- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 5, 2002

Strained relations
Last weekend's NAACP protests at eight welcome centers at the borders of South Carolina were held despite threats from state Attorney General Charlie Condon to file civil action. Mr. Condon believes that the protests conducted to promote the NAACP's boycott of the state over the flying of the Confederate flag are illegal, asserting that prior case law concludes that "welcome centers are not legal places to … air political grievances."
Mr. Condon, a Republican, held a press conference yesterday in which he called on Gov. Jim Hodges, a Democrat, to back him up, which the governor flatly refused to do.
And it isn't like he was nice about it.
"The attorney general is a burden that we bear here," the governor's spokesman, Jay Reiff, told reporter Steve Miller of The Washington Times. "The last time we checked, the Bill of Rights was in effect. The attorney general may want to check on that before he calls another press conference."
The spokesman for the governor added: "His is a very tortured interpretation of the law."
There's no mystery about the strained relations between the two officials. Mr. Condon hopes to win the Republican nomination for governor and take on Mr. Hodges in the fall.

Republican Rep. John Thune and Democratic Sen Tim Johnson have asked their respective South Dakota parties to quit running ads in what already has turned into one of the most competitive Senate races in the country.
The ad ban will remain in effect until Mr. Thune and Mr. Johnson can meet in person later this week to discuss a permanent ban on all third-party political ads in the 2002 Senate race, Mr. Thune said yesterday in a prepared statement.
Both candidates apparently are jittery that ads sponsored by their nominal allies could boomerang in a state where both President Bush and home-state Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle, the majority leader, are quite popular.

Early start
"U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton may soon get her first Republican opponent some five years before she must face re-election," the New York Post's Fredric U. Dicker writes.
"GOP insiders say upstate U.S. Rep. John Sweeney is preparing to announce his intention to challenge Clinton, despite the fact that the election is still years away," Mr. Dicker said.
"'The thinking is that if Sweeney get out there early, he'll have plenty of time to build support, raise money, and position himself for the challenge,' said a source close to Sweeney. …
"Sweeney insisted he wasn't making plans to challenge Clinton, but … he's already lined up a small but highly influential band of backers ready to support a Senate bid."

War of the leakers
"The involvement of Secret Service protective-division personnel in a barroom fracas in San Diego and the loss of security-plan memos at the Salt Lake City Olympics were two mistakes the agency would have preferred not to see in the press. But since they've been reported, agents are wondering about possible leakers," says the Prowler column (www.americanprowler.org), citing a member of the Secret Service.
"'It isn't the Bush administration that's leaking on us. They've been great,' says the agent. 'We think it's coming from other agents, perhaps those few who are loyal to the previous administration.'
"That reference is to the Clintons, who were largely unpopular with the uniformed and nonuniformed Secret Service staff assigned to the White House detail. The Secret Service agent the Prowler spoke to says that many current agents believe that the Clinton loyalists are paying other agents back for their years of leaking against the Clintons.
"'I wouldn't put it past some Clinton people to be getting this stuff out there,' says the current agent. 'They took such a black eye for eight years and now they are trying to get back at us.'"

Thanks, Dad
The California state Democratic Party and labor unions with ties to state Senate leader John Burton have pumped more than $500,000 in soft-money donations in an unprecedented effort to help the powerful lawmaker's daughter win her first elective office as San Francisco public defender, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The soft-money campaign, led by the state party and the lobby for the state's unionized firefighters, is paying for pricey mailers, billboards and telephone banks touting Kimiko Burton for the usually low-profile post of San Francisco public defender, reporters Chuck Finnie and Lance Williams said.
The effort on Miss Burton's behalf, reflected in records filed last week with San Francisco's Ethics Commission, has driven political funding to unheard-of levels past the $1 million mark in an election for the job of providing legal services to poor people accused of crimes.
Four years ago, when longtime Public Defender Jeff Brown ran unopposed for re-election, he spent less than $5,000, according to city records.
Miss Burton, who was appointed public defender by Mayor Willie Brown last year when Jeff Brown retired, said she has no control over spending by the Democratic Party, but is "grateful for what people are doing on my behalf."
She received $500 donations from U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, and from 12 members of Congress, including California Democratic Reps. Nancy Pelosi, Henry A. Waxman, and, yes, Gary A. Condit.

Hold your breath
Christopher C. Horner, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, has taken aim at a radio ad sponsored by the Natural Resources Defense Council. He calls it "breathtakingly dishonest."
"For a mere 30 grand, the anti-energy group Natural Resources Defense Council purchased 2 weeks of ads [on D.C. radio station WTOP] that complain about carbon dioxide as a 'pollutant' a surprise to anyone familiar with environmental laws, or elementary school science," Mr. Horner said in an e-mail to this column.
"NRDC says that this 'pollutant' is 'dangerous to everyone's health, especially children and seniors.' Having established the untrue premise that what we all learned as children is in fact plant food, used to produce oxygen they then take the huge leap of dishonesty with: 'The American Lung Association says air pollution increases both asthma attacks and deaths due to heart and lung disease.' Implication: [carbon dioxide] causes these ailments, get it? They close by asking you to pressure Congress to enact [Vermont independent Sen. James M.] Jeffords' legislation 'keeping the [carbon dioxide] out of the air we breathe.' Is that really a good idea, guys?
"That's right. That air you inhale is dangerously fouled by … that air you exhale [carbon dioxide]."

Schroeder's 'treehouse'
Patricia Schroeder, the former congresswoman who considered a race for the presidency in 1988, says there has been little progress toward the day when a woman could win the White House.
"'Madam President' has a lovely ring to my ears," she said Sunday at the opening of a two-day forum in Kansas City on the subject. "The problem is, a lot of Americans don't see it the same way."
Mrs. Schroeder, elected to Congress from Colorado in 1972 and a House Democrat for 24 years, believes polls showing more than 90 percent of Americans are ready to vote for a woman for president are misleading. She said the appropriate follow-up question "Do your friends feel the same way?" isn't asked and she suspects the answer would be strikingly different, the Associated Press reports.
"Basically, women are still terribly, terribly uncomfortable with other women in power," said Mrs. Schroeder, who described the White House as the ultimate treehouse with a sign in the front yard reading, "No girls allowed."

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