- The Washington Times - Friday, February 4, 2000

Blumenthal's 'beating'

Sidney Blumenthal, the presidential aide who is suing Internet scribe Matt Drudge for erroneously reporting that he beat his wife, "took a beating of his own from Drudge's lawyer, Manuel Klausner" in a videotaped deposition taken more than a year ago, Capital Style reports in its February issue.
The attorney pressed Mr. Blumenthal and his wife, Jacqueline, on the development and distribution of "Dole is 96" bumper stickers during the last presidential election, the magazine said. At the time, Mr. Blumenthal was covering the campaign as a journalist.
"What did it mean, 'Dole is '96'?" Mr. Klausner asked.
"It meant he was old. He was … the oldest candidate ever to run for president," Mr. Blumenthal said.
Mr. Klausner: "How old was he at the time?"
Mr. Blumenthal: "In his late 70s."
Mr. Klausner: "By saying he was 96, do you think that cast him in a bad light in connection with the political campaign?"
Mr. Blumenthal: "It just meant he was old. It was a joke."
Mr. Klausner: "You were saying he was older than he really was, right?"
Mr. Blumenthal: "The year was 1996, and … 'Dole is 96' was the joke. It was a play on words."
Mrs. Blumenthal, in her deposition, denied that the bumper sticker was mean-spirited, saying that it reflected a campaign that featured "one generation versus another."

Bush backs off

Unhappy about handing Arizona Sen. John McCain a campaign issue, Texas Gov. George W. Bush signaled his New York supporters that their fight to keep Mr. McCain off primary ballots in more than one-third of the state's congressional districts has gone far enough, the Associated Press reports.
Karl Rove, one of Mr. Bush's top strategists, told backers in New York on Wednesday that the Texas governor would prefer his supporters not appeal if Mr. McCain wins his court challenge, said a Bush adviser, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Mr. McCain, who surprised Mr. Bush with a big victory in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, has repeatedly criticized Mr. Bush for not calling off the effort to block his access to ballots for the March 7 primary over technical flaws with petitions.
The controversy took another twist Wednesday, when Mr. Bush's name was also stricken from ballots in one district because fraudulent signatures were found on the petitions compiled by some people seeking to become Bush delegates.
Campaign spokeswoman Mindy Tucker confirmed that Mr. Rove discussed the McCain lawsuit in a telephone conversation with state party leaders on Wednesday. She said, however, any decision about an appeal is "not a decision for us to make."

A 'record record'

Good weather and hard-fought races produced a record number of votes for New Hampshire's primaries.
The numbers shocked Secretary of State William Gardner, even though he had predicted a record turnout, the Associated Press reports.
"Holy mackerel," he said as the total printed out on his adding machine. He punched in the numbers again to make sure, and they were the same.
In the Republican primary, 238,606 votes were cast for president; Mr. Gardner had predicted 191,000. In the Democratic primary, 154,639 votes were cast; Mr. Gardner had anticipated 60,000 votes.
"I said it would be a record, but this is a record record," he said.

Dear old dad

Former President George Bush's plans to address the Florida Legislature days before the state's presidential primary is an example of "political elitism" meant to benefit his son's candidacy, the state comptroller says.
Comptroller Robert Milligan, who is state chairman of Arizona Sen. John McCain's campaign, is angry that the former president was invited to address state lawmakers on March 9 five days before Texas Gov. George W. Bush competes against Mr. McCain in Florida's Republican primary.
"There is no occasion for such a speech at this time other than an effort to rub the former president's popularity in Florida off on his son just before the primary election," said Mr. Milligan, a retired three-star U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant general who admires Mr. McCain's military service.

Ohio in trouble

A change in the date of Ohio's presidential primaries has local election boards scrambling to find people to work the polls.
Many of the regulars who staff Ohio's polling stations are senior citizens who went south for the winter and don't plan to be back in time for the March 7 primary, the Associated Press reports.
"We've been asking members if they have friends and relatives who can work the election. What else can you do?" said Susan Strasser, elections director for Medina County. The county needs 600 people to work the election, and at least 50 regular poll workers will be away.
Ohio is holding its primary two weeks earlier than usual this year because it wanted to be more of a player in the presidential race.
Marilyn Jacobcik, director of Lorain County's board of elections, said it already was hard to find poll workers because the hours are long and the pay is limited by state law to $85.

Goode pays up

Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr. of Virginia, who left the Democratic Party last week and announced plans to run for re-election as an independent, has sent a $7,500 check to the Republican campaign committee as payment of dues, officials said Wednesday.
Mr. Goode later announced he would take a Republican seat on the House Appropriations Committee and support a Republican for speaker in the new Congress that convenes next year.
One Republican source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press that Mr. Goode is expected to endorse Texas Gov. George W. Bush for president in the near future. The Virginia Republican primary is Feb. 29.
Mr. Goode's spokesman had no comment.
Many Republican officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, have said they expect him to switch formally to the GOP sometime after the November elections.

Bush to skip event

When California Republicans meet this weekend in Sacramento to size up presidential candidates, there will be a very conspicuous absence: Texas Gov. George W. Bush, who is skipping the gathering for the third straight time.
Mr. Bush will be in Michigan when the convention opens Friday, and will spend most of the weekend resting in Texas after an 18-day sprint through Iowa and New Hampshire.
But while Mr. Bush's brother, Jeb Bush, the Florida governor, plans to speak on his behalf, Sen. John McCain will speak for himself in hope of generating momentum in the nation's largest state after his decisive win over Mr. Bush in the New Hampshire primary, the Associated Press reports.
Jon Fleischman, executive director of the state GOP, said he didn't take the Texas governor's absence as a snub.
"If nobody was speaking at our convention representing George W. Bush, the silence would be deafening," Mr. Fleischman said. "The fact that we have his brother there is huge."
But by missing the convention, Mr. Bush risks alienating the more than 1,500 Republican activists on hand, said Barbara O'Connor, director of the Institute for the Study of Politics and the Media at California State University in Sacramento.
Mr. McCain will mix with the party faithful and give a speech, as will Steve Forbes. Alan Keyes also plans to attend.

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