- The Washington Times - Monday, March 19, 2001

Get used to it

Mitch Daniels, director of the Office of Management and Budget, suggests it is time for AFL-CIO President John Sweeney to accept the fact that Republicans are now in the White House, so things have changed.
In an interview that aired Saturday on CNN's "Evans, Novak, Hunt & Shields," Mr. Daniels was asked about complaints Mr. Sweeney made in another CNN interview that the Bush administration is treating the labor movement harshly.
"He said he's never had that kind of treatment from a Republican administration… . Is this payback by the administration for Mr. Sweeney waging war against all Republicans the last several years?" show co-host Robert Novak asked the White House budget director.
Mr. Daniels strongly denied that. "This president doesn't operate in those terms. I think he's worked every day since he got here to emphasize that he has to be president of all the people and that he views with respect all important leaders, and Mr. Sweeney is one," he said.
"I don't know if Mr. Sweeney feels personally mistreated or whether he's speaking on behalf of his organization. I would say that elections are about changing policy. The administration has changed, and policy with it. And recent votes reflect that."
"As I read you, you're saying your advice to Mr. Sweeney is 'Get over it,' " Mr. Novak said to his guest.
Mr. Daniels replied this way: "No. I would simply say that he should not expect, having campaigned so vigorously for one set of policies, that when they were defeated that nothing would change."

Secret society

"Jack Kingston finally reached his goal at age 37: Georgia congressman. Then he got to the nation's capital and realized he couldn't afford to live here. So he joined the secret society of other middle-class lawmakers who sleep where they work," Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.
" 'It's kind of a strange feeling,' the Republican tells us. 'You get your dream job and you're sleeping on an office floor.' A Whispers survey finds that an estimated 25 House members sleep by their desk including an appropriations subcommittee chairman. They wash in a gym, eat in a cafeteria. 'It's not bad. I actually get more work done,' shrugs Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois.
"Representatives are paid $145,100. Sounds great, but not with two residences. 'If you're middle class, you can't have both,' says Mr. Kingston, a father of four, about his 9-year-old habit. The problem afflicts the House; most senators are wealthy. The high cost of living has sparked moves to raise the per diem to $165 on top of their salary, but support is weak. Even office snoozers are split. 'Get another job,' says an unsympathetic Shimkus. Kingston says it's a 'political loser' but that without a raise, only Richie Riches will run."

Unpopular fellow

Few tourists were willing to be photographed with a life-size cardboard cutout of Bill Clinton, so vendors near the White House have retired the former president.
"The vendors cited a drop in sales resulting from what they discerned as public distaste for Mr. Clinton's controversy-plagued administration and subsequent questions over the pardons he issued as he left office," the New York Times reports.
"In past years, presidential cutouts remained an integral part of a photo vendor's business for months after a change of administrations, vendors say, as tourists are generally eager to pose with a former president long after he has left office."
Ronald Reagan, for example, was described as "hot, very hot" for months after leaving office.
One vendor told the newspaper that business dropped off drastically after Mr. Clinton was found to have had an affair with a White House intern, but that happy days are here again with George and Laura Bush in town.
"With Clinton, during the busy season, I was getting only two to three pictures a day," vendor Avdal A. Dosky told the newspaper. Now, working with President Bush's likeness, "I am already selling five to 10 pictures a day. And this is not even the busy season."

Something to do

"The big political story of the moment is that Democrats are trying to pin the current recession, if that's what it is, on Mr. Bush," Wall Street Journal columnist Paul Gigot writes.
"This is preposterous, since Japan has been rotting for years, the stock market started going south last April, and Mr. Bush has been in office all of 55 days. But unless someone offers a different economic history, and sells a strategy for recovery, the point will sink in with voters."
Mr. Gigot suggested that might be a job for Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, who so far has seemed more interested in global warming than economic policy.

Nickles' prediction

Sen. Don Nickles, Oklahoma Republican and assistant majority leader, predicts that a comprehensive national energy policy will win congressional approval this year.
"I expect by the end of the year we will be successful in passing a broad-based energy package that will help us on energy production … will help us reduce our dependency on OPEC," Mr. Nickles said on "Fox News Sunday."
The comment came one day after leaders of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, meeting in Vienna, decided to decrease oil production by 1 million barrels a day.
Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham has called the decision "disappointing."
Analysts predict the proposed cutback could increase gasoline prices in the United States by 25 to 35 cents a gallon by the beginning of the summer, when driving tends to increase.
Mr. Abraham is scheduled to deliver a major policy address today before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The intimidator

Supporters of the campaign-finance reform bill sponsored by Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and Russell D. Feingold, Wisconsin Democrat, are playing hardball.
"The reformers are trying to keep potential defectors in line," Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Dick Polman writes. "When a Democrat with presidential ambitions suggested that McCain-Feingold wasn't strong enough, reformers quietly sent word that if he ducked, McCain himself would go to New Hampshire and attack him in the 2004 primary."

Reporters welcome

Former Clinton adviser George Stephanopoulos said Saturday that media will be allowed to attend his April 2 speech at the University of Wisconsin at Stout.
Mr. Stephanopoulos said he wasn't aware of a clause in the contract he had signed with the university that banned reporters from the appearance. He said when he learned of it he called his booking agency to tell them reporters are welcome.
"I said, 'Listen, I have no problem with reporters being there if they want to be,' " Mr. Stephanopoulos said.
He said the contract was a standard one used by his agency, the Washington Speakers Bureau in Alexandria, the Associated Press reports.
Mr. Stephanopoulos will be paid $25,000 from student funds and ticket proceeds for his appearance, which includes dinner and a reception.
Mr. Stephanopoulos is a political analyst for ABC News.

Traveling in style

During his eight years as president, Bill Clinton made 54 trips abroad, visiting 133 nations, according to a review by the National Taxpayers Union. The estimated cost for Mr. Clinton's 229 days abroad: more than a half-billion dollars.

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