- The Washington Times - Friday, May 3, 2002

Behind the scenes

While former Vice President Al Gore and Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, express only admiration for each other, "behind the scenes there is sniping between advisers to the two," the New York Times reports.

Mr. Lieberman appears ready to run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004, but he has vowed to step aside if Mr. Gore should decide to seek a rematch with President Bush. Mr. Lieberman was Mr. Gore's running mate in 2000.

"Though Mr. Gore, Mr. Lieberman and their wives had breakfast together at the [recent Florida Democratic] convention, Mr. Gore resisted entreaties from the Democratic state chairman, Bob Poe, to make a triumphal appearance on stage with Mr. Lieberman," reporter Richard L. Berke said.

"Mr. Gore's camp cited a scheduling conflict, but more recently some Gore supporters expressed annoyance at a pitch by Mr. Lieberman to Silicon Valley and environmentalists, saying he was encroaching on Gore turf.

"Mr. Lieberman's advisers, in turn, have not been particularly complimentary of Mr. Gore. After Mr. Gore's well-received speech in Orlando, one top Lieberman adviser asked a reporter whether he thought it strange that the speech, unlike Mr. Lieberman's, had made no mention of the Middle East."

Congress, too

"Many recent news accounts have highlighted the drop in President Bush's approval since last fall. But Congress has lost ground, too," Karlyn Bowman writes in her POLLitics column in Roll Call newspaper.

"In an April 9-15 Harris interactive survey, 75 percent gave Bush an excellent or pretty good rating, down 13 points from Harris' October reading (and Bush's high) of 88 percent," the columnist said.

"Congressional Democrats received a 47 percent positive rating, down 21 points from the October survey. Forty-nine percent of respondents gave the Republicans in Congress a positive rating, down 18 points from October."

California reporters

"California newspapers made noise last week about the lack of 'momentum' in Bill Simon's campaign. But they fell silent this week as Simon's campaign got a boost from President George Bush," George Neumayr writes at www.americanprowler.org.

"The Los Angeles media paid almost no attention to Bush's campaigning for Simon in the state, focusing instead on the president's hastily arranged commemoration of the Los Angeles race riots," said Mr. Neumayr, a frequent contributor to the California Political Review and a recent media fellow at the Hoover Institution.

"Whether or not the Simon campaign showed 'momentum' was suddenly a subject of no interest to California reporters, lest actual facts about his campaign muddy their Simon-momentum-on-the-wane story line.

"Thanks to the anti-Simon press corps, few Californians know that Simon has been leading Gray Davis in at least five polls.

"'I don't want to argue on whether or not Gray Davis has done a good job or a bad job. I just want to look at the numbers. And the numbers say he has done a terrible job. His numbers stink,' said pollster Stuart Rothenberg in April. 'And he's losing to a guy who has never run for office before on a ballot test.'

"A survey conducted by the California Teachers Association a group which endorsed Davis found Bill Simon enjoying a four-point lead over Davis, 41 to 37 percent.

"Simon says that he has been maintaining an 8-point lead over Davis since the primary. The polling firm Public Opinion Strategies Inc. says Simon leads Gray Davis 48 percent to 41 percent among registered voters. A poll conducted by Probolsky & Associates Opinion Research puts Davis' support at less than 38 percent of voters and Simon's at 44 percent.

"Polls apparently don't impress the California media unless they show Davis ahead. The San Francisco Chronicle neglected the polls above, but it quickly perked up when an unreliable Field Poll emerged to suggest a Davis lead.

"This Field Poll was not restricted to likely voters. And yet even this dubious poll bodes ill for Davis, as 57 percent of voters indicated they would not vote for his re-election."

McGreevey vs. Whitman

New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey ignited a public feud with former Gov. Christie Whitman by saying she filled the state Supreme Court with patronage appointees who don't have the skills needed for the job.

Mr. McGreevey started the dispute last week by calling Mrs. Whitman's six court nominees political insiders in an interview with the Associated Press.

He further criticized her nominees, including the first female chief justice and the first black man on the court, by saying they did not have the proper intellectual capability or legal acumen.

During the interview, Mr. McGreevey did not identify any justice by name. Asked Wednesday if his comments were directed at anyone in particular, Mr. McGreevey walked away without answering, the AP reports.

Mrs. Whitman, now head of the Environmental Protection Agency, fired back on Monday, saying Mr. McGreevey's comments diminished the reputation of the court and the governor's office. It was her first public criticism of Mr. McGreevey, a Democrat who has faulted her Republican administration for several ills, including the current budget deficit.

"Yours were the kind of unfounded comments that, on their face, diminish not only the person who makes them, but also the office in which he serves," Mrs. Whitman wrote.

Bush's Jewish support

"New York is becoming a showcase for President Bush's stunning new support among Jewish voters traditionally super-loyal Democrats who voted 80 percent for Al Gore in 2000," the New York Post's Deborah Orin writes.

"Mainly, it's foreign policy: former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told NBC last weekend that Bush 'has been a tremendous friend of Israel. I don't think we have had a greater friend in the White House.'

"And that's a big reason why a growing number of Republican strategists believe Bush has a realistic chance of winning New York in 2004, using Gov. [George E.] Pataki's campaign as a building block and model," Miss Orin said.

Cuomo drops

"In New York, a newly released poll from the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute shows that former Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo's comment disparaging Gov. George Pataki's role in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terror attack has damaged his bid to become governor," United Press International reports in its Capital Comment column.

"Cuomo, who is bidding for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, said Republican Pataki 'held the leader's coat' while New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani rallied the city after the [September 11] terror attack. The poll of 1,046 registered New York voters, conducted between April 23 and 29, found that 67 percent of respondents disagreed with Cuomo's view of Pataki's role. It also found that Cuomo's unfavorable rating rose 10 points in one week to 28 percent while his favorable rating dropped to 15 percent, down 5 points."

Apology requested

"Planned Parenthood President Gloria Feldt should follow the lead of Virginia's governor and apologize for her organization's eugenic past," a pro-life group said yesterday.

Democratic Gov. Mark R. Warner apologized yesterday for the state's role in sterilizing about 8,000 people years ago.

Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was an outspoken advocate of forced sterilization.

"If Planned Parenthood no longer holds such views, it should formally apologize for what it did under Sanger's leadership and it should quit giving out awards in her name," Stop Planned Parenthood International's Ed Szymkowiak said in a prepared statement.

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