- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 16, 2002

With polls showing Republican Lamar Alexander leading the race for the U.S. Senate in Tennessee, his opponent Democratic Rep. Bob Clement has been more aggressively attacking Mr. Alexander's corporate connections and business dealings, trying to paint the former governor as greedy.
"While Lamar Alexander has used his political connections to fatten his own checkbook with sweetheart deals, Bob Clement has been working for Tennessee families," said Carol Andrews, spokeswoman for the Clement campaign.
In a television ad that began running Oct. 9, the Clement campaign attacks Mr. Alexander's business deals. It charges that Mr. Alexander made $236,000 when he left the board of directors of Martin Marietta after the company merged with Lockheed in 1995. It also questions the former governor's $1 investment in the Knoxville Journal, with which he made a profit of $620,000.
"He got $236,000 from Martin Marietta while 30,000 people lost their jobs," the ad says. "Lamar put one dollar in an inside deal and got $620,000 for doing nothing."
"Bob Clement's increasingly negative and shallow campaign is unworthy of the Clement family name," said Alexander campaign spokesman Kevin Phillips after a recent debate between the two candidates. "The congressman doesn't want to talk about his 143 votes for higher taxes; his nutty, risky scheme to invest Social Security in the stock market; and the fact that he has only passed five pieces of legislation in 15 years four to make October country-music month."
Mr. Alexander leads Mr. Clement 49 percent to 36 percent, according to an MSNBC/Zogby International poll conducted statewide of 500 likely voters Oct. 7 and 8.
The Alexander campaign responded Thursday with a television ad of its own featuring retiring Sen. Fred Thompson, the Republican whose Senate seat the two candidates are vying for. In the ad, Mr. Thompson defends Mr. Alexander's record as governor and business practices.
As of Sept. 30, the Clement camp had $906,000 cash on hand and had raised $897,000 in the past three months. Meanwhile, the Alexander campaign reported a little more than $1 million cash on hand at the end of September and had raised $2.9 million in the past three months, including a $600,000 loan made by Mr. Alexander.
A Republican strategist said Mr. Clement "is not getting any traction at all" from his attacks on Mr. Alexander.
But Tovah Ravitz-Meehan, spokeswoman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said the committee will be investing in pro-Clement ads coming out later this week.
Meanwhile, Mr. Clement's camp defended its ad as truthful. According to a list it compiled of Mr. Alexander's profits, based on personal financial disclosures filed with the state, he made $236,000 when he left the board of directors of Martin Marietta after the company merged with Lockheed in 1995. The list says Mr. Alexander "took a major payout when the company merged and downsized."
But Mr. Phillips said that under the terms of the merger, the company paid directors a lump sum in exchange for their giving up all pension benefits.
The Clement camp also cites a report by the Tennessean newspaper in Nashville that Mr. Alexander made $620,000 by investing $1 in the Knoxville Journal. Mr. Phillips explained that Mr. Alexander and a group of friends obtained the rights to buy the Journal in 1981 for $15 million but could not raise the money. They sold their option to buy to Gannett in exchange for Gannett stock. Mr. Alexander held on to his stock and sold it in 1987, making $620,000.
Mr. Clement's ad is also critical of Mr. Alexander's service on the board of directors of Education Networks of America, a company that has a hefty contract with the state. The company, which provides Internet service to schools, pays Mr. Alexander $5,000 per month for serving on its board. Mr. Clement has demanded that Mr. Alexander release all of his financial information, resign from the board and return money he earned from the company "to the schoolchildren of Tennessee."
Mr. Phillips said Mr. Alexander had nothing to do with the company's contract with the state because it already had the contract when Mr. Alexander joined the board in 1999. He said Mr. Alexander does not own stock in the company, does not lobby for it and has no contact with the state.


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