- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 12, 2000

Watts backs Keating

Rep. J.C. Watts Jr. of Oklahoma, chairman of the House Republican Conference and co-chairman of the Republican National Convention, gave a plug yesterday for the vice presidential candidacy of his home state governor, Frank Keating.

"I think he'd be a good debater," Mr. Watts said. "He's pro-life, so that helps. He's probably much safer than a pro-choice candidate."

Mr. Watts, who consults frequently with likely Republican presidential nominee Gov. George W. Bush of Texas and his aides, said he is encouraging Mr. Bush "to select a pro-life candidate."

Among the other potential running mates Mr. Bush is said to be considering is Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, who is pro-choice.

Mr. Watts said the Bush campaign told him "early on" that geography would not be a factor in selecting a running mate. Oklahoma borders Texas.

"If that's not important to the decision-makers, I don't think [Mr. Bush] could find a better vice presidential candidate [than Mr. Keating]," Mr. Watts said.

Urban legend

"The Washington Post recycles a popular urban legend among reporters in its story [yesterday] on Bush's NAACP convention speech," John J. Miller and Ramesh Ponnuru write at National Review's Web site (www.nationalreview.com).

"Writers Terry M. Neal and Michael A. Fletcher remark that Bush, in his comments, refrained from 'explicitly acknowledging his party's failure to support much of the 1960s-era civil rights agenda.' Perhaps that's because there's no failure to acknowledge," Mr. Miller and Mr. Ponnuru said.

"In fact, Republicans in both the House and Senate were more likely than Democrats to favor, say, the 1964 Civil Rights Act. (In the Senate, Republican support was 82 percent, compared to 69 percent among Democrats; in the House, it was 80 percent and 63 percent, respectively.)

"Many conservatives voted against the legislation on federalist or libertarian grounds" while many Southern Democrats, such as Al Gore's father, also voted against it. "But the truth of the matter, contra Neal and Fletcher, is that Republicans did in fact support much of the 1960s-era civil rights agenda.

"So why is that Democrats never do the apologizing at NAACP conventions? Well, Bush himself essentially asked for the Post's rebuff, however erroneous it is, when he said that 'there's no escaping the reality that the party of Lincoln has not always carried the mantle of Lincoln.' It's not clear what this is supposed to mean.

"Republicans should get over thinking that they have to apologize for being Republicans whenever they appear before black audiences. In fact, it would be nice if they simply cited the 1964 vote totals and then segued, as Bush essentially did [Monday], into a discussion of the new civil rights battles not over hate-crimes laws, but making sure poor children can attend good schools.

Next up

Jim Nicholson, the Republican National Committee chairman, will address the NAACP national convention in Baltimore this morning. His subject will be "Education: The most important civil rights issue of the new millennium."

Stepping into a mess

A 1996 photograph of New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman frisking a black man during a drug sweep has sparked outrage from critics who say it is another example of racial profiling.

Mrs. Whitman has maintained her pat-down of the unidentified man while accompanying state police on a tour of Camden, the state's poorest city, was an attempt to understand the rigors of police work. Troopers had searched the man at least once during the sweep before offering him to the governor.

A photograph obtained by the Associated Press shows Mrs. Whitman, who appears to be smiling, standing behind a black man with his arms spread and his palms pressed up against a wall.

The photograph, taken by an officer, was subpoenaed in May by several black and Hispanic troopers who claim their superiors subjected them to discrimination.

Critics promised protests when Mrs. Whitman returns to Camden later this month for the opening ceremonies of the Republican National Convention, which will take place in nearby Philadelphia.

"She's just stepped in a mess," Camden City Councilman Ali Sloan-El said Monday.

Expensive ticket

Barbra Streisand will hold a $50,000-per-couple fund-raising concert for Vice President Al Gore, USA Today reports.

While arrangements are yet to be finalized, the newspaper said, Miss Streisand will hold the concert after Democrats officially nominate him as their party's presidential nominee on Aug. 17.

The show is to be held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, which also hosts the annual Academy Awards.

Muffin man

After Vice President Al Gore appeared yesterday on NBC's "Today," television's famously cantankerous "Judge Judy" was interviewed on the show, and she was not happy, the Associated Press reports.

Judge Judy whose real name is Judy Sheindlin complained that she had arrived at the studio hungry but Mr. Gore and his entourage had taken over the "green room" stocked with food and drinks for waiting guests.

Host Matt Lauer joked that perhaps she was too much of a security risk to share the room with Mr. Gore.

"I think that the vice president ought to get me a muffin. In fact, I think he should get me several muffins," said Judge Judy, indicating her vote might be on the line.

An apologetic Mr. Gore returned to the show's set with a tray overflowing with muffins, knelt down on one knee and offered her a muffin.

Daley says goodbye

"Flowery farewells are not my style," Commerce Secretary William M. Daley said yesterday, taking a break from the Gore campaign to say goodbye to thousands of department employees.

"I did want to get together not to say goodbye but to say thank you," said Mr. Daley, whose last day as the department's chief is Friday. "Thanks for all of the help you have given me these last 3 1/2 years."

Mr. Daley took over last month as chairman of Vice President Al Gore's presidential campaign.

"I have loved every minute of this job. I will miss all of you," an emotional Mr. Daley told Commerce employees packed into the department's cavernous lobby in the District of Columbia. He assumed the helm in January 1997.

Former Rep. Norman Mineta, California Democrat and an executive with Lockheed Martin Corp., has been tapped by President Clinton to succeed Mr. Daley as secretary of commerce.

Bush looking at Kasich

Ohio Rep. John R. Kasich has been approached by the Bush campaign in the search for a vice presidential running mate, a spokesman for the Ohio Republican said yesterday.

Mr. Kasich has been asked to provide background information to former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, who is heading George W. Bush's search, said the spokesman, Bruce Cuthbertson.

Separately, Mr. Kasich would not say what he told Mr. Cheney or whether he would take the No. 2 spot on the Republican ticket if it were offered.

"All I can say is that Dick Cheney asked me to get them some information," Mr. Kasich, 48, told the Columbus Dispatch. "I have been contacted. That is all I will say, period."

Mr. Kasich, the House Budget Committee chairman, was first elected to the House in 1982. He is not running for re-election.

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