- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Florida guns and gays
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Democratic challenger Bill McBride argued over homosexual adoption and gun control in last night's final debate before the election, the Associated Press reports.
Contrary to the parties' usual positions, the Democrat was the firmer supporter of gun rights.
Mr. Bush said he had supported a 1998 measure that required counties to perform instant background checks at gun shows and would support a similar statewide measure. But Mr. McBride said, "The state of Florida needs no more gun laws."
The two men took opposing positions over a law that prohibits homosexuals from adopting children, a law Mr. Bush said he supports but which Mr. McBride called a form of discrimination.
The race remains close two weeks before the election. The most recent poll showed Mr. Bush ahead of Mr. McBride 49 percent to 44 percent a margin barely greater than the poll's four-point margin of error.

Missouri debate
In their long-awaited first debate Monday in the battle for Missouri's U.S. Senate seat, Republican Jim Talent showed why he was eager to confront Democrat Jean Carnahan anywhere and often, the Kansas City Star reports.
With his 16 years' experience in Jefferson City and Washington, Mr. Talent came off as comfortable and conversational in the televised debate from St. Louis. Mrs. Carnahan, who has never run for public office before, was somber throughout and, at times, halting, reporter Steve Kraske said.
But she became more assertive in the forum's final 30 minutes, the reporter added.
That was when the debate, broadcast statewide on public TV, turned to issues that Mrs. Carnahan and Democrats nationwide have emphasized in this campaign: Social Security and prescription drugs.
The two will follow up Monday's face-to-face meeting with a second, and final, debate tomorrow in Columbia. That forum, sponsored by the Associated Press Managing Editors group, will be shown live at 2:30 p.m. on C-SPAN and will be rebroadcast that night.

Reparations issue
Michigan Democrats "are accusing the Republican gubernatorial candidate, Lt. Gov. Dick Posthumus, of 'doing a Willie Horton' because he has dared to call out his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Jennifer Granholm, on her support for reparations for descendants of slaves," Thomas J. Bray writes at www.opinionjournal.com.
"In other words, race is alive and well as an issue or at least some Democrats are doing their darndest to make sure it is. Of course, the press is blaming Republicans for supposedly inflaming racial animosities. 'Posthumus Plays Race Card,' blared a Detroit newspaper in a banner headline the day after the lieutenant governor called a press conference to denounce a memo from Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's office demanding a 20 percent hiring quota for blacks in the state government," Mr. Bray said.
"Ms. Granholm denies ever receiving the memo from Mr. Kilpatrick, who has endorsed her, and says that in any case she would never agree to such quotas. But that begs credulity. Mr. Kilpatrick is a major supporter, and the two are closely linked through Wayne County politics. Ms. Granholm served as corporation counsel for Wayne County before becoming attorney general four years ago. Nor has Ms. Granholm opposed racial preferences. Indeed, in a lawsuit seeking to end racial preferences in admissions at the University of Michigan, she filed a brief supporting them.
"And during last summer's hotly contested Democratic primary, Ms. Granholm herself told an NAACP audience that she even favors reparations for descendants of slaves. She now claims she didn't mean 'cash payments,' but at best that is highly disingenuous."

Forrester's challenge
"The annual town fair in Metuchen, N.J., isn't really known for bare-knuckle politicking. It's usually marked by parents eating funnel cakes drowned in powdered sugar and children trying to win goldfish by tossing beanbags into baskets. In election years, the political action is mostly candidates showing up for a little handshaking and baby-kissing," Jim Geraghty writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).
"But fairgoers got some dramatic theatrics this year. Democratic Senate candidate Frank Lautenberg's scheduled grip-and-grin was interrupted by the approach of his GOP opponent, Doug Forrester, dragging two podiums. Forrester challenged Lautenberg to make good on his earlier 'any place, any time' debate pledge on the spot," said Mr. Geraghty, a reporter for States News Service who covers Washington for the Bergen Record.
"For about 15 minutes, Forrester asked the 78-year-old former senator to justify past votes against the 1991 Persian Gulf War and for military spending cuts, while Lautenberg, wagging his finger in Forrester's face, brought up his opponent's views on abortion and gun control. The exchange devolved into a shouting match by both men's supporters, with Forrester's backers chanting, 'De-bate, De-bate' and Lautenberg's crowd countering, 'We want Frank.' The scene ended when Metuchen's mayor asked them to move, and the former senator walked away.
"Forrester has to hope that Lautenberg's quiet departure is an omen. He has been beating the drums for a debate since the last-minute substitution of the former senator for Sen. Robert G. Torricelli, the scandal-plagued Democrat whose poll numbers went into a death spiral in September."

Davis up by 10
With the California governor race in its final stretch, incumbent Democrat Gray Davis leads Republican challenger Bill Simon by 10 percentage points, although 17 percent of voters are undecided, according to a poll released yesterday.
The Public Policy Institute of California poll found Mr. Davis with 41 percent of the vote and Mr. Simon with 31 percent, levels little changed since August, Reuters reports.
But with just two weeks to go before the Nov. 5 election, 17 percent of California voters were still undecided and with significant support for third parties, reflecting deep dissatisfaction with both major-party candidates.

Electing judges
A federal appeals court panel has removed several restrictions on judicial candidates in Georgia, saying elections for judges should be conducted like any campaign.
As a result, Georgia judicial candidates may soon be able to solicit money openly, say what they want about their opponents and not fear official reprimands.
"The distinction between judicial elections and other types of elections has been greatly exaggerated, and we do not believe that the distinction, if there truly is one, justifies greater restrictions on speech," a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta wrote last week.
The state Judicial Qualifications Commission will meet next month to decide how to react to the ruling.

Abortion subsidies
The Arizona Supreme Court ruled yesterday that poor women have a right under the state's constitution to public funding for "medically necessary" abortions. Fifteen other states have issued similar rulings.
The 3-2 decision overturned an appeals court ruling that had rejected arguments that the state's funding ban violated privacy rights and other protections of the Arizona Constitution, the Associated Press reports.
State law allows Medicaid payments for abortions in cases of rape or incest, or in which the woman's life is in danger. Because the law allows funding for those women, "the state constitution will not permit it to deny funding for others for whom abortions are medically necessary to save the mother's health," Justice Stanley Feldman wrote for the majority.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the U.S. Constitution does not prohibit Congress from restricting federal funding for abortion.

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