- The Washington Times - Friday, May 19, 2000

Police harassed

Members of the Albany Police Department Honor Guard were taunted and spat on as they carried the American flag at the New York state Democratic convention where first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton was nominated for a U.S. Senate seat Tuesday, the Albany Times Union reports.

The five-member honor guard told authorities that some people in the crowd of 11,500 Democratic supporters called them "Nazis" and "members of [New York City Mayor Rudolph] Giuliani's Third Reich." The harassment took place as the officers entered the arena around 5:45 p.m. in front of the Albany Police Department Pipes & Bags band, reporter Brendan Lyons said.

Members of the honor guard were in full-dress uniform and carrying the American flag, Detective Thomas McGraw, president of the Albany Police Officers Union, told the newspaper.

"We are very upset," Mr. McGraw said.

The incident took place on the floor of the arena, where only delegates carrying passes were allowed access, officials said.

'Fellow traveler'

Reform Party presidential hopeful Pat Buchanan Thursday criticized Texas Gov. George W. Bush for supporting permanent normal trade relations with China, calling the Republican "a Clintonite fellow traveler."

"Mr. Bush endorsed a Clinton trade policy that has given Beijing $300 billion in trade surpluses since 1993, money Beijing has used for the military buildup that now threatens Taiwan and the U.S. 7th Fleet," Mr. Buchanan said in a prepared statement.

Mr. Buchanan also condemned the presumed Republican presidential nominee for opposing a bipartisan effort to set a date for withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Balkans.

Brother vs. brother

Vice President Al Gore's campaign is trying to pit brother against brother in the debate over Social Security, circulating a column in which Florida Gov. Jeb Bush warns against letting all of the state's pension funds ride on the stock market.

Mr. Bush wrote in the April 18 Tallahassee Democrat of his concern that state workers' retirement money was at risk because stock market losses had caused the Florida Retirement Fund to lose about $8 billion in a week $4 billion in one day.

The Florida governor argued it would be prudent to take the pension surplus "and place it in a reserve that is not affected by changes in the market" in order to "cushion future volatility" and assure long-term stability in the retirement program.

Gore spokesman Chris Lehane seized on the column as evidence of the folly of brother Texas Gov. George W. Bush's latest proposal, Associated Press writer Sandra Sobieraj reports.

Mr. Bush, the Texas governor and presumed Republican presidential nominee, wants to let Americans divert some of their Social Security payroll taxes and invest them in stocks.

Jeb Bush spokesman Justin Sayfie said his boss, in fact, has no concern about state investments in the market.

"Here in Florida, we have a pension fund that, because it's invested in the market, now has a surplus, and the 800,000 people in the system are going to reap the benefits."

Voiceless in Philly?

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, will be in Montpelier, Vt., Saturday to try to salvage his ability to influence the party platform to be adopted at the Republican National Convention this summer.

The Vermont Republican State Convention meets that day to elect the 12 delegates and 12 alternates who will represent the state at the party's national convention in Philadelphia.

Mr. McCain won that state's winner-take-all primary in March, 65 percent to 35 percent, but it now appears that party regulars and supporters of Texas Gov. George W. Bush will win the majority of delegate seats.

Under party rules, someone can only raise matters on the floor of the national convention if the majorities of six state delegations support the move. Vermont was one of the seven states Mr. McCain won during his failed presidential campaign. As of last weekend, after the seizure of Michigan's delegation by Bush forces, he controls only five.

"If Vermont slips away, his chances of making noise in Philadelphia are lost, too," a McCain press release said.

Public feud

Less than 12 hours after first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton received her coronation as the Democratic candidate for a U.S. Senate seat from New York, two of her key party supporters began a public feud that could divide the party.

Assembly Majority Leader Michael J. Bragman moved to oust Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and take his job. Mr. Bragman introduced a resolution to allow a Monday vote to remove Mr. Silver in midterm.

What it could mean, insiders say, is that Mrs. Clinton will have to choose sides. Mr. Silver, said one state Republican Party member, has some influence among Jewish voters, which Mrs. Clinton has both estranged and courted.

"But Mr. Bragman is backed in his effort by [state Comptroller] Carl McCall, who carries the black vote," the source said.

Mr. McCall is the first black to be elected to statewide office and has been wildly popular with voters.

The state Democratic Party had no official comment on the coup attempt, but spokesman Peter Kaufmann said "the party is united. You saw 11,500 people gather in Pepsi Arena. We're unified."

New staff

Texas Gov. George W. Bush's presidential campaign, getting ready for the general election battle, is expanding its senior staff including the hiring of a new deputy to chief strategist Karl Rove who started work Wednesday.

Chris Hennick, most recently a lobbyist with former Republican National Committee Chairman Haley Barbour's firm and a former political operative for both the RNC and the Republican Governors Association, joined the campaign as Mr. Rove's deputy.

Mr. Bush has bolstered his staff with several new senior aides in recent weeks.

Tony Feather, a Missouri political telemarketing consultant, recently joined the campaign as political director. John Bridgeland, a former aide to Rep. Rob Portman of Ohio, is the new deputy policy director.

A former aide to President Bush, Joe Hagin, is deputy campaign manager for operations and scheduling, working directly under campaign manager Joe Allbaugh.

Two new spokesmen also have come on board.

Tucker Eskew, communications director for Carroll Campbell when he was governor of South Carolina, will be senior communications adviser and regional press director. Ray Sullivan, a new deputy press secretary, has campaign experience in California and Ohio, and worked in Mr. Bush's gubernatorial office in Austin, Texas.

Matthew Dowd, who worked for Maverick Media, which produced Mr. Bush's early campaign ads, also has joined the operation as director of polling and media planning.

Mack's challenge

In response to President Clinton's announcement Wednesday to expand anti-terrorism measures, Sen. Connie Mack, Florida Republican, Thursday urged Mr. Clinton to do more for the victims of terrorism.

"If the president is serious about combating terrorism, he must first stand with American victims and make terrorist nations pay a price for harming or killing Americans," Mr. Mack said.

"Over the past several years, the president has pledged to fight terrorism, made promises to victims' families, encouraged them to seek justice and signed several laws supporting the rights of victims to take terrorists to court. But his actions have only protected terrorists' assets and denied legal rights of American citizens seeking justice."

The Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, sponsored by Mr. Mack and Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, New Jersey Democrat, would free frozen assets to satisfy U.S. court judgments in terrorism cases.

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