- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 22, 2000

A hug for McCain

Nobody's ever questioned John McCain's toughness. Anyone who could stand up to the Vietnamese thugs in Hanoi is as tough as barbed wire.
But David Pryor, the former Democratic senator from Arkansas who is not necessarily as tough as barbed wire, thinks Mr. McCain is, well, a teddy bear. He gave a warm and cuddly assessment of him the other day at a political science seminar in Arkansas.
He was on the Senate Ethics Committee when it investigated Mr. McCain's role in the Keating Five savings and loan scandal, and says the Arizona senator avoided him for years afterward, apparently believing that he had helped prolong the investigation.
Once, Mr. Pryor said, when he got on an elevator, Mr. McCain got off. But on Mr. Pryor's last night in the Senate, as he was cleaning out his desk, Mr. McCain dropped by his office, apologized for mistreating him and asked for "a hug of forgiveness."
"That moment has meant a lot," Mr. Pryor told the Arkansas Democrat Gazette in Little Rock. He questions whether Mr. McCain has the temperament to be president, but says the Arizonan is "a tough man."
Says Mr. Pryor: "I have a warm feeling about him."

Never an issue

In the "how times have changed" category, the Game Show Network early yesterday morning telecast a 1964 rerun of a show in which a celebrity panel tries to guess the secret of a featured guest.
In this particular show, a middle-aged Mexican-American gentleman revealed that his secret occurred in 1929, when he was a 12-year-old pupil in the small south Texas town of Cotulla. The teacher had left the classroom for a moment, so the boy decided he'd stand up and entertain his classmates by performing various skits. And who should stroll back in to catch him in the act but the teacher.
Forced to leave college the previous year because he ran out of money, the young teacher promptly took the pupil by the hand and led him down a hallway and into a private office. And there, the proud, beaming man recalled for an equally impressed and amused panel, President-to-be Lyndon Baines Johnson bent him over his knee and delivered a good old-fashioned spanking.

Churchill lobby

Currently driving across country from Washington, D.C., to San Diego are Ron Nehring, director of national campaigns for Americans for Tax Reform, and Emily McGee, director of media relations for the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Yesterday, Mr. Nehring wrote to Inside the Beltway on his computer laptop as the couple proceeded past mile marker 160 on Interstate 20 in eastern Louisiana.
"In the course of our trek, we've discovered a natural constituency that the Republican presidential candidates may have overlooked: truckers," Mr. Nehring reports.
As the two stood "looking enormously out of place at the truck stop lunch counter in Tallulah, La., one trucker finally turned to us and asked 'What do y'all do?' Once I mentioned I worked for Americans for Tax Reform in Washington, the whole counter decided it was time to let 'somebody in Washington' know just what they were thinking."
The two Washingtonians sat and listened as "every trucker at the counter echoed some conservative theme: taxes are too high, fuel taxes in particular are too high, the railroad lobbyists in Washington want to put truckers out of business, and so on. One trucker even paraphrased Winston Churchill, informing us that 'government cannot give us anything that it has not already taken away.'
"Maybe it's time the Republican presidential candidates started putting a few truck stops into their campaign schedules," Mr. Nehring wrote.

Seat of Democracy

Texas Gov. George W. Bush doesn't arrive to campaign in Virginia in advance of its primary until later this week. Arizona Sen. John McCain will follow closely on his opponent's heels, if he doesn't get to the Old Dominion first.
And while neither of the leading Republican presidential candidates was here to walk in yesterday's annual George Washington's Birthday Parade in historic Alexandria, Va., both campaigns were very well represented.
Mr. Bush had a bus drive the parade route through the quaint Old Town streets, while Mr. McCain's look-alike sibling sat atop the back seat of a shiny red convertible, the placard on the side simply reading, "John's Brother."
Both presidential candidates know Alexandria well. Mr. McCain and his wife lived in the old seaport city along the banks of the Potomac River for years, and he has his national campaign headquartered, as luck would have it, on the same street as yesterday's parade route. Mr. Bush is another frequent visitor to Alexandria, and his younger brother Marvin is one of the city's longtime residents.
Still, this city that George Washington and Robert E. Lee both called home is a Democratic stronghold and therefore leans to Vice President Al Gore. It doesn't hurt that wife Tipper grew up here as well.

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