- The Washington Times - Monday, August 27, 2001

Return fire
The Republican National Committee will begin airing a new television ad today, apparently in response to Democratic charges that President Bush's tax cut was fiscally irresponsible.
"Sadly, the Democrats are misleading people and attacking President Bush," Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III, chairman of the RNC, said in a prepared statement yesterday. "As a matter of principle, we feel the American people have a right to the truth, which is that President Bush is working hard to rescue our economy, protect Social Security and Medicare, and eliminate the national debt."
The ad, titled "New Tone," is scheduled to air in what the RNC called "selected markets," including the District, Missouri and South Dakota. Missouri, of course, is the home of House Democratic leader Richard A. Gephardt and South Dakota is the home of Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle.
The ad can be viewed at a new RNC Web site — www.protectsocialsecurity.com.

Farewell to Washington
"For a conservative writer especially, Washington is a paradox," the Wall Street Journal's Paul Gigot wrote Friday in a farewell column before taking over as editor of that newspaper's editorial page.
"It is horribly seductive. The politicians have made it a pleasant place to live and their scheming offers endless stories. For one example, had I known in 1992 what Bill Clinton would do for my business, I probably would have voted for him," Mr. Gigot said.
"On the other hand, there is no more parochial place in America. Most of the city's intrigues, which can seem so compelling, count for little in the end. In her memoir, former Washington Post editorial page editor Meg Greenfield compares the city to a high school with higher stakes.
"I started out trying to cover Washington the way a foreign correspondent would, trying to explain the bizarre native rituals to the rest of America. But the longer one stays here, the harder that is to do. Covering the city can lead to a tunnel vision that focuses on political tactics and trivia over substance. I've sometimes found myself falling into that trap, a sign that some distance is in order.
"All the more so because my Beltway years have only reinforced my belief in the basic conservative critique of government: The imperative of the political class is to accumulate even more power. Politicians don't arrive here corrupt, or at least most don't, but the attraction of power is corrupting to all but the hardiest souls."

A pat on the back
Rep. Gary A. Condit, California Democrat, was asked by Newsweek magazine if anyone at the White House has talked to him about the troubles in which he is embroiled.
"Yes, but I prefer not to go into that," Mr. Condit replied to the question posed by reporter Michael Isikoff.
Mr. Isikoff then asked the embattled congressman if White House officials have offered him any advice.
"No. Encouragement. A pat on the back. Hang in there," Mr. Condit said.
Mr. Isikoff asked if that's because the Bush administration always viewed Mr. Condit, a moderate Blue Dog Democrat, as a potential ally in the House.
"Right. I still am," Mr. Condit said.
Rep. David Dreier, California Republican, asked about Mr. Condit's comments yesterday on CNN's "Late Edition," said he has to assume "someone at the White House may have said that early on."
"But I can't imagine that in the last week or two that people in the White House have been calling and providing encouragement in light of these very troubling questions that have continued to come forward," Mr. Dreier said.

Labeling Condit
"With Connie Chung having done a pretty good job of posing tough questions to Congressman Gary Condit, California Democrat, and with massive amounts of TV analysis and punditry concentrating on Condit's answers, I hesitated to do anything morning about the interview on ABC's 'Primetime Thursday,'" Brent Baker writes at the Media Research Center's Web site (www.mrc.org ).
"But, I did want to point out one misleading statement from Chung. While she did once identify Condit as a Democrat, she described him as 'a little-known six-term conservative Democrat,'" Mr. Baker said.
"A bit later, Condit contended: 'I voted four times not to impeach President Clinton.' Assuming that assertion has more credibility than the rest of what he claimed, it shows he's hardly all that 'conservative.'
"Indeed, from 1989 through 2000 Condit has a career 52 percent average rating from the Americans for Democratic Action and a 48 percent career rating from the American Conservative Union. So he's hardly a flaming liberal, but he's significantly more liberal than several House Democrats from the South and West and many Republicans. 'Moderate Democrat' would be a more accurate description."

Starting at the top
The Rev. Al Sharpton, in an appearance yesterday on CNN's "Late Edition," was asked why he is considering a run for the presidency when he has yet to hold elective office at any level.
"Well, I think that that's politics, whether you choose to run for one level of a political office or another. I'm talking vision. The reason I'm talking about a presidential exploratory committee is because … I have a vision that I want to address on that level," Mr. Sharpton replied.
"The political pundits and the political managers of campaigns deal with career steps. I'm not dealing with career steps. I'm dealing with a global vision to try and say where the nation needs to go."

Star power
Movie star Chris Tucker plans to join Rep. J.C. Watts Jr. and others on a trip to Africa.
"Chris Tucker is known throughout the world as a big-name movie star. It is my hope he will be able to bring that same degree of awareness to the opportunities in Nigeria and all of Africa," Mr. Watts said Friday in a prepared statement.
Said Mr. Tucker: "I am looking forward to joining the trip to Africa and working with Congressman Watts, the bipartisan delegation, business leaders and heads of state to promote business, trade, better health care, freedom and democracy."
Mr. Tucker is the co-star of the recently released "Rush Hour 2."
Mr. Watts, five other congressmen and nearly 30 business leaders were scheduled to leave yesterday for Mali, Ghana, Cote D'Ivoire and Nigeria. Mr. Tucker will join the delegation in Nigeria on Wednesday.

Trouble adjusting
"Bill Clinton's $10 million book advance has some of his sidekicks wondering if the famously disorganized former president can deliver on his growing list of projects," Margaret Mannix writes in U.S. News & World Report.
"Friends say he still has trouble adjusting to life without an army of staffers, and writing the book will further tax his self-discipline. 'He's very aware that he's got to focus,' says a confidant. That might be tough, given Clinton's crowded agenda: fighting disease in Africa, luring investment to Harlem (site of his new office), raising money for earthquake relief in India, combating racism, building a presidential library, partying, giving speeches, political fund-raising … you get the drift."

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