- The Washington Times - Monday, July 2, 2001

Hastert rips McCain
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert yesterday accused Sen. John McCain of trying to intimidate his fellow Republicans into supporting a House version of campaign finance legislation Mr. McCain has championed.
Mr. Hastert, an Illinois Republican, said he was angry that Mr. McCain has written House GOP members for whom he campaigned last year and sought their support on a campaign finance overhaul.
"I think Senator McCain shouldn't bully members of the House of Representatives; I don't care what party they're in," Mr. Hastert said on CBS' "Face the Nation."
"They ought to be able to make up their mind on what piece of legislation they're going to pass based on the merits."
The letters from Mr. McCain, the Arizona Republican who unsuccessfully challenged George W. Bush for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, went to about 25 Republican House members for whom he had stumped last year.
That letter, in part, reminded the lawmakers of their "shared passion for reform" and urged them to pass a version of the Senate's campaign finance bill being sponsored in the House by Reps. Christopher Shays, Connecticut Republican, and Martin Meehan, Massachusetts Democrat.
John Weaver, a McCain adviser, yesterday criticized Mr. Hastert and other Republican leaders, saying they were the ones doing the bullying.

Tax-cut dementia?
"Democratic strategists are looking to attack the Bush tax cut as a way to win new House and Senate seats in the 2002 midterm elections," Paul Bedard writes in U.S. News & World Report.
"The unorthodox approach goes like this: claim that Bush squandered the budget surplus for pure political gain. 'Those guys killed hope,' is how adviser James Carville phrases it. The White House laughed off the strategy. 'Politically, it would be great for them to attack us for letting people keep their hard-earned money,' says a top Bushie. 'It would also be fun to watch them attack those 12 [Senate] Democrats who made the tax cut possible, many of whom are up in 2002."

"An old joke is that the most dangerous place to stand in Wasington is between Chuck Schumer and a TV camera. After this [past] week that goes double if you're one of President Bush's Supreme Court nominees," Wall Street Journal columnist Paul Gigot writes.
"As the other liberal senator from New York, Mr. Schumer has to try harder for sound bites. But he seems up to the task. His first act of 'bipartisanship' in the new Democratic Senate has been to dictate a brazen revision of Senate standards for confirming federal judges. The point of his exercise is to justify a no vote based on what he calls 'purely ideological grounds.'
"This should be bigger news. Mr. Schumer — acting on behalf of most Senate Democrats — is trying to institutionalize the 'Borking' of judicial nominees.
" And he doesn't want to use such typical yardsticks as experience or judicial temperament. He want to reject judges based solely on their political views," Mr. Gigot said.
"With this in mind, the senator invited liberal legal luminaries Cass Sunstein and Laurence Tribe to a hearing this week to provide some high-toned political cover. Democrats can't have voters thinking this is merely about power! Never mind that these are the same gents who advised a private Democratic Senate retreat on the fine points of intellectual Borking earlier this year."
The columnist encountered Mr. Sunstein in a Senate corridor, where the latter asserted that "There isn't one liberal on the current [Supreme] Court."

Anti-McCain rallies
Four demonstrations were held across Arizona, rallying for Republican Sen. John McCain's removal from office because of what protesters called his Democratic leanings.
About 100 people, some with guns strapped to their belts, protested Mr. McCain's support for gun-control legislation in front of his Tempe office on Saturday, the Associated Press reports.
"He's still trying to maintain the Republican side, but he should leave," said Marion Griffin, a Republican. "Right now, he's trying to play both sides."
In May, the Arizona senator sponsored a bill with Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, that would mandate criminal background checks for buyers at gun shows with at least 75 weapons on sale.
Protesters also criticized Mr. McCain's co-sponsorship of the patients' bill of rights introduced by Democratic Sens. Edward M. Kennedy and John Edwards. The measure would allow patients to sue health maintenance organizations. It has been strongly opposed by President Bush.
Protesters circulated petitions for Mr. McCain's recall, hoping to collect the required 349,269 signatures of registered voters by Oct. 16.
Federal elected officials are not subject to Arizona's recall laws, but Mr. McCain is among officeholders who have agreed to resign if they lose a recall election.

Muslims seek meeting
The president of the American Muslim Council is seeking to meet with President Bush to discuss his concerns about the "unexpected removal" of a Muslim student from a White House meeting Thursday.
"We have much faith in the fairness and unbiased attitude of Mr. Bush, and we seek this meeting to underscore the importance of this issue," Dr. Yahya Basha, AMC president, said in a statement.
He and other AMC officials are disturbed that Abdallah Arian, a 20-year-old college student and intern for Rep. David Bonior, Michigan Democrat and House minority whip, was ousted from a meeting to brief the American Muslim leadership on the president's faith-based Initiative.
White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said of the incident: "The president is very concerned that an action was taken that was wrong, inappropriate, and the president apologizes for it on behalf of the White House."
The Muslim officials said they accept the president's apology.
But they said they are "very concerned by this incident, which is part of an alarming trend seemingly targeting American Muslims."

'A bad process'
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein must have caught some of her Democratic colleagues by surprise yesterday when she denounced blue slips in an interview on CNN's "Late Edition."
Mrs. Feinstein went so far as to call for the elimination of blue slips, a procedure by which a senator blocks the nomination of a judicial nominee from the senator's home state.
"A senator from the home state can essentially blackball a nominee," she said.
A home state senator's negative opinion can "stop a nomination," said Mrs. Feinstein, who called it a "bad process."
Mrs. Feinstein should know what she's talking about: Her colleague Barbara Boxer, the other senator from California, reportedly blackballed Rep. Christopher Cox, California Republican, who was being considered by the Bush administration for a federal judgeship.
There has been one change in the blue-slip system: Under pressure from Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle has agreed that senators no longer can issue blue slips anonymously. They must do it on the record.

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