- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Tale of the tape
Iowa Republican officials are seeking a state and federal investigation into the apparent taping of a campaign strategy session held by Rep. Greg Ganske, the GOP's U.S. Senate candidate against Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.
Republican Party state Chairman Chuck Larson said the taping is a "serious breach of privacy" according to a report at www.theiowachannel.com.
In letters to a U.S. attorney and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, campaign officials said someone at the Sept. 3 meeting either was wearing a wire or illegally taped the conversation.
A lawyer for the Ganske campaign said it is illegal to tape a meeting without the consent of those being taped.
Ganske campaign officials said they were made aware of the transcript and audiotape on Friday.
The meeting involved 24 campaign supporters at a Des Moines hotel. Ganske campaign officials said the meeting was meant to update supporters on how the campaign was going. They said they did not intend or want anyone to know the information discussed at the meeting.
The tape "was intended for dissemination to the press. As it appears, they've accomplished that with the intention of damaging our candidacy," Ganske campaign manager Bill Armistead said.
Newspaper reporter Kathie Obradovich said she received the information from "Democratic sources."
Ganske campaign officials said they were not ready to discuss who may be behind the taping.

But back home
Sen. John Edwards, the North Carolina Democrat who is considering a run for his party's presidential nomination in 2004, might want to spend more time minding his own back yard.
Only 31 percent of North Carolina voters say Mr. Edwards should run for president, according to a new Elon University poll taken Sept. 16 to 19. Another 31 percent were opposed to him running, while 22 percent were neutral on the prospect and 12 percent didn't have an answer.
That mirrors results of a Mason-Dixon poll conducted Sept. 12 to 14 and released last week that showed only 35 percent supported his bid. Even worse for the freshman senator, the poll shows Mr. Bush beating him 60 percent to 33 percent in a head-to-head matchup in the state.
The good news for Mr. Edwards is that both polls found substantial support for Mr. Edwards' job as senator the Mason-Dixon poll showed a 56 percent job-approval rating.

Same old Hollywood
"A bunch of left-wing celebrities, including Ed Asner, Ossie Davis, Jane Fonda, Danny Glover, Casey Kasem, Susan Sarandon, Oliver Stone and Marisa Tomei, helped pay for a full-page ad in Thursday's New York Times denouncing President Bush's war on terrorism," the Media Research Center reports.
"Also adding their name to the ad: Time magazine contributor Barbara Ehrenreich and Steve Earle, singer of 'John Walker's Blues,'" Brent Baker writes at www.mediaresearch.org.
"Across the top of the page the ad screamed: 'PRESIDENT BUSH has declared: "you're either with us or against us." Here is our answer:'
"The ad, paid for by a group calling itself Not in Our Name, screeched below: 'We call on all Americans to RESIST the war and repression that has been loosed on the world by the Bush administration. It is unjust, immoral, and illegitimate.'
"The signers equated 9/11 with the terror inflicted by the U.S. military: 'We too mourned the thousands of innocent dead and shook our heads at the terrible scenes of carnage even as we recalled similar scenes in Baghdad, Panama City, and, a generation ago, Vietnam.'
"The Bush administration 'put out a simplistic script of "good vs. evil,"' the signers complained, a formula 'that was taken up by a pliant and intimidated media.'"

Iraq in November
The chairman of the Republican National Committee said yesterday the positions that members of Congress take on the use of military force against Iraq will be important to voters in November's elections.
"It is one of those issues that will be important to every voter," Marc Racicot said in an interview with the Associated Press. "I don't know how pivotal it is in every single election. There are multiple issues."
He said Republican candidates are more likely to stress a candidate's record on national defense than specifically on Iraq. He noted the Minnesota Senate campaign, where Republicans have criticized incumbent Democratic Sen. Paul Wellstone for not supporting defense projects.
"Paul Wellstone has supported President Bush all the way down the line on the war on terror and homeland defense," said Jim Farrell, a Wellstone campaign spokesman. "It is sad, and it is wrong, to drag this issue of defense down to the level of political attack."
National security, and specifically Iraq, have been President Bush's focus for months, Mr. Racicot said, and are not part of a political calculation.
"I know with this president, it's a matter of national security that draws his attention," he said. "It's not a political issue."
The RNC chairman said he doesn't anticipate that Mr. Bush will have coattails to sweep Republicans into office, but he's helped create an atmosphere that will allow them "to be competitive on their own terms."

Tossup in Tennessee
The race for governor of Tennessee is now a tossup, according to a new poll.
Democrat Phil Bredesen led Republican Van Hilleary 44 percent to 42 percent in the survey conducted for the Tennessean newspaper and the Chattanooga Times Free Press by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. Ten percent of respondents said they were undecided, while 4 percent said they would vote for other candidates.
Mr. Bredesen's 2-point edge was well within the poll's 4-point margin of error. The survey of registered voters was conducted Sept. 17 to 19.
"It's a close and competitive race, and it should be very interesting," Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker said.

Anything for a cigar
No matter how much Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura talks about his state's corn and wheat exports when he arrives in Havana this week, he will have a hard time escaping the perception that he is readying for retirement with a humidor and a big box of the island nation's famed Cohiba cigars, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune reports.
"I personally believe that's the reason he's going," said Minneapolis pipe and tobacco store owner Rich Lewis, only slightly tongue-in-cheek.
"When I end my day as governor of Minnesota," Mr. Ventura wrote in Cigar Aficionado magazine, "I want to be able to go home and relax. And, of course, I'd like to sit in a patio chair and enjoy a good Cuban cigar."
Sale of Cuban cigars is outlawed in the United States as part of the economic embargo against the communist dictatorship.
Under current trade restrictions, Mr. Ventura, traveling under a special U.S. government license, will be allowed to bring home $100 worth.

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