- The Washington Times - Friday, April 18, 2003

A conservative tax-cut advocacy group will begin running television ads tomorrow against the two Republican senators who foiled the GOP's attempt to win a larger tax cut in the federal budget resolution last week.
The Club for Growth, which backs conservative candidates in primaries against more liberal Republican officeholders, is sponsoring the ads. They hope to convince Sen. George V. Voinovich, Ohio Republican, and Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, Maine Republican, to change their minds and support a larger tax cut.
"The ad basically makes the point that Bush needed strong allies in fighting the war and the French abandoned him. He needs strong allies here at home, and people like George Voinovich and Olympia Snowe abandoned him," said Stephen Moore, president of the club.
Last week, Mrs. Snowe and Mr. Voinovich refused to vote for the budget resolution until they won assurances the tax cut could not exceed $350 billion without the support of 60 senators. The budget would have failed had Mrs. Snowe and Mr. Voinovich not voted for it.
In addition to the Club for Growth, organizations like the National Taxpayers Union are trying to drum up phone calls from Mrs. Snowe's and Mr. Voinovich's constituents.
But another group, the Republican Main Street Partnership, will begin running newspaper and TV ads this weekend defending Mrs. Snowe, one of the most prominent members of the group.
The newspaper ad will defend Mrs. Snowe's vote as a win for fiscal responsibility and for programs that would have been underfunded if President Bush's full tax cut had been enacted.
The ad also denounces the comparison between the senators and France.
"Equating a vote on the budget resolution with the war in Iraq trivializes the sacrifices of the men and women serving there," a draft of the ad reads. "No one who stands her ground while crafting a budget should have her patriotism challenged."
The president had initially sought a $726 billion tax cut, but has since endorsed a $550 billion tax cut, which the House has passed.
Scott Milburn, a spokesman for Mr. Voinovich, said Mr. Voinovich is not opposed to a higher tax cut, and he even supports the policy of eliminating double taxation of dividends, which was the centerpiece of the president's proposal.
But he said Mr. Voinovich has long been a deficit hawk and he wants any tax cuts higher than $350 billion this year to be offset by spending cuts.
Mr. Milburn also took issue with the comparison between Mr. Voinovich and France: "It's reminiscent of the salad days of the Iraqi information minister's daily briefing. I'm so glad someone has stepped up and taken that mantle of leadership."
Mrs. Snowe is not up for re-election until 2006, but Mr. Voinovich is up in 2004. Still, none of Ohio's prominent Republican officeholders has stepped forward to challenge Mr. Voinovich. In fact, most of those who could raise the money for a challenge have already said they won't run.
Spokesmen for House Republican Conference Chairwoman Deborah Pryce, Ohio Republican, and Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell said neither is seeking the office.
And a spokesman for Rep. Rob Portman, Ohio Republican, who is considered one of the Bush administration's strongest allies in Congress, said the congressman "has no interest in running against Senator Voinovich now or any time in the future" and praised the senator for being "a strong ally of this president."
Another potential candidate is former Rep. John R. Kasich. His office did not return a call for comment yesterday.

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