- The Washington Times - Friday, September 22, 2000


"Well, doggone it, who'd think that Al Gore would try to sell himself to voters as a major-league spendthrift?" the New York Post's Deborah Orin asks.

"That's the latest twist in Doggygate Gore's use of phony figures to claim his aging black Labrador Shiloh pays only a third as much as his mom-in-law shells out for arthritis pills," Miss Orin writes.

"Bizarrely enough, Gore's latest reinvention of the tale is the Spendthrift Defense: He claims he lets wife Tipper's mom pay a lot more than she should for her Lodine pills.

"Gore first said her monthly cost was $108, then admitted the figure came from Democratic talking points, not real family bills. Now he claims she pays even more $191.70.

"Which is odd, because Gore, whose mother-in-law lives with him, could buy the very same Lodine pills for just $122.95 at Rodman's pharmacy on Wisconsin Avenue near his official residence in Washington."

However, Republican officials have their doubts whether Mr. Gore's mother-in-law or his dog even take the drug, and are demanding that the candidate produce proof of purchase, Miss Orin noted.

Dueling polls

Two statewide polls in New York vary widely on how Republican Rick Lazio and Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton are doing in their Senate contest.

A poll released yesterday by Marist College's Institute for Public Opinion found the race remaining very tight with the two tied at 48 percent among likely voters.

But the other poll, a New York Times/CBS News poll released Wednesday night, found the first lady leading the Long Island Republican, 48 percent to 39 percent, among likely voters.

Both polls were conducted since the Sept. 13 televised debate in which Mr. Lazio displayed an aggressiveness that at one point led to him walking to Mrs. Clinton's podium, demanding that she sign a pledge to ban so-called "soft money" from the campaign. Both polls found evidence that he may have been hurt by that.

Marist's telephone poll of 511 likely voters was conducted Tuesday and Wednesday and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

The Times/CBS telephone poll of 1,066 likely voters was conducted Sept. 14-19 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Dueling polls II

The latest CNN/USA Today/ Gallup tracking poll, released yesterday, shows Vice President Al Gore soaring to a 10-point lead, 51 percent to 41 percent.

The latest Voter.com Battleground 2000 tracking poll, released yesterday, shows Texas Gov. George W. Bush moving out to a 3-point advantage, 42 percent to 39 percent.

Guests and givers

When the Clintons toasted India's best, brightest and richest at a White House dinner Sunday, they also raised their glasses with dozens of contributors to first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton's Senate campaign in New York, federal election records show.

The dinner, held for visiting Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, was one of the largest during President Clinton's administration, drawing about 700 guests. Nearly 12 percent of those attending have made contributions to Mrs. Clinton's campaign totaling more than $70,000, according to Federal Election Commission records, Reuters reports.

Donors on the guest list included supermodel Christie Brinkley and Dr. Purnendu Chatterjee, chairman of the Chatterjee Group, an affiliate of billionaire financier George Soros.

The presence of political donors at the dinner came as questions were raised over Mrs. Clinton's hosting of campaign donors for overnight stays at the White House.

50-state look

Democrat Al Gore leads Republican George W. Bush in the race to win the 270 votes in the Electoral College necessary to be elected president, according to a 50-state survey released yesterday.

The New Hampshire-based American Research Group conducted polls of 600 likely voters between Sept. 5 and 20 in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

It found Mr. Gore leading in 14 states and the District of Columbia having 204 electoral votes with an advantage beyond the statistical margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Mr. Bush had a safe lead in 17 states with a total of 132 votes.

In the other states, with 204 electoral votes, neither man led by more than the margin of error. But when they were assigned to the candidate currently holding the lead, Mr. Gore won 26 states and the District of Columbia with 336 electoral votes and Mr. Bush won 24 with 202 votes, Reuters reports.

Nader's pals

Ralph Nader rallied the crowds with his usual anti-corporate, pro-labor stump speech, but the Green Party presidential nominee could have left the talking to the celebrity friends who joined him on the road in the industrial Midwest, the Associated Press reports.

In an address to University of Michigan students at Ann Arbor, Mr. Nader was introduced by filmmaker and Michigan native Michael Moore and former talk-show host Phil Donahue, who have been traveling with the candidate and revving up the crowds with rousing introductions.

Mr. Moore, in his trademark baseball cap, said the campaign's next stop would be in Flint, where President Clinton was also scheduled to appear. He dismissed worries that a vote for Mr. Nader would give Texas Gov. George W. Bush an edge and a victory over Vice President Al Gore.

"I'll let you in on a secret," Mr. Moore said. "George Bush is not going to be the next president of the United States. Get over it, folks. It's not going to happen."

Stop the presses

Oregon congressional candidate Brian Boquist and his supporters have gotten into a rough spot for handing out free emery boards.

State law mandates that candidates aren't supposed to distribute anything of value to voters, a prohibition that tripped up supporters of Jimmy Carter when they handed out peanuts to Oregon voters in the 1976 presidential election.

The state Elections Division began investigating Mr. Boquist, a Dallas Republican, after receiving a complaint that his supporters handed out free fingernail files marked "Boquist For Congress" from a booth at the Oregon State Fair last month.

The 1970s law, aimed at preventing candidates from trying to "buy" votes, contains exceptions that would allow candidates to give away items if people could obtain them for free elsewhere, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Boquist, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Darlene Hooley, said his campaign purchased 6,000 of the fingernail files for 9 cents a piece thinking they would be a good promotional item.

"I couldn't imagine it being illegal. We were surprised when we got the letter from the Elections Division," Mr. Boquist said.

Joining the club

David Keating has been named executive director of the Club for Growth, which has made a name for itself by backing Republicans who are strong on cutting taxes and boosting free enterprise.

The announcement was made this week by Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth.

Mr. Keating is president of Citizen Strategies, a public-affairs consulting firm. He first began work in the taxpayers' movement in 1978, when he joined the National Taxpayers Union as a researcher. After becoming legislative director in 1980, he was promoted to executive vice president. Mr. Keating later became president of the National Taxpayers Union Foundation.

Missing kissing

Jay Leno, of NBC's "Tonight Show," asks: "What is it with all the kissing and the politicians? You got Bush kissing Oprah, Gore all over his wife. See, I miss Clinton already. At least he did all of his kissing in the privacy of the Oval Office."

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