- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 3, 2001

Abortion support falls
An ABC News/Beliefnet poll released yesterday showed support for legal abortion in the United States slipping to its lowest level since the survey began in 1995.
The poll, conducted by telephone from June 20 to 24, found that just over half, or 52 percent, of Americans said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, down from 59 percent in January.
Forty-three percent said it should be illegal in all or most cases, the highest number since the poll started asking the question in 1995. The January poll found 39 percent opposed in all or most cases.
Religious beliefs or affiliation played a large role in respondents' views on abortion, the poll found, with 63 percent of evangelical white Protestants saying it should be illegal in all or most cases and 35 percent favoring a ban in all cases.
But two-thirds of nonevangelical white Protestants said it should be generally legal.
Roman Catholics, whose leaders have assumed a leading role in opposing abortion, mirrored the public at large in their views, with 55 percent saying it should generally be legal.
Support for legal abortion has averaged 56 percent in a dozen polls in the past five years, with opposition at 41 percent.
The poll of 1,022 adults drawn from a random national sample had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Bush praises Schundler
President Bush says he has something in common with Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler, the underdog who won New Jersey's Republican gubernatorial primary.
"We're always underestimated," Mr. Bush told Mr. Schundler as they met at the White House yesterday. "A lot of people didn't think I'd be sitting here. A lot of people didn't think you'd be sitting here either."
Mr. Bush and Vice President Richard B. Cheney greeted Mr. Schundler and his wife, Lynn, in the Oval Office. Mr. Schundler, an evangelical Christian who opposes abortion and supports school vouchers, defeated former Rep. Bob Franks last month with little support from the Republican establishment.
"We'd like to help him in any way we can," Mr. Bush said. "We want him to win."
Before the primary, some Republicans had said a Schundler victory in the primary would benefit Democrat Jim McGreevey, the mayor of Woodbridge who nearly defeated former Gov. Christie Whitman in 1997.
Mr. Bush, however, said he believes Mr. Schundler can win the Statehouse. He noted that Jersey City is only 6 percent Republican, but re-elected Mr. Schundler as mayor "because he's got great ideas." Mr. Bush said he was especially intrigued by Mr. Schundler's idea of eliminating toll booths on state roads, the Associated Press reports.
"When you couple that with your strong vision of education reform, I think you've got a good chance of winning," Mr. Bush said.

Armey razzes Daschle
House Majority Leader Dick Armey yesterday seized upon a statement by Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle in which the South Dakota Democrat appeared to support the idea of a "lockbox" for Medicare and Social Security funds.
According to a statement released by Mr. Armey's office, Mr. Daschle "now endorses a House-approved lockbox he consistently blocked in the minority."
Mr. Daschle, in an appearance Sunday on ABC's "This Week," said: "The lockbox is a pretty simple matter. It's just a commitment by the government that we aren't going to use Medicare for anything other than Medicare, that we're not going to use Social Security for anything other than Social Security. We know those funds have already been committed. We know we're going to need them. So to use them for any other purpose is a deceit, is a shell game that we can't afford. And it's very unfair to Medicare and Social Security beneficiaries today."
Mr. Armey, in response, issued the following statement: "I'm pleased to see Senator Daschle now endorses as majority leader what he blocked as minority leader. If he agrees that we can't afford to raid Social Security or Medicare, then he should do what the House has done and pass the lockbox.
"Republicans wrote the book on protecting Social Security and Medicare surpluses. We won't stop now.
"Senator Daschle should borrow a page from our book and pass the lockbox legislation to guarantee Congress doesn't raid those funds for more government spending."

Lieberman and Gore
So many of former Vice President Al Gore's advisers and moneymen showed up at a recent fund-raiser for Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman that some observers wondered if it was a signal that Mr. Gore has decided not to run again for president in 2004.
"Officially, the event was designed to boost the war chest of Lieberman's Responsibility, Opportunity, Community Political Action Committee, which will pay for the former vice presidential nominee's political travels," Roll Call reporter Paul Kane writes.
"However, the ROCPAC event, hosted last Wednesday at the D.C. home of New Democrat ally Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher, California Democrat, drew a strong enough showing of Gore allies that some donors and lobbyists were left wondering whether this was a signal of Mr. Gore's waning interest in national politics."
However, Mr. Lieberman downplayed such speculation, saying the Gore operatives were friends from their mutual campaign last fall.

Party of lawyers
"New York's own Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton and several other Democrat senators have joined a lawsuit against the Bush administration filed by the ultra-greenies at the National Resources Defense Council," the New York Post observes.
"The reason? The decision to delay the imposition of new standards on concentrations of arsenic in drinking water.
"This move by the Democrats is instructive on several levels. First, it shows how much they prefer litigation and regulation over legislation," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"Don't like a decision by the president?
"Sue 'im!
"But, hey, should this be a surprise? After all, Democrats are the party of the trial lawyers.
"Far worse is the hypocrisy.
"Keep in mind that the Clinton-Gore administration had eight years to install these new standards. Guess when they moved?
"On Jan. 20 — as Bill Clinton was on the way to Andrews Air Force Base, bound for West-chester.
"California's Barbara Boxer stated, 'I believe [the Bush administration's] delay is illegal and is putting millions of Americans with high levels of arsenic in their water at risk.'
"Keep in mind the arsenic levels in the water are now exactly the same as they were under the complete tenure of the Clinton-Gore administration.
"So how come Sen. Boxer didn't sue the husband of her now-fellow senator for the 'high levels' of arsenic while he was still president?
"Actually, it's the 'high levels' of rank partisan politicking that are truly dangerous to American society."

New foe for Kennedy
A former Navy Seal with no political experience announced yesterday he will run for the Rhode Island congressional seat held by U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy.
"It's the challenge that excites me," said David Rogers, 35, a Republican and technical analyst for the petroleum industry. "Patrick Kennedy has been representing the state poorly for the past eight years. He's more motivated by what's best for himself than what's best for the state."
Another Republican, businessman Michael Battles, 31, announced his candidacy last week, the Associated Press reports.
Mr. Kennedy, 33, son of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, is seeking his fifth term in the fall 2002 election. To date, he has no Democratic primary opposition.

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