- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 1, 2001

Graveyard voters

"The dearly departed seem to have quite a constituency" in St. Louis, the Los Angeles Times reports.
"At least three dead aldermen registered to vote in Tuesday's mayoral primary. So did one alderman's deceased mother," reporter Stephanie Simon said.
"And a dead man was listed as the chief plaintiff in a lawsuit filed on Election Day last November. He was having trouble voting, the suit said, due to long lines at his polling station. So he petitioned a judge successfully to keep city ballot boxes open late.
"Over at the dingy county election board headquarters, harried staffers now are reviewing thousands of registration cards and finding ever more curiosities: addresses that turn out to be vacant lots, civic leaders double-registered at bogus addresses, convicted felons illegally seeking ballots and, always, more deceased voters."
While Democrats charge that countless St. Louis voters, mostly blacks, were disenfranchised in the November election, Republicans have a different point of view.
"The lawsuit that won extended voting hours was filed on behalf of a Robert D. Odom." the reporter said. "It indicated that he 'has not been able to vote and fears he will not be able to vote' because of crowding at his polling place. It later emerged that Odom had died a year earlier. The lawyer who filed the suit explained the mix-up by saying he had intended the plaintiff to be Robert M. 'Mark' Odom, an aide to a Democratic candidate for Congress. Yet that Odom had voted, without a wait, by the time the suit was filed.
"Citing such screw-ups, Republicans recently filed a 250-page report with the U.S. attorney, accusing Democrats of 'an organized effort to commit vote fraud.' "

Unhappy Democrats

"Although they gave Mr. Bush some tepid applause, Democrats showed that they did not like much of what they heard" during the president's address to Congress, New York Times reporter Lizette Alvarez writes.
"When Mr. Bush said that President John F. Kennedy had advocated tax cuts to 'get this country moving again,' quoting the former president, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat, vigorously shook his head no, then refused to applaud for the line," the reporter said.
"Often Democrats looked out at Mr. Bush glumly. But at other times, they seemed to be reacting like back-row mischief-makers in high school, trading quips about what they were seeing and hearing.
"Democrats sat stone-faced as President Bush talked about privatizing Social Security and gave a full-throated approval to the line, 'Government shouldn't fund religious activities.'
"When President Bush said he planned to pay down $2 trillion in debt in the next 10 years, Democrats shouted, 'More, more.' "

No surprises

"After eight years of tempest in the White House, after eight years of a high-wire act in which the president regarded every appearance before Congress as an opportunity to creatively ad lib his way through a speech text, we now have the soothing opposite to Bill Clinton," USA Today political columnist Walter Shapiro writes.
"George W. Bush demonstrated Tuesday night in a well-argued and adequately delivered speech to a joint session that he is the no-surprises president," Mr. Shapiro said.
"Virtually everything went as scripted. There were no mystery guests in the balcony, no last-minute policy proposals and no daring riffs in response to congressional applause. Cleaving to the same agenda he championed during the campaign, employing similar arguments to those he has advanced as president, Bush offered a point-by-point review of his policy proposals. Rather than depending on charisma or eloquence, Bush was out to show that discipline and determination are what it takes to be a successful president."

Run, Bill, run

Almost half of New York City voters would like to see former President Clinton run for mayor some day even though the Arkansas native has given no indication he wants to, according to a poll published yesterday.
Mr. Clinton who owns a house in the suburbs north of the city with his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton decided this month to open offices in Harlem.
The poll of 1,087 New York City registered voters found that 47 percent would like to see the Democratic former Arkansas governor and two-term president run for City Hall, but 49 percent were opposed to the idea. Four percent were undecided, according to the Feb. 20-26 survey that had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Cisneros and Clinton

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros says that President Clinton pardoned him partly to redress the "extremes" of independent counsels.
Mr. Cisneros told the Dallas Morning News for an article yesterday that he didn't seek the pardon. He added he sometimes wishes it had not been awarded in light of controversies surrounding other pardons most notably one granted fugitive financier Marc Rich.
When he called the former president to thank him, Mr. Cisneros said Mr. Clinton told him "he abhors the extremes of the independent counsels, and he felt he just wanted to … end a bad chapter of American jurisprudence."
"Secondly, he felt that people came after me principally because I was associated with him.
"I don't agree with that," Mr. Cisneros added. "I made mistakes, and I've got to own up to them."
Mr. Cisneros pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about payments he made to a former mistress before joining the first Clinton Cabinet in 1993.

Profligate spending

Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening's profligate spending sets the stage for a tax increase after the Democrat leaves office in 2003, writes Ellen Sauerbrey, a Republican former state legislator who lost two gubernatorial elections to Mr. Glendening.
"The Maryland spending-affordability law, meant to prevent state spending from growing faster than the state's economy, is on life support," Mrs. Sauerbrey said in an opinion piece in the Baltimore Sun.
"Some of the key legislators who must enforce the process no longer appear committed to upholding the spirit of the law. Gov. Parris N. Glendening has shamelessly handed them an irresponsible budget that is balanced only by gimmicks, fails to allocate money for bills that will have to be paid, exhausts most of the $800 million surplus and sets up state taxpayers for a future tax increase… .
"Bringing the budget into true balance within the growth of the economy will force legislators to find $500 million in spending cuts. Mr. Glendening can be a hero to every spending interest while the legislature must play the role of the grinch who stole Christmas."

Four nominees

President Bush announced four more nominations yesterday:
Wade F. Horn to be assistant secretary of Health and Human Services for family support. Mr. Horn is president of the National Fatherhood Institute and a member of the U.S. Advisory Committee on Head Start Research and Evaluation within HHS.
Kevin Keane of Wisconsin to be assistant secretary of Health and Human Services for public affairs. He served Wisconsin Gov. Tommy G. Thompson as executive assistant and communications director before Mr. Thompson became HHS secretary.
Lee Sarah Liberman Otis to be general counsel at the Energy Department. She is chief counsel at the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on immigration.
Peter S. Watson of California to be president of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. He serves as counsel to Pillsbury Winthrop LLC and is counsel at Armitage Associates.


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