- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Playing hardball
"Andrew Cuomo often highlights his record as federal housing secretary in his run for governor [of New York], but to get the job, he had to knock out an African-American mayor who was ahead of him," the New York Post reports.
"Cuomo's behind-the-scenes hardball campaign against former Seattle Mayor Norm Rice included a federal Housing and Urban Development investigation into a $24 million federal loan that Cuomo's own office had approved," reporter Brian Blomquist writes.
"Rice got burned by the probe, which cleared him a year later, and Cuomo won the post."
Mr. Cuomo became the head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in President Clinton's second term after serving four years as the department's No. 2 man.

Blame Katie
"Dick Gephardt's impugning of President Bush by using 'what did he know and when did he know it' language was Katie Couric's fault. Morton Kondracke reported Monday night on [the Fox News Channel] that 'the Gephardt people' are blaming his rhetoric on him parroting what he heard Couric say that morning," the Media Research Center reports.
"Indeed, Couric opened the May 16 'Today': 'Good morning. What did he know and when did he know it? The Bush administration admits the president was warned in an intelligence briefing last summer of the possibility that Osama bin Laden's terrorist network might hijack American planes, raising more questions about whether the attacks on America could have been prevented today, Thursday, May 16, 2002.'
"A few hours later, House Minority Leader Gephardt demanded, as quoted by the AP: 'What we have to do now is find out what the president what the White House knew about the events leading up to the events of 9/11, when they knew it and, most importantly, what was done about it.'
"But three days later, on "Fox News Sunday," he tried, as they say, to put the toothpaste back into the tube: 'I never ever, ever thought that anybody, including the president, did anything up to September 11 other than their best.'
"Noting Gephardt's backtracking, on Monday's 'Special Report with Brit Hume' on FNC, Morton Kondracke of Roll Call disclosed: 'Interestingly, the Gephardt people are blaming his "what did he know and when did he know it" on Katie Couric, the 'Today' show host who asked that question and then a couple of hours later, when Dick Gephardt was doing his dugout, he sort of spouted the same thing Katie Couric had said and, you know, he didn't mean it! That's what they're saying. It's all Katie Couric's fault.'"

Put it in writing
Montana Gov. Judy Martz, who has frequently complained about the print media's coverage of her, says she no longer will grant interviews to some reporters because of their "misleading" stories.
Mrs. Martz, a Republican, said she would take only written questions from some of the reporters who cover her and respond to them only in writing.
"I'm just realizing the ones I should not talk to," the governor said last week in an appearance before the Montana Logging Association in Kalispell.
Mrs. Martz did not identify the reporters or disclose how many would receive such treatment, but said no broadcast reporters were included in the ban, the Associated Press reports.
Mary Schwarz, a spokeswoman for the governor, said Monday that Mrs. Martz would not elaborate on her comments.
The governor's remarks came in response to a question about how she felt the news media had treated her and her administration.
"You can't get past the liberal press with a bucket of ink," the Daily Inter Lake quoted her as responding. "Very few of them write the truth."
The only news organizations that provide full-time coverage for the print media at Montana's Capitol are Lee Newspapers, the Great Falls Tribune and the Associated Press.

More indictments
A longtime political adviser to Illinois Gov. George Ryan was indicted yesterday on charges of using his influence over leases and contracts in the Secretary of State's Office to reap $2.8 million in profits and sharing the proceeds with a lobbyist.
Ryan friend Lawrence E. Warner was indicted along with Donald Udstuen, the former chief lobbyist for the Illinois State Medical Society, the Associated Press reports.
Also indicted was Alan A. Drazek, a Republican businessman who also sits on the Chicago Transit Authority's board.
The indictments are the latest charges in the federal government's four-year investigation of corruption in the Secretary of State's Office under Mr. Ryan and in the governor's campaign. More than three dozen former state employees and others have been charged in the investigation thus far.

Odd but true
"As a result of reapportionment, several Michigan congressmen have been put into the same districts, creating member vs. member primaries or general elections. One of the most closely watched is the primary battle between Democrats Lynn Rivers and John Dingell, the House's longest-serving member," United Press International observes in its Capital Comment column.
"Rivers has the support of many prominent liberal women's organizations that are important parts of the Democrat primary-voter base. With that in mind, it is odd that Rivers has, over the past five years, been a more reliable vote for conservative Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum than Dingell," the wire service said.
"According to Eagle Forum's Washington office, Rivers' average score on the Eagle Forum congressional scorecard over the past five years has been 31 percent meaning Rivers voted in sync with Schlafly's agenda about a third of the time on issues the group rated. Dingell, on the other hand, turned in an average score of 16 percent over the same period."

Glass houses
"The Democrats, with Hillary in the lead, have blown it big time in their recent outraged flurry of questions about what President Bush knew and when he knew it," Dick Morris writes in the New York Post.
"A close examination of the memos Condoleezza Rice discussed last week yields a clear, if unsettling answer: not a whole lot," Mr. Morris said.
"While accusations seemed not to wound Bush, they may well exact a daunting toll on those who made them. In overreaching, the Democrats look like vicious partisans in a nonpartisan environment. All the polls after 9/11 suggest that its major political effect was to drain America of any latent enthusiasm it may have had for partisanship.
"By shattering the melody of bipartisan harmony with the screeching cacophony of partisan accusation, Democrats in general and Hillary Rodham Clinton in particular have left themselves with a gaping vulnerability. The party of Clinton and the wife of Clinton seem also to have forgotten the admonition that those who dwell in glass houses should not throw stones, let alone hurl boulders."

Muth returns
Baltimore-born Chuck Muth, a longtime libertarian-conservative activist, is returning to Washington as the new executive director of the American Conservative Union. He will bring with him his wife, Gia, daughter Kristen and three dogs including his black Labrador named Reagan.
Mr. Muth, who has been based in Las Vegas, has been chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus, author of the newsletter GOP News & Views, and was the founder and president of CampaignTraining.org.
He has been a national field instructor for the Republican National Committee and the Leadership Institute.


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