- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 27, 2000

Gore's gender gap

"Fervent campaigning by both presidential candidates for female voters is overshadowing the other side of the gender gap and a worrisome weakness for Al Gore," reports USA Today's Susan Page.

"What about men?" the reporter asked.

"Gore has seen George W. Bush cut into the Democrats' traditional support among female voters, but the vice president also finds himself distantly trailing the Texas governor among men a situation that has gotten less attention but presents a fundamental hurdle in his bid for the White House.

"In the latest USA Today/CNN/ Gallup Poll, Gore and Bush split the female vote evenly, but Bush led among men by 17 points and among white men by a stunning 26 points, 59-33 percent."

'Astounding contempt'

The administration "showed an astounding contempt" for a federal court by raiding the Miami home of Lazaro Gonzalez just 48 hours after the court had declined a Justice Department request for a change in custody of little Elian, the Wall Street Journal says.

"The administration's supporters now wave opinion polls supporting their actions, but they should listen to legal scholars, even the most liberal of them," the newspaper said in an editorial.

"In [Tuesday's] New York Times, Harvard's Laurence Tribe, a steadfast Clinton supporter throughout the impeachment proceedings, said the attorney general's action 'strikes at the heart of constitutional government and shakes the safeguards of liberty.' Ditto for Alan Dershowitz, who said on Fox TV that the administration acted 'lawlessly,' and 'it's a dangerous day for all Americans.' "

The newspaper added: "The more closely you look, the smellier it gets."

Editorialist fired

"The Detroit News has fired editorial-page editor Tom Bray, who has overseen what is widely considered one of the best editorial pages in the country," John J. Miller and Ramesh Ponnuru reported yesterday on National Review's Web site (www.nationalreview.com).

"Neither the News nor its parent company, Gannett, has announced the decision, but the move was made on Monday in a meeting between Bray and Mark Silverman, editor and publisher of the News," the writers said.

" 'Tom Bray was a voice of conservative reform before it became politically successful,' says Paul Gigot, the Wall Street Journal's Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist. 'He was a dissenting voice from liberal orthodoxy and an all too rare one among major city dailies.'

"Bray, who took over the page in 1983, is viewed by many as having provided the intellectual justification for much of what Republican governor John Engler has tried to accomplish, including tax cuts and welfare reform.

"Bray's page is also noted for questioning the excesses of the environmental movement. He discovered Warren Brookes, who, before his untimely death, wrote a nationally syndicated column for the page. Bray also was an early sponsor of Tony Snow. Bray was scheduled to appear at the Competitive Enterprise Institute's annual Warren Brookes dinner [tonight] in Washington, D.C., but he has canceled."

Republican census

The Republican National Committee defended its use of a fund-raising mailing that includes a GOP-specific census form that Democrats contend trivializes the Census Bureau's efforts to count the country's population.

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, New York Democrat, asked the Postal Service to investigate the six-page document mailed to party members in an envelope emblazoned with the phrase "REPUBLICAN CENSUS DOCUMENT ENCLOSED." Mrs. Maloney demanded Tuesday that RNC chairman Jim Nicholson end the mailing immediately, the Associated Press reports.

RNC spokesman Mike Collins called the criticism a "partisan cheap shot."

"How could anybody be confused by that?" Mr. Collins said. "No one was confused by this piece of mail. It was clearly a fund-raising and legitimate participation piece."

The first page of the cover letter is written on Republican National Committee letterhead, and the bottom of the page says: "Not printed at taxpayers' expense. Paid for by the RNC."

A house undivided

A lawyer bidding for the Democratic nomination to challenge Rep. Anne M. Northup, Kentucky Republican, has dropped out of the race in the name of party unity.

Ched Jennings, from Louisville, said Tuesday it was "my duty as a Democrat" to step aside in favor of state Rep. Eleanor Jordan, who is the only black woman in the state Legislature and would be Kentucky's first black congresswoman if elected.

"The Democrats have their house in order for this campaign," Mr. Jennings said at a news conference with Ms. Jordan and Gov. Paul E. Patton, who had endorsed Ms. Jordan.

Mrs. Northup is a two-term incumbent. But her 3rd District, covering Louisville, is 2-1 Democratic.

"So pack your bags, send out your resume," Mr. Jennings said, referring to Mrs. Northup.

Ms. Jordan said the incumbent "has consistently abandoned the families of Louisville and Jefferson County by siding with Republican leadership over the concerns of working men and women."

Mrs. Northup quickly fired back, calling Ms. Jordan "too liberal for this community," notwithstanding its Democratic registration.

Two lesser-known Democratic candidates remain on the primary ballot, the Associated Press reports.

Alabama fistfight

Two Alabama lawmakers exchanged profanities and a punch was thrown before they were quickly separated during a debate on the House floor.

Witnesses said Rep. Skippy White threw a punch that brushed the arm of fellow Democratic Rep. Alvin Holmes before other House members stepped between them.

The confrontation occurred Tuesday during debate of a resolution to study conditions at a state women's prison.

Mr. Holmes supported the resolution, which was approved. Mr. White said any complaints about the prison should be handled by the Legislature's Joint Prison Oversight Committee, which he chairs.

Mr. Holmes said members of Mr. White's committee "do nothing" and added: "I don't care who gets mad… . I'm not scared of nobody in here."

Mr. White took issue with the statement and the two faced off from microphones at the front of the House chamber, the Associated Press reports.

"You go to hell," Mr. Holmes told Mr. White.

"You go there, too," Mr. White replied.

"Go straight to hell," Mr. Holmes snapped back.

Mr. White told House members afterward he was "sorry if I embarrassed any of you. But when a member stands up and tells a bald-faced lie to y'all, it's hard to accept it."

Byrd returns

Sen. Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia is back at work after having a cataract removed from his left eye.

Mr. Byrd, 82, had the 25-minute procedure performed Tuesday morning and returned to work the same afternoon, a spokeswoman said yesterday. The same procedure was performed on his right eye three months ago.

"He's feeling just fine," spokeswoman Ann Adler said.

Mr. Byrd, whose legislative career spans five decades, is the senior Democrat in the Senate and on the Appropriations Committee. He is an authority on Senate rules and traditions and constitutional matters.

• Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or by e-mail at [email protected]

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