- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Iowa tape fight
Iowa Republicans called for a criminal probe to find out who taped a closed-door meeting of U.S. Senate candidate Greg Ganske, a transcript of which was acquired and leaked to the press by the campaign of incumbent Sen. Tom Harkin, a Democrat.
In a statement released at 9 p.m. Monday, the Ganske campaign called on Mr. Harkin's staff to disclose what they know about how the recording was made and pledged to "continue to pursue legal remedies against the Harkin campaign and its agents."
Citizens for Harkin campaign manager Jeff Link said no one associated with the campaign attended the Sept. 3 meeting at the Hotel Savery in Des Moines, where Mr. Ganske promised an aggressive campaign against Mr. Harkin, the Quad-City Times reports.
Mr. Link said the Harkin campaign later obtained a transcript of the remarks, which Mr. Harkin's "press operation" then passed on to an Iowa newspaper reporter.

Nancy uncertain
Nancy Reagan says her husband, in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's disease, may not even recognize her anymore.
In a CBS "60 Minutes II" interview, the former first lady said Ronald Reagan's disease has robbed the couple of their post-White House golden years. The interview will be broadcast today, the Associated Press reports.
The 91-year-old former president spends his days secluded in his Bel Air, Calif., home in Mrs. Reagan's care. Asked if her husband even knows who she is, she said, "I don't know."
"The golden years are when you can sit back, hopefully, and exchange memories, and that's the worst part about this disease: There's nobody to exchange memories with and we had a lot of memories," Mrs. Reagan said.
Ronald Reagan's memory loss also has taken the joy out of milestone occasions, like the couple's 50th wedding anniversary March 4.
"I'd love to be able to talk to him about it, and there were times when I had to catch myself because I'd reach out and start to say, 'Honey, remember when?'" Mrs. Reagan said.

Welcome to Iraq
Rep. Nick J. Rahall II, back from an attempted peacemaking trip to Iraq, sounds like a man whose eyes have been opened.
"As an Arab-American member of Congress I felt that I was a credible messenger" for peace, the West Virginia Democrat said in an op-ed article in the New York Times yesterday.
"I was traveling to Iraq as part of a delegation sponsored by the Institute for Public Accuracy, a nonpartisan group Our hosts wanted to take us immediately to a facility that had been identified as a possible nuclear-weapons factory they wanted to prove that the charges were false. I declined, stating that I was not a weapons inspector and was not going to be put in the position of vouching for anyone's innocence. The rest of the group refused to go, too," Mr. Rahall said.
"Things went downhill from there. Our satellite phone was confiscated and our cameras, after nearly being impounded, were painstakingly 'registered.' VIP treatment meant being the last ones through security. We soon learned that we would not be meeting with [Saddam] Hussein and that my speech before the Iraqi National Assembly had been canceled. So much for direct communication."

'Chainsaw Tom'
"If you want to know why Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle can't get a spending bill for the Interior Department passed this year, look no further than his home state's Black Hills," the Wall Street Journal says.
"Those South Dakota Mountains are at the center of a growing political debate over forest fires. All summer, Sen. Tim Johnson, also a South Dakota Democrat, had been taking heat from the state's rural communities for allowing green groups to stymie forest cleanup, a recipe for fires. So in July, to give Mr. Johnson a boost in his tight re-election fight against Republican John Thune, Mr. Daschle slipped a rider into a bill exempting his state from the very environmental regulations he'd long championed," the newspaper observed in an editorial.
"It took about a nanosecond for Western senators, their own states in flames, to seize on this flip-flop and demand equal treatment. Idaho Republican Larry Craig offered an amendment to the Interior bill that would enact much of President Bush's new fire plan, as well as a South Dakota-style legal exemption for 10 million at-risk acres of forestland. Mr. Daschle now trying to get back in green good graces has tried twice to close Senate debate without considering Mr. Craig's amendment, and has lost both times.
"And no wonder. This year's fires, and Mr. Daschle's rider, have become an enormous political liability for Western Democrats. They've had to explain to angry constituents why Chainsaw Tom was allowed to save his state's forests while theirs were left to burn."

Anything to hide?
Attorneys for Sen. Robert G. Torricelli, New Jersey Democrat, asked a federal appeals court yesterday to block the immediate release of a memo that describes how a businessman made illegal campaign contributions.
Several media organizations are seeking the release of the memo, which outlines businessman David Chang's cooperation with the government, according to Reuters news agency.
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled Friday that the document should be made public, but court rules could keep it sealed for at least 45 days, or Nov. 4, the day before voters decide whether to re-elect Mr. Torricelli.
The New Jersey lawmaker is badly trailing Republican Douglas Forrester, who has made a Senate ethics committee reprimand of Mr. Torricelli a central element of his campaign.
A lawyer for the media group asked the appeals court Monday to release the document immediately. Mr. Torricelli's attorneys argued that such a move would rob him of the right to prepare for an appeal. The motion says the election is not reason enough to release the document sooner than 45 days.
Lawyer Bruce Rosen, who is arguing the case for the media group, said he plans to submit a response to Mr. Torricelli's motion today.

Greens see red
The Sierra Club board last week issued an unprecedented rebuke of California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, calling it unconscionable that she and another Democrat, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, have sponsored legislation that would limit environmental review and boost logging on federal lands to reduce the threat of wildfires.
The leaders of the nation's largest environmental group have repeatedly endorsed Mrs. Feinstein in past elections, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The San Francisco group's executive director, Carl Pope, warned that the disagreement over the wildfire issue signaled a widening gap between the Sierra Club and the state's Democratic senior senator, who bills herself as a strong defender of the environment.
"This is a very big issue to us," Mr. Pope told Chronicle reporter Zachary Coile. "Depending on what happens down the road, this has the potential to be a very serious break [with Mrs. Feinstein]. And I think she understands that."
Mrs. Feinstein fired back Monday evening with an angry statement, saying: "I regret that the Sierra Club board of directors has chosen to malign and misrepresent the efforts by Sen. Wyden and myself to try to protect our forests from catastrophic fire. Their statement does not befit the Sierra Club that I know."

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