- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Lautenberg's record

Republican Douglas Forester's U.S. Senate campaign in New Jersey is using a new commercial to raise questions about Democrat Frank R. Lautenberg's record on defense issues.

The 30-second ad titled "Will" began running yesterday on New York and Philadelphia broadcast stations and will continue through the week, Forrester campaign manager Bill Pascoe said.

The script is as follows:

"Why did Frank Lautenberg oppose a missile-defense system to protect America?

"Why did Lautenberg vote to dramatically cut America's defense budget?

"Why did Lautenberg oppose attacking Saddam Hussein after he invaded Kuwait?

"And why does Lautenberg oppose the death penalty for terrorists who murder Americans?

"We may never know why but with all that's on the line, why would we ever give Lautenberg the chance to do it again?"


See you in court

A group of barbers and beauticians want to "diss" Al and Jesse back.

The National Association of Cosmetologists on Monday filed a lawsuit against the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton, claiming the activists' remarks about the movie "Barbershop" drove away customers, the Associated Press reports.

The suit accuses Mr. Jackson and Mr. Sharpton of intentional infliction of emotional distress, fraud and negligence stemming from their demand for apologies from MGM, which produced the comedy. The once and possible future Democratic presidential hopefuls had demanded the removal of scenes deriding Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and Mr. Jackson himself.

MGM refused to cut the film, which starred Ice Cube and Cedric the Entertainer and has made more than $70 million. Plans for a sequel are already in the works.

James Stern, chief executive of the group, said Mr. Sharpton's threat to boycott the film and other remarks created a negative public sentiment about the profession, resulting in a loss of business.

"By threatening to boycott MGM studios, they put a black eye to our subject matter of barbers and cosmetologists in the state of California," Mr. Stern said.

Mr. Sharpton said he had not seen the lawsuit but called the accusation ridiculous.

"Every movie critic would get sued," he said. "We haven't addressed their business. I addressed the film."

Tracy Rice, a spokeswoman for Mr. Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH coalition, said the organization hadn't seen the lawsuit. She called it a nuisance suit and predicted it would be thrown out of court on First Amendment grounds.


Forrester's chances

"Don't count Doug Forrester out of the New Jersey Senate race just yet," the anonymous Prowler writes at www.americanprowler.org.

"True, with almost no campaigning, and almost exclusively on name recognition, Democratic fill-in Frank Lautenberg has pulled to a 48-37 percent lead in the polls. But that 15 percent remain undecided is a big enough number to give Forrester some hope. Some. 'It's awfully tough, especially for a guy like Forrester, first time in a campaign, not a terribly exciting speaker,' says a New Jersey Republican operative. 'But Lautenberg isn't lighting things up either.'

"The majority of undecideds claim to be independent voters, which in this election gives the edge to Forrester. 'If they can be swayed in a positive manner, they would probably go for the guy who isn't a has-been,' says the operative. 'But Forrester has to give them a reason to pull the lever for him.'

"The Republican National Committee intends to plunk down at least a million dollars in TV and radio advertising for the last week before Election Day in a last-minute drive to pump up Forrester's visibility."


Underwhelmed

"One week before Election Day, Democrat Gray Davis is clinging to a steady lead over Republican Bill Simon Jr., but widespread discontent with the incumbent has kept him from pulling away in the governor's race," the Los Angeles Times reports, citing its own poll.

"Californians remain underwhelmed with their choices: More than half of likely voters in the poll say that their pick is merely the best of a bad lot. And they give Davis dismal ratings on most issues facing the state. A majority believe that California is on the wrong track and just about half consider Davis a poor leader," reporter Mark Z. Barabak writes.

"And yet by 45 percent to 36 percent, those likely to cast ballots next Tuesday say that they will vote to re-elect Davis to a second four-year term, according to the survey completed Sunday night. Eleven percent of the likely voters were backing other candidates and 8 percent were undecided. The numbers were largely unchanged from a Times poll conducted four weeks ago.

"Davis' advantage stems almost entirely from the fact that, unpopular as he is, Simon is held in even worse regard."


Scare in the air

A plane carrying Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott to a campaign event in Missouri landed in Mobile, Ala., yesterday after pilots reported problems with the landing gear, authorities said.

The twin-engine Challenger 600 jet, which took off from Pascagoula, Miss., was rerouted to Alabama after a landing-gear malfunction, said Ron Bonjean, Mr. Lott's press secretary, who described the problem as "minor."

Mr. Lott, Mississippi Republican, was the only member of Congress on the plane, according to his office. He had to cancel his plans to attend the event for Republican Senate hopeful Jim Talent because "he ran out of time," Mr. Bonjean said.

Mr. Talent is challenging Sen. Jean Carnahan, Missouri Democrat, in the November election.

Sens. Peter G. Fitzgerald, Illinois Republican, and Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican, also had been scheduled for the flight, but changed their plans, their offices said yesterday.


Honoring Sonny

The Sonny Bono Concourse has been added to the Palm Springs International Airport in California, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Bono, of the '60s singing duo Sonny and Cher, was the area's congressman until his death in a 1998 skiing accident.

Earlier this year, officials designated a 40-mile stretch of Interstate 10 as the Sonny Bono Memorial Freeway. The section runs from just west of California State Highway 111 cutoff near Palm Springs to Dillon Road in the Coachella area.

Downtown, there's a life-size statue of Mr. Bono, who also had served as mayor of Palm Springs. A wildlife refuge at the Salton Sea also is named after him.

"He opened a door to help focus on tourism and entertainment," Airport Commissioner Bert Engelhardt said last week.

He said Mr. Bono was instrumental in several phases of the airport's development.


She needs people

"Barbra Streisand despite a plague of misspellings, a misattributed quote, and a mixup of Iraq with Iran has a new harangue on her Web site," the New York Post reports.

"'There has never been a more important time to get out the vote,' Streisand writes. 'If the Republicans end up with control of the presidency, the Senate, the House of Representatives and the federal courts, there will not be any check on the power of the right wing. The result would be devastating for reproductive choice, the environment, civil liberties, Social Security and health care, as well as corporate accountability.'"


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