue of National Review, was asked: "We've had examples of European guests visiting this White House and not being able to smoke. Would you let people smoke in the White House?"
The Texas governor replied: "It would not bother me. I mean, if a guest of mine came and wanted to smoke? No, that wouldn't bother me."
"At a state dinner?" the magazine asked.
"No, that wouldn't bother me," Mr. Bush said. "I mean, personal guests come in and smoke at the governor's mansion. They say, 'Can I have a smoke?' Sure."

Giuliani seeks helpers

New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani is looking for a few good men and women to help him run his unannounced Senate campaign "after the New Year."
His "exploratory" campaign's new volunteer coordinator Jason Auerbach sent an e-mail alert this week to round up helpers.
Some voters are less than thrilled with Mr. Giuliani's presumed run against first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.
"If Giuliani was running against the grand dragon of the KKK, I'd vote for the grand dragon," Ray Washington, a black Democrat, told The Washington Times. "Hillary might be a nice lady, but she doesn't know New York," the Bronx native added. "I would vote for her because she is the lesser of two evils."

Bradley forges lead

For the first time, an independent poll gives former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley a clear lead over Vice President Al Gore among likely voters in the New Hampshire Democratic primary.
The New Hampshire Poll shows Mr. Bradley leading Mr. Gore by 48 percent to 36 percent among 600 likely voters in the nation's first presidential primary. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.
The two Democrats were in a statistical tie in the same poll two weeks ago.
The latest poll also found Arizona Sen. John McCain ahead of Texas Gov. George W. Bush, 39 percent to 30 percent, among 600 likely voters in the Republican primary. Compared with the poll two weeks ago, Mr. Bush's support remained the same, while Mr. McCain's inched up 2 percentage points to give him a statistically significant lead.
Among the other Republicans, publisher Steve Forbes was third with 11 percent, former U.N. Ambassador Alan Keyes drew 4 percent and conservative activist Gary Bauer and Sen. Orrin G. Hatch of Utah each drew 1 percent.

McCain courts gays

Sen. John McCain has collected roughly $40,000 in contributions for his GOP presidential campaign from members of a homosexual Republican group despite his disagreement with their views on a range of gay issues.
McCain campaign spokesman Dan Schnur told the Associated Press Thursday that the Arizona senator and the Log Cabin Republicans agree on other issues, such as taxes, school choice and the military, and that it is not inconsistent for him to accept their contributions.
Mr. McCain criticized this week's Vermont Supreme Court ruling that homosexual couples are entitled to the same benefits as married couples. He also supports the "don't ask, don't tell" policy barring open homosexuals from the military.
Yet, Mr. McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davis, addressed members of the Log Cabin Republicans simultaneously by satellite at fund-raisers in Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York, Seattle and Washington last week, the Arizona Republic reported yesterday.
The event raised about $40,000, the paper said.
Mr. Schnur said last week's fund-raiser was the first time the Log Cabin Republicans had donated to the Arizona senator. Mr. McCain told the homosexual group in a face-to-face meeting last month that he would battle discrimination and that seems enough for some homosexual Republicans.
"You're talking about those kind of values versus people like Pat Buchanan, Gary Bauer and others who have historically said that gays should not be in the Republican Party, that we are people who should not have civil rights, that we should be in programs because we're mentally ill," said Log Cabin spokesman Kevin Ivers.

Character counts

"In a debate earlier this month, George W. Bush said that he was reading my biography of Dean Acheson," writes James Chace, author of "Acheson: The Secretary of State Who Created the American World."
"Yet when asked what lessons he had drawn from the career of Harry Truman's secretary of state, Mr. Bush served up familiar bromides from his own stump speech.
"In another debate, Mr. Bush was asked what philosopher or thinker had most influenced him, and he answered that it was Christ; but once again, he gave no hint of what aspect of Christian thinking appealed to him," Mr. Chace noted.
"No one would accuse Mr. Bush of being an intellectual. Then again, the same is true of Ronald Reagan and, for that matter, Franklin D. Roosevelt. But these questions and Mr. Bush's lame answers do point up a central issue in presidential politics: What are the qualities that make an effective president? Looking back over our own history, it is evident that leadership, character and good judgment, not intellectual acumen, are the hallmarks of an effective presidency."

Viguerie's new path

Richard Viguerie, the father of political direct mail and the Conservative Digest, has resigned his position as president of American Target Advertising, apparently to clear the way for a venture into cyberspace.
"In January, Mr. Viguerie will make a major announcement concerning political activism on the World Wide Web," according to a press release announcing Mr. Viguerie's departure as president of the direct-mail company.
However, Mr. Viguerie will serve as chairman of American Target Advertising, a firm that he founded in 1965.

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