- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 15, 2000

Clinton's tactics

"Whether the president does or does not use gun violence as a tool for moving his political agenda is difficult to answer, depending on the definition of 'tool,' 'political,' and 'agenda.' But there's no question that Clinton has given guns a higher profile than most other stated administration priorities lately, and the White House Internet Web site proves it," Scott Hogenson, executive editor of the Conservative News Service (CNSNews.com), says in a commentary.
"A simple search of the White House 'Virtual Library' using its built-in search engine shows that between January 1, 1999, and March 14, 2000, Clinton used his weekly radio addresses to plug his anti-gun message more than he used it to promote schools or education, Social Security, Medicare, the environment or peace," Mr. Hogenson said.
"During the past 63 weeks, Bill Clinton delivered 14 Saturday radio addresses in which the key search-word 'guns' was used. Of those 14 speeches, 11 focused specifically on guns, violence or crime.
"By comparison, the president delivered only 10 addresses that specifically spoke to 'school' and 'education.' Punch in the keyword 'Medicare' and 19 radio addresses pop up, with six focusing on Medicare, its recipients and medical treatment.
"A dozen radio addresses included the keyword 'environment,' five of which focused on environmental issues. The keywords 'Social Security' return 15 results, but only three of those speeches focused on Social Security, Medicare or the future of America's elderly.
"The keyword 'peace' showed up in 12 radio addresses during the past 15 months, according to the White House Internet search engine of radio addresses."
Noting that half of Mr. Clinton's radio addresses on guns were tied to gun-related tragedies in the news, Mr. Hogenson added: "Is Clinton 'willing to accept a certain level of killing' to further his political agenda? That's up to the individual. But it's indisputable that he uses a certain level of killing to score his political points in his radio addresses."

Insurance policy

"With a close battle shaping up for control of the House, more and more companies are hedging their bets with large 'soft money' contributions to Democrats," the Wall Street Journal reports, citing new Federal Election Commission records.
"Corporate lobbyists, who want access and influence regardless of who wins this November, call it self-preservation," said reporter Jim VandeHei.
"Much of the increase in business giving to Democrats reflects an aggressive push by House Democratic leader Richard Gephardt of Missouri. In exchange for Mr. Gephardt's promise of a more business-friendly Democratic Party, dozens of companies have sharply increased their soft-money contributions to House Democrats and purchased an insurance policy in case Republicans lose their fragile, six-seat majority this fall."

Gore an 8-5 favorite

Odds-maker Jackie Dell has made Vice President Al Gore an 8 to 5 favorite to be the next president of the United States, the Las Vegas Sun reports.
Mr. Dell has made Texas Gov. George W. Bush, the likely Republican nominee, a 5 to 7 underdog. This year, Mr. Dell who has set odds on Las Vegas political campaigns and presidential races for the Las Vegas Sun for the past decade is celebrating his 50th anniversary as a sports handicapper.
This means a gambler betting on Mr. Gore would have to wager $800 to win $500. A $500 bet on Mr. Bush would win $700.
It is illegal to bet on political races in Nevada. Mr. Dell's lines are for entertainment purposes only.
At this point, Mr. Bush may be the better bet because he is an underdog who has a good price and a good chance to win, Mr. Dell said.
"Personally, I think Gore will win because the economy is the best it has been in a long time, and people will stick with the Democrats," Mr. Dell said. "But it's early, and anything can happen. I believe you have to go with the candidate who you think will carry California, New York and Ohio. I believe Gore will win those key states."

Ventura and McCain

Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura said yesterday that Sen. John McCain assured him he wouldn't leave the GOP to run for president as an independent, which some Reform Party members are urging him to do.

Mr. Ventura, who won election as a member of the Reform Party but has since quit the party, said he wasn't trying to persuade Mr. McCain to run outside the Republican Party.

"That's totally the senator's business," Mr. Ventura said, adding, "He'd make it interesting."

Mr. Ventura said he spoke with Mr. McCain more than a week ago. On Thursday, Mr. McCain suspended his campaign for the Republican nomination after widespread losses to Texas Gov. George W. Bush on Super Tuesday. At the time, Mr. McCain ruled out bolting the GOP to run as a third-party candidate.

McCain spokesman Dan McLagan said that the Arizona senator is on vacation all week, and that "there are no current plans for meeting with [Mr. Ventura.]" He declined to comment further.

Mr. Ventura's comments came a day after one of his advisers, Dean Barkley, told WCCO-TV in Minnesota that he was trying to set up a face-to-face meeting between Mr. Ventura and Mr. McCain to see if the Arizonan would consider an independent bid.

"That's the thing that I think John has to decide. Does he want to break from the Republican Party?" Mr. Barkley said Monday. "Does he really have the chutzpah to say: 'I can do what Teddy Roosevelt tried to do.' "

Mr. Roosevelt quit the Republican Party and ran unsuccessfully on the Bull Moose ticket in 1912.

Klink's strategy

Pennsylvania Rep. Ron Klink hopes to win the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate while mostly ignoring Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Mr. Klink, who hails from the Pittsburgh area, "has been broadcasting TV ads across most of Pennsylvania, but not in Philadelphia," reporter Tom Infield said.
Mr. Klink "is concentrating his resources in regions where he can expect the best returns most of all, his home turf in Western Pennsylvania."
A poll for KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh showed Mr. Klink with 8 percent support in the southeastern part of the state, but with 62 percent in the west, which could be enough to put him over the top in a crowded field.
"State Sen. Allyson Schwartz and Tom Foley, former state labor secretary, Klink's two main rivals, are both from the southeast. So are the three other Democrats in the field: lawyers Murray Levin, Phil Berg and Bob Rovner," the reporter said.
The winner of the April 4 primary will take on Republican incumbent Sen. Rick Santorum.

No bridges, please

Dick Morris, the former political consultant, does not think much of Al Gore's supposed plans to make campaign-finance reform a top issue against Texas Gov. George W. Bush, the probable Republican nominee.
"But, please, Mr. Vice President, don't ask us to swallow the idea that you are the epicenter of campaign-finance reform," Mr. Morris writes in the New York Post. "Choose an issue on which you have led, not one about which you have offended. Inoculate yourself against the damage your illegal activities have visited on your career by saying that you have mended your ways. But don't try to sell us the Brooklyn Bridge."

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