- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 10, 2000

Not quite accurate

Al Gore apparently misled Tom Brokaw on Monday when he told the NBC anchorman that he not only agreed with Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman's 1998 condemnation of President Clinton's behavior, but said so at the time.
The Fox News Channel's Brit Hume reported Tuesday: "In his interview with Tom Brokaw, Al Gore was asked about Senator Lieberman's famous statement in September 1998 that President Clinton's conduct in the Lewinsky case had been 'immoral.' 'Did you agree with Joe Lieberman when he said that,' Gore was asked. 'I did and said so at the time,' Gore answered.
"But a search of records reveals no such thing. Indeed, the first Gore statement critical of Clinton's behavior did not come until June of the following year."

Forget the biography

The first order of business for Vice President Al Gore is to reintroduce himself to the country on his own terms, Gore aides tell Newsweek.
"They insist that Gore's story is compelling. A 'bio' film, produced by one of Gore's best friends media consultant Carter Eskew will chronicle the vice president's stint in Vietnam, his years as a reporter in Nashville, his boomeresque search for meaning and strong marriage to Tipper. In the semi-science of campaigns, Gore's handlers have to raise his 'positives' before sending him out on a people's crusade against Bush. 'Let's face it, there's a personality bar we've got to jump over,' said a top Gore adviser."
However, that biographical film will not be seen on ABC and CBS if they treat Mr. Gore the same way they treated George W. Bush at the Republican convention. The Media Research Center reports that the two networks blacked out the Bush campaign "bio" film and "instead showed viewers their own take. Both raised questions about his military service, stressed the plight of the poor in Texas and resurrected the foreign leader pop quiz."

Gore on abortion

In a possible softening of his vehement pro-choice stance, Vice President Al Gore yesterday told reporters he has "an open mind" about parental-notification restrictions for minors.

"If there is a formulation that allows, below a certain age, a set of safety valves that actually work I'd be willing to consider it and look at them but I haven't seen one," he said.

Alice Germond, executive vice president of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, downplayed Mr. Gore's remarks. Her group has endorsed Mr. Gore and opposes any notification laws.

"For us, the comparison of Gore-Lieberman and the nuances of parental notification to Bush-Cheney and their vow to overturn Roe vs. Wade is so threatening and frightening that our focus is much more directed" on the Republicans, she said.

'A five-star hotel'

A Catholic group has asked Vice President Al Gore to try to cancel a fund-raising event next week at the Playboy Mansion.

Mr. Gore is not attending the Hispanic Unity USA gala Tuesday but the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights wants him to influence Rep. Loretta Sanchez, California Democrat, the event's chairman, to stop it.

"He has the ability to spike this event," William Donohue, president of the group, told the Associated Press yesterday. "If someone in my organization was out campaigning, doing something untoward, believe me, I'd have that man or woman in here saying 'knock it off.' "

Maria Meier, speaking for Mr. Gore, said the vice president does not control the event, although he has said he would not attend and does not condone the gala.

Playboy spokesman Bill Farley said the gala is an event over which Mr. Gore has no influence. "The Playboy Mansion for a political event is not Sodom and Gomorrah," he said. "It is in many respects like a five-star hotel."

Hillary inches ahead

Hillary Rodham Clinton has pulled slightly ahead of Rep. Rick A. Lazio in New York's closely watched race for the U.S. Senate, according to a poll released yesterday.
The first lady led Mr. Lazio 46 percent to 43 percent in the Quinnipiac University poll of registered New York voters taken Aug. 2 to 8. The survey had a margin of error of 2.8 percent, Reuters reports.
Two weeks ago, a Quinnipiac poll showed the two candidates locked in a 45 percent-to-45 percent tie. A survey by Zogby International in late July gave Mr. Lazio a seven-point lead.

Pedestrian rhetoric

USA Today political columnist Walter Shapiro had nothing but kind words for Joseph I. Lieberman, but the newspaperman was less impressed by Al Gore's performance in introducing the Connecticut senator as his choice for vice president.
"Having selected a running mate who won praise even from Senate Republicans, Gore managed to deflate the celebratory spirit with a speech that spent more time listing his issue agenda than dwelling on Lieberman's history-making attributes," Mr. Shapiro writes. "At a time when Gore is purported to be writing his convention speech by himself, the vice president's pedestrian rhetoric does not bode well for a boffo performance next week in Los Angeles."

The third step

Al Gore's selection of Joseph I. Lieberman as his running mate "is but the last of three important recent steps suggesting that the Gore campaign is moving in the New Democrat direction," Wall Street Journal columnist Gerald F. Seib writes.
"The first step came a few weeks ago when Mr. Gore picked former Commerce Secretary Bill Daley as his new campaign chairman. As the Clinton Cabinet member who led the charge over labor's objections to win House approval for a new trade deal with China, Mr. Daley advertises New Democrat thinking on trade," Mr. Seib said.
"The second step, taken almost without notice, has been the drafting of the Democratic Party platform. The platform was composed largely by two centrist alumni of Senator Lieberman's Democratic Leadership Council, Elaine Kamarck and Andrei Cherny," who beat back attempts to tilt the platform away from free trade and toward greatly expanding government health programs.

'Hillary syndrome'

Britain has no room for an American-style first lady, an opposition politician warned on Tuesday, saying he feared Prime Minister Tony Blair's wife, Cherie, was getting a bad case of the "Hillary syndrome."
But others defended Mrs. Blair's right to speak out on political issues of the day and criticized the personal attack on her by Conservative Home Affairs spokesman John Bercow, Reuters reports.
Mr. Bercow, complaining that Mrs. Blair wanted to be a political activist like Mrs. Clinton, told BBC radio that Britain already had a first lady "the Queen."
Still, he said, "we have experienced regular noises from Cherie Blair over a period on controversial issues of public policy."
The latest and most explicit intervention by Mrs. Blair was an article she wrote in the Daily Telegraph on Monday in which she said Britain need not fear a flood of litigation once the European Convention on Human Rights is incorporated into British law on Oct. 2.

Sensitive subject

The Center for Responsive Politics says it is not an advocacy group for campaign finance reform, contrary to what this column said yesterday in citing the organization's research on Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman's political fund raising.
"We are simply a campaign finance research group, completely nonpartisan and non-advocacy… . It's a distinction that we are pretty sensitive about," said the center's Holly Bailey.

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