- The Washington Times - Friday, December 15, 2000

Al knew

Washingtonians by the thousands awakened yesterday to a pounding rain mixed with sleet, opening their front doors to find morning newspapers headlines blaring "Bush" glued frozen to the steps.

That said, allow us to revisit the bizarre events of Nov. 6, one day before Election Day:

Vice President Al Gore hadn't slept for 30 hours; there wasn't time. Polls continued to show his presidential race with Texas Gov. George W. Bush a virtual dead heat, and worse yet, on top of everything else, Mr. Gore had a vision of the future. He didn't like what he saw, and he knew he had to warn the nation.

At his final campaign stop, the vice president actually described a voter waking up to hear a pounding rain mixed with sleet, just like what fell on Washington yesterday.

"The sky is so dark there's hardly any light. You stumble out of bed. Your knees are sore as you walk toward the door and stub your toe," said Mr. Gore. "You open the door and the newspaper is stuck to the step, frozen by the sleet, soaked through and through. You peel it off and hold it up to the light and all you can see is 'Bush.' "

Inspirational stop

In his concession speech, Vice President Al Gore observed "as my father once said, that no matter how hard the loss, defeat may serve as well as victory to shake the soul and let the glory out."

We jumped on the Internet yesterday and found the same "Cyber Quotation: One stop to get Inspired!" under the category "Victory in Defeat."

"Defeat may serve as well as victory," poet Edwin Markham (1852-1940) had observed, "To shake the soul and let the glory out."

Nice try

"It was clearly those pesky terrorists once again."

Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III, chairman of the federal Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism, after four of the tires on his airplane burst upon landing at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport yesterday in advance of his national briefing on terrorism.

Meatball, Madeleine?

Inside the Beltway has intercepted an unclassified State Department memo surrounding an American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) inquiry into this month's firing and resignation of two of the country's top diplomats in a scandal over a missing laptop computer.

Assistant Secretary of State J. Stapleton Roy, former ambassador to China and Indonesia, resigned his post in protest earlier this month after Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright fired his top aide, Donal Keyser, after the loss of a laptop that held top-secret files on foreign nuclear capabilities.

In the unclassified document, AFSA is critical of a number of recent State Department actions "or inactions" and objects strongly to Mrs. Albright's decision to bar unescorted Foreign Service retirees from headquarters, yet allow John Q. Public freedom to roam, so long as he's pushing a broom or carrying a tray of hors d'oeuvres.

"How can the department exclude retired personnel, who have worked with classified material most of their lives, and continue to provide unescorted access to contract, cleaning, and catering personnel who have no clearances?" AFSA asks.

AFSA also wonders "what steps, beyond paper ones," the department plans to take to improve security management at State, including a proposal to divide headquarters into "classified" and "unclassified" floors.

Political prostitution

There is further outcry over the Rev. Jesse Jackson's prediction of a "civil rights explosion" in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of President-elect George W. Bush.

Roy Innis, national chairman of Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), says Mr. Jackson's comment "is not only specious, but is contemptuous of black people's history.

"Jackson's recent ravings amount to the political prostitution of black people's history of struggle," says Mr. Innis. "Jackson does this not in the interest of black people, but for partisan political gain."

Mr. Innis is calling on Vice President Al Gore to tell Mr. Jackson during one of their periodic phone calls to "cut out the racial demagoguery."

Evolution of Andrew

One more thing on that controversial $750,000 glossy book issued by House and Urban Development Secretary Andrew M. Cuomo, titled "A Vision for Change: The Story of HUD's Transformation."

"I have also been told by HUD staff that the report was nine months in the making," observes one Capitol Hill source, "the same gestation of a human."

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