- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 24, 2001

Boniors decision
Rep. David E. Bonior, the House minority whip, has all but made it official: Hes running for governor of Michigan. But the Democrat is not ready to give up his House post, Roll Call reports.
Mr. Bonior announced last week that he will form an exploratory committee in mid-May.
"Im running for governor," he said at the state Capitol in Lansing.
Allison Remsen, a spokeswoman for Mr. Bonior, told Roll Call reporter Ethan Wallison that her boss has no intention of stepping down anytime in the near future. "Hes just taking one step in a long process. Its not any more than what it is."
Rep. Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland and Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California have been jostling to succeed Mr. Bonior since before the 2000 elections — they had been hoping for a Democratic takeover of the House that would move Mr. Bonior up one notch to majority leader. It never happened. But with Mr. Bonior ready to leave Congress, the behind-the-scenes maneuvering no doubt will heat up.

A thrilling number

"Its not a target, insists Mitch Daniels, the White House budget chief. Its not even a goal. But if a cold, dry number can be exciting, its the most thrilling one in President Bushs first budget," Fred Barnes writes in the Weekly Standard.
"The number is 15.6 percent. Its the share of the national economy the federal government would spend in 2011 — the smallest since 1951. Getting to 15.6 percent or anywhere near it would be a breathtaking achievement in reducing the size and role of government. 'We didnt start with that number and work back, says Daniels. But it would be 'a happy outcome. In government spending, he says, 'lower is better. Its like the welfare rolls."
Mr. Barnes said the White House "is a bit shy about touting the 15.6 percent figure. Yes, it would delight conservatives by foreshadowing a triumph beyond their wildest dreams. But it would alarm Democratic members of Congress. During Daniels confirmation hearing, several Democratic senators brought up the prospect, unappealing to them, of a declining federal share of the economy. So, to avoid terrifying Democrats and members of the media who reflexively favor higher spending, the budget offices chart with 15.6 percent as the end point in spending was not included in any of the four budget documents released publicly. Still, White House aides talk yearningly about it in private."

Mr. Popularity

"President Bush, making his debut on the international stage at the Summit of the Americas, displayed a casual style that could be described as 'amigo diplomacy," USA Today reporter Judy Keen writes from Quebec City.
"He addressed many of the 33 leaders here as 'amigo, Spanish for 'friend, including Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, who speaks English and French but not Spanish. Bush showed off his linguistic ability by punctuating speeches with Spanish phrases. 'Juntos podemos. Juntos lo haremos, he said Saturday. ('Together we can. Together we will do it.)
"In a way, the get-together was like Bushs Yale University days, when he was known for an unassuming, eager-to-get-acquainted manner that won him instant friends. Of course, the presidential fraternity is more exclusive than Delta Kappa Epsilon, but as in his youth, Bush was not just a member in good standing but seemed to be the most popular guy in the crowd."

The indispensable state

"Even as media ballot recounts of the disputed 2000 presidential result continue, Florida is emerging as the cornerstone of early White House planning to win President Bushs re-election in 2004," Los Angeles Times reporter Ronald Brownstein writes.
"Some of his top strategists believe that Florida is to Bush what California was to Bill Clinton: the one state the White House must lock down if the president is to win a second term. 'I think it is the indispensable state, says Matthew Dowd, a top political adviser to Mr. Bush. 'Unless something weird happens, I dont know how you win without Florida.
"Indeed, both Republicans and Democrats now see Florida as the pivotal battleground on an electoral map divided almost evenly between the two sides — the single state most likely to pick the winner if the presidential race is close next time. 'It wouldnt surprise me if there were more resources spent four years from now in Florida per electoral vote than any other state in the country, says Michael Whouley, the Democratic National Committees executive director during the 2000 campaign."

Gunbelt diplomacy

Former President Bill Clinton said Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat wanted to wear a gun at the White House ceremony announcing the 1993 Middle East peace agreement.
"I said, 'This is a peace agreement. This isnt a remake of 'Rio Bravo," Mr. Clinton said Sunday night at a suburban Philadelphia synagogue, referring to the 1959 John Wayne movie.
During decades in exile, Mr. Arafat regularly wore a pistol, and sparked a controversy when he wore it during a speech to the U.N. General Assembly in 1974.
Mr. Clinton also described telling Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin that he would have to shake hands with Mr. Arafat after the agreement was signed, the Associated Press reports.
"He looked at me and said, 'Well, I suppose you dont make peace with your friends," Mr. Clinton said.
"But then he smiled and said, 'But no kissing."
Mr. Clinton said he was disappointed about his failure to create a lasting peace agreement in the region.
"It saddens me to think what we might have done in the last eight years if the promise of what we did in 1993 had been fulfilled, " the ex-president said.
About 850 people paid up to $600 to listen to Mr. Clintons 45-minute speech at Old York Road Temple-Beth Am in Abington.

In trouble again

David Jaye has two strikes against him as he tries to save his seat in the Michigan state Senate, the Associated Press reports. A third strike, if it comes, could happen as early as this week.
The newest trouble for the blunt-spoken Republican is an April 12 arrest on charges of domestic battery stemming from a dispute with his fiancee. This comes less than a year after he finished serving 35 days in jail for drunken driving.
This week, Mr. Jaye faces the judgment of the Senate Republican caucus, which meets today and could vote to expel, censure or reprimand him.
"The caucus is very upset," said Senate Majority Floor Leader Joanne Emmons. "Its not so much anger as it is disappointment… . He never seems to get it together. Its very embarrassing. Something is going to happen."
It isnt the first time state lawmakers have reacted to Mr. Jayes troubles. Mr. Jaye has had three convictions for drunken driving during his 12-year legislative career and once dropped a gun in a House Republican caucus meeting. He has twice been stripped of his Senate committee assignments.
Mr. Jaye, 43, spent the night in jail after he was arrested April 12 in Fort Myers, Fla. He was assaulted by an inmate while there and taken to the hospital to have his ear stitched.
Getting help
"In a continuing effort to find a grass-roots base — if not a raison detre — for his gubernatorial campaign, former national and state Democratic committee chairman Steve Grossman has lined up former Energy Secretary Bill Richardson to help him court Hispanic support," the Boston Globe reports.
"Richardson, the highest-ranking Hispanic in the Clinton administration, will appear at a campaign event at the Jorge Hernandez Cultural Center in the South End to back Grossmans promise that members of Bostons fast-growing Latino population would play a 'leadership role in his administration."

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