- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 1, 2002

Granholm's record

Michigan gubernatorial candidate Jennifer Granholm has the support and worship of the powerful Michigan Education Association, but she has not voted in seven of 10 local school elections.

The Detroit News reports that her Republican opponent, Dick Posthumus, has not missed a school election in 14 years.

"I should have voted," she said. "There's no excuse for that."

An examination by the News found that Miss Granholm voted in the last three school elections and missed the prior seven.

It also found that she did not vote in two of nine other elections: presidential primaries in 1992 and 1996.

Miss Granholm told the News the reason was that Bill Clinton was the only candidate on the Democratic presidential ballot.

According to the News, Miss Granholm, the former state attorney general, sends two of her three children to private schools. Mr. Posthumus sends his four children to public schools.

The teachers union, meanwhile, restated its support for Miss Granholm. A spokeswoman said that "she made a mistake and she acknowledged it."

No comment plus

A basic rule of politics: When your opponent is self-destructing, stay out of the way.

So when Georgia's Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes was revealed to have spent state highway tolls to buy property in Midtown Atlanta, Republican challenger Sonny Perdue issued the mother of all "no comments," the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

The Perdue press release: "Embarrassed by how easy the incompetent and corrupt Barnes campaign and administration are making its job, the Perdue campaign today announced that it would not comment on revelations that 40 million quarters ($10 million) were diverted from Ga. 400 toll collections to purchase land in Midtown against oft-stated policy and at the direction of the governor's office."

Hillary's house of cash

"It's not as swank as 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. or exclusive as [the restaurant] Elaine's, but Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's D.C. house has emerged as the hottest new spot on the political fund-raising circuit," the New York Post reports.

"Clinton, New York Democrat, has used her house for at least 26 fund-raisers since joining the Senate less than two years ago a tally that some political insiders say is almost certainly a record," reporter Vincent Morris writes.

"Guests routinely shell out thousands of dollars for an invitation, show up early and elbow for entry into the living room not to mention jockeying for a chance at a photo op with Clinton herself."

The reporter added: "Clinton will open up her house twice this month: once for the Democratic Leadership Council, which Bill Clinton helped found, and one for the Democratic Governors' Association, which Bill once led."

Streisand's song

Barbra Streisand helped raise $6 million for House Democrats at a Hollywood gala Sunday night.

The diva emerged from semi-retirement to deliver a nine-song set on the stage of the Kodak Theatre, the new home of the Oscars. Celebrities such as Christian Slater and Julia Louis-Dreyfus rubbed shoulders with top House Democrats, including Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri and Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, the minority whip, the Associated Press reports.

Miss Streisand's show set a fund-raising record for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, spokeswoman Jenny Backus said.

The singer, a longtime liberal, created a stir last week when she sent Mr. Gephardt a memo urging him to stand up to President Bush on Iraq.

Mr. Gephardt joked about the memo in a speech after Miss Streisand's performance.

"Some of the Republicans thought that was cute," he said. "Well, what I want to say to my friends in the Republican Party is 'Eat your heart out.' I get faxes from Barbra Streisand; they get faxes from Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson."

Miss Streisand performed her hit "The Way We Were" with altered lyrics that conveyed that she missed a Democratic House and presidency.

Parting company

Al Gore's speech last week in which he blasted Bush administration policy toward Iraq succeeded in alienating the New Republic, which had ardently supported Mr. Gore's candidacy for president in 2000.

Mr. Gore's speech in San Francisco "almost perfectly encapsulated the evasions that have characterized the Democratic Party's response to President Bush's proposed war in Iraq," the magazine said in an editorial. "In typical Democratic style, Gore didn't say he opposed the war. In fact, he endorsed the goal of regime change before presenting a series of qualifications that would likely make that goal impossible."

The magazine said the speech "consisted of neither honest criticism nor honest opposition. Rather, it sounded like a political broadside against a president who Gore no doubt feels occupies a post that he himself deserves. But bitterness is not a policy position."

Freeing churches

The House is scheduled to vote today on a bill that would give churches more leeway to engage in political activities while maintaining tax-exempt status.

"This not about anything else but First Amendment rights," said Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr., North Carolina Republican and sponsor of the bill. "Houses of worship deserve the freedom that our forefathers ensured them at the founding of our country."

Under a law enacted in 1954, churches and other tax-exempt organizations are barred from participating in political activities by endorsing or opposing any political candidate or contributing to them, and no substantial part of a church's activities can involve lobbying on legislation.

Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the bill is patently unfair to other tax-exempt organizations and should be defeated.

"The church-politicking bill would wreak havoc on the integrity of houses of worship, campaign finance laws and the political process," he said. "When people put money in the collection plate, they don't expect it to be used for candidates' bumper stickers and attack ads."

Elder Bush speaks out

Former President George Bush said yesterday that the world cannot sit idly and watch Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein violate the rules of the United Nations and international treaties.

"Here we know a leader is now going forward trying to build weapons of mass destruction, possibly nuclear, certainly toxic, so [you cannot] do nothing, debate about it," Mr. Bush told reporters in Helsinki, where he was on a private trip.

"He's had 10 years to keep his word and nothing has happened," Mr. Bush said. His remarks were reported by Reuters news service.

"I'm all for our son's policy on Iraq, which may surprise you," Mr. Bush quipped.

McCain book-signing

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, has a new memoir out, called "Worth the Fighting For." Mr. McCain, a former Navy pilot who spent years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, will autograph his book today at 12:30 p.m. at the Trover Shop, 221 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.

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