- The Washington Times - Friday, November 10, 2000

Seat sale

We might not know who will occupy the Oval Office, but one thing's certain about assuming a seat on Capitol Hill. It helps if you buy it.

In the overwhelming majority of this week's Senate and House races, candidates with the biggest war chests were victorious. In the Senate, the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics reveals, a whopping 85 percent of candidates who spent the most money proved winners at the polls (only five candidates won Senate seats despite being outspent).

One final note: The $60 million fortune spent by newly elected Sen. Jon Corzine, New Jersey Democrat, is more money than Arizona Sen. John McCain spent coast to coast in his Republican bid to win the White House.

One more for Gore

Chalk up another vote for Al Gore. Asked yesterday if she's among the absentee voters from Florida whose ballot has been counted, Attorney General Janet Reno replied, albeit without certainty: "I trust it has been counted by now.

Hands and minds

People who went to the bathroom during the three presidential debates were nine times more likely to remember political messages than people who watched all three debates but didn't go to the bathroom.
Allow us to explain.
Seeking to determine where best to place political ads by comparing people's ability to retain information, DiMassimo Brand Advertising posted messages about the two leading presidential candidates both true and untrue in both the usual places and in the bathrooms of select drinking establishments.
The five messages:
Gore had a nose job.
Bush has a birthmark on his butt in the shape of Texas.
Gore has a 14-point lead in the polls.
Bush plans to cut the middle-class tax to 25 percent.
Gore plans to keep the retirement age from rising to age 70.
The survey not only tested the validity of bathroom messages on the whole, but also compared the strength of various placements throughout private sanctuaries: within a stall, above a urinal and by the sink.
The political power of the toilet, it turns out, is truly an untapped communication vehicle that is just beginning to be flushed out by marketers.
People's hands might be busy in the bathroom, after all, but their minds tend to be idle.

Tough act to follow

President Clinton's economic adviser, Gene Sperling, surfaced in the White House briefing room yesterday, although his 10 minutes of fame were already up.
"In terms of this not being the hot issue of the day, those of you who've been around for a while know I was the guy who got to brief directly after Michael McCurry did his briefing on Dick Morris and the Star magazine," said Mr. Sperling, referring to another former Clinton aide and his personal fetish for toes.
"That was a good briefing, Gene," a reporter couldn't help but pipe up.
"It was on the welfare-to-work tax credit for those of you who remember the details of the Starr Report more than the Star magazine report," Mr. Sperling reminded everybody.
Mr. Clinton's economic adviser was back in the briefing room to outline Mr. Clinton's upcoming trip to Vietnam.

Made in Japan

Go ahead and call it the "do-nothing" 106th Congress. For one aging group of marchers, a late-night unanimous vote in the Senate last week was a long time in coming.
Last June, we wrote about Sen. Orrin G. Hatch's efforts to help American prisoners of war of World War II who, unbeknownst to millions of Americans, were forced into slave labor by private Japanese companies.
Now we can report that the Utah Republican's efforts on behalf of the old soldiers have gotten Senate backing, urging the U.S. government to open dialogue between the veterans and the Japanese companies that profited from their labor.
"Fifty years have passed since the atrocities occurred, yet veterans are still waiting for accountability and justice," says Mr. Hatch.
Many of the POWs held in Japan were told upon their return not to discuss their experiences and treatment. Some were even asked to sign nondisclosure agreements. Consequently, many Americans remain unaware of the atrocities that took place.
On April 9, 1942, Allied forces in the Philippines surrendered Bataan to the Japanese. As many as 12,000 American soldiers were forced to march 60 miles in broiling heat, a deadly trek later called the Bataan Death March. That much is known.
Following a lengthy internment under horrific conditions, thousands of POWs then were shipped to Japan in the holds of freighters called "hell ships."
Once in Japan, many were forced into slave labor for private Japanese steel mills and other companies, until the end of the war quietly sent them home.

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