- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 4, 2001

Any more questions?

For those who remain confused about the parameters of the war the U.S. is about to begin against terrorism, we've heard no better explanation than that provided yesterday by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell:

"Our campaign objective is to go after the al Qaeda organization and its leader, Osama bin Laden. The headquarters of this organization and Osama bin Laden are located in Afghanistan. He has elements of his network around the world. We are using all the tools available financial tools, law enforcement, intelligence, and the prospect of military operations as well to go after this network. We are focusing in on al Qaeda and focusing in Afghanistan, and that is the first phase of this operation. And I obviously cannot comment on what might happen in the future."

Hot seat

Former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, a North Carolina investment banker, yesterday declared he would seek the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Jesse Helms.

Mr. Bowles will likely face Elizabeth Dole, the former Reagan Cabinet member who failed in her 2000 bid for the White House. Mrs. Dole, a native of Salisbury, N.C., was expected to declare herself a candidate for the seat on Sept. 11, but postponed her announcement until an unspecified date amid news of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

Mrs. Dole's interest in the seat, and the candidacy of Mr. Bowles two well-known Washington veterans with North Carolina roots would spell "troubling news for [former Charlotte mayor and unsuccessful Republican gubernatorial candidate] Richard Vinroot, who also hails from Charlotte, as does Bowles," one political observer in Raleigh told Inside the Beltway yesterday. "Charlotte is a big money pot, but not when two from the home front are running."

There are several other potential and declared candidates, both Republican and Democrat, interested in the crucial North Carolina seat.

Mr. Bowles, a former head of the Small Business Administration, served two years as President Clinton's chief of staff. During his short White House tenure, he found himself a target of both the Whitewater probe and the Monica Lewinsky investigation.

President Molinari

We've learned that former New York Republican Rep. Susan Molinari has been named president and chief executive officer of the Washington Group, a Ketchum Co. government relations and lobbying firm.

Once the highest-ranking woman in Congress, Mrs. Molinari has since worked in television, chaired her own government communications firm, and written extensively about politics.

During the 2000 election, she joined high-profile Republicans and Democrats on an unusual bipartisan advisory board that encouraged Americans to choose what issues they not the media wanted the presidential candidates to address.

Mrs. Molinari is married to former New York Rep. Bill Paxon.

Frank and Emmy

Washington pollsters frequently crow about who they advise, how many races they've won, or how accurate they are. But only the ubiquitous Frank Luntz can do all that and boast of having just won an Emmy Award.

The recent acts of terrorism made us postpone our discovery that Mr. Luntz was bestowed an Emmy by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences last month for designing and hosting the "100 Days, 1,000 Voices" segments for MSNBC during the 2000 presidential elections.

The Washington pollster and political adviser admits sketching out the idea of the coast-to-coast "people before pundits" focus group on the back of a menu while sitting by the pool at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas, where he quizzed hotel patrons.

This isn't the first television honor for Mr. Luntz. His work for the BBC was nominated for a British Emmy, he's currently consulting for NBC's award-winning series "The West Wing," and finally, wasn't that Mr. Luntz spotted backstage at this past weekend's "Saturday Night Live" premiere with New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani?

Keep off the grass

A weed once cultivated by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson for fiber materials continues to be grown albeit illegally now, and for illicit purposes on hundreds of thousands of acres in all 50 U.S. states, with or without the landowner's permission.

The Justice Department's just-issued Final Supplement to Environmental Impact Statements on Cannabis Eradication in the Contiguous United States and Hawaii, refers to an increasing concern among law enforcement authorities about potentially "lethal" measures growers will take to protect their marijuana plots, including the widespread use of booby-trap devices.

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