- The Washington Times - Monday, July 29, 2002

Dinner with Al
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, had dinner with Al Gore last week, and Mr. Gore told his old vice-presidential running mate that he has yet to make up his mind about seeking a presidential rematch with George W. Bush.
"We remain very good friends," Mr. Lieberman said yesterday on CBS' "Face the Nation." "It was mostly a social dinner but at the end of it we talked a little about this and the former vice president said to me that he is undecided. And I said to him the sooner he decides, the happier I will be."
Mr. Lieberman said he leans strongly toward a campaign for the presidency in 2004, but has vowed to bow out if Mr. Gore enters the race, a pledge Mr. Lieberman reiterated yesterday.
Asked if he would have any interest in the vice-presidential slot on the ticket again, should Mr. Gore run, Mr. Lieberman said, "That one I'm pushing off and I frankly haven't allowed myself to think about it, maybe because I've been thinking so much about the possibility of seeking the presidential nomination. But also because the first decision has to be made by Al Gore, then the rest will follow."

One more Republican
Come Thursday, House Republicans will be one member stronger at least in name.
Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr. from Virginia sent a letter to House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert last week asking that his party designation be officially switched from independent to Republican as of Aug. 1.
But the three-term congressman has caucused with Republicans since leaving the Democratic Party more than a year ago, and had already announced he is running for his seat as a Republican in November.
He said the official switch now is a clarifying move so that news stories don't confuse folks during his campaign.
"I'm running in this election as a Republican so when they refer to something up here it should say 'R-Virginia,'" Mr. Goode said.
His switch leaves the House with 223 Republicans, 210 Democrats and one independent, Bernard Sanders of Vermont. The seat of James A. Traficant Jr., Ohio Democrat, is vacant after the House voted Wednesday to expel him.

Rubin's role
"On Tuesday, Sen. Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, was asked whether he intended to call former Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin to testify about the Enron-Citigroup scandal," Mark Levin notes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).
"Lieberman's response: 'I don't.' He then passed the buck to Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Of course, the subcommittee falls under the jurisdiction of Lieberman's committee. If Lieberman wanted Rubin to testify, it would happen on his say-so," the writer said.
"So, what does Levin think about calling Rubin as a witness? When asked last Tuesday he said: 'I'd rather go to the top.' In other words, Levin intends to call the chief executive officer of Enron, but not Rubin, who is chairman of Citigroup's executive committee.
"If Levin is only interested in the testimony of CEOs, why did he hold a hearing last Tuesday in which four Citigroup witnesses testified, but not Citigroup's CEO? Moreover, Levin's not limited on the number of witnesses he can call. Citigroup's CEO and Rubin would make excellent witnesses.
"And the reason Rubin is a critical witness is that on at least two occasions, he attempted to influence the credit rating of Enron just days before its demise. Rubin telephoned a top Treasury Department official to enlist his help in persuading the credit-rating agencies to keep Enron's credit rating artificially high. He also directly contacted a top officer at Moody's for the same reason. Rubin's motive: Citigroup was holding about $1 billion in bad Enron loans, which it undoubtedly hoped to dump on unwitting investors. What else explains Rubin's devious efforts and the Lieberman-Levin cover-up? Thus far the Democrats have succeeded in turning the criminal conduct of some corporate executives into a potent political weapon. Rubin's testimony would endanger their strategy."

McCain comedy
Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, will host NBC's "Saturday Night Live" on Oct. 12, the second episode of the program's 28th season.
Mr. McCain told Daily Variety he "immediately said yes" when the program's executive producer, Lorne Michaels, asked him to host and said he was honored to be called upon.
"I'm a little nervous," Mr. McCain said. "Some say there's a fine line between political theater and theater. But it's going to be fun."
Mr. McCain said at least one of his family members is very happy about the booking.
"It'll be the first time my 17-year-old daughter has been impressed with anything I've done since she's become a teenager," he said.
Mr. McCain will fly to New York the week before the show for rehearsals. He said he is not sure what to expect yet in terms of sketches, but noted that "Saturday Night Live" and Mr. Michaels traditionally aren't "too worried about crossing boundaries."
Variety reporter Josef Adalian said, "It's a good bet 'SNL' will fully exploit McCain's still-sticky relationship with President Bush. Indeed, McCain will be one of the first 'SNL' hosts to interact with the show's new George W. Bush whoever that may be."
Mr. Michaels has yet to decide who will replace Will Ferrell as the show's Dubya.

Evans' defense
Some in the media have criticized President Bush for predicting the Securities and Exchange Commission will find no evidence of wrongdoing in its investigation of Vice President RichardB. Cheney's tenure as head of Halliburton.
But Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans defended both the president and the vice president when he was asked about the appropriateness of Mr. Bush's forecast in an interview Saturday on CNN's "Novak, Hunt & Shields."
"Surely, the president hasn't had time to familiarize himself with the particulars of those complexities. So why is it appropriate to prejudge an inquiry barely started by a supposedly independent agency?" co-host Al Hunt asked Mr. Evans.
The secretary replied: "All he's saying is that Dick Cheney is an honorable man, a man of total, complete integrity, a man that has served this country with distinction for many, many, many years. And he has total confidence in this vice president, as do I. And that's all the president was saying."
Earlier in the interview, Mr. Hunt said Mr. Cheney had been "silent" during the past two weeks "as the markets have been roiled." He asked Mr. Evans "why Dick Cheney has not spoken out."
"Dick Cheney has spoken on this issue in the last two weeks to the president," Mr. Evans said.

Defining 'moderate'
"Supporting 'abortion rights' and 'affirmative action' makes one a 'moderate' and 'nonideological' in the lexicon of the New York Times," Brent Baker writes at the Media Research Center's Web site, www.mediaresearch.org.
"In a front page story on Secretary of State Colin Powell on Thursday, reporter Todd Purdum penned this paragraph: 'Mr. Powell's approach to almost all issues foreign or domestic is pragmatic and nonideological. He is internationalist, multilateralist and moderate. He has supported abortion rights and affirmative action and is a Republican, many supporters say, in no small measure because Republican officials mentored and promoted him for years.'"


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