- The Washington Times - Friday, March 29, 2002

Dogged campaigner

"President Bush is now campaigner-in-chief as well as commander-in-chief, trying to win Republican control of the U.S. Senate in the same dogged, focused way he ran his presidential campaign," the New York Post's Deborah Orin writes.

"Insiders say Bush has even made his own personal donor lists, the most prized property in politics since he raised a record amount, available to some Senate candidates for their fund-raising efforts," Miss Orin said.

"After targeted Senate races get a personal fund-raising visit from Bush, they can also count on one from Vice President Dick Cheney and possibly another from ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani [of New York], who's coordinating with the White House."

Hey, big spender

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, was the biggest spender in the Senate last year, according to the National Taxpayers Union's annual rating of Congress.

The rating, which is based on every roll-call vote affecting fiscal policy, assigns a "Taxpayer Score" to each member of Congress that indicates his or her commitment to reducing or controlling federal spending, taxes, debt and regulation. For 2001, a total of 155 House and 194 Senate roll-call votes were selected.

Mrs. Clinton scored 3 percent, "the worst score for a Senate freshman in their first year in office that NTU has ever recorded," the group said.

Her fellow New York Democrat, Rep. Charles B. Rangel, was found to be the biggest spender on the House side, with a 6 percent score.

In 2001, the average pro-taxpayer score in the House of Representatives was 41 percent down from 2000's mark of 45 percent. Averages also slumped slightly for the Senate, to 46 percent in 2001 compared with 47 percent the year before.

On the other end of the pro-taxpayer scale, the highest scorer in the House was Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Republican, with 88 percent. Mr. Paul has claimed the top spot in his chamber for the third year running.

In the Senate, Wayne Allard, Colorado Republican, earned the highest honor, also with an 88 percent score. Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, finished just a fraction of a point behind Mr. Allard, with a rounded score of 88 percent.

The 2001 rating, along with a searchable rating database from the years 1992-2000, are available online at www.ntu.org.

'Award' winners

The Club for Growth yesterday named Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist, Arizona Sen. John McCain, and Iowa Rep. Greg Ganske as 2001 RINO award winners.

RINO stands for "Republican in name only."

"These RINOs have done more than anyone to kill the free-market agenda of the Republican elephant," said Club for Growth President Stephen Moore. "Lower taxes, less regulation and policies that stimulate economic growth, jobs and prosperity for Americans is the bedrock of the Republican Party, and those so-called 'Republicans' who work against that agenda aren't really Republicans at all."

Mr. Sundquist won "for repeatedly trying to enact a state income tax," the group said. "There is nothing that hurts the pro-economic-growth cause more than Republicans who promise to hold the line on taxes during the campaign, then get in office and try to raise taxes."

Mr. McCain was declared the U.S. Senate RINO of the Year "for voting against final passage of the Bush tax cut and for a key anti-tax cut amendment by Democratic Leader Tom Daschle; for offering his own amendment that would have gutted the Bush tax cut; for teaming up with Sen. Edward Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, to push massive new health-care regulations; and for becoming the chief Republican Senate sponsor of the bill to make all airport screeners federal employees."

Mr. Ganske was named House of Representatives RINO of the Year "for being the Republican sponsor of the Democratic bill to federalize airport workers and for sponsoring the Republican version of the so-called Health Care Bill of Rights legislation," the group said.

Unhappy with Bush

The chairman of the American Conservative Union expressed deep disappointment this week after President Bush signed a campaign-finance bill that most conservatives think is unconstitutional.

"Conservatives find it difficult to understand why President Bush, who promised during his campaign to veto just the sort of campaign-finance bill Congress sent to his desk, decided to sign it," David A. Keene said.

"It is particularly disheartening to watch a president most of us support break a promise, question the constitutionality of a bill and then go right ahead and sign it."

Mr. Keene added: "By signing the bill, the president ignored his own understanding of a president's responsibility and passed the buck to the courts. We are confident that the courts will respond by doing their job, but we are disappointed in his failure to stand up for what he knows is right."

Dingell leads Rivers

"Rep. John Dingell had an 8-point lead over Rep. Lynn Rivers in the first survey testing a head-to-head matchup between the two Democratic members [from Michigan], who were thrown into the same district after a Republican-led redistricting in the state," Roll Call reports.

"Dingell led Rivers 52 percent to 44 percent in the poll, which was conducted by the Feldman Group, a Democratic polling firm, for EMILY's List, a pro-abortion rights group that is supporting Rivers," reporter Chris Cillizza writes.

"Although Dingell held the initial lead, pollster Diane Feldman argued that the poll is good news for Rivers. According to the polling memo, voters 'overwhelmingly prefer Rivers over Dingell on abortion rights, gun safety and the environment.'"

Bon voyage, Mike

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg got a double dose of good news in a new poll: 62 percent of New York City voters approve of the job he's doing, and 79 percent say it's none of anyone's business where he goes on vacation or on weekend trips.

Since winning the mayoral election in November, whenever Mr. Bloomberg has left town, he has told only a handful of aides and a few friends where he is going.

The mayor's travels have led several news organizations to try to find him and publish "Where in the world is Mike?" stories, the Associated Press notes.

"Bon voyage, Mayor Mike! Your neighbors say 4-to-1 that where you spend your downtime is none of their business," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac Polling Institute.

According to the new poll, released Wednesday, 86 percent said the media should not follow him when he goes out of town.

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