- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 29, 2000

Liberal faith

"The pollsters tell us that Al Gore got a convention 'bounce' after all, despite disappointing overnights from the Clinton Mussolini spectacle and the Jackson-Kennedy harangues. Mr. Gore's Harry Truman imitation 'consolidated his base,' the current conventional wisdom runs, and as Labor Day arrives he can now run to the center as a 'New Democrat,' " Wall Street Journal Editor Robert L. Bartley writes.
"Yet I doubt that he'll find it easy to get off the tiger he mounted in Los Angeles, and in any event it's worth pausing in this interlude to reflect on the old-fashioned, let-Washington-solve-it liberalism we heard there. There is a reason successful politicians of the left now seek the 'third way.' With Bill Clinton signing welfare reform, Tony Blair ceding independence to the Bank of England and Gerhard Schroeder cutting the capital gains tax. To wit, almost no one any longer believes in an omniscient government, solving social problems by flipping dials in the capital," Mr. Bartley said.
"This inconvenient detail the Los Angeles orators managed blithely to ignore. As they saw it, their task was to describe problems. That the solution lay in government was taken for granted, an assumption never spoken, let alone defended. In his acceptance speech, Mr. Gore promised a cure for cancer, diabetes and AIDS, and to cut the crime rate every successive year for a decade. How? By doubling federal medical research spending and financing more police. That was easy; next problem!"

On the record

Vice President Al Gore spent most of the year avoiding the national media, but he "has become more accessible since the Democratic convention," USA Today reports.
"TV networks that ask tough questions, not just local TV stations, get interviews. Twice during a four-day riverboat cruise through Midwestern swing states, Gore invited the press pack to join his family in viewing the sunset from the top deck, with chitchat off the record," reporter Martin Kasindorf said.
"Later, when a reporter asked whether a lack of sleep on the trip was making him 'goofy,' Gore blinked his eyes rapidly and assumed a goofy expression. That was on the record."

Reaping and sowing

The company run until this month by former Defense Secretary Richard B. Cheney has reaped more than $2 billion in federal contracts to support U.S. troops on some of the peacekeeping missions that George W. Bush says have helped run down the military.
U.S. deployments in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Somalia and elsewhere the kinds of missions Mr. Bush has pledged to reduce if elected have meant big contracts for Dallas-based Halliburton Co., which Mr. Cheney, the Republican vice-presidential candidate, headed from 1995 until he retired two weeks ago.
What started out as a $4 million contract in 1992 to help the government plan how to provide meals, tents, toilets and laundry for troops sent on missions to far-flung lands has grown substantially for Halliburton, an oil-services conglomerate, Associated Press reporter Karen Gullo reports.
Halliburton's Brown & Root Services subsidiary has received the lion's share of the Pentagon's troop support business in the years since the Persian Gulf war, which Mr. Cheney helped direct as secretary of defense under Mr. Bush's father.
A big chunk of the business came in 1995 when troops were sent to Bosnia. The Army paid Brown & Root $546 million to provide logistical support for more than 20,000 American soldiers in Bosnia, Croatia and Hungary. The company had already earned $269 million on the contract.
Two years later Brown & Root received a sole-source contract worth $405 million to continue support services in Bosnia. Last year the company beat out one other bidder to win a five-year Army contract to support U.S. peacekeeping troops in the Balkans region. Originally awarded for $900 million, work under that contract has now reached $730 million and could go to more than double that figure because more troops were sent to Kosovo last year.
Another contract for support services awarded this year by the Navy will bring in at least $300 million.

Lazio's tax returns

Republican Rep. Rick Lazio, facing Hillary Rodham Clinton in New York's U.S. Senate race, yesterday released copies of his federal tax returns for the past decade, something the Clinton campaign and state Democrats had been badgering him to do for weeks.

The release came less than a week after the Securities and Exchange Commission ended its investigation into Mr. Lazio's securities trades, clearing him of any wrongdoing.

The SEC revealed no details of its investigation, but the probe followed a report in the New York Times in June that said Mr. Lazio made a 600 percent profit in a matter of weeks by investing in securities of brokerage Quick & Reilly, a company controlled by some of his biggest campaign contributors.

Mr. Lazio's tax returns, made available at his campaign headquarters in midtown Manhattan, showed his Quick & Reilly trades as well as income from other minor stock deals and income from a rental property on Fire Island, a New York beach resort, Reuters reports.

For 1999 the four-term congressman from suburban Long Island earned about $152,000, about the same as the past few years, the documents showed.

Call it survival

"How serious are Democrats about taking back the House? As part of a national ad campaign, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party last week bought a TV spot during the final episode of CBS's 'Survivor' to tout candidate Pat Casey," Warren Strobel writes in U.S. News & World Report.

" 'That's where the votes are,' explains Erik Smith of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. There's no known profusion of rats or snakes in the hills around Scranton, but the election is expected to be a nail-biter. In 1998, GOP incumbent Don Sherwood beat Casey by 515 votes. Now Casey's hoping Sherwood gets voted off the island."

Tricia fires back

Patricia Nixon Cox, daughter of the late President Richard M. Nixon, flatly denies a British author's claim that her father struck her mother.

She also cast doubt yesterday on the suggestion that Mr. Nixon took an anti-seizure drug without a prescription while in the White House.

"Because I lived at home with them and my sister, I can state unconditionally that at no time … did my father ever strike my mother or did my mother ever have physical signs or bruises of the type claimed in this book," she told the Associated Press.

"My mother was not a fragile flower. She was very strong. She would have left forever if anything like that had happened," said Mrs. Cox, best known by her childhood nickname, Tricia.

She sought out the interview to rebut claims in "The Arrogance of Power" by Anthony Summers.

Mr. Summers also claimed that Mr. Nixon used the drug Dilantin commonly prescribed for epilepsy after getting 2,000 capsules of the drug illegally.

Mrs. Cox denied that claim, saying her father's "personality and his mood did not change. He was consistent."

New effort

Tim Goeglein, who has spent "two really terrific years" as spokesman for conservative activist and recent Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer, will join the Bush-Cheney campaign Friday.
Mr. Goeglein, in an e-mail, told correspondents that he will be working as part of the Bush-Cheney communications team.

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