- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 9, 2002

A matter of 'trust'
By a vote of 401 to 5 yesterday, the House pledged its loyalty to the traditional wording of the Pledge of Allegiance that places the nation "under God." The House also reaffirmed the national motto, "In God We Trust."
Both phrases were jeopardized after a federal court in California ruled that the reference to God in the pledge was "unconstitutional."
Who's in the quintet that opposed the idea? Democrats all: Reps. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, Pete Stark and Michael M. Honda of California, Jim McDermott of Washington and Robert C. Scott of Virginia.
Four Democrats voted "present" rather than record a "yea" or "nay" vote: Reps. Gary L. Ackerman and Nydia M. Velazquez of New York, Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Melvin Watt of North Carolina
The whole thing got started in June after a federal appeals court in San Francisco overturned a 1954 act of Congress that added "under God" to the pledge. The court had reasoned the words violated the separation of church and state.
The measure now goes to the Senate.

In the numbers
Who won the news channel derby on Monday night? Preliminary numbers find Fox News Channel coverage of President Bush's speech outperformed CNN and MSNBC, combined. Fox averaged a 3.7 rating, while CNN garnered 2.3 and MSNBC a 1.1. Each point represents just over a million viewers.

Bill who?
Gee, will it help that Janet Reno has now pasted a "Bill McBride for Governor" bumper sticker on the back of her red pickup truck?
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is holding onto a 47 percent to 42 percent lead over challenger Bill McBride in the state's gubernatorial race. Forty percent of respondents don't even know who Mr. McBride is. But that may be tricky for Mr. Bush.
"He has to start sticking some negatives on this guy, or that 40 percent is going to include a sizable number of McBride voters," said Matt Towery of Insider Advantage, an online news service that released the figures today.
"Bush, while not falling, is also not rising in the polls," Mr. Towery said.
Among female voters, the two candidates are even, and the governor continues to hold a lead in the crucial central Florida area, 47 percent to 35 percent.
"If Jeb Bush allows Bill McBride to continue to get name recognition with few negatives, he could lose the race," Mr. Towery said. He correctly called both the Georgia race for U.S. representative between Cynthia A. McKinney and Denise Majette and the Florida Democratic primary between Miss Reno and Mr. McBride.
"Right now, this is a mirror of the 2000 presidential race in Florida," he said. "The numbers were about the same four weeks out."

When Harry met Colin
Crooner Harry Belafonte is not particularly keen on Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.
"There's an old saying, in the days of slavery, there were those slaves who lived on the plantation and were those slaves that lived in the house," Mr. Belafonte told San Diego talk-radio host Ted Leitner yesterday.
"You got the privilege of living in the house if you served the master, exactly the way the master intended to have you serve him. Colin Powell's committed to come into the house of the master. When Colin Powell dares to suggest something other than what the master wants to hear, he will be turned back out to pasture."

30,000 and rising
Rep. Tom Tancredo, Colorado Republican, has delivered 30,000 petitions to the White House that call for troops on the U.S.-Mexican border. "As long as our borders remain undefended, we cannot claim that we are doing everything possible to protect the nation," he said yesterday.
He was joined by fellow members of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus and the family of Park Ranger Kristopher Eggle, who was shot and killed helping U.S. Border Patrol agents catch gunmen fleeing Mexican authorities.
Mr. Eggle's father, Bob Eggle, a retired Army captain, called the U.S.-Mexican line "virtually a non-border" and said the situation contributed to his son's death.
Mr. Tancredo first posted the petition online June 11. The messages, automatically forwarded to the White House e-mail system, were so numerous they caused the system to seize up and spit out a "service unavailable" warning.
The petition campaign is still active at www.tancredo.org. Spokeswoman Lara Kennedy said future signatures will also be forwarded.

More numbers
Supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton have pledged $1 million for H. Carl McCall's bid for New York governor. He is not the only recipient of Clinton generosity.
"Many of the candidates who need our help find themselves in situations where just a handful of votes could determine the outcome," notes HILLPAC, Mrs. Clinton's political action committee (www.hillpac.org).
To date, the group is opening its purse to 22 candidates for the Senate, and another 52 for the House who are in "make-or-break races."

Spam sham
Meanwhile, Elizabeth Dole has been sued by Ken Pugh, who claims he got eight unsolicited e-mail messages from the Dole campaign. A new North Carolina law provides that residents can collect $10 for each unwanted message they get online. Mr. Pugh wants his $80.
"It wouldn't have mattered if the spam mail came from the Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or Green Party," he told the Raleigh News & Observer yesterday. "This is basically an anti-spam initiative on my part."
The Dole folks disagree.
"We are sorry that we will not be able to honor your request for payment regarding 'unsolicited e-mail messages,'" they wrote Mr. Pugh. "The North Carolina law only applies to 'commercial' electronic communications. As the Dole campaign is not a commercial venture, we feel it would be inappropriate to send you a check at this time."
The case goes to court Nov. 18.

Strong prescription
The United Seniors Association is ready to rumble.
The group is riled at the Democratic National Committee and Reps. Marion Berry of Arkansas, Tim Holden of Pennsylvania and Ronnie Shows of Mississippi, claiming they have undermined the organization's new prescription-drug ad campaign through innuendo.
Chairman Charles Jarvis has challenged his Democratic foes.
"We are ready, willing and able to publicly debate party officials, members of Congress, and even AARP President William Novelli on the merits of the prescription-drug legislation passed in the House of Representatives. But frankly, that's not what the liberals want. They'd rather continue their campaign of partisan scare tactics to frighten older voters," Mr. Jarvis said yesterday.


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