- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 3, 2001

RSVP, send deposit

Now that the Democratic National Committee has decided to raise funds again, it's official. Al Gore will headline the New Hampshire Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner Oct. 27. "Celebrating Our Democracy" is a main event on the fund-raising circuit way up there in Super Tuesday land.

And there are some funds involved: $75 gets dinner alone, while $500, $1,500, $2,500 and finally the $5,000 "Gold Sponsor" ticket fetches various degrees of coziness with the former vice president.

It was not always thus. In Iowa last week, Mr. Gore rented a car and motored around the prairie, stopping for coffee with the locals and chatting up DNC reps via cell phone.

Mr. Gore is not the only New Hampshire fan. In future weeks, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, and Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut will visit the Granite State. Both Democrats are possible contenders for the 2004 presidential race, though Mr. Lieberman said he will drop out of the race should Mr. Gore decide to run.

Just the fax, ma'am

Minnesota Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer on spending the day doing secretarial work after 28,000 state employees walked off their jobs yesterday:

"It's kind of fun to be directly doing the work. So often as a constitutional officer, I tend to be more distant from the actual work."

Bill on bin

During an appearance Monday at an Internet conference, former President Bill Clinton had some thoughts on Osama bin Laden, the Associated Press reports.

"Mr. bin Laden, who I've studied a long time, he's got a specific agenda here," Mr. Clinton said. "And if you look at him he's a very worthy opponent a formidable person as the president, Secretary Powell have said. He wants America out of Saudi Arabia, the country of his birth."

Mr. Clinton said bin Laden hoped to impose his "narrow and I think highly twisted view of truth" on the world and America should rally to fight it.

"I think it would be a pretty dreary world if their view of the truth prevailed," he added.

Thinking back

The New York Post offered this assessment of Mr. Clinton, calling Monday's disbarment from the higher courts "one more stain on a sad legacy. Never mind Monica. Never mind the impeachment. America is living day to day, and for many years to come with the former president's fecklessness regarding international terrorism, too.

"Clinton promised to track down the architects of bombings at the World Trade Center (1993), Khobar Towers (1996), American embassies in Africa (1998) and USS Cole (2000) and he didn't. This sent a signal that U.S. interests at home and abroad were open to attack.

"The Clinton administration also determined that the CIA should not use sources that had 'dirty hands' i.e., individuals with possible criminal or human-rights violations in their past.

"Soon it had no significant sources at all In other words, the man's lack of self-control caused him to ignore his primary responsibility keeping America and its citizens safe. And the price for that irresponsibility is being paid now."

Lyrics included

Maybe the United Nations takes requests. The nonprofit, pro-family, pro-military group Freedom Alliance has a specific song in mind.

In a letter to Secretary-General Kofi Annan, director Thomas Kilgannon is asking that the entire assembly sing "God Bless America" later this week as proof that their expressions of support are genuine rather than mere publicity gestures.

"During another melancholy period, as the United States contemplated intervening in World War II, a Russian emigre composed a song that has inspired generations of Americans: the composer, Irving Berlin, the song, God Bless America," Mr. Kilgannon wrote.

This director has an eye toward efficiency, though.

"The UN could demonstrate its support for the American people, and commitment to the war against terrorism, by singing the attached version of this song at the conclusion of the special UN General Assembly session on terrorism this week."

The Rudy mood

Does affection spell election?

A survey released yesterday by Quinnipiac University Polling Institute put New York Mayor Rudolph W. Guiliani's approval ratings at 90 percent up 40 points from a July poll. Only 48 percent of voters around the state like the idea of repealing term limits, however, which would allow the mayor to extend his term by three months or run again when his tenure is up Dec. 31.

In Manhattan itself, only 39 percent felt the limits should be repealed.

Others share in the good numbers. Gov. George E. Pataki garnered an approval rating of 81 percent, up from 56. The two U.S. senators from New York, Charles Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton, hit 69 percent and 59 percent, respectively. Those are the highest approval ratings ever for all four in the Quinnipiac poll.

The new role

President Bush was in a school room, USA Today's Richard Benedetto observed yesterday, when news of the terrorist attack reached him. Both America and the presidency have changed since that moment.

Three weeks later, "the prime responsibility for education will have to return to those elected officials closer to the problems and best equipped to deal with them governors, mayors, county executives and school boards," Mr. Benedetto wrote.

"Whether we like to admit it, national security always has been the No.1 priority of our presidents. That's why the Constitution empowers them to be commander-in-chief of the armed forces. No other presidential power is so clear."

"Moreover, those presidents most revered by history are not those who presided over a sound economy or built more schools. They are the ones who successfully steered the nation through war, hot and cold.

"But as Bush goes about leading the war against terrorism, pressures that he return to classrooms will increase as fear from attack begins to recede.

"But if he returns, it won't be as the nation's school superintendent. It will be as the nation's president, a title that has clearer meaning since Sept. 11."

Sharon, Wes, Jon, et al.

Arkansas Democrats are still waiting for a candidate to surface in next year's governors race to challenge incumbent Republican Mike Huckabee. Things are a little complex.

Secretary of State Sharon Priest has decided to forgo the chance, declaring, "It was right politically, but it's just personally not the right time."

Retired NATO commander Wesley Clark, meanwhile, met with state Democratic Party Chairman Ron Oliver to test the waters. Mr. Clark, who left the Army as a four-star general last year, now works as a financial consultant in Little Rock.

He has no comment about his intentions.

Another Democratic hopeful, state Sen. Jon Fitch, dropped out of the race Sept. 19 after a violent altercation with a man he said had stalked his wife.

But hope springs eternal. Mr. Oliver is sure someone will step forward. "I'm not interested in running well," he told Associated Press. "I'm interested in winning."

Location, location

The police must know the place inside out by now. Nevertheless, Rep. Gary A. Condit is selling his apartment. The California Democrat wants $130,000 for the top-floor condo in chichi Adams Morgan.

The place boasts high ceilings plus a washer-dryer, and yes, one bedroom and a powder room. The owner, meanwhile, has yet to announce whether he will run for re-election; Mr. Condit's term runs through the end 2002.

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