Democratic presidential hopefuls are busy trying to win the hearts of Hollywood’s liberal elite.
“A day after Al Gore announced his decision to skip the 2004 presidential race, Rob Reiner arrived at the studio offices of Castle Rock Entertainment in Beverly Hills to find three messages,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
“Howard Dean, John F. Kerry and Joseph I. Lieberman were all trying to reach the actor-director to commiserate and to plug their own White House bids. By week’s end, Reiner, an active Democrat and ardent Gore supporter, also had spoken with John Edwards and Richard A. Gephardt about their presidential plans,” reporters Mark Z. Barabak and Rachel Abramowitz said.
“Still, Reiner is holding out, intrigued by the prospects but undecided about which candidate to support in 2004. ‘A lot of people out there are trying to find the person to fall in love with,’ he said.”
The reporters added: “Just in the last few weeks, North Carolina Sen. Edwards has stumped at the Pacific Palisades home of Larry David, star and creator of HBO’s ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm.’ Former Vermont Gov. Dean has huddled with actor Warren Beatty. Missouri Rep. Gephardt mingled Thursday night in Beverly Hills at the mansion of ex-studio owner Marvin Davis.”
Burr vs. Edwards?
Rep. Richard M. Burr, North Carolina Republican, announced yesterday he is considering a 2004 Senate bid against Democratic incumbent John Edwards.
Mr. Burr said he has the backing of the White House and North Carolina Republican heavyweights if he makes the run, the Associated Press reports.
The 47-year-old Republican said he will not seek a sixth House term or the governorship but is forming an exploratory committee for the Senate seat held by Mr. Edwards, who is running for president. Mr. Edwards has not said whether he will run for re-election.
The exploratory committee will have as co-chairmen former Sens. Jesse Helms, Lauch Faircloth and Jim Broyhill, and former Govs. Jim Martin and Jim Holshouser, Mr. Burr said.
He also said he has the support of his North Carolina Republican colleagues in Washington, including Sen. Elizabeth Dole.
Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, has moved up the date for the state’s 2004 presidential primary to Feb. 3, joining South Carolina and Missouri.
Monday’s proclamation, changing the date from Feb. 24, ensures Arizona’s primary would be preceded only by the Jan. 19 Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary on Jan. 27, the Associated Press reports.
Miss Napolitano said the new date will give the state and its Democratic Party national exposure. “An earlier primary gives us more influence,” she said.
Republican legislative leaders have proposed deleting $3 million for the primary from the state budget to help erase a budget shortfall, suggesting that the parties pay to hold caucuses instead.
Miss Napolitano called that a partisan attempt to keep Democrats out of the national spotlight next year when President Bush will be a shoo-in for the Republican nomination.
The South Carolina governor’s mansion may have to close because of a $150,000 shortfall in operating funds.
Republican Gov. Mark Sanford said he must either close the mansion until June 30 or raise private money to cover operating costs, such as salaries for 11 employees, utility bills and food, the Associated Press reports.
If the mansion closed, Mr. Sanford’s family would continue to live in the private quarters, but they would not have a staff and would cook their own meals.
Mr. Sanford accuses his predecessor, Democrat Jim Hodges, of overspending the mansion’s budget.
Mr. Hodges’ former chief of staff, Billy Boan, told the State newspaper of Columbia that the mansion, which was built in 1855, has been underfunded by the state’s General Assembly especially since Mr. Hodges ended the practice of using inmates as butlers and maids in 2001.
Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm plans to file a brief before the Supreme Court this week supporting the University of Michigan’s policies on affirmative-action admissions, in opposition to President Bush’s stance.
The Democratic governor also filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case on the state’s behalf in 2001, while she was attorney general and the case was before a federal appeals court, the Associated Press reports.
“She’s supportive of the university’s position,” Granholm spokeswoman Elizabeth Boyd said Monday.
Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue said he favors a yes-or-no vote on the current Georgia flag, and would not include the old state flag with the Confederate battle emblem as a choice in any referendum.
“I think we ought to have an up-and-down vote on the current flag,” the governor told a late-night WSB radio call-in program hosted by Royal Marshall.
Erin O’Brien, a spokeswoman for Mr. Perdue, initially confirmed the governor’s remarks, adding that the governor planned to reveal details of his plans for a statewide flag referendum during a news conference today.
Later Tuesday morning, however, Miss O’Brien said Mr. Perdue has not ruled out allowing voters other choices, including the option to bring back the old state flag with the Confederate emblem.
The referendum, if it passes the legislature, would be a nonbinding one. The legislature would remain the final authority on the matter. The governor said nothing of when the referendum would be held, but Democrats prefer November 2004.
North Carolina Rep. Howard Coble, attempting to clarify remarks he made last week, said Monday the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II was wrong and should not be repeated.
“I regret that many Japanese and Arab Americans found my choice of words offensive, because that was certainly not my intent,” the Republican said.
On Feb. 4, Mr. Coble appeared on a radio call-in show in Greensboro and disagreed with a caller who said Arab Americans should be sent to internment camps during the war on terrorism.
He added that the camps served the nation’s security needs during World War II because a few Japanese Americans might have been intent on harming America, “just as some Arab Americans are probably intent on doing us harm today.”
Mr. Coble said it was “a very, very cruel thing to do” to Japanese Americans, but that he believed the decision was right for those times.
On Monday, Mr. Coble said he was trying to show that President Franklin D. Roosevelt made his decision in the best interest of national security, based on the circumstances at the time and the information available.
Graham’s fund raising
Florida Democratic Sen. Bob Graham plans to file papers starting a presidential campaign in the next two or three weeks to begin raising money, but will not make a formal decision on a White House bid until mid-April, associates said yesterday.
Mr. Graham, now in his third term, had planned to join the crowded Democratic field this month, but he delayed his decision when he learned he needed heart surgery. Mr. Graham underwent successful surgery Jan. 31 and has been recovering at his daughter’s Virginia home.