- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 7, 2002

Anniversary impact
"A couple of months ago, Charlie Cook turned to me and mentioned something that I hadn't considered: This year's congressional campaigns will begin in earnest right after Labor Day, just as the country is about to mark the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks," political analyst Stuart Rothenberg writes in Roll Call.
"Obviously, the anniversary of those terrible events will have a dramatic impact on the American people. There will be special reports on TV looking back at the attacks, the terrorists, the people who died and the survivors. We'll see interviews with widows and with children who lost a parent. And we'll see more than a few stories about how this country has changed and how our lives have been affected," Mr. Rothenberg said.
"The anniversary of the terror attacks could well affect decisions by candidates for the House, the Senate and governor, including how they approach the ad wars that begin, like clockwork, right after Labor Day every election year. But will the anniversary of 9/11 disrupt the timing and tone of campaigns or merely result in a 24-hour hiatus from attack ads and partisanship? Or will the impact last longer?"
Mr. Rothenberg said political consultants he has spoken to disagree on what impact, if any, the anniversary will have on the fall elections.

GOP vs. Simon
"How badly has the Republican Party slipped in California? You judge," says the Prowler column (www.americanprowler.org).
"With six months to go before a critical general election, in which its gubernatorial candidate, Bill Simon, is running a competitive race against incumbent Gray Davis with little assistance from the California Republican Party, the state party has budgeted less than $100,000 thus far for its absentee-ballot program.
"In states like California, absentee ballots tend to run in the Republicans' favor, sometimes 2:1 over Democrats. And in past elections, such as Pete Wilson's Senate races or George Deukmejian's runs against L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley for governor, absentee ballots helped push Republicans over the top. But for some reason, the state party, which used to spend more than $1 million on 'get out the vote' programs for absentee voters, isn't interested in re-creating that kind of success.
"And even though Simon now appears to be a candidate who could make a real race against a weak, unpopular sitting governor, state party boss and Bush administration bagman Gerald Parsky has been less than cooperative with his lead candidate. Take Bush's big trip out West last week on behalf of Simon. According to a state Republican source, the Bush advance team planned two presidential events for the California swing, including a last-minute commemoration of the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles.
"But according to a White House communications aide, the idea for the L.A. event came from the state party read Parsky in order to divert major media attention from the later Republican fund-raiser for Simon. 'The state party asked us for something in Los Angeles to help with minority outreach,' says the aide. 'It was California's idea to lock out Simon, not ours.'
"All along, Parsky and his Republican Party minions have been creating problems for Simon. The media chalk it up to the simple fact that Parsky, whose disdain for the state GOP's conservative wing has become legend, wanted Richard Riordan for the Republican ticket, not the more conservative Simon."

Ominous sign
California Gov. Gray Davis, whose popularity suffered with the state's electricity crisis last year, continues to get low marks from most California voters, Reuters reports.
Mr. Davis, who enjoyed relatively high approval ratings during his first two years in office, is now rated poorly by 49 percent of Californians, against 42 percent who say he is doing a good job, according to a Field Poll released yesterday.
And in what pollster Mark DiCamillo called an "ominous sign" for Mr. Davis in advance of the November match-up against Republican challenger Bill Simon, registered voters showed the strongest disapproval ratings at 55 percent, against 39 percent who approve.

Lending his prestige
"President Bush may be two years away from seeking re-election, but he is already starring in campaign commercials, for Senate candidates in three states," the New York Times reports.
"In doing so, Mr. Bush has signaled his willingness to try something that his predecessors never seemed to pull off: lending his prestige and popularity to his party's cause in midterm elections," reporter Richard L. Berke writes.
"Anyone who watches television here [in Colorado Springs] cannot escape a new commercial for Sen. Wayne Allard. There is Mr. Bush, walking beside Mr. Allard as the announcer intones, 'When President Bush needed a point man in the Senate on missile defense, he turned to Wayne Allard.'
"In Iowa, Mr. Bush pops up in a commercial for Rep. Greg Ganske, who is running for the Senate and who, the announcer assures viewers, 'fights alongside President Bush for a stronger national defense.'
"In South Carolina, Mr. Bush appears in a commercial for Rep. Lindsey Graham, who is running for the Senate. 'Working directly with President Bush, Lindsey Graham helped write and pass historic education reform,' the announcer says."

JFK Jr. movie
CBS is planning a TV movie about John F. Kennedy Jr., based on the new biography "American Son."
An unknown actor will play the late son of the late president to avoid the distraction of having a celebrity portray a real-life celebrity, said Ed Gernon, executive vice president of movies and miniseries for Alliance Atlantis, which owns the book rights with True Entertainment.
"Ben Affleck in a JFK wig just wouldn't work," Mr. Gernon told Variety for yesterday's editions.
The next step is to hire a writer to adapt the book by Richard Blow, who was an editor at Mr. Kennedy's now-defunct George magazine.

Traficant files
Rep. James A. Traficant Jr., the Ohio Democrat threatened with expulsion from Congress after being convicted of bribery and corruption, filed official papers yesterday in his bid for re-election to the House as an independent in November, Reuters reports.
An aide delivered petitions with voter signatures to the local elections board, signaling the nine-term lawmaker's intention to contend for the 17th District seat sought by six Democrats, one Republican and one other independent.
The often pugnacious congressman who has angered Democratic Party leaders with his votes and outlandish personality is appealing his conviction in U.S. District Court in Cleveland last month on bribery, corruption and racketeering charges. Traficant could receive a lengthy prison term and will be sentenced June 27.
Although he has not voted in the House since his conviction, he has rejected colleagues' calls to resign. An ethics process has begun that could end in his expulsion from the House.


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