- The Washington Times - Monday, May 6, 2002

Sensitive issue
Sen. Chuck Hagel, Nebraska Republican, says the September 11 terrorist attacks obviously derailed at least, temporarily President Bush's bid to attain a "more open immigration system." But he said it's important to get that sensitive issue back on the tracks.
"We're now reversing it. But we're going to have to get back to it, because immigration is a huge issue," Mr. Hagel, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on CNN's "Saturday Edition."
"It's a political issue that I think will dominate the political landscape here, to some extent, this November. But I think in 2004 it will be a big political issue. It's a big issue for all of us, societally, culturally, economically, historically, politically. We have to deal with this," he said.
Asked by host Jonathan Karl what will happen to Republicans "if they aren't seen as pro-immigration," Mr. Hagel said: "I think we run the risk of being the minority party in this country for a long time if we don't get this immigration issue straightened."

Edwards and Clinton
Sen. John Edwards, the North Carolina Democrat and former trial lawyer who is angling for his party's presidential nomination in 2004, explained yesterday how he is both like and unlike Bill Clinton.
"Well, we come from very different places," Mr. Edwards said on NBC's "Meet the Press," in response to a question from host Tim Russert.
"There are similarities. You know, I grew up in a small town in North Carolina. But I didn't spend most of my life in politics. I spent most of my time representing people who were in very difficult places in their lives and trying to give them a shot. And I'm proud of what I did, but most of my life was not spent in politics. As a result, I have a perspective on what needs to happen in this country that's outside Washington, I think, seen though the eyes of regular people. And you know, obviously, President Clinton spent a lot of his time in political life before he came to the White House."
But when asked whether he has different values than Mr. Clinton, the senator hastened to say that "we have a lot of similar views" and that Mr. Clinton "did very good things for this country" and for "people who otherwise had never had a shot, never had a real opportunity."
"So I think in terms of what we believe needs to be done for the country, there are a lot of similarities," he said.

LaHood's vote
Rep. Ray LaHood, Illinois Republican, is one of only six members of the Arab-American Caucus in Congress. And he says it's an "uphill struggle" to make their voice heard.
Asked on CNN's "Saturday Edition" by host Jonathan Karl if Congress is "balanced" in terms of Middle East policy, Mr. LaHood said, "Of course it's not balanced. It's probably balanced against Arab interests."
Given his concerns, some fellow lawmakers and constituents may have been surprised that Mr. LaHood voted to support a House resolution that expressed solidarity with Israel and placed the blame for the violence in the Middle East on the Palestinians and their leader, Yasser Arafat.
Mr. LaHood said he "worked behind the scenes" to try to persuade House Republican leaders not to bring the resolution to the floor for a vote. After all, he said, "You can't have 435 secretaries of state or 100 secretaries of state."
Asked why he wound up backing the resolution, the Republican congressman said, "I agreed with the wording of the resolution and felt, if it was going to be called to a vote, I had a responsibility to vote for it."

Carolina campaigners
Two prospective Democratic presidential candidates hunted for support Saturday in South Carolina, which, after moving up its primary, will play a crucial role in the 2004 race.
Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina and Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts spoke to party activists, wooed key local officials and chowed down at a fish fry during a weekend party gathering in Columbia, the state capital, Reuters reports.
Mr. Edwards, who was born in South Carolina and moved to neighboring North Carolina when he was 12, emphasized his regional roots and values during a speech to about 1,000 delegates at the party's convention.
Calling for a new era of optimism and opportunity, Mr. Edwards questioned President Bush's claims that the economy is on the rebound, noting unemployment is at an eight-year high.
"He's not going to the places in North and South Carolina that I know," Mr. Edwards said, describing the rural economy as a "shambles" and saying the nation needs leaders "who grew up with you, who know you, who understand your values."
Mr. Kerry attended a ceremony with Vietnam veterans Friday, visited a preschool reading program and met with area black ministers before giving the keynote address to the party's $1,000-a-plate Jefferson-Jackson dinner, expected to raise close to $1 million.
A Vietnam veteran who was awarded the Silver Star but later turned against the war, Mr. Kerry focused at length on his combat experiences. He introduced the gunner wounded in his river patrol boat, now a South Carolina minister, and said the bonds forged in war transcended regional barriers.

Reno courts homosexuals
Former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno said Saturday that laws banning adoptions by homosexuals and lesbians are illogical.
"In my state, a gay or lesbian may have the privilege of being a foster parent, a guardian, a pediatrician or a pediatric nurse," Miss Reno said. "But they can't adopt. That makes no sense."
Miss Reno, one of several Democrats in Florida running to unseat Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, was speaking at a fund-raising event in Atlanta for the Human Rights Campaign, a Washington-based advocacy group for homosexuals.
Noting the 1998 killing of Matthew Shepard, a homosexual student in Wyoming, Miss Reno said legislation must be passed to give homosexuals the same protection against hate crimes as racial and ethnic minorities.
She praised the Human Rights Campaign for its efforts to protect Americans from discrimination based on sexual orientation but said there is still more work to be done, the Associated Press reports.
"We have got to do more so that discrimination against people because of their status is ended in this country," she said.

Bush's records
President Bush's gubernatorial records are subject to the state's open public records law even though they are housed at his father's presidential library, the state attorney general has ruled.
Texas Attorney General John Cornyn said in a ruling Friday that gubernatorial records in an "alternative repository" remain the property of the state and are subject to the Texas Public Information Act.
While many governors keep their gubernatorial records with the state archives or bequeath them to universities, Mr. Bush placed his records in his father's George Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Texas A&M; University in College Station.
That library is administered by the National Archives and Records Administration and is not subject to the state open records act.
In 1997, Mr. Bush, who served as Texas governor from 1995 to 2000, signed a bill into law that said a governor may designate an alternate repository for his records instead of the state archives commission. The bill said only that the records should be "available" to the public.
Under the Texas Public Information Act, a governmental agency typically has 10 days to respond to a request for documents or request a ruling from the state attorney general's office.
The National Archives had said the presidential library would attempt to be responsive to requests. However, it could not guarantee that it would meet the state's deadline because the turnaround time was too tight.

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