- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 4, 2000

Hillary's travels

The chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and the head of the subcommittee that oversees White House spending suggested yesterday that they might cut off funding for White House travel if the administration is not more forthcoming by May 30 about Hillary Rodham Clinton's flights on military aircraft.

Republicans have complained for months that Mrs. Clinton's campaign for a U.S. Senate seat from New York is being subsidized by the federal government.

Spokesmen for Mrs. Clinton say she must travel aboard government-owned aircraft for security reasons, and that she pays the rate demanded by law, even though that is far less than the actual cost to taxpayers.

"Effective May 1, 2000, the committee directs the White House to submit monthly reports on first lady travel no later than the 15th of each month. Each report shall account for all travel taken by the first lady for the preceding month," Rep. C.W. Bill Young, Florida Republican and chairman of the Appropriations Committee, and Rep. Jim Kolbe, Arizona Republican and chairman of the subcommittee on the Treasury, Postal Service and general government, wrote to presidential aide Mark Lindsay.

The committee released a report in March saying the first lady made 26 New York trips in the last seven months of 1999 at a total cost of $182,471.

The first lady's campaign was billed $36,685 based on the standard cost of first-class air fares for those trips, leaving taxpayers $145,786 short, the panel said. As of March 1, Mrs. Clinton had paid $32,878 of the amount she owed.

Anonymous veeps

Politicians who want to be the vice presidential nominee of their party know better than to campaign for the job, but that doesn't keep them from shooting off their mouths in anonymity.
"One big-name politician in Washington who is frequently mentioned as a possible vice presidential contender was eager in an interview to make the case for why he would be a fabulous choice. But he insisted that his name not be used," the New York Times reports.
" 'I don't want to be quoted,' he said conspiratorially. 'That would be a good way to get off the list.' Boasting about his selling points, he said of the [presumptive presidential] candidate, 'I won't say that I'm one of his good buddies, but I know him as well as anybody outside his close friends.'
"Another politician, a senator from a battleground state, was happy to offer reasons why the politician quoted in the previous paragraph would not be such a fabulous choice," reporter Richard L. Berke said.
" 'I don't think he brings anything to the campaign,' the senator said. Then he offered himself as a possibility, saying, 'I'm a tough campaigner.' Excusing himself for speaking anonymously, he said, 'It's important not to look too anxious.' "

Personality first

"What we seem to have here now is a race for student council president rather than president of the United States," Karyn Bowman, a polling analyst for the American Enterprise Institute, tells USA Today.
Democratic strategist Brian Lunde agrees: "It may come down to who we like more and who we trust most."
Another reason why the election may turn on personality rather than issues: Voters are unlikely to give Vice President Al Gore any credit for the booming economy.
"The economy has outgrown the politicians, and the public doesn't believe the president can control it anymore. This is 2000, not 1932," Mr. Lunde told reporter Richard Benedetto.

Hillary vs. Pat

Hillary Rodham Clinton unveiled the first TV commercial of her Senate campaign yesterday and also threw a jab back at conservative Pat Buchanan, who said she wasn't acting much like a lady.
The Clinton-Buchanan dispute started Saturday when the first lady told members of the New York wing of the Reform Party that she wouldn't run on their ticket if Mr. Buchanan was the party's presidential nominee.
Mr. Buchanan fired back yesterday, telling the New York Daily News: "I don't think that kind of inflammatory language comports with being a first lady."
He added: "I think the first lady ought to always try to be a lady even if she falls short. She certainly did in this case."
When asked about the comments, Mrs. Clinton said Mr. Buchanan "has a history of making prejudiced, anti-Semitic and intolerant comments."
"That's why I said last Saturday that I wouldn't run on a ballot with him. I took the position that anyone who wants to represent all of New York and all New Yorkers should be taking," she said while campaigning in Fort Edward, N.Y.
The comment was the closest Mrs. Clinton came to criticizing her Senate rival, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who has been critical of Mr. Buchanan but stopped short of refusing to share the party's ticket with him. Since the mayor announced last week he has prostate cancer, Mrs. Clinton has nearly eliminated criticism of him during her appearances, the Associated Press reports.
The first TV ad paid for by her campaign focuses on Mrs. Clinton's career as a lawyer and the causes she has worked for, including fighting child abuse and chairing the board of the Children's Defense Fund. It doesn't mention Mr. Giuliani or her husband.

Bush taps Card

Andrew Card, transportation secretary under President Bush, has been picked by George W. Bush to head his operations at this summer's Republican National Convention.
The decision to place Mr. Card in such a significant post marks the second time in two weeks that the campaign has reached back to the administration of Mr. Bush's father for someone to perform key tasks.
On April 25, the Texas governor and presumptive Republican presidential nominee picked former Defense Secretary Richard Cheney to head his vice presidential selection committee.
In an interview yesterday with Associated Press writer Glen Johnson, Mr. Card said: "Governor Bush and I are the same age, and I am a passionate supporter of Governor Bush's initiatives and his leadership, and that is independent of the tremendous and absolute respect I have for his dad."
Mr. Card currently works as head of government affairs for General Motors. He said he will take an unpaid "unambiguous temporary leave" from the automaker beginning tomorrow. He also has represented the interests of automakers in Washington as head of the American Automobile Manufacturers Association.
Mr. Card, a former state representative from Massachusetts, started his Washington career as liaison to state elected officials for President Reagan. He served three years as deputy chief of staff for President Bush before spending the administration's last year as transportation secretary.
After Mr. Bush was defeated by President Clinton in 1992, Mr. Card supervised the administration's transition out of office.

Fat chance

"New Democrats? Fat chance," the Wall Street Journal says.
"Federal tax receipts are gushing in now, so Clinton budget chief Jack Lew gave a speech [Tuesday], railing at Congress for being unwilling to spend it all and threatening presidential vetoes," the newspaper observed in an editorial.
"Mr. Lew's to-spend list includes: schools, conservation, foreign aid, veterans health care, debt reduction, even a patients 'bill of rights' (a spending bill for lawyers). He said Congress believes 'tax cuts are more important that any of the other choices that might be made.' Good to know what would constitute 'choices' in a Democratic Congress or Gore presidency."

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