- The Washington Times - Monday, August 5, 2002

Clash of the titans
Could this be an epic battle? Two heavyweight Democrats want to bring a shining prize to their home states: the 2004 Democratic Convention.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts has told potential presidential candidates that he wants to bring the party to Boston as a kind of last hurrah, according to the Boston Globe.
But Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York has other ideas. She wants the big confab in Manhattan.
She insists the gloves will stay on.
"It's just a friendly competition, obviously," Mrs. Clinton said.
Oh, but it means so much more: Some say the outcome could signal that the Kennedys have yielded to the Clintons as the more powerful Democratic family. Still, money talks.
New York leads with a $75 million pledge to fund the event $25 million more than Boston, Miami or Detroit, two other potential hosts. Former President Bill Clinton also got in on the act, offering a pro-New York video to Democrats, managing to include images of President John F. Kennedy and his brothers, Robert and Edward himself.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Clinton promised she'd stay chummy with Mr. Kennedy.
"Oh, no, no, no," she said. "I'm one of his biggest fans ever," she said.

That Clinton magic
Oh, dear. A Pew Research survey released yesterday stated that President Clinton "stands out for his extraordinarily low credibility." His ratings are lower than they were in the spring of 1998, when the Monica Lewinsky matter was in full bloom.
The survey found that overall, 46 percent of the respondents believe "almost nothing" Mr. Clinton says. Back in 1998, the figure stood at 23 percent.
Along party lines, 77 percent of the Republicans surveyed agreed, along with 40 percent of independents and 22 percent of the Democrats.

Loose lips
At least the two top senators could agree on one thing yesterday: They don't want to take an FBI lie-detector test to determine who's slipping secrets to the press.
"I think it's a bad idea. I think that it's an infringement constitutionally on the legislative branch. And I don't think there's much support for it," Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, told ABC.
Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican, agreed the "separation of powers is certainly a difficult one." But even lawmakers must learn to simply hush up.
"I have to say that the thing for members of Congress to do is to keep their mouths shut when it involves sensitive and classified information," Mr. Lott continued.
The former Democratic vice-presidential candidate begs to differ though.
Interviewed on "Fox News Sunday," Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, said there was "too much leaking going on in Washington" and that senators, like Caesar's wife, must be above suspicion.
"I do believe our colleagues ought to submit to the polygraph test. I know polygraph tests are not 100 percent accurate," Mr. Lieberman said. But the Senate needs to do "everything we can do to send the message that no one, members of Congress included, certainly staff, should compromise personal and national security by leaking information."

Man of the people
The Republican National Committee has done the math on Al Gore, based on information from the Center for Responsive Politics and press reports. The RNC has taken to calling the former vice president "Populist Al."
In recent years, Mr. Gore has accepted donations to the tune of $278,000 from pharmaceutical industry PACs and employees, $808,000 from insurance companies and $320,000 from oil companies, the RNC says.
It also quoted the New York Times stating, "The interests of democracy would have been better served if it had been widely known that Occidental Petroleum has for years been a major benefactor of Mr. Gore's family."
The Nation found that Occidental's founder, Armand Hammer, said he had Sen. Al Gore Sr., the former vice president's father, "in my back pocket." When the elder Mr. Gore left the Senate in 1970, Mr. Hammer gave him "a $500,000-a-year job at an Occidental subsidiary and a seat on the company's board of directors."
In a series of land and property deals between both Gores and Occidental, the younger Mr. Gore cumulatively earned "$500,000 from zinc royalties," the Wall Street Journal found in a June 29, 2000, story titled: "Al Gore, Environmentalist and Zinc Miner."

So long, Republicans
Is it the fiction of Tinseltown or bare-faced reality? Depends on how one connects the dots.
"NBC's 'West Wing' features President [Josiah] Bartlett as a liberal Democrat. But it turns out the three Republicans who served as consultants on the NBC drama have been told their services are no longer needed," noted CNN analyst Jonathan Karl.
"Peggy Noonan, Marlin Fitzwater and Frank Luntz are off the payroll. But Democratic consultants Dee Dee Myers and Gene Sperling have been asked to return," he continued.
Mr. Karl did not speculate on the meaning of it all, however.

Levin on Rubin
Sen. Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat, has advice for many.
"I think if the president were wise, he would authorize the SEC to just turn over whatever records they have, get it over with. I think the vice president would be wise to do the same thing, by the way, on Halliburton. I just think disclosure is a good thing," Mr. Levin, chairman of the Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, told CNN's Robert Novak on Saturday.
Mr. Novak noted that other lawmakers have strongly suggested the "subcommittee call Robert Rubin to explain calls he made to the Treasury as a Citibank executive" on behalf of Enron.
"There's just no evidence that Rubin was involved in any of the activities my subcommittee is investigating," Mr. Levin replied. "We're going to keep this out of politics. We're not going to call people up because of who they are. We're going to call people up if there's evidence that they participated in some kind of deception or wrongdoing."
"I think that might fail the smell test if Robert Rubin is given a pass," Mr. Novak observed.

Drop and do 50
Former Republican Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina is now running hard in his bid for governor, getting the help of President Bush, who helped raised $1 million for Mr. Sanford at a recent fund-raiser.
But Mr. Sanford is also running to catch up on classes he needs to stay in the Air Force Reserves, the Augusta Chronicle reports. Mr. Sanford, a lieutenant, hasn't enrolled in any of the training classes he needs to fulfill his enlistment requirements.
There are not enough spaces available for the courses Mr. Sanford needs, and he has not received a waiver, said Lt. Col. Chris King, an Air Force Reserve spokesman.

Katherine on point
They loved Katherine Harris in Florida over the weekend, the Sarasota Herald Tribune noted yesterday. She was hugged and kissed by the party faithful at a Republican Women's Club breakfast for 200 in Sarasota.
"We love her," said club member Marie Palazzo. "She makes mistakes. We all do. But she admits them."
Two days earlier, Mrs. Harris had resigned as Florida's secretary of state after overlooking an election law that requires state officeholders to file a formal resignation before seeking another public office if the terms overlap.
Mrs. Harris is now running for Congress and has issued a statement saying her resignation won't affect her political intentions.
"I should have read the law. I didn't. I take full responsibility," she told reporters at a news conference.

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