- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 21, 2001

Deja vu in Houston
During the 2000 presidential campaign, the NAACP ran television ads in which the daughter of a black man dragged to his death behind a pickup truck in Texas suggested that then-Gov. George W. Bush was a racist for not supporting a proposed state "hate crimes" law. Now, the Republican candidate for mayor of Houston is getting the same treatment from his Democratic opponent.
The campaign of Democratic Mayor Lee Brown has turned to the sister of the victimized black man to cast aspersions on Republican challenger Orlando Sanchez, who would be the first Hispanic mayor of one of America's five largest cities (Houston ranks fourth).
The taped phone calls to Houston voters sound almost identical to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's ad used against Mr. Bush last year. Here it is:
"My name is Lavon Harris. A few years ago, my brother, James Byrd Jr., was chained to the back of a pickup truck and dragged to death just because of the color of his skin. That's why the election for mayor is so important to me. You see, Orlando Sanchez, the Republican candidate for mayor, helped lead the fight against the James Byrd Jr. hate-crimes law. And when some of Mr. Sanchez's supporters sent out fliers calling Mayor Brown racist names, Orlando Sanchez refused to condemn this hate material. I fear a city under Orlando Sanchez. Early voting has started. Please make sure to vote for Mayor Brown, because if hate wins, Houston loses."
Mr. Sanchez was expecting an endorsement from the president yesterday, according to local media reports. The runoff election will take place on Dec. 1.

Gore's job hunt
Former Vice President Al Gore spent most of the year trying to find a Wall Street firm willing to pay him a base salary between $2 million and $3 million a year, the New York Post reports.
"But none of Gore's prospective employers, including big buyout firms and major investment banks, would take him on, according to sources close to several of the firms.
"Instead, Gore has signed on with Los Angeles-based financial services firm Metropolitan West Financial as vice chairman," reporter Paul Tharp writes.
"One executive [in New York] said Gore was very frank about his job goals: Gore wanted to amass enough money quickly on Wall Street deals so that he could relaunch his political career at the midterm elections in 2002."
The reporter added: "Executives who interviewed Gore said the former Democratic vice president brought potential problems to the table instead of any solutions their firms could use.
"The biggest was that Gore admittedly is a novice in the business world and could hardly be expected to bring in any business.
"One source said Gore couldn't provide a good answer to their question: 'What can you do for us?'"

Clayton to retire
Rep. Eva Clayton, one of the first two black members of Congress elected from North Carolina since the turn of the 20th century, announced yesterday that she will not seek re-election next year.
"I'm retiring from Congress, but not from public service," said Mrs. Clayton, a Democrat who has served five terms.
Mrs. Clayton, 68, was elected in 1992 after serving as a Warren County commissioner for a decade.
That year, she and Rep. Melvin Watt became the first two black members of Congress from North Carolina since 1901. They were elected after two majority-minority districts were drawn in the state after the 1990 census.
Mrs. Clayton served on the House Agriculture Committee.
State Sen. Frank Ballance, a Democrat who has helped run Mrs. Clayton's campaigns, is considered a strong contender to succeed her in Congress, the Associated Press reports.
"I am considering it. It's a big decision," said Mr. Ballance, who is also black.

Hillary's choice
"Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle is calling for an end to federal probes of two Democratic Senate colleagues, following news that U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White of New York, a Clinton holdover, is resigning," the Wall Street Journal observes.
"Ms. White's office is handling sensitive probes into Hillary Clinton's role in her husband's pardon scandal and Bob Torricelli's tangled campaign finances. Ms. White's successor will have to get past Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy, who has continued a policy that requires both home-state senators to sign off on U.S. attorneys," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, notes this gives Sen. Clinton veto power over any nominee who would 'take over the office handling the investigation into her and her husband.' Will the former first lady recuse herself from vetting this appointment?"

Menendez vs. Watts
"House GOP Conference Chairman J.C. Watts got into a dust-up with a Hispanic colleague last week after he released a statement on the then-upcoming trip of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, and House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, Missouri Democrat, to Mexico," United Press International reports in its "Capitol Comment" column.
"The Oklahoma Republican excoriated the two Democrats for meeting with Mexican President Vicente Fox while the economic-stimulus package was left unfinished. House Democrat Caucus Vice Chairman Rep. Robert Menendez of New Jersey called Watts' statements about the trip 'Today, I open the paper and find out the top two Democrats are packing their bags for Mexico. Ay caramba. Hey, Democrat leaders: No siesta for you.' 'patronizing at best, and racist at worst.'
"'On behalf of the Hispanic community in the United States and our Mexican neighbors,' Menendez said, 'and as the only elected leader of either party in the Congress of Hispanic descent, I demand an apology.' No apology is expected."

Weyrich's request
Paul Weyrich, president of the Free Congress Foundation, has written a letter to House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois and Majority Whip Tom DeLay of Texas asking the Republicans to "withdraw" a new U.S. postage stamp that was issued to honor two major Islamic festivals.
"Featuring Arabic calligraphy and the words 'Eid' and 'Greetings,' it was issued to mark two major Islamic festivals, one the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca and the other the end of the Fast of Ramadan," Mr. Weyrich wrote.
"In a statement made when the stamp was announced, Postmaster General William Henderson said, 'U.S. postage stamps are a reflection of the American experience.' America's most recent notable experience with Islam was the attacks on September 11, especially that on the World Trade Towers, which killed around 4,000 Americans.
"Accordingly, I am writing to suggest that the current stamps be withdrawn, to be overprinted with the image of the Twin Towers and then reissued. I have no doubt a majority of Americans would find the altered stamps a more appropriate commemoration of Islam than the current celebratory version."

Keep working
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Georgia Republican, apparently is not familiar with the term "workaholic."
Peter J. Boyer, in an article in this week's New Yorker, says that Mr. Gingrich, in a recent talk to interns at the American Enterprise Institute, offered "the nascent policy wonks his advice on life ('Dream big') and hard work ('If you work 80 hours a week, that's probably about right. If you work 60, that's barely marginal.')."


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