- The Washington Times - Monday, March 13, 2000

No McCain bloc

"For Al Gore and George W. Bush, the McCain vote has become the holy grail of the presidential race, the swing vote each man thinks he needs to put him over the top.
"But this line of reasoning has one big problem: There is no 'McCain vote' the exit data from the primaries show that John McCain's supporters are not the sort of portable voting bloc that can be won en masse," writes Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center for People and the Press.
"Across the country, McCain backers do not share values or care strongly about the same issues, and they are not drawn from a common demographic base," Mr. Kohut said in an op-ed piece in the New York Times.
He noted that, contrary to conventional wisdom, campaign-finance reform was not considered the foremost issue among those who voted for the Arizonan.
"… What stands out consistently about the McCain bloc is that it was drawn to all of the things the senator personally represents. Nearly half of the McCain voters in New York said they were looking for a candidate who stands up for what he believes a view shared by just 26 percent of the Bush crowd. Similarly, in just about every exit poll, the McCain backers put more emphasis than other voters on a candidate's personal qualities, as opposed to his stand on issues."
Mr. Kohut concluded: "There is no reason to think that embracing any of John McCain's positions will do much for either candidate. Nor is it certain that his endorsement would help Mr. Bush all that much. In the end, John McCain was a candidate, not a cause."

Dole lauds McCain

John McCain has acquired a potent national following and will return to the Senate more powerful than when he left to challenge George W. Bush for the party's presidential nomination, former majority leader and 1996 Republican nominee Bob Dole said yesterday on CBS' "Face the Nation."
"I see a different John McCain coming back to the Senate," Mr. Dole said.
"Suddenly, he's this national leader, this national figure, very well known," Mr. Dole said of the Arizona senator. "Every time he speaks, there'll be a lot of people around the country listening."
That constituency makes Mr. McCain prime material for the No. 2 spot on the Republican ticket, voluntarily or not, according to Mr. Dole. But first, Mr. McCain and Mr. Bush must soothe the bitterness left over from their nomination fight, which ended last week when Mr. McCain suspended his campaign.
"I think right now it looks good" for a Bush-McCain ticket, said Mr. Dole, who spoke with Mr. McCain late last week. "It depends on what happens with Governor Bush and John McCain, their personal relationship, what their both willing to do… . They'd be a great ticket."

Another Gore whopper

Once again, Internet inventor and Tennessee plowboy Al Gore stands accused of telling a whopper this time by the Rev. Jerry Falwell.
"Vice President Al Gore, in his [Los Angeles] Times/CNN debate with Senator Bradley, told of an alleged private meeting between Governor Bush, Pat Robertson and me, from which Pat and I emerged telling the governor we were pleased with what we had heard," Mr. Falwell wrote in his Friday "Falwell Confidential" e-mail bulletin.
"However, I can assure you that no such meeting ever occurred just as Mr. Gore did not invent the Internet, nor was 'Love Story' based on his and Tipper's relationship," Mr. Falwell said. "By fabricating this false story in a national forum, Gore sent a clear signal that religious conservatives will be under a focused and dangerous siege until at least Nov. 7."
In the same bulletin, Mr. Falwell announced that he is launching a new effort, called "People of Faith 2000," which he described as "a seven-month campaign, ending Nov. 7 … to energize, inform and mobilize the 70 million religious conservatives."

Hillary meets Rudy

First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton passed another initiation rite in her adopted state, laughing throughout a spoof on New York politics that made a lot of jokes some of them crude at her expense.
Her Republican Senate rival, New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, was also roasted at the annual event in New York City staged by political reporters, but he nearly stole the show with his own scripted performance in full drag blond wig, dress and makeup, the Associated Press reports.
Saturday night's event was the first time the mayor and first lady had met face-to-face since she began campaigning here more than a year ago.
They shook hands and exchanged pleasantries when she entered the room at the New York Hilton, but when she walked away, he turned to reporters and said: "I'm very, very encouraged that we are drawing a lot of out-of-towners to this performance."
During intermission, they bumped into each other backstage as they greeted the cast.
"I hear you're the star," Mrs. Clinton told the mayor.
"We're gonna see. We're gonna see," he replied.
"I can't wait to see it," she said.
The annual show is renowned for its rollicking tastelessness.

First Internet vote

Vice President Al Gore defeated former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley by a nearly 4-to-1 margin in the Arizona Democratic primary Saturday, the nation's first binding election for public office using the Internet.
The voting was spread out across most of last week. From Tuesday through Friday, participants could cast their ballots by mail or from any computer where they could log onto the Internet, as long as they had obtained a personal identification number.
Voters who waited until primary day had to go to a polling place to use a traditional paper ballot or, in most locations, a computer.
The primary drew some 78,000 ballots, doubling the previous record for turnout since the state party switched from a nominating convention to a primary in 1984.
Just over half of the participants voted electronically.

Too close to call

An ABC News-Washington Post poll released Saturday night had Vice President Al Gore at 48 percent and Texas Gov. George W. Bush at 45 percent. A Newsweek poll released Saturday had Mr. Bush at 47 percent and Mr. Gore at 44 percent, a difference also within the poll's error margin.
The ABC-Post poll was taken Thursday through Saturday of 1,218 Americans and 999 registered voters and has an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points for each sample. The Newsweek poll was taken Thursday and Friday of 803 adults and 603 registered voters and had an error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points for each sample.

Actor seeks seat

He's played Tim Taylor's boss on "Home Improvement" and countless other characters in a three-decade TV and movie career that hit its peak with his seven-year run as barkeep C.D. Parker on "Walker, Texas Ranger."
Now Noble Willingham wants to hang up his acting spurs and follow the career path of a late friend, entertainer-turned-congressman Sonny Bono, to Capitol Hill.
The 68-year-old actor is vying for the Republican nomination in Texas' March 14 primary to take on two-term Democratic Rep. Max Sandlin in the fall.
Mr. Willingham is on sabbatical from the CBS show, where his character is said to have gone off on a long trip. The actor says he is not coming back, win or lose, but series star Chuck Norris has said Mr. Willingham would be welcome to return.
If Mr. Willingham and Mr. Sandlin get past their primary opponents next Tuesday, as expected, their matchup in East Texas in the general election will rank among the more lively of Texas' 30 House contests only a few of which are expected to be competitive, the Associated Press reports.

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