- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 16, 2000

A slight edge

First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign says she is now leading her Republican Senate opponent, New York Rep. Rick Lazio.
"During the time when Republican candidates usually enjoy significant gains nationwide, Hillary has a lead over her opponent," says Hillary 2000, referring to a Quinnipiac Poll that gives Mrs. Clinton a 3-point edge over Mr. Lazio.
Mrs. Clinton is said to be picking up support among women and independents.
Meanwhile, Mr. Lazio is employing scare tactics in his latest fund-raising letter. The Republican is seeking contributions anywhere from $25 to $1,000, unless "you want to see the Clinton era continue for at least six more years?"
"I have faith that you know what is at stake here," he says.

Gore's back yard

Where will Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush and running mate Richard B. Cheney campaign immediately upon conclusion of the Democratic National Convention?
Vice President Al Gore's home state of Tennessee, "the state that knows Gore best," says the Bush-Cheney campaign.
Tennessee is considered a toss-up in the campaign sweepstakes.

175 fewer votes

Vice President Al Gore is slowly making his way through America's heartland, bound for Los Angeles and the Democratic National Convention. Too slowly, says one traveler.
David W. Almasi, a Washington political observer, says Mr. Gore "offended a lot of voters … and did the environment a disservice" while campaigning with Hollywood actor-director Rob "Meathead" Reiner in Cleveland.
Mr. Almasi was aboard a Continental flight late Sunday from San Francisco to Washington that stopped in Cleveland to deplane passengers and refuel.
"As we were on final descent into Cleveland, we had to pull up and get into a holding pattern because the city government closed the airport for Gore's campaign stop," he says. "After holding for about 20 minutes, we were routed to Detroit so we wouldn't run out of fuel and crash.
"Our pilot informed us the closure of the airport was the fault of the city government and not the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration], but made clear it was all due to Gore's visit and was not related to the air-traffic controllers or the airline ahead of time.
"Bottom line: We wasted a lot of fuel, blew a lot of exhaust [which Mr. Gore would normally discourage], and inconvenienced a lot of people. I figure there were about 100 people of voting age on our flight, and about 75 more on the ground waiting to board. Add to that the people waiting for their friends and relatives on the ground.
"Instead of arriving in D.C. at 8:30 p.m., we got in around midnight. At least he wasn't getting a haircut, or was he?"

Criminal class

Given reports circulating on the Internet that hundreds of Washington lawmakers have committed crimes, the National Taxpayers Union Foundation set out to learn the truth.
"The truth is less dramatic," says the Washington-based foundation, "but still troubling enough. Although most senators and representatives have steered clear of the law, a number of rotten apples have rolled out of the barrel."
Here then is the list of former members of Congress who were convicted or pleaded guilty to major offenses between 1992 and 1999 (it does not include lawmakers disciplined by Congress' own internal investigations, such as Newt Gingrich or Bob Packwood):
Nick Mavroules, Massachusetts Democrat: tax evasion, accepting illegal gratuity (1992).
Albert Bustamante, Texas Democrat: racketeering (1993).
Carroll Hubbard, Kentucky Democrat: fraud and corruption (1994).
Carl Perkins, Kentucky Democrat: fraud (1994).
Charlie Rose, North Carolina Democrat: financial-disclosure irregularities (1994).
Larry Smith, Florida Democrat: tax evasion (1994).
Dave Durenberger, Minnesota Republican: financial-disclosure misdemeanor (1995).
Walter Fauntroy, District of Columbia Democrat: financial-disclosure misdemeanor (1995).
Gerald Kleczka, Wisconsin Democrat: arrested for DWI (1995 and 1990); convicted DWI (1987).
Mel Reynolds, Illinois Democrat: sexual misconduct (1995).
Walter Tucker, California Democrat: extortion (1995).
Charles Wilson, Texas Democrat: paid $90,000 fine to Federal Election Commission (1995).
Joe Kolter, Pennsylvania Democrat: fraud and conspiracy (1996).
Dan Rostenkowski, Illinois Democrat: mail fraud (1996).
Wes Cooley, Oregon Republican: lying about war record (1997).
Jay Kim, California Republican: campaign-finance violations (1998).
Mary Rose Oakar, Ohio Democrat: financial-disclosure irregularities (1998).
Austin J. Murphy, Pennsylvania Democrat: vote fraud (1999).
Mark Twain once observed that Congress was America's "only native criminal class," the foundation recalls.

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