- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 13, 2000

Labeling Pataki

George Pataki, the Republican governor of New York, on Tuesday showed his budget for the fiscal year that begins in April. The reaction was telling.
The conservative New York Post used this headline for its editorial analyzing the $77 billion plan: "A Budget Democrats Love."
The liberal New York Times, on the other hand, put this headline on its budget editorial: "George Pataki, Centrist."

Betraying Democracy

Robert Reich, the former secretary of labor in the Clinton administration, says he is appalled by Bill Clinton's decision to resort to federal lawsuits after failing to get his way with Congress.
"If I had my way there would be laws restricting cigarettes and handguns," Mr. Reich writes in the Wall Street Journal. "But Congress won't even pass halfway measures. Cigarette companies have admitted they produce death sticks, yet Congress won't lift a finger to stub them out. Teen-age boys continue to shoot up high schools, yet Congress won't pass stricter gun controls. The politically potent cigarette and gun industries have got what they wanted: no action. Almost makes you lose faith in democracy, doesn't it?
"Apparently that's exactly what's happened to the Clinton administration. Fed up with trying to move legislation, the White House is launching lawsuits to succeed where legislation failed. The strategy may work, but at the cost of making our frail democracy even weaker."

Frist, Collins picked

Two of the Senate's newest, youngest and least-partisan Republicans have the high-profile task of giving their party's response after President Clinton's State of the Union address later this month.
Sens. Bill Frist of Tennessee and Susan Collins of Maine, both 47-year-old freshmen known for their nonconfrontational styles, will get a unique opportunity to portray the policies and image of the Republican Party after Clinton's Jan. 27 speech to Congress, the Associated Press reports.
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican, in selecting the two, emphasized their expertise in education and health care issues, two major legislative battlegrounds in this year's session.

A warning in Texas

The former executive director of the Texas Democratic Party, writing in a confidential memo, suggests that Vice President Al Gore would lose in a presidential race with Gov. George W. Bush and could drag down state Democrats with him, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
Harold Cook wrote in a Jan. 7 memo to fellow Democratic leaders that nominating former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley as the party's presidential candidate is in "the best interest" of Texas Democrats.
A copy of the memo was obtained by Star-Telegram reporter Jay Root.
Mr. Cook, now a private consultant and an unpaid Bradley volunteer, warned that Mr. Gore has been so tainted by his association with President Clinton that he "probably cannot defeat Bush nationally."

Bradley and Riley

An on-air interview with Education Secretary Richard Riley turned into a roundup of the Democratic presidential hopefuls' education proposals when Bill Bradley placed a surprise call to a Concord, N.H., radio station Tuesday.
Woody Woodland, host of WSMN-AM's "Between the Lines," was talking with Mr. Riley about the federal government's role in schools when he got the call.
"Mr. Secretary, we have an unusual call here," Mr. Woodland told Mr. Riley, who supports Vice President Al Gore. "It says on my screen here that this is Bill Bradley. I'm not going to guarantee that this is Bill Bradley. Caller?"
"Hey Woody, how are you doing?"
"Good. How are you? This doesn't sound like Bill Bradley."
"This is Bill Bradley."
"This is Bill Bradley?"
"Absolutely," Mr. Bradley said, laughing.
"Well, now it does sound like Bill Bradley," Mr. Woodland conceded.
Campaign officials said Mr. Bradley decided to call several New Hampshire radio stations Tuesday night while campaigning in Iowa.
They said he did not know Mr. Woodland was speaking with Mr. Riley at the time he called the station in Nashua.
Mr. Woodland asked Mr. Bradley to explain his education proposals and differentiate them from Mr. Gore's.
"The difference is we both believe there should be a strong federal role in education. I think I conceive of education though not only from K through 12, but beginning at birth and extending through every life stage," Mr. Bradley said.

Bush readies response

Responding to his rivals on two campaign fronts, George W. Bush is preparing to air new ads defending his commitment to Social Security and accusing Steve Forbes of running a negative campaign.
The ad involving Mr. Forbes is in response to a spot the conservative publisher is airing in Iowa and New Hampshire that accuses Mr. Bush of breaking a no-tax pledge during his term as Texas' governor. It is tentatively scheduled to air in Iowa this week, with the Bush campaign waiting to make sure Mr. Forbes' spot airs as widely as promised.
In a draft of Mr. Bush's ad, he promises to run a campaign free of "cynical and negative politics" and suggests, without mentioning his name, that Mr. Forbes has not done so. "My opponent has chosen to run a negative campaign," Mr. Bush says, according to an adviser who read from the draft.
Mr. Bush hopes to capitalize on lingering resentment some Iowa voters feel toward Mr. Forbes' 1996 critical ad campaign that hindered Bob Dole, the eventual GOP presidential nominee, the Associated Press reports.
A separate ad will soon run in New Hampshire to promote Mr. Bush's $483 billion, five-year, tax-cut plan, with Mr. Bush assuring voters he could cut taxes and protect Social Security.
Arizona Sen. John McCain, who is in a dead heat with Mr. Bush in New Hampshire, has accused Mr. Bush of proposing to spend too much on tax cuts and nothing to shore up Social Security.

A better Democrat

The Democratic presidential contest reflects "the Peggy Lee factor," writes USA Today political columnist Walter Shapiro.
"After seven years of Bill Clinton in the White House, many Democrats are asking, in the words of Lee's famous ballad, 'Is that all there is?' The lingering after effects of the Clinton scandals are part of it. But there also is a palpable hunger for a Democratic president who doesn't accommodate his views to the political winds," Mr. Shapiro said.
The columnist added: "You can see this motif in the Democratic contest. What are Gore and Bradley sparring over? Mostly, how to correct the most abject policy setback of this Democratic administration: the failure of its health-care plan in 1994. Both Bradley and Gore are, in essence, trying to appeal to [Iowa] caucus-goers and New Hampshire primary voters by promising to be a better Democrat than the president."

Bush widens lead

George W. Bush has edged ahead of Sen. John McCain in a New Hampshire tracking poll of the Republican presidential candidates and retains his commanding lead nationally in a new poll.
On the Democratic side, Vice President Al Gore has built on his national lead over Bill Bradley in the CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll, while the two competitors remain locked in a close race in New Hampshire.
The national poll has Mr. Bush at 63 percent and Mr. McCain at 18 percent.

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