- The Washington Times - Monday, July 15, 2002

No endorsement
Sen. Fred Thompson, Tennessee Republican, says he will not make an endorsement in next month's Republican primary for the Senate seat he is vacating.
Pundit Al Hunt noted on CNN's "Novak, Hunt & Shields" that former governor and federal Education Secretary Lamar Alexander and Rep. Ed Bryant are locked in a tough fight for the Republican nomination.
"During the presidential campaign, you endorsed Lamar Alexander. Are you going to endorse him in the next 2 weeks?" Mr. Hunt asked the lame-duck lawmaker.
"I'm not going to endorse anyone," Mr. Thompson replied. "I have the greatest respect for Lamar. I have worked with Ed Bryant, and I have respect for Ed for sure. I feel like that what my primary concern and focus ought to be is helping a successor."

Other explanation?
Rep. Billy Tauzin, Louisiana Republican, says the dumping of ImClone stock went "all the way down to the janitor."
On ABC's "This Week," Mr. Tauzin was asked about a new report in Time magazine that just "two days after the FDA met with ImClone" to say it would not approve an experimental cancer drug, "the general counsel sold $2.5 million in stock, and a marketing VP sold $2.1 million."
"Do you believe there's an innocent explanation for all this?" interviewer George Stephanopoulos asked the congressman.
"I don't know where you find one," Mr. Tauzin said.
"I mean everyone in this corporation was dumping stock," he continued. "Not only were the officers of the corporation dumping stock, their children were dumping stock, their friends were dumping stock. You get a clear picture somebody was telling somebody that FDA is not going to approve this drug."
Mr. Tauzin heads the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is investigating accusations of insider trading and fraudulent accounting at some U.S. corporations, ImClone among them.

Tempting the Greens
New Mexico state Republican Chairman John Dendahl wooed the Green Party with an offer of potential "six-figure" political support from an unidentified source if the Greens ran candidates in two congressional races.
Mr. Dendahl said Thursday that the offer of campaign contributions didn't come from the Republican Party, but that he didn't know the source of the potential donations to the Green Party, which often draws Democratic-leaning voters.
Mr. Dendahl said he had been asked by an acquaintance in Washington, D.C., to make the offer, but Mr. Dendahl declined to identify the individual, the Associated Press reports.
"I can't say that this source has no Republican connection of any kind. I don't recognize this as a Republican connection and it was not Republican Party money," he said.
Mr. Dendahl talked last month with several Green Party members and a party co-chairman. He told them that a donor might provide "six-figure" financial support if Green candidates ran in the 1st and 2nd congressional districts. The Greens turned down the offer, and none of the party's candidates filed for the offices.
The Albuquerque-area 1st District is represented by Republican Heather Wilson, who faces her first general-election race with only a Democratic opponent. Greens fielded candidates in 1998 and 2000. There's no incumbent in the race for the 2nd District seat in southern New Mexico because Republican Joe Skeen is retiring.
Jamie Koch, head of the state Democratic Party, called for Mr. Dendahl to resign, saying the Republican leader had "stepped over the line."

A vast conspiracy
"Anyone worried that the war on terror has in any way stifled criticism of the Bush administration should notice what happened at the annual NAACP conference this [past] week in Houston," the Wall Street Journal says.
"According to Kweisi Mfume, who heads the civil rights group, Mr. Bush is in some sort of war with black America. 'I don't like his presidential practice of divide and conquer when it comes to black organizations and black people and black thinking,' said Mr. Mfume, who talks a lot about diversity but apparently expects all blacks to think alike," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"According to Julian Bond, NAACP chairman, 'There's a right-wing conspiracy [against blacks], and it's operating out of the United States Department of Justice.' Jesse Jackson agrees. He labeled President Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft 'the most threatening combination in our lifetime.'
"In case you're wondering, Al Sharpton, voice of the downtrodden, decided to stay in New York, where he's crusading on behalf of multimillionaire Michael Jackson, who claims he's been undercompensated by the music industry on account of his skin color, not his slumping record sales.
"The president's response to these perennial critics and avid racial bean counters was to remind people that Colin Powell and Condi Rice are high-ranking members of his administration who happen to be black. The NAACP's suggestion that they're simply pawns in Mr. Bush's 'divide-and-conquer' machinations falls somewhere between amusing and offensive. No wonder both Mr. Powell and Mr. Bush declined invitations to speak at the conference."

Tennessee taxes
"The anti-income tax revolt in Tennessee is over, at least for this legislative session. Thanks to a coalition of dissenting politicians, renegade talk radio hosts, an energized public, and perhaps a Benevolent Deity, Tennessee remains one of the few no-income tax states in America," Dave Shiflett writes at www.americanprowler.org.
"Some rest and recreation is surely in order. The last days of the campaign were brutal. Hideous charges were leveled against the no-tax activists, including linking them to the untimely death of a pro-tax pol (who as it happens had also been brought up on charges of exposing himself to little girls). The government was shut down (non-essential services, anyway), making it impossible for regular citizens to visit museums and get driver's licenses," Mr. Shiflett said.
"On the brightest side, surviving pro-tax pols face severe sanction from voters. The two chief candidates in the upcoming governor's race promise not to back an income tax, including the Democratic candidate, who as mayor of Nashville was thought by some to suffer from taxation intoxication."

'A good idea'
Sen. Fred Thompson, Tennessee Republican, in a CNN interview Saturday was reminded that both he and Rep. J.C. Watts Jr., Oklahoma Republican and House Republican Conference chairman, are leaving Congress after eight years. He was asked by pundit Robert Novak if "eight years is a good length of time for a term limit, either by statute or practice."
Mr. Thompson declined to set a specific limit. "But I still think term limits is a good idea. It's not all good. We'd lose some good people. But I think it would open it up for other people."
He went on to say that Congress is "not suffering from a lack of expertise. We've got a lot of good, smart people with a lot of expertise."
"What we're suffering from is a lack of willpower to do some of these things like reforming entitlement programs [such as Social Security and Medicare] and things like that that we need to do that are politically extremely difficult. But it makes it more difficult when you are making a career out of a job."
As the interview ended, panelist Al Hunt told Mr. Thompson "you broke a lot of hearts" by recently getting married.
"Are you going to go back to being a heartthrob again when you get out of the Senate by going back to Hollywood and in the movies?" Mr. Hunt asked his guest, who acted in 18 motion pictures before coming to Washington.
"I only wish. I only wish, now a bit actor maybe on occasion, but that will be, at most, an avocation. But it's a fun one when you can get the work," Mr. Thompson said.


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