- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 18, 2000

Bradley's ghost

"Democratic discontent continues to register in uncontested primaries," writes Wall Street Journal editorialist John Fund.

Vice President Al Gore "is winning easily, but last week Bill Bradley won 27 percent of the vote in Nebraska, 19 percent in North Carolina and 18 percent in West Virginia," Mr. Fund observed.

In contrast, Arizona Sen. John McCain's percentages in those Republican primaries "were significantly lower," Mr. Fund said.

"Ambivalence about Mr. Gore also dominates survey results. The latest Los Angeles Times poll found Mr. Gore taking 79 percent of Democrats, while Mr. Bush nails down 91 percent of Republicans. The difference largely explains why Mr. Bush has led in all but a handful of this year's polls."

Gore readies ads

The Democratic National Committee is preparing to launch a multimillion dollar ad campaign designed to bolster Vice President Al Gore's presidential campaign by introducing his biography to Americans, the Associated Press reports.

The ad blitz, engineered by the vice president's political team, could begin as early as this month and end at the presidential convention this summer, costing upward of $10 million, according to Democratic officials in Washington who cautioned that the details were still being worked out.

One senior Democrat said the campaign would cost between $10 million and $20 million, though others said much of the money has yet to be raised and a budget has not been finalized. A late-May start up is possible, officials said, but June is more likely.

The officials spoke on the condition that they not be identified.

Republicans, meanwhile, are already accusing Mr. Gore of violating a pledge to forsake unregulated, unlimited expenditures in the presidential campaign.

Nancy backs Bush

Former first lady Nancy Reagan formally endorsed Republican George W. Bush for president yesterday, saying he was doing a "fine job of carrying on Ronnie's legacy."

The wife of former President Ronald Reagan, a California Republican, gave her endorsement in a brief written statement issued by the Bush campaign, Reuters reports.

"I am proud to endorse George W. Bush for president. He is doing a fine job of carrying on Ronnie's legacy… . This is a candidate Ronnie would be proud of," Mrs. Reagan said in her statement.

What's the alternative?

A Libertarian candidate likely will be Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's strongest competition in November, the Associated Press reports.

The sole Republican still in the race, Jack E. Robinson, appears to be falling short of the 10,000 signatures needed to get on the ballot. Mr. Robinson said he filed 13,000 signatures, but by the end of Tuesday, only 9,066 had been certified.

The Libertarian candidate is Carla Howell, a 44-year-old health care consultant who wants to kill the federal income tax, abolish the Department of Education and counts marijuana smokers among her most ardent supporters.

Already, some Republican activists are giving Miss Howell a closer look, the wire service said.

"I would lean toward the Libertarian candidate and I think a lot of other Republicans would do the same," said state Rep. John Locke of Wellesley. "What's the alternative? Either vote for the sitting senator or blank the ballot."

Tape shows shove

A videotape of a confrontation between Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy and an airport security guard shows the congressman shoving the woman backward into the archway of a metal detector.

The incident was recorded by security cameras at the Los Angeles airport, and a tape was released yesterday by airport police after the city attorney's office decided Tuesday not to bring charges, the Associated Press reports.

The guard, Della Patton, 58, had filed a battery complaint against the 32-year-old Rhode Island Democrat.

Both sides had claimed the videotape would support their account of the March 26 incident.

The tape shows Mr. Kennedy trying to fit a large carry-on bag into an X-ray machine. Miss Patton waves at Kennedy, apparently indicating the bag won't fit.

She and Mr. Kennedy talk, and he steps over to the metal detector, which is blocked by Miss Patton. Mr. Kennedy raises his right hand to her left shoulder and pushes her back, jostling the detector archway.

Mr. Kennedy, the son of Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, has admitted acting rudely and apologized, but he denied hurting Miss Patton. He said the incident was blown out of proportion.

Miss Patton's lawyer has said he will probably seek a settlement and sue if those talks fail.

Vote by mail

Oregon voters conducting the nation's first vote-by-mail primary used the occasion to reject five out of six ballot measures, as well as choosing candidates for state and federal offices.

The landmark effort was intended to increase voter turnout in a state primary held too late to affect presidential nominations and one without a gubernatorial race this year. As expected, Al Gore and George W. Bush easily won their parties' endorsements.

The bigger story Tuesday was the use of all mail ballots for the first time in a regular primary election, the Associated Press reports.

Among the propositions defeated Tuesday were ones that would have allowed lawmakers to place limits on how much money people could receive in personal-injury lawsuits and a proposed nickel-a-gallon gasoline tax increase to pay for road repairs.

In a race to see who would face Democratic incumbent David Wu in Oregon's 1st Congressional District, state Sen. Charles Starr defeated former Lake Oswego Mayor Alice Schlenker 62 percent to 38 percent. Mr. Wu ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

The secretary of state's office estimated voter turnout at 47 percent, which would be the highest since the 1992 primary, which had a turnout of 49.1 percent.

Gore stockless

Missing out on maybe millions in Wall Street's bull market "is not the greatest thing in the world," Vice President Al Gore said with a touch of wistfulness Tuesday. "But for me, it was the right decision."

Mr. Gore was explaining his spokesman's surprising revelation a day earlier that the Democratic presidential candidate has no investments in the stock market.

"Twenty-four years ago when I ran for Congress, for good or ill I made the decision … in order to avoid even the appearance of any conflict of interest on the many subjects that would come up for a vote," Mr. Gore said at a news conference in New York.

However, a Gore family trust, now controlled by his mother, includes stock in the Occidental petroleum company.

Risky business

Vice President Al Gore has lobbed another firecracker at George W. Bush's plan to permit individuals to invest some of their Social Security payroll tax in the stock market.

In Mr. Gore's latest attack, he quoted the Texas governor's chief economic adviser as saying he had pulled his money out of the market because "I don't take any risks. I hate losing money."

Lawrence Lindsey made the comments to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

"I don't know if that's a conflict of interest or a conflict of opinion," Mr. Gore said Tuesday. "But if it's good for his private clients to take their money out of the stock market, why does he believe it's such a great idea to abandon the traditional design of Social Security and put those funds into the stock market?"

Mr. Lindsey, traveling with Mr. Bush as he campaigned for his idea, said he has an IRA as well as teacher and federal worker pension plans that are invested in the stock market.

"They are all plans very much like what the governor is proposing, and I'm still very much in favor of them," Mr. Lindsey said.

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