- The Washington Times - Friday, August 3, 2001

Whisper the news
When George W. Bush's poll ratings go down, it's front-page news in the New York Times and The Washington Post, and the subject of conversation for TV pundits everywhere. But when Mr. Bush's poll ratings rise, the newspapers bury the story and barely a peep is heard on cable TV and the Sunday talk shows.
A case in point: Mr. Bush received a 59 percent job-approval rating in the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll. His personal favorability rating: 63 percent. Story placement in The Washington Post: page A4. However, The Post did refer to the article in a "teaser" on the front page.

Talent vs. Carnahan
Former Republican Rep. Jim Talent said yesterday he will challenge Democratic Sen. Jean Carnahan of Missouri next year for the seat to which she was appointed after her husband was killed in a plane crash.
Mr. Talent issued a statement from his St. Louis office announcing his plans to run, the Associated Press reports. He is forming an exploratory fund-raising committee.
Mr. Talent, 44, narrowly lost last year's race for Missouri governor.
Mrs. Carnahan, 67, holds the Senate seat won posthumously last year by Gov. Mel Carnahan. She must run next year if she wants to complete the six-year term.

By way of explanation
The movie "The American President" was widely derided in conservative circles upon its 1995 release as being liberal wish-fulfillment fantasy.
Turns out the film's writer was smoking crack at the time he wrote the script.
In the film, a Democratic president, played by Michael Douglas, is slipping in the public opinion polls because of whispers of his fornicating with his flag-burning girlfriend in the White House. The rumors are stoked by Republicans, portrayed as stogie-smoking fat plutocrats in leather chairs (only the twirling of the moustache was missing).
The president, also reticent about his membership in the American Civil Liberties Union, is wavering on some environmental legislation and gun control and just generally being a "wet." But he saves the day in the last reel with a speech to the camera dispensing 200-proof liberalism and the immortal rhetorical question: "Why are you not a member of the ACLU?"
So the revelation in the upcoming issue of TV Guide that screenwriter Aaron Sorkin was a crackhead might not be such a revelation after all.
"I was smoking crack cocaine every day" during the period of his writing "The American President," Mr. Sorkin told the magazine. "That's why it took me three years to write the script."
Mr. Sorkin, who also is the creator of TV's liberal-tilted political drama "The West Wing," maintains in the interview that he never wrote while intoxicated but would shut himself in his hotel room after finishing writing for the day and get high on crack.

Gore's latest moves
Al Gore has accepted an invitation to campaign for Democrat Jim McGreevey in his race to become New Jersey governor.
He also plans to help train and finance young party activists to work in several elections this year, associates say.
About two dozen young Democrats will attend a weeklong workshop in mid-August focused on grass-roots activism and increasing voter participation, as well as a bipartisan daylong workshop Aug. 11 at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.
The young Democrats will work with state and local Democratic parties in several states — including Virginia, New Jersey and New York, the Associated Press reports.
Gore associates gave no timetable for his appearances with Mr. McGreevey.

Lott for governor?
Sen. Trent Lott may go home and run for governor in 2003 if he loses his position as Republican Senate leader, Mississippi political pundit Bill Minor says.
"In Washington circles, Lott's ouster as GOP leader seems almost a given," Mr. Minor said in a column for the Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss.
"Thereupon Trent Lott would revert to merely being junior senator from Mississippi.
"For Trent Lott, after being in the heady stratosphere for the past six years, being junior anything would be unpalatable. Especially junior to Thad Cochran, over whom he has twice leap-frogged before," the columnist said.
"Becoming governor, for a number of reasons, would not be a step down for Lott. For example, he would immediately become undisputed head of the Republican Party in Mississippi (take that, Thad!), something Trent has lusted after for a long time."

Reno's poll numbers
Janet Reno would easily win a Democratic gubernatorial primary in Florida, but would lose to Republican Gov. Jeb Bush if the general election were held now, a new poll shows.
Mr. Bush would get 54 percent of the vote compared with 39 percent for the former attorney general, according to the poll by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc.
Miss Reno said she won't make a decision to run for another month, but the poll showed she would win a six-way Democratic primary with 47 percent of the vote. "I'm trying to do this in a comprehensive way, not piecemeal," she said.
She likely would face former ambassador to Vietnam Pete Peterson, Rep. Jim Davis, state Rep. Lois Frankel, state Sen. Daryl Jones and lawyer Bill McBride. All but Mr. Davis and Miss Reno are officially in the race.

More road rage
While the House and Senate have voted to impose an array of rules that would keep Mexican trucks off U.S. roads for years to come, the debate continues on whether this reveals an anti-Hispanic streak in the halls of Congress.
House Minority Leader Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican, first leveled the anti-Hispanic charge in front of a group of print reporters last week. That brought howls from Democrats, who are caught between their labor union allies — especially the Teamsters — and the increasingly important Hispanic vote.
Yesterday, the Republican National Committee continued the charge, gleefully reprinting a letter to the editors of The Washington Post by the Latino Coalition complaining about truck safety requirements that target Mexico but not Canada.
The RNC missive ran with the headline "Democrats' Stance Against Mexican Trucks Is 'Discriminatory,' 'A Slap in the Face,' 'and Purely Political,' Say Observers."
Not to be upstaged, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, brandished his own letter, this one from members of the House Hispanic Caucus.
The letter contends "the issue of safety is not a Hispanic issue. All Americans are equally at risk from unsafe conditions."
Mr. Daschle said he "hate[d] to continue to extend the debate on this issue, [but] I think that ought to be made part of the public record."

Word play
Perhaps it's the Texas heat or her Ivy League pedigree, but Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee invented a word during a speech to the National Urban League on Wednesday that put her in George W. Bush territory.
Simply put, the dragging death of James Byrd in East Texas was a "henious" act, according to Miss Lee, a Yale grad.
Miss Lee, a Democrat, was speaking on a panel that addressed the question "Is the black vote up for grabs?" which also included Jesse Jackson and former Al Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile.
Miss Brazile, during her 15-minute speech, noted that 94 percent of black women voted for Mr. Gore in November.
"One reason I like about being a black woman is that we get it right every time," she said, to teeming applause.
President Bush spoke to the Urban League earlier in the day.

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