- The Washington Times - Friday, April 19, 2002

'The Second Coming'

"'The best lack all conviction and the worst are filled with passionate intensity.' That was one of the memorable lines in Al Gore's 'comeback' speech last weekend at the Florida Democrats' state convention," New York Post editorial writer Robert A George writes at www.nationalreview.com.

"The statement was made after Gore had unleashed a laundry list of particular Bush-administration offenses. It is an excerpt from Yeats's poem, 'The Second Coming.' Yeats, of course, was referring to the Messiah. Guess we have an idea of how Gore sees himself. Some hard-working speechwriter gets points for selecting that one," Mr. George said.

"Of course, it is a phrase that can easily boomerang on the speaker especially when given in a political setting. However, as one mischievous wag (OK, OK, it was me!) put it on a Sunday talk show, 'Was Gore saying that he and the Democrats were the "best" but lacked all conviction or that they were the "worst" and filled with passionate intensity?' Tongue-in-cheek observation, yes, but appropriate. Because if nothing else, Gore and company sure had passionate intensity.

"Frankly, it is easy for conservatives to mock Gore and the Democrats especially considering that someone needs to be fired for not having the air conditioner working."


Cuomo's attack

Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate in New York, accused Republican Gov. George E. Pataki of holding the "leader's coat" for letting himself be overshadowed by New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani after the September 11 attacks on Manhattan.

As governor of the state, Mr. Pataki should have taken charge immediately after two planes flew into the World Trade Center, Mr. Cuomo said, because it is his "job description" to deal with international dignitaries, the president and other national officials. Instead, Mr. Giuliani took the lead in handling the crisis, relegating Mr. Pataki to a supporting role, Mr. Cuomo said.

"If it defined George Pataki, it defined him as not being a leader," Mr. Cuomo said Wednesday during an interview on his campaign bus en route from Syracuse to Buffalo. "He stood behind the leader. He held the leader's coat. He was a great assistant to the leader, but he was not a leader."

Mr. Giuliani, a Republican, sprang to the governor's defense soon after learning of Mr. Cuomo's comments, the Albany Times-Leader reports.

"I held his coat as often as he held mine," Mr. Giuliani said, adding that the governor had been a "full partner" in the days after September 11 and enabled the mayor to do the job that won him worldwide recognition and praise. "If Andrew Cuomo makes this an issue, George Pataki gets elected unanimously," Mr. Giuliani said.

At a news conference in Albany, Mr. Pataki seemed taken aback when a reporter informed him of Mr. Cuomo's criticisms. The governor stammered, saying: "He actually he actually said that?"

Mr. Pataki added: "There are things I could say, but I don't think it's appropriate. I'm very proud of how the people of New York responded to that horrible, horrible attack. I'm just stunned by the comments and the things that he said. I think it's just very sad."


Cuomo leads McCall

Andrew M. Cuomo, hoping to win the job of New York governor his father once held, pulled ahead of his rival for the Democratic Party's nomination the week he formally announced his candidacy, according to a poll released yesterday.

However, incumbent Republican Gov. George E. Pataki continues to hold a strong lead over both Democrats Mr. Cuomo and state Comptroller H. Carl McCall, according to the poll conducted by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute of Hamden, Conn.

If the election were held now, Mr. Pataki would beat Mr. Cuomo 54 percent to 30 percent and defeat Mr. McCall 56 percent to 29 percent, the poll showed.

Mr. Cuomo, who was housing secretary in the Clinton administration, formally announced his candidacy Tuesday.

The poll showed him leading Mr. McCall 44 percent to 30 percent, compared with a poll taken in February showing Mr. Cuomo leading Mr. McCall 40 percent to 35 percent among Democrats.


Surprise guest

"It was politics and canapes on the verandah last week when Hillary Rodham Clinton hosted some of her husband's old friends at her home in Washington. And the big surprise was Bill was actually there, answering the door and welcoming the likes of Democratic bigwig Al From, former chief of staff John Podesta and former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger," says the Prowler column at www.americanprowler.org.

"'They weren't expecting Bill,' says one former Clinton staffer. 'He thought it would be a nice surprise. He hadn't seen some of the gang in a while.'

"The substance of what was talked about isn't known, although the 2002 and 2004 elections did come up. 'How could they not with Clinton there,' says the former staffer. 'Politics is one of the top two or three things he loves to talk about. And the other two he probably can't discuss in front of Hillary.'"


Texas schools

Rep. Tom DeLay, Texas Republican and majority whip, wants more religion and less "political correctness" at Texas public universities, a newspaper reported yesterday.

Mr. DeLay urged an audience at a Houston-area church last week to pressure state legislators to "throw the P.C. out and bring God in" to Texas schools, the Houston Chronicle said.

Mr. DeLay cautioned the group not to send their children to Baylor University, a Baptist school in Waco, Texas, or Texas A&M University, known for its military traditions and the presidential library of George H.W. Bush. Both are generally regarded as among the state's most conservative schools, but Mr. DeLay disagreed, Reuters reports.

"Texas A&M University used to be a conservative university," Mr. DeLay told about 300 people at the First Baptist Church in Pearland, Texas, last Friday.

"It's lost all of its conservatism and it's renounced its traditions. It's really sad. My daughter went there, you know. She had horrible experiences with coed dorms and guys who spent weekends in the rooms with girls, and all this kind of stuff went on there. It's just unbelievable," Mr. DeLay said.

"There are still some Christian schools out there good, solid schools. Now, they may be little, they may not be as prestigious as Stanford, but your kids will get a good, solid, godly education," he said.

Mr. DeLay's comments were taped without his knowledge and sent to the Chronicle by the Washington-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State.


A promotion

During floor debate in the House yesterday on making the Bush administration's tax cuts permanent, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay got a promotion from Democratic Rep. Charles B. Rangel of New York.

"Will the majority leader yield for a question?" Mr. Rangel asked Mr. DeLay.

"Yes, but I'm majority whip, not majority leader," Mr. DeLay said.

"You're majority whip," Mr. Rangel replied as Mr. DeLay tried to suppress a smile.

Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas is retiring at the end of this year, and Mr. DeLay is all but certain to replace him if Republicans retain control of the House in the November elections. Mr. Rangel referred to Mr. Armey this week as a "lame duck" and said "nobody cares" about him anymore.

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