- The Washington Times - Friday, September 1, 2000

Call off the election

Political science has spoken. The 2000 presidential election is over and Democrat Al Gore is the winner, Reuters news agency reporter Alan Elsner writes.

At the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, seven eminent academics presented statistical models yesterday predicting the outcome of the Nov. 7 election.

All seven forecast a Gore victory over Republican nominee George W. Bush, although the vice president's projected share of the vote in a two-man contest varied from a low of 52.8 percent to a high of 60.3 percent.

Mr. Gore has trailed Mr. Bush in public opinion polls until recently and has yet to establish a lead over the Texas governor, a fact that seemed to make some of the scholars uncomfortable and gave rise to a somewhat defensive tone in some of their remarks.

"If we do get embarrassed, we'll be in pretty good company," said Charles Tien of Hunter College.

Another scholar, Helmut Norpoth of the State University of New York, Stony Brook, said he and his colleagues had been sleeping a little better since Mr. Gore caught up with Mr. Bush in the polls but the current race was "still pretty damned close for a predictor."

These are the seven predictions presented at the conference in Washington:

• James Campbell, University at Buffalo, State University of New York 52.8 percent of major party vote will go to Mr. Gore.

• Brad Lockerbie, University of Georgia 52.9 percent for Mr. Gore.

• Alan Abramowitz, Emory University 53.2 percent for Mr. Gore.

• Mr. Norpoth 55 percent for Mr. Gore.

• Christopher Wlezien, University of Houston 55.2 percent for Mr. Gore.

• Mr. Tien, with Michael Lewis-Beck, University of Iowa 55.4 percent for Mr. Gore.

• Thomas Holbrook, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 60.3 percent for Mr. Gore.

Lazio's prowess

For the past two months, Republican Rick Lazio has been outpacing Hillary Rodham Clinton's fund-raising efforts at better than a 3-to-1 clip.

In a report for the Federal Election Commission, the Long Island congressman said yesterday he had raised $10.7 million during July and August, spent almost $6.7 million and still had more than $10.2 million on hand for his quest to win a Senate seat from New York.

The Clinton campaign said it raised $3.3 million during the period, spent $3.1 million and had $7.1 million on hand, according to the Associated Press.

The reports detail only hard-money contributions, which are limited to $2,000 from each individual donor. The Clinton campaign has also been aggressively raising unlimited soft-money contributions to the Democratic Party money that cannot be used to directly advocate for a candidate.

The Arkansas vote

"Bill Clinton got his start in Arkansas and if Republican George W. Bush has his way, that's where Clinton's legacy will end. With a whimper," the New York Post's Deborah Orin writes.

"Bush [today] will make his fourth stop there and word is he's planning another stop in Clinton land next month," Miss Orin said.

" 'It's a key swing state. What else could it be?' Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer said with a straight face.

"Uh-huh. Just six little electoral votes. Republican insiders say the way to really mark the end of the Clinton era would be to defeat Al Gore's mentor and Hillary's husband in his very own home state.

"It's definitely doable. The latest poll [pre-both conventions] had Bush ahead of Gore by 6 points in Arkansas."

Messing with Texas

George W. Bush yesterday criticized a judge's claim that Texas provides health treatment to too few children as politics from an "activist, liberal judge."

"We are doing everything in our power to take care of the disadvantaged children of the state of Texas," Mr. Bush told reporters.

Mr. Bush defended his record as Texas governor, and his aides told the Associated Press that the state's rate of signing up children for treatment exceeds the national average. He criticized the federal government for refusing to grant waivers that he said would have made helping children easier.

"The reason they're pounding me is because this is an administration of which Al Gore is a part that has been unable to lead," Mr. Bush said.

U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice, who was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson, said in his mid-August order that Texas was not adequately providing regular checkups, dental care, transportation to doctors or information about what services are available to children in Medicaid, despite the state's promise in 1996 to make changes.

Rules of the game

"The hypocrisy in the media's coverage regarding the interplay between religion and politics is nothing short of outrageous," Raymond Flynn, the Clinton administration's former ambassador to the Vatican, says in an e-mail message to this column.

"If Catholic elected officials talked about their Catholic faith like U.S. Senator Lieberman spoke about his religion, those Catholic officeholders would be run out of office. The media would accuse such Catholic officeholders of imposing their Catholic values on voters and violating the separation of church and state," Mr. Flynn said.

"Senator Lieberman has changed the rules of the game. Now a Catholic officeholder, when asked about abortion, need no longer hide behind statements like, 'I am personally opposed, but I don't want to impose my Catholic values on others.'

"Senator Lieberman may have accomplished more than just becoming the first person of the Jewish faith to appear on a national ticket. The media's support of Joe Lieberman now allows all Catholics in public office, who were previously reluctant, to now come out and proudly say, 'I am a Catholic and I will be guided by my religious values in making political decisions.' "

Reality check

"The Rev. Al Sharpton's status with Washington's Democratic elite just keeps on rising. Last Friday, he commanded an audience with Attorney General Janet Reno and White House aides to demand a federal monitor for the New York City Police Department," Heather MacDonald writes.

"Mr. Sharpton has also demanded, and won, meetings with Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, Sen. Charles Schumer of New York and former presidential hopeful Bill Bradley. Last year he shared the stage with President Clinton at a Justice Department conference on police misconduct. The U.S. Civil Rights Commission glorified him as an expert on policing in its recent report attacking the NYPD. Mr. Sharpton's transformation from racial agitator to 'statesman' appears complete," Ms. MacDonald said in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.

"But it's time for a reality check. If Mr. Sharpton's high-placed admirers are indifferent to his history of racial rabble rousing and character assassination [exemplified by the never-repudiated Tawana Brawley hoax], they should visit New York to see what their ambassador for minority rights is doing for racial harmony and police-community relations there."

Mr. Sharpton is doing everything in his power to undermine the city's new police chief, Bernard Kerik, as he attempts to repair relations between police and black people in the city, Ms. MacDonald said.

Geraldo for mayor?

Geraldo Rivera wants to run for mayor of New York City, and he doesn't mind if that makes people laugh.

"I expect the first reaction to be, 'Geraldo as mayor, ha ha,' " Mr. Rivera told the New York Times.

But Mr. Rivera, who anchors a talk show on CNBC, says he is serious about an independent campaign for mayor, after a "totally self-financed" petition drive to get his name on the ballot.

"I think the city needs someone from the outside," he said yesterday on NBC's "Today."

The election will be held in November 2001.

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