- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 24, 2000

Shouting respect

Hillary Rodham Clinton obviously remains upset over "insults" unleashed by Republican challenger Rep. Rick A. Lazio when announcing his candidacy over the weekend.
"Unfortunately, Congressman Lazio chose to open his campaign with a series of attacks on Hillary," complained yesterday's Hillary 2000 Campaign Update.
Said Mrs. Clinton: "I was a little disappointed … that my latest opponent has already started hurling insults instead of offering ideas about what we can do to improve the lives of New Yorkers… .
"Will it be a campaign of ideas and issues or a campaign of insults?"
Mrs. Clinton's press secretary, Howard Wolfson, was not only "shocked" by Mr. Lazio's campaign rhetoric, but went so far as to charge that the Republican congressman was "overwhelmed" by his "hatred for her."
Actually, rereading the Lazio transcript, one could argue that the GOP candidate paid Mrs. Clinton a compliment: "My opponent is a liberal and a proud one, and I respect her for that."

Hill hunk

Nobody paid much attention before, but Rep. Rick A. Lazio was named one of the 12 "manliest men" in Congress by a gaggle of lady lawmakers, chief among them former Rep. Susan Molinari, New York Republican.

In fact, as first reported by this column, Mr. Lazio was a poster boy in the glossy pin-up calendar: "Susan Molinari's Hunks of the House 1998."

Not surprisingly, there were only two Democrats among the dozen hunks: Gary A. Condit of California and Gene Taylor of Mississippi.

Thrifty banker

Much has been written in recent days about Rep. Rick A. Lazio's lack of campaign cash in this early stage of his Senate contest against Hillary Rodham Clinton. Yet if the past is any indication, the congressmen in six months' time will have plenty of money and then some to spare.
After the 1998 election, Mr. Lazio ranked in the top four among 435 congressmen with extra campaign "cash on hand." A member of the Banking and Financial Services Committee, the Long Island lawmaker managed to keep a surplus of $1.5 million after his re-election campaign.
The other top three campaign war chests: House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (almost $3 million), House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt, Missouri Democrat ($2 million), and Peter Deutsch, Florida Democrat ($1.4 million).

Vice president to you

So why is Vice President Al Gore, unlike prior presidential candidate Bob Dole, being allowed to deliver the commencement address this weekend at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point?
We pointed out yesterday that the West Point superintendent not only invited the former Senate majority leader to deliver the address, but also led a parade of 4,000 cadets. Mr. Dole was honored to accept.
Only the candidate's appearance got axed by the Pentagon, where spokesman Kenneth Bacon explained it was against regulations for the news media to accompany presidential candidates onto military bases.
As for Mr. Gore, it was explained to us yesterday that he is appearing at West Point solely in the capacity of vice president.

Indiana wants me

So why is Texas Gov. George W. Bush so excited about opening up a 21-point lead over Vice President Al Gore in Indiana?
Because in the previous two presidential elections, it was explained to us, Indiana was a far more competitive state, with Clinton-Gore losing only by 6.1 points in 1992 and 5.6 points in 1996.

Regulatory army

It wasn't an easy task, but somebody had to do it.
The Washington-based Americans for Tax Reform has determined that the federal government employs nearly 130,000 federal workers to issue and enforce federal regulations through more than 50 departments and agencies.
"This regulatory army costs taxpayers almost $20 billion per year," estimates the leading tax watchdog group.

His highness

"Hello, your excellency."
Or so remarked a reporter opening up the questioning at yesterday's press briefing by Commerce Secretary William M. Daley, immediately following his speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's World Economic Forum.
Mr. Daley, wearing a wide grin, acknowledged: "I like that."

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