- The Washington Times - Monday, June 26, 2000

All in the family

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, got laughs over the weekend on CNN's "Evans, Novak, Hunt & Shields" when asked to name the best vice presidential choice for Al Gore.

"Well, I'm very torn in this selection process … because I can't choose between Andrew Cuomo and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend," Mr. Kennedy told hosts Al Hunt and Robert Novak.

"And so, we're going to have a family convention on the Fourth of July at the Cape. Stay tuned, and I'll give you who the Kennedys are supporting," he promised.

Mr. Hunt said he can think of another member of the Kennedy family who is "far more experienced" than either Mr. Cuomo, the U.S. housing secretary, or Mrs. Townsend, Maryland's lieutenant governor.

Mr. Kennedy's niece, Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, is married to Mr. Cuomo. Mrs. Cuomo and Mrs. Townsend are both daughters of the late Robert F. Kennedy.

"In all seriousness, if Al Gore came to you and said, 'I really need you,' would you go on the ticket?" the liberal pundit asked Mr. Kennedy.

"No, no," Mr. Kennedy said, adding: "I enjoy the Senate, and I have every intention … of continuing in the Senate until I get the hang of it." Mr. Kennedy is finishing up his seventh term there.

'Wacky sour grapes'

Kentucky Gov. Paul E. Patton, a Democrat, says he is tired of seeing George W. Bush in his state.

"Enough already," Mr. Patton said recently after Mr. Bush raised $1.7 million for his presidential campaign and the GOP. Mr. Patton accused Mr. Bush of using "strong-arm tactics" to get money from voters.

"This is unprecedented for a presidential candidate to participate this way," said Mr. Patton, who wants to keep Republicans from maintaining their 20-18 majority in the Kentucky state Senate. "It just blows my mind."

Republican state Chairman Ellen Williams replied that Mr. Patton is suffering from "wacky sour grapes." Mr. Bush sent Mr. Patton a more pointed message, Cox News Service reports.

"I'm coming. Get used to it," Mr. Bush said. "I'm going to come to your state as many times as I feel like coming and win the vote."

Clinton's name-calling

President Clinton, in a campaign appearance Saturday, likened presumed Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush and Texas Republicans to fascists, the Associated Press reports.

"You don't see them passing out copies of the Texas Republican platform, do you?" Mr. Clinton said in a speech to California Democratic organizers, suggesting the GOP is less centrist than it appears.

Mr. Clinton said that when he was in Texas the week before, a friend described the platform to him this way: "It was so bad that you could get rid of every fascist tract in your library if you just had a copy of the Texas Republican platform."

Mr. Clinton did not identify the friend or what it was about the platform that he considered so bad, reporter Anne Gearan said.

But he added a note about Mr. Bush. "I noticed their leader didn't go to the [state party] convention and he didn't repudiate it," Mr. Clinton said.

The president, who has been making a point of saying there is no need for negative campaigning, appeared to catch himself right after his remarks about Mr. Bush and the platform, the wire service said.

"I say that in a good-natured way," he said. "I don't think we have to have negative campaigns, and I don't think we should."

The party, at its state convention earlier this month, came out against abortion and homosexual "marriage." It also called for elimination of high estate taxes and income-tax penalties for married couples, and for private investment of some Social Security money and keeping the U.S. military out of foreign countries that are not a direct threat to the United States.

Grudge match

It's Hinson vs. Hinson in divorce court and on the campaign trail in South Carolina.

State Rep. Shirley Hinson faces her estranged husband, Jimmy Hinson, tomorrow in a Republican primary runoff election for her seat. The couple's high-profile domestic discord which includes purported death threats, rumors of infidelity, jail time and a restraining order has pushed aside most other issues, reports Associated Press writer Bruce Smith.

"Without question, unequivocally, it's about revenge," says Shirley Hinson, 50, who has been married for 32 years and got into politics at her husband's urging.

She served on the local school board for eight years and for the past four years has been a state representative from Goose Creek, a bedroom community about 20 miles northwest of Charleston.

But in the June 13 primary, she got just 42 percent of the vote, pushing her into the runoff against her estranged husband, who got 32 percent. The rest went to a third-place candidate who has endorsed Jimmy Hinson.

The runoff winner gets the seat, because there is no Democratic opposition in November.

Priestly pressure

"A group of Catholic priests plans to put pro-abortion-rights candidates like New York Senate contender Rick Lazio on the hot seat," Richard J. Newman writes in U.S. News & World Report.

"An outfit called Priests for Life says it will lobby Catholic candidates and spend at least $250,000 on 'issue ads' urging compliance with the church's anti-abortion views. If they 'don't come around to the church's teaching,' says the Rev. Frank Pavone, head of the group, ads may take them on personally.

"Another target could be Tom Ridge, the pro-abortion-rights governor of Pennsylvania if he becomes George W. Bush's running mate."

Al Gore, C.S.A.

"In 1992, after receiving the vice-presidential nomination, Federal Election Commission records show that Gore gave $40 to a group known as the Confederate Memorial Committee," David Schuster of Fox News reported Thursday.

A Gore spokesman confirmed the donation, saying the candidate "was simply honoring a Southern tradition."

"The money to the Confederate group paid for a wreath honoring Southern soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery," Mr. Schuster reported.

"Forty dollars isn't much," Mr. Schuster noted, "but it was more than the $25 he gave to the Chattanooga chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People."

His Holiness

Ted Nugent heavy metal rocker and Michigan big-game hunter known as the "Motor City Madman" had the chance last week to comment on the Rev. Al Sharpton's presence at the Texas execution of convicted killer Gary Graham.

On the Fox News Channel's "Hannity & Colmes," the guitar legend and gun-rights activist said: "If Al Sharpton is a reverend, I'm the Dalai Lama with a Glock."

V.R.W.C. Department

Who was responsible for last week's news about a probe of Vice President Al Gore's 1996 campaign fund-raising? Top Justice Department prosecutor Robert Conrad? Attorney General Janet Reno?

No and no, say some Democrats.

It was the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy.

"Gore supporters … accused the GOP of orchestrating the leak about the recommendation on a day that rival candidate [Texas Gov.] George W. Bush was facing his own negative story, the scheduled execution of convicted murderer Gary Graham," reports Susan Page of USA Today.

"The untimely release of this information to a partisan opponent of the vice president is likely to make it very suspect in the minds of the American people," Sen. Robert G. Torricelli, New Jersey Democrat, told the Associated Press.

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