- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 17, 2000

Risky scheme?

At the same time that Vice President Al Gore was criticizing George W. Bush's plan to allow people to invest a small portion of their Social Security payments in the stock market, the two Democratic candidates for a U.S. Senate seat from New Jersey were debating the same subject.

On Monday, former Gov. Jim Florio accused Jon S. Corzine "of undermining the Social Security system by backing a plan to invest part of the trust fund in the stock market," the New York Times reports. "Mr. Corzine said his plan was financially sound and had the backing of President Clinton and his former treasury secretary, Robert Rubin, Mr. Corzine's mentor at Goldman Sachs."

The newspaper did not detail Mr. Corzine's Social Security plan, but Mr. Clinton has proposed that the government, not individuals, do the investing.

Kennedy avoids charge

Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy won't face any charges stemming from his encounter with a Los Angeles airport security guard, the city attorney's spokesman said yesterday.

"The matter was satisfactorily resolved at hearing and we will take no further action," said Mike Qualls, spokesman for City Attorney James Hahn. "As far as the criminal justice system is concerned, this is closed."

The Rhode Island Democrat had been accused of battery by Los Angeles International Airport security guard Della Patton, 58. She said Mr. Kennedy shoved and grabbed her on March 26 after she told him his bag was too big to fit through an X-ray scanner.

Mr. Kennedy, 32, the son of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, expressed his "regret that I acted rudely," but denied hurting the woman.

After an investigation by police, the case went to the city attorney's office, which called Mr. Kennedy and Miss Patton to a hearing last week. Such hearings typically resolve such cases without charges being filed, the Associated Press reports.

At their hearing, Mr. Kennedy and Miss Patton viewed a surveillance videotape of the incident that police have said showed physical contact between the two. Both sides said the tape bolsters their description of the incident.

Mr. Qualls said the city attorney's office will not release the videotape.

Mr. Kennedy, as head of the campaign arm of House Democrats, recently made other news when he filed a lawsuit accusing Rep. Tom DeLay, Texas Republican and party whip, of "racketeering" in raising and distributing campaign funds.

Another poll

Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush has widened his lead to eight percentage points over his Democratic rival, Vice President Al Gore, the New York Times/CBS News poll showed yesterday.

The poll showed the Texas governor leading, 47 percent to 39 percent. One month ago voters were more closely divided, with 43 percent favoring Mr. Bush and 41 percent for Mr. Gore.

Mr. Bush held a wide advantage among men, 50 percent to 36 percent; among women, Mr. Bush held a lead of 44 percent to 42 percent.

The New York Times/CBS News poll was conducted May 10 to 13 among a nationwide random sample of 947 adults interviewed by telephone. The margin of error was three percentage points.

Campaign rally

"So in the end, the Million Mom March turned out to be little more than a superhyped Democratic Party campaign rally," the New York Post says.

"Gee what a surprise.

• "Bill and Hillary Clinton hosted the organizers at the White House.

• "Mrs. Clinton and Tipper Gore campaigned personally among the obviously sympathetic crowd.

• "Speakers repeatedly praised both the president and the vice president and castigated the GOP.

"Doesn't sound very nonpartisan to us," the newspaper said in an editorial.

"But then, from the beginning everything about the event has been misrepresented by its organizers, with the help of a gullible and sympathetic media."

Vote of conscience

"As a footnote to the historic African free-trade bill, we'd like to point out for the record that two of the mere 19 Senate votes against it were cast last week by Jesse Helms and Teddy Kennedy," the Wall Street Journal says.

"Mr. Helms is a lifelong North Carolina protectionist, so he's at least consistent. But Ted Kennedy claims to bleed for the poor and to be a friend of Africa except apparently when the prosperity of Africans conflicts with the AFL-CIO's," the newspaper said in an editorial.

"No doubt the senator's admirers will understand this had to be a vote of conscience."

Powell, Bush to meet

Retired Gen. Colin Powell will visit Austin, Texas, late this month for a meeting and political event with presumptive Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush.

Although the meeting is still in the planning stages, Mr. Powell is scheduled to have a private visit on May 25 with Mr. Bush, and the Texas governor is to sign a proclamation in support of Mr. Powell's group, America's Promise, the Alliance for Youth, the Associated Press reports. The proclamation previously has been signed by Govs. Jeb Bush of Florida and Jim Hunt of North Carolina.

Mr. Powell, a Republican, has not endorsed a candidate in the 2000 presidential race.

Mr. Powell has said he has no interest in being vice president, but has not ruled out a Cabinet position such as secretary of state.

Homogenous complaint

A group called the Violence Policy Center yesterday accused National Rifle Association Vice President Wayne LaPierre of racism for using the word "homogenization."

The group, in a press release yesterday, said Mr. LaPierre "has once again demonstrated the core values of the NRA's leadership: hypocrisy and racism" by a sentence he used in a recent column for the American Rifleman: "There are many politicians willing to sacrifice the Second Amendment as the first step in the homogenization of American culture."

Mr. LaPierre, in an appearance Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation," denied that the statement had any racial overtones.

The NRA "has a proud relationship with the African-American community," Mr. LaPierre said.

Mayor finally chosen

Two weeks after Anchorage voters cast their ballot in a runoff election, officials determined Monday that Republican George Wuerch had won a narrow victory to become the next mayor of Alaska's largest city.

The vote in the May 2 runoff election was so close that it turned on 5,000 absentee and questioned ballots. Election officials counted those votes Monday and said Mr. Wuerch had narrowly edged out Democrat Mark Begich, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Wuerch received 51.8 percent of the votes cast in the May 2 runoff election, while Mr. Begich captured 48.2 percent, the municipal clerk's office said.

Mr. Begich, 38, a three-time member of the Anchorage Assembly and son of the late U.S. Rep. Nick Begich, and Mr. Wuerch, 64, a former manager at Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. and a current assembly member, were the top two among 10 mayoral candidates in the April 4 election.

Mr. Wuerch will take office on July 1, succeeding Mayor Rick Mystrom, also a Republican. Mr. Mystrom had served two terms and could not run for re-election, under Anchorage's municipal charter.

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