- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 26, 2001

Reagan and Bush
President Bush, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan, said Ronald Reagan would have approved of his conduct in recent meetings with European leaders and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"I didn't think about Ronald Reagan when I was there, but now that you bring it up. … With all due modesty, I think Ronald Reagan would have been proud of how I conducted myself," Mr. Bush told Miss Noonan, who was a White House speechwriter for Mr. Reagan and is planning a book on the former president.
"I went to Europe a humble leader of a great country and stood my ground. I wasn't going to yield. I listened, but I made my point," Mr. Bush said.
"And I went to dinner, as Karen [Hughes, who sat in on the interview] would tell you, with 15 leaders of the , and patiently sat there as all 15 in one form or another told me how wrong I was" about the Kyoto accords. "And at the end, I said, 'I appreciate your point of view, but this is the American position because it's right for America.'"
Mr. Bush, in the interview, also responded to critics of his saying he trusted Mr. Putin.
"I've been noticing some of these guys popping off, saying Bush shouldn't have used the word 'trust.' If you're trying to redefine a relationship, and somebody asks you, 'Can you trust the guy?' imagine what it'd have been like if I'd have stood up in front of the world and said, 'No I don't think so.' Or, 'You know, perhaps.' Or, 'It's yet to be proven.' To me, my attitude is, and this is Reaganesque in a sense, 'Yes I trust him, until he proves otherwise.' But why say the 'proves otherwise'? To me, that goes without saying."

Byrd's statement
New Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, served notice yesterday that he's in no hurry to fund a national missile-defense system until the technology is proven effective.
"I do not support the deployment of a multibillion-dollar scarecrow that will not be an effective defense if a missile is actually launched at us," Mr. Byrd said on the Senate floor.
Mr. Byrd said he still supports the National Missile Defense Act of 1999, which calls for deployment of a system as soon as technologically possible. But he said Congress must "invest wisely."
"We cannot afford to embark on a folly that could, if improperly managed, damage our national security while costing billions."

No wind in his face
Republican state Sen. J. Randy Forbes' victory over Democratic state Sen. L. Louise Lucas in last week's special election for a U.S. House seat from Virginia "is best viewed as the last contest of 2000, rather than the first skirmish of 2002," political analyst Stuart Rothenberg writes.
The candidates relied primarily "on the issues and strategies that their parties used in 1998 and 2000," although President Bush did play a marginal role, Mr. Rothenberg said.
"The GOP used recorded telephone messages from the president [and his mother] to urge voters to support Forbes. Vice President Cheney and a number of Bush Cabinet officials visited the district for Forbes. At the same time, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee direct-mail and radio ads [airing on stations targeted to African-American listeners] referred to the 'Bush-Republican budget' and the 'Republican-Bush agenda' to mobilize Democratic voters.
Mr. Rothenberg added: "Forbes' victory does suggest that, at least among white Southerners, there is little sign of an anti-Bush/anti-Republican mood. If voters had wanted to 'send a message' that they were dissatisfied with the president's performance, Forbes surely would have lost. The Republican's victory is evidence that, to use [National Republican Congressional Committee] Chairman Tom Davis' imagery, 'There was no wind in Forbes' face.'"

Regaining interest
House Republicans yesterday brushed off a Democratic request to investigate President Bush's political adviser, calling it partisan and premature.
Rep. Henry A. Waxman of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee, had asked Chairman Dan Burton whether he would look into conflict-of-interest reports around the stock holdings of Karl Rove.
Mr. Burton reminded Mr. Waxman that he had been "noticeably absent" on ethics issues when President Clinton was in office.
The Indiana Republican told Mr. Waxman he should wait for Mr. Rove to respond to Mr. Waxman's own written questions before deciding to investigate.

Internal debate
Karl Rove, the White House political guru, and Virginia Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, head of the campaign arm of House Republicans, disagree on whether Mr. Bush's Social Security proposals could harm the GOP in 2002.
Last week's special election in Virginia, in which Republican state Sen. J. Randy Forbes defeated Democratic state Sen. L. Louise Lucas for a U.S. House seat, did not settle the argument, the Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes writes.
"The important thing, in Rove's view, is that Forbes was zinged in three different Democratic TV ads for backing Bush's plan, but won anyway," Mr. Barnes said. Mr. Rove thinks the district was 'tailor-made' for Social Security attacks because it has an older electorate.
But Mr. Davis "thinks Forbes dodged a bullet in the special election, and other Republicans might not be so lucky in 2002," Mr. Barnes writes. "Forbes had a relatively weak opponent, a black state senator who had difficulty discussing national issues. Yet when Democratic ads on Social Security aired, Forbes dropped 10 percentage points among seniors and 11 among 'near seniors' over 55 years old.
"We won round one, but there are many rounds to go."

Schundler's comeback
"Only a committed few thought Jersey City's Bret Schundler stood a chance to win [today's] Republican gubernatorial primary in New Jersey," John J. Miller and Ramesh Ponnuru write at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com ).
"He has had plenty of skeptics, including many in his natural conservative base who wondered openly if he could prevail [NR not least among them]" against former Rep. Bob Franks. "Now it looks like he might actually pull it off. What a turnaround: He's about to become New Jersey's comeback kid," the writers said.
"Schundler deserves to win. He is a principled conservative with a proven track record of attracting both Democratic and minority votes — he's won three elections as mayor of Jersey City … The Washington Post's increasingly insufferable Thomas Edsall [who is largely responsible for stoking the recent non-controversies surrounding Ted Olson and Paul Weyrich] … refers to Schundler's 'hard-right conservative stands on abortion, school vouchers, and gun control.' Which is to say he's pro-life, supports letting poor kids have private-school options, and believes Americans ought to be able to own guns. Sort of like most other Republicans."

A reply to Reno
"As a Florida voter, I was intrigued by Janet Reno's comments at last Saturday's Democratic fund-raiser," reader Pat McKechnie writes. "Miss Reno stated, 'The voices of every single Floridian should be heard, not just the voices of the rich and well-connected.' I'm positive my vote was heard, and yet I am neither rich, nor well-connected [even using the liberal's definition of rich]. Yet what I do possess is an amazing ability to READ INSTRUCTIONS! The only 'connection' needed by anyone to successfully vote in Florida was one between their brain and the task at hand."

Together again
"Lewis and Clark are working together again. This time in the Indiana Senate," State Legislatures magazine reports.
"Senators James Lewis and J. Murray Clark have sponsored a bill to officially recognize the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition, coming up in a couple of years. The early explorers and their party of locally recruited followers left what is now Clarksville, Ind., Oct. 26, 1803, for their three-year trek to the Pacific," said the magazine, which is published by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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