- The Washington Times - Monday, June 11, 2001

Feinstein's litmus test
While Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle has said there will be no litmus test for judicial nominees on the abortion question, Minority Leader Trent Lott said yesterday he understands at least one prominent Senate Democrat has floated such an idea.
Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," Mr. Lott, Mississippi Republican, was at first reluctant to identify the senator.
But pressed by Fox newsman Bill OReilly, the Republican leader said, "I understand that, perhaps, Sen. [Dianne] Feinstein [of California] suggested there would be a litmus test on the other side of the choice question."

Hagel's statement

Although advocates of the Kyoto treaty trumpeted a report last week that global warming is a reality, Sen. Chuck Hagel said it "is certainly not a prescription for the drastic measures" required under the pact.
Mr. Hagel, Nebraska Republican, issued a statement calling the National Research Council report "a serious document on an important issue" but noted that the report states there are vast uncertainties about what is causing the apparent warming.
"This report is certainly not a prescription for the drastic measures required under the Kyoto Protocol. Far from it," Mr. Hagel said. The goal now should be some sort of alternative to Kyoto, he added.

Letter from the right

More than 30 conservative leaders signed a letter sent to President Bush last week, urging him not to budge in his opposition to the Kyoto "global warming" treaty and cutting carbon dioxide emissions.
The letter came on the heels of a National Research Council report that said global warming was a real phenomenon but, as the letter-writers noted, not well understood. It also came as Mr. Bush prepares to meet with European leaders, who are expected to pressure him on the issue this week.
"We strongly encourage you to continue standing firm in your opposition to CO2 emission caps as mandated by the Kyoto Protocol, or any comparable domestic regulatory proposal that attempts to regulate CO2. As the scientific scrutiny of global warming theories intensifies, it has become clear that the justification for radical measures like Kyoto simply does not exist. Capping CO2 is plainly not an option that we can afford, or one that science will support," the letter said.
It was signed by such conservative stalwarts as Karen Kerrigan of the Small Business Survival Committee, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, Malcolm Wallop of Frontiers of Freedom, James K. Glassman of the American Enterprise Institute, John Berthoud of the National Taxpayers Union, and Tom Schatz of Citizens Against Government Waste.

Gores decision

"With every day that former veep Al Gore visits restaurants instead of political forums, theres a growing consensus that he wont run again," Paul Bedard writes in U.S. News & World Report.
"Associates say wife Tipper is dead set against a 2004 run. Also, former top staffers are starting to pair up with other potential candidates. Worse: Some members of his brain trust are blaming him for losing, claiming he pulled too many punches and was wishy-washy on core issues until the end," Mr. Bedard writes.

Musical chairs

The New York Times Drummond Ayres Jr. gives this postscript on the funeral mass offered June 1 in Boston for Rep. Joe Moakley:
"News photographs taken in the church showed the front row occupied by, from left, President Bush, Acting Gov. Jane M. Swift, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts and his wife, Victoria, former Vice President Al Gore, Rep. David E. Bonior of Michigan and former President Bill Clinton.
"But the way Mr. Moakleys aides tell it, the official seating chart called for a different order. They say Mr. Gore was supposed to be in Row 3 but somehow ended up in the Row 1 spot reserved for John Kerry, Massachusetts other senator and, like Mr. Gore, a possible Democratic contender for president in 2004.
"'Some noses got out of joint, and there was some stirring when Gore suddenly showed up and took the seat, one aide to Mr. Moakley recalled. 'But Kerry handled it well. He just moved back.
"An aide to Mr. Gore said the former vice president 'sat where it was indicated he should sit."

Max Kennedys polls

A new poll shows Matthew Maxwell Kennedy in a dead heat with two state senators in the race to succeed the late U.S. Rep. Joe Moakley, and another poll has him trailing one of the lawmakers.
A Boston Globe poll found Mr. Kennedy drawing 22 percent of 400 likely Democratic primary voters, compared with 20 percent for Sen. Stephen Lynch, and 18 percent for Sen. Brian Joyce. The poll, conducted Wednesday and Thursday, had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.
"The results are surprising and theyre bad for Max Kennedy," said Gerry Chervinsky, president of KRC Communications Research, which conducted the poll.
"Youd expect that at this point, in an unfocused race, that a Kennedy would be far better thought of, and far ahead, and historically thats what weve seen," he said.
Mr. Kennedy, 36, is the son of Robert F. Kennedy. He is co-director of the Watershed Institute, a nonprofit environmental organization based at Boston College. Last year, he was campaign manager for his uncle Sen. Edward M. Kennedys successful bid for re-election to the U.S. Senate.
A Boston Herald poll found that 28 percent of 404 likely Democratic primary voters picked Mr. Lynch, while 19 percent backed Mr. Kennedy. The poll, conducted Thursday through Saturday, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

Hard to predict

Senate Majority Whip Harry Reid says its useless to debate whether Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, might wind up as an independent or a Democrat.
Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat, was asked that question Saturday during an interview with pundits Mark Shields and Robert Novak on CNNs "Evans, Novak, Hunt & Shields."
The Democratic leader replied: "If any of the three of us thought John McCain was going to do this or that on Monday, no one would be right. No one knows from day to day what John McCains going to do."
Mr. Reid said he and Mr. McCain "came to Washington together in 1982 … and he and I literally have been side-by-side since we came here."
"But I know John McCain, and John McCain is somebody that I dont know," Mr. Reid said.

'Bad advice'

President Bushs top staff has received a lot of criticism lately for not making him more accessible to lawmakers on Capitol Hill, and Sen. Harry Reid, the Senate majority whip, joined in during an interview on CNN.
On "Evans, Novak, Hunt & Shields," Mr. Reid was asked if he has had a meeting with Mr. Bush since becoming majority whip.
"Ive had one meeting with the president. It was an enjoyable meeting. Hes a very, very pleasant man," the Nevada Democrat said.
Asked when that meeting was, Mr. Reid said, "It was a couple of months ago," long before the Democrats took control of the Senate from Republicans.
The Nevada Democrat went on to say he believes the president has "learned that now hes going to have to be doing something other than talking about bipartisanship; hes going to have to do it. Hes had experience in Texas doing it. I dont think theres a reason that he hasnt [in Washington], except his staff has been giving him some terribly bad advice."

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