- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 22, 2000

Color coded?

The campaign of Arizona Sen. John McCain provoked an interesting cultural moment Sunday on a routine flight between stops in Michigan.
Campaign staff passed out a form asking for the usual identifying information from traveling press name, birth date, Social Security number, and a credit card number so the campaign could bill for expenses, The Washington Times' Sean Scully reports.
To the astonishment of reporters, the form also asked for "race," a blank most members of the press corps filled out with some variation of "white" or "Caucasian."
When a few reporters questioned the appropriateness of seeking this information, campaign staff sheepishly explained that they meant only to ask in which state the reporter was covering the Republican primary race.

Going negative

The presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain went a little negative yesterday in accusing rival Texas Gov. George W. Bush of engaging in, well, negative campaigning.
The press release, with a Lansing, Mich., dateline, accused the Bush campaign of engaging in push polls, negative mail pieces and false TV ads in Michigan, which holds its primary today.
The headline on the press release: "Bush Sleaze Campaign Moves North."

Junket champion

"There's new evidence that first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton would fit nicely into the Senate," Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.
"Turns out she's one heck of a junketeer. In fact, when it comes to commandeering Air Force jets for overseas trips, her hubby the most traveled president in history looks like an amateur," Mr. Bedard said.
"White House documents provided to Whispers show that Clinton has spent nearly one year of the administration out of the country 337 days to be exact. President Clinton has been gone 216 days. Her biggest international travel year: 1997, the year her husband and young intern Monica Lewinsky resumed their affair.
"Mrs. Clinton joined the president on many trips, but 24 of her 52 international journeys were solos. The numbers surprised even her own staff. 'Wow, really?' says one. In her travels, Mrs. Clinton has championed women's causes and promoted 'American values,' says an aide. Other details: Hillary has visited 82 countries, Bill 59. For now, Mrs. Clinton has pocketed her passport to campaign in New York for the Senate, a race in which her use of government jets to hopscotch the state has been questioned."

Campaign boomerang

First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign accused Republican rival Rudolph W. Giuliani yesterday of having "cornered the market on hypocrisy" after records showed his Senate campaign took money from a source he criticized the first lady for tapping.
A political action committee linked to Loral Space and Communications donated $750 in September to the New York City mayor's campaign committee.
After a reporter questioned the donation, Giuliani campaign spokeswoman Kim Serafin said the money would be returned, the Associated Press reports.
Earlier this month, the Giuliani campaign issued a news release complaining about "the Clinton campaign's funny-money machine" and "the re-emergence of the same cast of characters at the center of the worst finance abuses that marred the 1996 presidential campaign."
As evidence, the Giuliani camp cited $40,000 in donations to Mrs. Clinton's Senate campaign and related committees from Bernard Schwartz, chairman of Loral, and his wife.
Loral is under Justice Department investigation on suspicion of providing China with information that could make its nuclear missiles more reliable.
Mr. Schwartz has been one of the Democratic Party's biggest donors in recent years, but Mr. Giuliani has also benefited. In addition to uncovering the recent $750 donation from the Loral Spacecom Civic Responsibility Fund, the Clinton campaign also found that Mr. Giuliani's mayoral campaign committee received $750 from Mr. Schwartz in 1993.

Grams to run again

Minnesota Sen. Rod Grams, widely considered one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the Senate, announced his re-election bid yesterday at the small religious grade school he attended near Minneapolis.
The former TV anchorman said he is "uncomfortable tooting my own horn," but plans to campaign hard for a second term.
Mr. Grams was elected in 1994 with just under 50 percent of the vote, and his job-approval rating has been low, never exceeding 50 percent in annual polls by the Star Tribune newspaper of Minneapolis.

Lack of interest

"If it were a Broadway play, it might have closed after one night. But it's a political campaign, so the curtain on the first act waits until the March 7 primary for [California] Sen. Dianne Feinstein and three Republicans battling to challenge her in November," the Los Angeles Times reports.
"Still, as they have taken their shows on the road, through living rooms and banquet halls from Sacramento to San Juan Capistrano, the incumbent Democrat and her would-be opponents are confronted by an almost palpable disinterest," said reporters Greg Krikorian and Amy Pile.
" 'I understand. I really do,' an earnest Rep. Tom Campbell said last week, surveying 44 empty chairs set up for a Los Angeles news conference attended by a lone reporter.
" 'Maybe there is so much attention to the presidential race that it takes all the available focus away from other races,' said the Republican front-runner, who had called the meeting to unveil his TV ads."

Hunting for cash

"Can the House Democrats press for tougher gun restrictions during the week, and on weekends sell their prospective donors shooting trips with Commerce ranking member John Dingell?" Roll Call asks in a news story.
"Apparently so, if one Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fund-raising pitch to K Street is any indication," writes reporter Ethan Wallison.
"For a maximum contribution of hard dollars or even just $10,000 in soft money lobbyists and corporate heavyweights can become members of the DCCC's Chairmen's Council, which among other things brings invitations to skeet and trap shoots in the fall and spring, and a duck hunt on Maryland's Eastern Shore, held last month."

A liberal's lament

"The presidential primary season is entirely too confusing for this liberal Democrat," writes Boston Globe columnist Eileen McNamara. "Let me see if I've got this straight.
"We're voting for John McCain, not because we agree with anything he says (since almost everything he says is anathema to liberal Democrats), but because he makes us smile the way he says it. The man is just so, you know, authentic.
"We're writing off Bill Bradley, not because we disagree with anything he says (since almost everything he says is sacred to liberal Democrats), but because he makes us yawn the way he says it. The man is just so, you know, cerebral," the columnist said.
"We can't get in line fast enough in Massachusetts to take a Republican ballot on March 7 to vote for a man with whom we disagree on just about everything, except campaign-finance reform. Isn't it great to finally have a presidential campaign that makes no bones about elevating style over substance?"

City of Satan

Sen. John McCain, in declaring Sunday that "under no circumstances" would he accept the No. 2 spot on the Republican presidential ticket, jokingly referred to Washington as the "city of Satan."
"I'm very happy in Arizona. The only thing that would make me move my kids to the city of Satan," the Arizona Republican said, laughing, "is if I were "
At that point, Tim Russert, host of "Meet the Press" interrupted: "The city of Satan?"
"Yeah, it's hard doing the Lord's work in the city of Satan," Mr. McCain said, laughing again.

Democrats for Rudy

New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani got an unlikely endorsement Sunday in his Senate campaign against first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The Kings Highway Democratic Club, located in Brooklyn, gave its backing to the Republican mayor. Among those members of the club who took part in the endorsement ceremony with the mayor were state Sen. Carl Kruger and City Councilman Michael Nelson, both Democrats.

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