- The Washington Times - Monday, December 9, 2002

Gore's platform
Al Gore says he will offer detailed plans to revitalize the nation's economy and overhaul its health care system after Jan. 1 which, not coincidentally, is when the Democrat will announce whether he will make another run for the presidency.
The former vice president said he was "not trying to be coy," but that he had not made up his mind whether to seek the Democratic nomination. He said he would decide after the holidays.
Mr. Gore, in an appearance on ABC's "This Week," said he would have major elements of a presidential bid ready by early next year, including a plan to revamp a health care system that Mr. Gore said was "collapsing" and an economic response to President Bush's 10-year, $1.3 trillion tax-cut plan.
Mr. Gore said Mr. Bush should follow up on a purge of top members of his economic team, Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill and chief adviser Lawrence Lindsey, by abandoning economic policies that Mr. Gore says have widened the gulf between rich and poor.
"The administration's just acknowledged that their whole economic policy is a failure," Mr. Gore said of Mr. Bush's abrupt dismissal of Mr. O'Neill and Mr. Lindsey on Friday, just after the government reported the unemployment rate had climbed to 6 percent in November.
"Tax cuts aimed at the very wealthiest Americans, designed to take effect several years from now that's not an economic policy. That is greed and payback," Mr. Gore said of Republican calls to make the tax cuts permanent instead of ending them after 10 years.

Richardson's advice
New Mexico Gov.-elect Bill Richardson, a former congressman and Cabinet secretary in the Clinton administration, talked strategy last week with Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, the Associated Press reports.
Committee spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri said that Mr. Richardson will be named this week as the "federal liaison" for Democratic governors.
"It means he'll be the Democratic governor that's assigned to work with the administration on the governors' agenda," she said.
Mr. Richardson and other Democratic governors were scheduled to meet today in Washington with congressional leaders. Governors are to meet with President Bush at the White House later this month.
"Both the chairman and I agreed that the national Democratic Party needs to do two things," Mr. Richardson said Wednesday. "One is to develop a stronger economic message and, secondly, to give the Democratic governors more of a say in national Democratic policy. Too much of the party's policy is made in the House and Senate."
Mr. Richardson said Mr. McAuliffe requested the meeting Tuesday at a Santa Fe restaurant. Besides party strategy, he said, they discussed "enhancing the role of Hispanics in the Democratic Party."
Mr. Richardson said the party needs to "be more conscious of the country's heartland, and especially in the West." He pointed to the elections of new Democratic governors in Arizona, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Kansas and Oregon as well as New Mexico.
"The party needs to look at the West as a base, and that it's not just a Northeast party," he said.
Mr. Richardson supports Mr. McAuliffe and said the chairman wasn't to blame for party defeats in the Nov. 5 midterm elections. "I think he has been wrongfully blamed for not carrying the party's message," he said. "It's not his job."

Sharpton's future
"Since President Bush and the Republicans were the hands-down winners in the recent midterm-election battle, it appears only one Democrat running for president emerged from the electoral carnage with not so much as a flesh wound," Edward Blum writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).
"Who was that? None other than the Rev. Al Sharpton," said Mr. Blum, who is an adjunct scholar at the Center for Equal Opportunity in Sterling.
"Why Sharpton? Because his analysis of the Democratic Party's trouncing and his remedy for winning in 2004 has been eagerly accepted by the congressional leaders of his party: Namely, minorities but especially blacks were not sufficiently motivated to turn out to the polls on election day. Whether this theory is accurate or not (Cornell Belcher and Donna Brazile argue in a memo issued last week that black turnout was about average for midterm elections) makes little difference to Sharpton and even to the Democratic Party leaders since it's so much easier blaming your loss on a failure to turn out voters than it is to dramatically retool your positions and ideas.
"So if a declining, or at least stagnant, minority turnout is now the accepted wisdom for the 2002 losses, how will the Democrats energize minority voters in 2004? That's easy. The same way they did in 2000: Demonize George W. Bush as the reincarnation of Bull Conner, the fire-hose-wielding Birmingham sheriff who tried to stomp out the wildfires of racial integration every chance he could in the early 1960s. The Democrats already did a fine job of pursuing this kind of strategy in 2000 when they ran television ads of the daughter of the brutally slain James Byrd Jr. saying it seemed like her father was murdered all over again when then-Gov. Bush refused to back a hate-crimes bill in Texas.
"But if you thought that ad campaign was the pinnacle of demagoguery and evil, just imagine what the Democrats will do for an encore. And which rising star in the African-American political community can mobilize, demonize, and rabble-rouse better than anyone?
"That's right: Al Sharpton."

Pick a card
It wasn't the number of votes that elected the mayor of Waterford, Calif. it was the luck of the draw.
Candidates Pat Farmer and Charles Turner each drew 546 votes in the November election in the town located about 13 miles east of Modesto. As there is no special-election ordinance set up to handle ties, state law calls for the winner to be decided by chance.
The deck of cards was cut Thursday night. Mr. Turner drew a queen of diamonds, and Mr. Farmer pulled a 10 of hearts. Mr. Turner then took his seat with the City Council and began his third term as mayor. Mr. Farmer sat down in the public section.
"To me, it's embarrassing," Mr. Turner said. "The embarrassing part is that there are more than 2,900 registered voters in Waterford, and 1,800 of them didn't vote."
But Mr. Farmer took it all in fun. In fact, he wanted to settle the race with a more spirited type of draw.
"We get back-to-back on Main Street at high noon," Mr. Farmer said. "We both have paint-ball guns with six bullets. We each take 20 steps, turn and fire. Whoever gets the most hits is the winner."

White House Web
"Bush communications adviser Karen Hughes is old enough to remember first lady Jacqueline Kennedy's famous televised tour of the White House. And she's young enough to get the power of the new medium, the Internet," Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.
"So after experiencing one of President Bush's personal tours of the Oval Office, she saw a Jackie moment: Film W's performance for the White House Web site [www.whitehouse.gov]. 'As with almost everything Karen touches,' says a senior Bushie, 'it's been a huge success.'
"The raw numbers: Since going live last month, 'Life at the White House' has doubled the 'hits' on the White House site to 21 million a day. Jimmy Orr, who runs the site, says, 'If you build it, they will come.' Up next month: a portable camera on pup Barney's collar. 'It will be a miniseries,' Orr says."

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