- The Washington Times - Monday, October 7, 2002

Bad manners
Etiquette books won't cover this one. Is it appropriate for a member of Congress to trundle off to Baghdad then say as NBC's Tim Russert put it yesterday "trust the Iraqis, but don't trust the president of the United States?"
Certainly not, said Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.
"I don't think it is, frankly. I think they crossed the line," the South Dakota Democrat said. "I think we have to be very careful about our rhetoric. I think it's important for people to ascertain the facts as best they can, and I think they ought to state themselves or their positions as clearly as possible. But I wouldn't have said that, and most Democrats, I think, would disagree."
Another Democratic senator said yesterday that most members of his party simply don't agree with the "inspections work better than war" philosophy of Reps. David E. Bonior of Michigan and Jim McDermott of Washington, two of the three lawmakers who paid a call on Iraq last week.
Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana estimated that "99 percent of Democrats" disagreed with their notion that President Bush had not shown just cause to commit U.S. troops to war in Iraq.
"I was shocked, frankly," Mr. Bayh continued. "I don't know what they hope to gain by making those comments. With regard to inspections, we've been down that road before and I think that's only given Saddam more time to develop his weapons."

More Democrat discord
The resolution authorizing force in Iraq has grated on Democrats elsewhere.
As House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri was cutting a deal on language, Rep. Martin Frost of Texas was endorsing the resolution.
"I look forward to voting for this responsible, compromise resolution," Mr. Frost said, adding that it "strikes a good balance between urging a multilateral approach and preserving America's right to act to defend our citizens."
But Democratic whip Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California still wants to make nice.
"Because I do not believe we have exhausted all diplomatic remedies, I cannot support the administration's resolution regarding the use of force in Iraq," she said, saying she has "seen no evidence or intelligence that suggests that Iraq indeed poses an imminent threat to our nation."
Mr. Frost also distanced himself from the trio of Democratic House members who visited Iraq last week.
"They have every right to go, as members of Congress representing some 600,000 people, and to express their opinions," he said. "I wouldn't have gone. I wouldn't have made the statements that were made. I don't agree with them. Three members don't speak for the entire Democratic caucus. And I don't believe there should be a party position on an issue like this."
"The criticism of them is completely overblown," countered Brendan Daly, Mrs. Pelosi's spokesman. "Each of these members has served in the military and was going there to try to do what they can to help us avoid going to war."

A post-Bill world
The British are still making sense of former President Bill Clinton's recent visit to their country.
"I had to struggle with some unpleasant memories when I watched Clinton launch into his polemic on foreign affairs. In case you missed it amid the swoons and sighs, President Bill spoke as a great internationalist, a messiah for the philosophy of one-world humanitarianism. All that was missing was Michael Jackson and a chorus of angels crooning: 'We are the world. We are the people,'" the Independent's Fergal Keane commented yesterday.
"The sad thing wasn't that nobody stood up to contradict. You don't do that kind of thing to visiting superstars. What shocked me was how many otherwise clever and acerbic newspaper journalists lapped it all up . I wonder if a single individual in that hall or in the press gallery remembered how President Bill Clinton and his administration behaved when he had a chance to put those fine words into practice? Did the word 'Rwanda' get muttered anywhere?"

Cameo appearance
At last, they meet: California Gov. Gray Davis and Republican challenger Bill Simon will debate at high noon today for a whopping one hour the only exchange between the pair beyond television attack ads in recent months.
This single matinee appearance could cheat voters out of a real opportunity to assess the candidates.
"Candidates owe voters a look at what they'll do as governor," political analyst Barbara O'Connor of California State University in Sacramento told the San Francisco Chronicle. "A debate provides a unique window into the candidate's soul. At the very least, it's an hour of nonstop exposure, absent his handlers."
The solo debate, sponsored by the Los Angeles Times, disappointed Mr. Simon, who wants to spar on prime-time TV with his rival. Mr. Davis refused the call for an evening parry, which would have included Green Party candidate Peter Camejo.
"It's going to be a short debate and we wish there were more," said Mark Miner, a Simon campaign spokesman. "But we're just hopeful that Davis will show up."

No appearance
Another Republican is having trouble luring a Democrat onto the dais. In New Jersey, Republican hopeful Douglas Forrester has thrown down the gauntlet before former Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, to no avail.
The two are after Sen. Robert G. Torricelli's seat after the scandal-plagued lawmaker withdrew from the race last week.
According to a telephone poll of 601 likely voters taken for the Sunday Record of Bergen County, Mr. Lautenberg leads Mr. Forrester by 46 percent to 40 percent.
Mr. Forrester complained on Fox News that his rival did not join him before the camera, claiming he was "too busy." He had also asked Mr. Lautenberg to participate in 21 debates, but has received no response, he said.
"The Democrats went to court to stop an election just because some political bosses decided Torricelli would drag himself and his whole party down," Mr. Forrester said.
The Republican candidate also called the New Jersey Supreme Court's decision last week more typical of "some Third World country" and "not what America's all about."
Mr. Forrester, however, said he expects that the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately will disallow that maneuver. The case is sitting before the nine justices in Washington.

Not ready to rumble
Several U.S. Senate races may not be much of a shoving match, according to a University of Wisconsin-Madison campaign-advertising study. Races in Maine, Oregon and Georgia are not as competitive as some of the others this year.
Since Labor Day, the Republican Party spent $79,000 advertising in Oregon and $40,000 in Maine, while Democrats spent zilch. In Georgia, the GOP spent $273,000 and the Democrats shelled out $274,000 to boost their candidate, incumbent Sen. Max Cleland.
"These allocations can tell you a lot about how the national parties are viewing races," said project director Ken Goldstein.
The Democratic Party has outspent the Republican Party in only three of 13 competitive races: in Georgia, North Carolina and New Jersey. Republicans have the lead in the other 10, including an $886,000 net advantage in Texas.
In overall spending for parties, interest groups and the candidates themselves, Democrats outspent Republicans in Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina and South Carolina. Republicans have outspent Democrats in Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon and Texas.


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