- The Washington Times - Monday, September 10, 2001

Comeback kid?
Republican National Committee Chairman Gov. James S. Gilmore III questions why the Democratic National Committee is dumping $1.6 million into New Jersey to help gubernatorial candidate Jim McGreevey "when they brag their candidate leads" his Republican rival, Bret Schundler, "by nearly 20 points."
"The DNC is not exactly awash in cash right now," said Mr. Gilmore, who also serves as Virginia governor.
And, at first glance, he says it "defies logic" that the national Democratic Party is providing so much money "to help a candidate they say has an insurmountable lead."
But Mr. Gilmore has his own theories as to why the DNC is giving so much financial support to Mr. McGreevey, the liberal mayor of Woodbridge, N.J., in his political fight against Mr. Schundler, the conservative crime-fighting mayor of Jersey City. Mr. Schundler scored an upset primary victory to win the Republican nomination for governor.
"This immense media buy by the DNC means only one thing: Bret Schundler is charging hard and Jim McGreevey and the DNC must be afraid of Bret Schundler's 'comeback kid' track record," Mr. Gilmore said in a prepared statement.

Kerry praises Miller
Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, oozed praise and respect for his conservative Georgia Democratic colleague, Sen. Zell Miller, on CNN's "Evans, Novak, Hunt & Shields," when he was asked about a letter Mr. Miller sent to The Washington Post criticizing DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe.
In the letter, Mr. Miller charged that lately the Democratic Party chairman "seems to be shrinking that [party] tent to the size of one of those snow cone cups turned upside down" or to a "dunce cap."
"Every time he speaks, it still sounds to me like fingernails across a blackboard, and he's making more and more moderates see red, the color that dominated the 2000 election map," Mr. Miller added.
On CNN Saturday, Mr. Kerry, a likely Democratic candidate for president in 2004, said, "I think Zell Miller has a lot of good points. Whether it's a good point about Terry McAuliffe or not we could debate. I don't think that's worth debating. I like Zell Miller a lot, and I really respect his view. I listen to him. He is a person who has a pretty good sense of this country, and he's, I think, sharing good advice with our party about how we ought to think about some things."
Later in the program, co-host Robert Novak noted that the Massachusetts Democrat "just about canonized Zell Miller of Georgia" and said that is a sign Mr. Kerry "is running in 2004."
"He doesn't want to be taken as somebody who is writing off the South," Mr. Novak said.

What surplus?
"Judging from recent political discourse, 'Who lost the budget surplus?' threatens to become the 'Who lost China?' question of our times — the focus of finger-pointing for years to come. But there is a problem with that parallel: The American public knew about the loss of China — not so with the surplus," writes Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.
"As recently as June, a 46 percent plurality in a survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press thought the federal government was spending more than it took in this year. Only 19 percent knew it was spending less. The debate over the budget surplus is one of those Washington conversations that goes right by the public, in part because of it complexity, but in larger part because of people's cynicism," Mr. Kohut said in an op-ed piece Saturday in the New York Times.
"It's very hard for people who were lectured and admonished for years about a federal deficit — and told it would rob their children of their future — to shift gears so quickly and worry about the surplus."

One more day
A month after the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision that put an end to additional recounts of Florida's presidential vote, dissenting Justice David H. Souter said he could have won over Justice Anthony M. Kennedy with just another day, according to a new book by a Newsweek reporter.
David A. Kaplan wrote that Justice Souter made the comment while discussing the matter in private with a group of prep-school students.
Justice Souter said if he had "one more day — one more day," he could have convinced Justice Kennedy to vote with the dissenters and Congress might have been charged with deciding the Florida vote.
The book, titled "The Accidental President," is previewed in this week's issue of Newsweek.

Race-based policy
"The Bush administration [on Thursday] gave the clearest indication yet of where it may go on race-conscious public policy and the likely direction is not good," John J. Miller and Ramesh Ponnuru write at nationalreview.com.
"The Office of Management and Budget proposes, as part of a plan to outsource more of the work the federal government does, to increase set-aside contracts for small companies owned by non-whites and women. The proposal pits two Democratic constituencies against each other: federal employees desperate to keep their do-nothing jobs and racial minorities.
So it may be clever politics. But it's also a bad idea that conservatives should oppose," the writers said.

New York debates
A candidate near the bottom of polls in New York City's mayoral contest accused a front-runner yesterday of being racially divisive as the leading Democratic hopefuls held their final debate before tomorrow's primary.
In a Republican debate, long-shot Herman Badillo gnawed at billionaire opponent Michael Bloomberg over a pamphlet of offensive gags and jokes attributed to the media executive and given to him as a birthday gift in 1990, the Associated Press reports.
"Thank goodness, we're now beginning to find out who the real Mr. Bloomberg is," Mr. Badillo said.
Among Democrats, a Daily News-New York 1 survey released yesterday found that 27 percent of likely voters supported Public Advocate Mark Green, 26 percent chose Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, 14 percent backed City Council Speaker Peter Vallone and 13 percent picked Comptroller Alan Hevesi. Twenty percent were undecided.
Mr. Vallone, who is seeking centrist-to-conservative white voters, said Mr. Ferrer's campaign pledge to aid "the other New York" was divisive.
"It's one city," said Vallone. "It's not us against them."

A sharp tongue
"Al Gore is back. We just don't know for how long," Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.
"Associates tell Whispers that the newly bearded and dieting ex-veep is test-driving a sharp-tongued attack on President Bush in small gatherings. 'Issues he is focusing on are Bush's economic stewardship, foreign policy, and the environment. He has been both sharp and sharp-tongued,' a friend tells us.
"So far he's trotted the speech before backers in San Francisco, D.C., New York and Minneapolis. And he likes the reaction," Mr. Bedard said.
"Gore plans to go public with his assault Sept. 28 at Iowa's Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner. Fans are hailing it as his official coming-out party. In fact, the 'Iowans for Gore Caucus Team' is sending out e-mails asking old Gore hands to fly in, show the flag and enjoy a 'weekend of fun.' No mention of Al doing the Macarena. But, hey, don't get ahead of yourself: We're warned that Gore still isn't ready to commit to a presidential bid in 2004."

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