- The Washington Times - Monday, February 11, 2002

Democrat for tax cuts
In the nation's capital, Democrats are criticizing the tax cut that President Bush pushed through Congress last year, and some even want to raise taxes. But in Georgia, at least one Democrat Gov. Roy Barnes has other ideas.
"Not in Georgia. Not on my watch," Mr. Barnes said last week in his State of the State speech. "We will not raise taxes."
In fact, Mr. Barnes called for new tax cuts in Georgia cutting property taxes for homeowners, in addition to state income tax reductions worth $63 million.
Mr. Barnes apparently shares Mr. Bush's idea that tax cuts are necessary to stimulate economic growth. Telling the Georgia General Assembly "we must do everything we can to help businesses create new jobs," the governor called for $129 million in tax relief for the states' businesses.
And he proposed "a sales tax holiday that will boost the economy." Under Mr. Barnes' plan, there would be two periods in March and August ("when folks are doing their back-to-school shopping") when the state would exempt certain purchases from sales tax, including up to a $1,500 exemption for personal computers.
"This would put about $11 million directly into the pockets of Georgia families," said Mr. Barnes, who is seeking re-election in November.

Prankster Bush
A new behind-the-scenes documentary that depicts President Bush as a prankster has senior White House aides nervous, Time magazine reports.
The documentary was produced by Alexandra Pelosi, a former NBC producer and daughter of the new House Democratic Whip, Nancy Pelosi of California. White House advisers say Miss Pelosi broke an agreement with the campaign that the video was for her own personal use, White House correspondent John F. Dickerson writes.
Miss Pelosi edited hundreds of hours of footage in her New York City apartment. The film captures Mr. Bush wading into the press corps cocktail hour in the back rows of the campaign's Boeing 757, proclaiming, "It takes an animal to know an animal."
Late-night comedians and columnists are likely to use the video to open up a new season of poking fun at the president, the reporter said.

Ventura poll
Hard times and tough budget battles appear to be taking a toll on Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura's popularity and perhaps his electability, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune reports.
The governor's job-approval rating has dropped to its lowest mark since he took office three years ago, and support for his re-election also is relatively low, according to the latest Star Tribune Minnesota Poll.
Only 29 percent of those surveyed in the Feb. 2-6 poll of 1,027 likely November voters said they thought Mr. Ventura "deserves to be re-elected," while 63 percent said "someone new deserves a chance."
His job approval, which stood at 53 percent in a December Minnesota Poll, fell below 50 percent for the first time, to 49 percent among all Minnesotans and to 46 percent among likely voters.
The former pro wrestler has not said whether he will seek re-election.

Reagan haters
On former President Ronald Reagan's 91st birthday last week, The Washington Times reported how Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, couldn't quite bring himself to praise Mr. Reagan's record.
But Mr. Daschle is not the only Democrat who suffers from this problem.
James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal points out that Donna Brazile, who helped manage Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign, refuses to say anything nice about Mr. Reagan.
On CNN's "Late Edition" on Feb. 3, Wolf Blitzer asked Miss Brazile to comment on the legacy of Mr. Reagan, widely credited with restoring America's economic health and helping end the Cold War.
"Big spender, deficit spender. And that's what he'll be remembered as," Miss Brazile said.
Mr. Blitzer tried again: "That's not very nice. He's going to be 91 years old. He's got his birthday coming up. Say something nice about him. We want to hear something nice about Ronald Reagan."
Miss Brazile replied: "I'll pass."

No Enron talk
Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, claimed he didn't want to talk about Enron in an appearance Saturday on CNN's "Target: Terrorism" with Kate Snow.
"I don't want to spend my time talking about Enron. I'd rather talk about job creation," Mr. McAuliffe said.
But he immediately started talking about Enron, giving reasons why he believes the scandal is making Republicans look bad. "When the Department of Justice sends a letter to the White House telling them not to destroy Enron documents, we clearly now have proof the Republicans don't like to hear it but we had contacts inside the White House. We know for sure that Enron was George Bush's biggest donor," Mr. McAuliffe said. (Enron actually was Mr. Bush's 12th-largest donor.)
"But contact doesn't mean wrongdoing," Miss Snow reminded her guest.
"Kate, I agree," Mr. McAuliffe said. He then provided a list of more purported evidence for questioning White House ties to Enron.
"What we know now, Henry Waxman documented 17 specific proposals that the White House worked out with Enron to help them in the energy bill. We know that Ken Lay called Mitch Daniels on a $254 million tax rebate. We do know that Karl Rove got Ralph Reed a job during the presidential campaign, and we do know that Ken Lay was interviewing people to be on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the same agency that was to regulate them. So those are the issues."
And he still wasn't through.
"It's non-disclosure. Vice President [Richard B.] Cheney needs to come clean and tell the American people who were in these meetings" of his task force that formulated the Bush administration's energy policy, Mr. McAuliffe said.

Advertising barrage
Republicans mounted an advertising campaign in five key Senate races, saying that in a time of national unity, "partisan Democrats" scuttled President Bush's economic-stimulus plan.
Officials said television commercials would air this week aimed at Sens. Max Baucus in Montana, Tim Johnson in South Dakota and Jean Carnahan in Missouri.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee also will run radio commercials against Mrs. Carnahan as well as Sen. Paul Wellstone in Minnesota and Sen. Tom Harkin in Iowa.
All five have been targeted for defeat by the Republicans this fall as part of their effort to overcome a one-seat Democratic majority in the Senate.
Mr. Bush, whose popularity is in the 80 percent range in public polling, is in all of the commercials his image as well as his voice on the television ads.
In rebuttal, a Democratic spokeswoman said it was Republicans who had declined to compromise on the stimulus legislation.

Lieberman's request
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman yesterday said that President Bush should disclaim ads critical of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.
Senate Republican leader Trent Lott and Mr. Daschle disagreed on what should be in an economic-stimulus package, the Connecticut Democrat noted in an interview on "Fox News Sunday."
"But I do think that the ads that I gather the RNC, Republican National Committee, and other, independent groups have been running against Tom, particularly in his home state of South Dakota, are really over the edge. One of them apparently puts him in the same category as Saddam Hussein. Now that's just gutter stuff," Mr. Lieberman said.
"The chairman of the Republican National Committee, in fact, President Bush ought to disclaim those ads and ask anybody who's putting them on against Tom Daschle to take them off the air," Mr. Lieberman added.

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