- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 13, 2000

Biden time

Even as the world berates America for the election impasse, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., Delaware Democrat, had a laugh about it at the United Nations yesterday.

"We may be appealing the election to the Security Council, so I hope you are all ready to vote today," Mr. Biden told the 15-nation council.

"One of our colleagues suggested the OSCE should come in and oversee our election process, but I assure you, the Cubans have already made an offer, so we're in good shape," the senator said.

The OSCE is the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which monitors elections in new democracies for fairness. Mr. Biden is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Shades of Gore past

The ironies of history surface with much persistence.

Researcher Tony Siegel of Validea.com an on-line information resource found this tidbit from an article, "College Entrance Tests Fail To Ruffle Students' Aplomb," which ran in The Washington Post on Dec. 6, 1964:

"Similarly poised was Albert Gore, 16, another St. Albans 12th-grader whose father of the same name is the senior U.S. Senator from Tennessee.

"Young Gore, who aims to study liberal arts and pre-law at Harvard University, said he'd found some of the questions 'pretty tricky.' But he seemed mainly concerned that he might have left a few stray marks on his papers that would mislead the 'dumb machine' that scores them electronically."

Tallahassee tales

Just keep counting: There are some who want the election impasse to keep on going.

"The rest of the world is tired of this process, but I'd just as soon have it take another six weeks," noted Tallahassee Mayor Scott Maddox, who estimates his city has taken in up to $2 million a week in revenue from restaurants, hotels and other services.

One dry cleaner reported his business was up 500 percent.

But beware. There have been three crimes all involving journalists, the mayor added.

One cable-TV reporter tried to run over a rival with his car, another was almost robbed and the third crime is still a mystery: Police found a plastic zippered bag full of marijuana in the makeshift "media village" of tents, trucks and cameras outside the courthouse.

The perpetrator is unknown.

"We suspect it was a journalist, but we still don't know who," Mr. Maddox observed.

Clocking Klock

He was just tired. Really.

Lawyer Joseph Klock said it was exhaustion that caused him to muddle the names of two U.S. Supreme Court justices while arguing about Florida's vote count before the high court.

"I was so tired that I was happy I didn't call one of them 'Justice Gore,' " said Mr. Klock, who is representing Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris.

In Monday's hearing, Mr. Klock called Justice John Paul Stephens "Justice Brennan" and Justice David H. Souter "Justice Breyer," after his fellow jurist Justice Stephen G. Breyer.

Justice William Brennan died in 1997.

Said Justice Souter: "I'm Justice Souter. You've got to cut that out."

Replied Mr. Klock: "I will now give up." The courtroom audience guffawed, then Justice Antonin Scalia chimed in, "Mr. Klock, I'm Scalia."

Mr. Klock was philosophical.

"I'm not very good with names," he told ABC later.

The exchange has since been crowned "The Funniest 10 Minutes of the Election" by Yahoo, which reports it was one of the most popular e-mails in the country yesterday.

Attention span

Yes, it has been boring, confusing and even frustrating. But America is following the election impasse like a ballgame or maybe a soap opera.

According to a CBS poll released yesterday, 50 percent of the respondents said they were following the election "very closely" and 41 percent said they were following it "somewhat closely."

But how long is it going to take to reach an ending?

Twenty-two percent of those polled thought the whole thing will be resolved this week and 35 percent said it will end in the next few weeks, while 33 percent thought it would take even longer than that.

Meanwhile, 43 percent felt that Texas Gov. George W. Bush would unite Americans; 37 percent felt the same of Vice President Al Gore.

Political price

Sen.-elect Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Rep. Rick Lazio spent a combined $68.6 million on their U.S. Senate race in New York, making it the most expensive in the nation's history.

Mr. Lazio spent $39.6 million. Mrs. Clinton shelled out $29 million in her successful bid to replace retiring Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, according to documents made public by the Federal Election Commission yesterday.

Just over the river in New Jersey, Democrat and Wall Street millionaire Jon Corzine and Republican Rep. Bob Franks spent a combined $67.7 million, with Mr. Corzine spending $61.6 million, most of it his own money, to Mr. Franks' $6.1 million.

Just a little something

What will the president find under his Christmas tree?

US Weekly magazine reports Mr. Clinton will receive an Atlas golf sport bag from "a high-profile Hollywood friend" for Christmas.

Priced at $475, the black carry-all meant for golf accouterments rather than clubs is made of "fine Irish leather and includes tees, balls and an emergency medical kit."


In a famous media moment, the Rev. Jesse Jackson walked him and two other soldiers to freedom.

Now, former hostage Andrew Ramirez, who spent over a month in Serbian captivity before Mr. Jackson negotiated his release last year, wants to run for office.

Mr. Ramirez left the U.S. Army in October and now wants to be mayor of Baldwin Park, a suburb of Los Angeles.

"I think I can help out," he said. "I was eight years in the Army serving the country, so I figured I can come back and serve in the community. My family lives in and around the area."

For now, Mr. Ramirez is addressing practical issues.

"I won't go into everything right now," he said. "I still need to look into a lot of issues. We need to pull revenue into the city. Any city needs revenue. The police department, they can always use some help."

Initial reaction

The election impasse has even gotten to a pair of South Dakota politicians.

Ted Lerew, a former Democratic lawmaker, got riled after Gov. Bill Janklow and other Republicans complained about the Florida recounts. So Mr. Lerew sent him a little note.

"Your stating that these election boards are 'stealing the presidency' is outrageous coming from a person in your position," Mr. Lerew wrote the governor. "I feel that you are needlessly inciting and embarrassing the name and people of our great state."

"Having said that, I respectfully request that you apologize to the people of our state and nation and immediately resign," Mr. Lerew concluded, according to an Associated Press report.

Mr. Janklow wrote back: "Ted My mom said I should never call a person a 'Jerk' in writing. Please send me your phone number. Bill."

Mr. Lerew then replied, "Are you suggesting that I called you a 'Jerk' or are you saying that you would be a 'Jerk' if you had my telephone number? If the latter is what you mean, it appears to me that you don't have the guts to put on paper what you plan to say over the phone."

Mr. Lerew noted he was sorry that Mr. Janklow did not reply to his requests for an apology and resignation, then signed off: "I have always been curious what your middle initial stood for."

The middle initial in question is a J. The governor never replied and would no longer comment on the matter, except to say that his middle name is "John."

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