- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Big haul
President Bush demolished his own record for a single fund-raising appearance, hauling in $4 million yesterday for Alabama's financially trailing Republican gubernatorial candidate, Rep. Bob Riley.
The cash infusion could catapult Mr. Riley past Democratic Gov. Donald Siegelman, the Associated Press reports. According to the most recent campaign-finance reports, Mr. Siegelman had $4.2 million, compared with $561,661 for Mr. Riley.
Perhaps equally valuable, Mr. Riley's campaign taped a commercial showing him standing with the president, who won that state in 2000 and remains popular there, the wire service said.
"There is no doubt in my mind he is going to win," Mr. Bush told 2,800 donors who packed a convention center hall.
Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions was also on hand, and a separate crew taped a campaign ad for his re-election bid.
Mr. Bush raised $4 million over two days in April for California Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon, but had never brought in that much in one day before yesterday. White House officials put the total at $4 million, a figure the Riley campaign said it could not immediately confirm.
Tickets to Mr. Bush's fund-raiser for Mr. Riley were $1,000 each. But for a $50,000 donation, contributors were invited to a VIP reception with Mr. Bush, allowing them to have their pictures taken with the president.

Black Republicans
"The announced retirement of Oklahoma's Rep. J.C. Watts has set off a predictable round of hand-wringing about the Republican Party's lack of 'diversity.' Mr. Watts' departure would leave the GOP without a single black member in Congress," John Fund writes at www.opinionjournal.com.
"Unless, of course, another black Republican wins this November. That isn't likely, but there's a chance. On Friday, Joseph Holland, a former New York state housing commissioner, announced he will run in a bizarrely shaped new district that joins parts of suburban Rockland County and the city of Yonkers with the far northern part of the Bronx. The Democratic incumbent, Eliot Engel, may be vulnerable; he won only 50 percent of the vote in a 2000 primary against a black state senator," Mr. Fund said.
Mr. Fund added: "Mr. Holland isn't the only black Republican running for Congress this year. Joe Rogers, the lieutenant governor of Colorado, is seeking a suburban Denver House seat. But scandals in his office make it unlikely he'll survive the GOP primary. In 2000, Jennifer Carroll, a retired Navy officer, outpolled George W. Bush in her Florida district to win 42 percent of the vote against incumbent Democrat Corinne Brown. She is running again this year, but redistricting has solidified the Democratic tilt of the district and makes her rematch a long shot.
"Mr. Holland is also a long shot, but an investment in his race would show Republicans have a serious interest in promoting candidates who go against the stereotype of their party."

O'Neill's lament
"Paul O'Neill should know better, being an old Washington hand, but he just can't stand all those media pundits and critics blaming him for the current economic situation just because he's today's Treasury secretary," Paul Bedard writes in U.S. News & World Report.
"'There's an indication that if you happen to be there when something's going on then you are by definition responsible for it.' Well, yeah. He cites a news story listing a litany of complaints. 'As long as they're at it, they should have said the economic team is responsible for the planes crashing into the twin towers happened on their watch.'
"His comments reveal administration frustration with the 'tennis match' nature of political debate," Mr. Bedard said.
"'One of the things I really struggle with is that there is so little fascination and work on the facts,' says the ex-Alcoa boss, betting that '99 percent' of pundits debating issues are dumb on them. His advice: Get out of town for a reality check. 'The notion that Washington is the center of the universe and creates value and everything happens because of what goes on here is not true. It may be a surprise to you, but it's not true.'"

Reno's cash woes
"Janet Reno's campaign for Florida governor is so strapped for cash, Democrats are worried that she won't have enough money to run campaign ads," the New York Post reports.
"The former attorney general raised only $369,000 during the three months ending June 30, according to reports filed with the Florida Division of Elections last week. She has just $224,000 left in her campaign coffers," reporter Malcolm Balfour writes.
"Reno's main rival in the Sept. 10 Democratic primary, Tampa attorney Jim McBride, raised $535,000 in the same period, has $1.2 million in campaign accounts and a projected $2 million total still to come from the AFL-CIO and the Florida Education Association.
"Gov. Jeb Bush far outstrips both his Democratic rivals, raising $5.6 million to date, of which $5 million has yet to be spent."

Unusual combo
"With the dust settled from a primary that attracted the attention of a host of outside groups, voters in Maine's 2nd District are faced with a highly unusual choice: an anti-abortion Democrat or a pro-abortion-rights Republican," Roll Call reporter Ben Pershing writes.
"No other competitive House race in recent memory has featured that particular combination, which, along with a host of other ideological contrasts and the balanced partisan makeup of the seat, should make for a tight race between [Democratic] state Senate President Pro Tem Mike Michaud and former Senate aide Kevin Raye [a Republican]."

Secret rendezvous
Senate Democrats, after railing last week against the rising tide of corporate abuses, hopped aboard a fleet of company jets Friday for a secret Nantucket weekend retreat with top party donors, the Boston Herald reports.
"Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, a leading Senate health-care reformer who this week will launch a major fight on prescription-drug coverage, flew aboard health insurance giant AFLAC's company jet," reporter Andrew Miga writes, citing an aide to the senator.
Mr. Kennedy and Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrats, were among the 16 senators and 250 big-ticket contributors mostly corporate executives and lobbyists schmoozing at Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee events on the island.
"The timing of this year's Nantucket event could pose a public relations disaster for Democrats, who have sharply criticized the GOP's cozy ties to business as the wave of corporate scandals intensified recently," the reporter said.
"The annual weekend which includes tennis, golf, sailing, cocktails and lavish meals provides wealthy donors with extraordinary personal access to lawmakers."

Education governor
Kentucky Gov. Paul E. Patton plans to be an apostle of education during his year as chairman of the National Governors Association, the Associated Press reports.
Mr. Patton said one of his goals is to get his fellow governors especially the 20 or more who will be new in office thinking about education and how to turn poorly performing schools around.
"I'm going to make a real effort to get them focused on education early on in their term," he said. "When a governor hits office, they react to whatever gets their attention first. I'm going to personally be there."
Mr. Patton, a Democrat, will be installed today as chairman of the NGA, which is meeting in Boise, Idaho. He succeeds Republican John Engler of Michigan. The NGA is bipartisan, and the chairmanship alternates each year between a Republican and a Democrat.

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