- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 4, 2001

Applause line
Former Vice President Al Gore, who narrowly lost last year's presidential election to George W. Bush, said yesterday he is uncertain whether he will run again for the presidency in 2004.
"I don't know what I'm going to do in the future," Mr. Gore told a crowd of about 220 Democratic activists at a downtown Minneapolis hotel.
When dozens of people in the room began applauding and some shouted, "Run for president," Mr. Gore said: "I wasn't begging for that response. I really wasn't."
Speaking at a rally for Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton, who is running for re-election, Mr. Gore joked about life after the vice presidency, Reuters reports.
"Not all of this transition is easy. They let other cars on the road when I drive," he said. "What's with commercial air travel?" he also quipped.
Although he did not mention President Bush by name, Mr. Gore did make a veiled reference to his former opponent.
"Remember one year ago when people were saying, 'Well, you know, our country is headed in the right direction.' What are they saying now?" he said.
Reporters were barred from the room where Mr. Gore spoke and had to listen to his speech on loudspeakers. Asked why journalists had not been allowed into the room, Randy Schubring, a Belton spokesman, said: "The Gore people want him to emerge slowly."
Dressed in a blue suit, white shirt and red tie, Mr. Gore appeared every bit the candidate, with one exception: his beard. Asked how long he planned to keep his new look, Mr. Gore replied, "Until I get tired of it."

Wellstone vs. Coleman
Sen. Paul Wellstone, Minnesota Democrat, scoffs at the idea that seeking a third term next year, in violation of his term-limits pledge, could cost him re-election.
"I hope and pray that's their attack because it won't work at all," Mr. Wellstone tells the New York Times. "I'm pretty good at reading the pricklings in my fingertips and understanding what people are saying. And among the issues, this is not the one that works."
Norm Coleman, the Republican mayor of St. Paul and Mr. Wellstone's most likely opponent, sees things differently.
"I don't want to sound condescending, but I feel bad for Paul in that regard," Mr. Coleman told reporter Philip Shenon. "The graveyards are full of people who thought they were indispensable. Paul came in as the outsider, as the guy in the green bus. But he's not the outsider anymore."

End of a friendship
"For two-and-a-half years, no elected official was closer to [California] Gov. Gray Davis than the conservative Democratic congressman from the San Joaquin Valley town of Ceres, Gary Condit," the Los Angeles Times reports.
"But when Davis last week broke his silence and criticized Condit for his conduct after Washington intern Chandra Levy's disappearance, the relationship came to an apparent end. The break further exposed the Condit family's raw wounds and underscored the often transitory nature of political alliances," reporter Dan Morain writes.
"For his part, Davis is left without his most trusted link to the Central Valley, which the governor sees as integral as he mounts his re-election campaign. The friendship's end has also reverberated through the administration, where Condit's two adult children had found jobs."
Besides employing the Condit children who quit after the governor criticized their father Mr. Davis had "appointed Condit co-chairman of a panel to develop policy on water and agriculture," the reporter said. "Condit spoke to Davis weekly, sometimes more frequently, and was Davis' point person in congressional matters."

A dreaded moment
"A moment's silence, if you will, for a gracious, hopeless man who even now thinks he is the rightful president of the United States," political pundit Andrew Sullivan writes in the London Sunday Times.
"Like countless other lost, American teen-age souls, Al Gore decided to exorcize his demons this summer by traveling through Europe, getting a tan, and growing a beard. He gave lectures; he strolled through piazzas; he ruminated under the Spanish sun; he indulged in antipasto until his waistline came close to Newt Gingrich's. It was a natural transition from his teaching 'journalism' at Columbia University in the spring. With a tweed jacket and woolly waistcoat, all he needed in his post-electoral wilderness was a pipe to affect the aura of the left-wing intellectual, a pose that has hovered near Al Gore since his insufferably earnest student days. During the election campaign, people wondered why it seemed as if a different Al Gore emerged in each of the three excruciating debates. It turns out that three identities was Al Gore's approximation of restraint," Mr. Sullivan said.
"And now the dreaded moment has arrived when the political classes are beginning to wonder if Gore will attempt once again to win his coveted prize. He's back in the United States, teaching young would-be politicians in his home state of Tennessee, and planning to go to Iowa shortly for an obvious toe-dip in the waters of presidential politics. Washington is a-twitter with the thought that he actually means to start all over again. And as he does so, you can almost hear the Democratic Party rise up as one: 'Don't do it, Al! Spare us! We like you! Don't do this to us!' And if there's anything predictable about this man of almost fathomless cluelessness, it is that he won't listen."

Monument to Mineta
"San Jose is thinking of renaming its airport the 'Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport,'" National Review observes in an editorial.
"This is to honor the current secretary of transportation, a native son and former mayor of the city. Mineta, a lifelong liberal Democrat and member of a Designated Victim Group (Japanese-American, he was interned for a year during WWII), is said to be delighted with the idea," the magazine said.
"Are we alone in thinking that this business of naming large facilities after active politicians is getting out of control? Vladimir Nabokov suggested that portraits of national leaders should never exceed the size of a postage stamp. We are beginning to think that some similar rule might be applied to Cabinet officers: Nothing bigger than an alleyway should be named after them."

Changed her mind
Colorado House Speaker Doug Dean on Sunday married the woman who once sought a restraining order against him after a frantic phone call to police.
The Colorado Springs Republican married pharmaceutical lobbyist Gloria Sanak in a small ceremony at Miss Sanak's home, radio station KVOR reported.
In the early morning hours of May 10, Mr. Dean used a screwdriver to break into the house he and Miss Sanak shared. She had broken up with him and changed the locks.
When Miss Sanak returned, she fled to a neighbor's house to call 911. Miss Sanak later sought a restraining order against Mr. Dean, but a judge withdrew it at her request.
Mr. Dean, 40, did not answer his cellular phone. His 12-year-old son, Nick, answered Mr. Dean's home phone and confirmed his father was married, the Associated Press reports.


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