- The Washington Times - Friday, June 20, 2003

Nader looks to 2004

Ralph Nader, the self-styled consumer advocate whose 2000 Green Party presidential candidacy angered some Democrats, is talking about another run for the White House, Agence France-Presse reports.

When reporter Stephanie Griffith asked Mr. Nader whether he will seek the Green Party nomination again, Mr. Nader replied: “It’s too early to say.”

In fact, he said that if the Greens reject him, he might choose to run as an independent, or possibly even as a Republican, which would pit him against President Bush in the primaries.

A Republican campaign, he said, would “give the American people a choice as to the political institutions they desire and the clean elections they deserve. Isn’t that what politics should be all about?”

McClellan in

Scott McClellan, the No. 2 spokesman at the White House and a longtime loyalist to President Bush, will succeed Ari Fleischer as White House press secretary, administration officials told the Associated Press.

Mr. McClellan, 35, will oversee a news media communications team of about a dozen people and will move into the spacious West Wing office of Mr. Fleischer, who is leaving to spend more time with his wife after two decades in public life.

The next press secretary dates back about a decade with Mr. Bush, whom he first met while working on campaigns for his mother, Carole Keeton Strayhorn. He is well liked by reporters for his disarming humor, and respected by his colleagues for his command of a broad array of issues.

Bipartisan city

Pride in the Big Apple has been the incentive for several deep-pocketed Democrats to cross party lines and promise millions to help stage the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York, the Associated Press reports.

The city’s host committee has collected $60 million in pledges — $4 million short of its fund-raising target — 15 months before the political event. Wealthy executives, Republican and Democrat, are tapping their own bank accounts, companies and associates.

Among those backing the convention is real estate mogul William C. Rudin, a Democrat who has donated to such party stalwarts as Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

“Some people relate it to the party, I relate it to New York City,” Mr. Rudin said. “It’s about uptown and downtown and being able to show the world what this city is about and how we’ve recovered.”

Jonathan Tisch of Loews Hotels, another Democratic supporter backing the convention, said that “the convention coming to New York is so important economically and emotionally that it’s necessary for all 8 million New Yorkers — no matter what their party stripes are — to support this event.”

Giuliani and Clinton

Former President Clinton and former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani shared a backstage handshake at a charity luncheon.

That wouldn’t be news ordinarily, but a New York Post columnist reported that organizers of Samsung’s Four Seasons of Hope luncheon in New York had labored to keep the Republican ex-mayor and the Democratic former president far apart because they “can’t stand each other,” the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Giuliani arrived at Cipriani’s restaurant after Mr. Clinton had left the podium Wednesday, but met him backstage and offered his hand. Later, he told the crowd: “I want to make it clear that on the way in I shook hands with President Clinton.”

As the crowd tittered, he added, “And I don’t want you to read anything into this, but I also — just in order to prove that any allegation to the contrary is untrue — I gave him a little hug. Don’t read anything into that. We don’t need any more rumors.”

The Post reported that Mr. Giuliani didn’t want to shake hands with Mr. Clinton publicly. “He just doesn’t want to share the limelight together,” an unnamed source told the newspaper.

Giuliani spokeswoman Sunny Mindel denied the report and said Mr. Giuliani arrived late because he was watching his son, Andrew, in a golf tournament.

Another Carnahan

The son of the late Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan and former U.S. Sen. Jean Carnahan began a bid Wednesday to fill the congressional seat being vacated by presidential hopeful Rep. Richard A. Gephardt.

Missouri state Rep. Russ Carnahan, speaking before supporters in a St. Louis park, called the campaign “an opportunity whose time has come.”

His mother sat in the crowd, smiling.

“I think he can make a great contribution,” she told the Associated Press. “He hasn’t asked me for advice yet.”

Mr. Gephardt, the former House minority leader, is not seeking re-election in the St. Louis-area 3rd Congressional District as he seeks the presidency in 2004.

Nudist resort

Rep. Mark Foley, one of Washington’s leading advocates for missing and exploited children, doesn’t like the idea of a nudist camp for teenagers. After reading a story Wednesday about the camp in the New York Times, the Florida Republican decided to raise a fuss.

Mr. Foley, running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Bob Graham, plans to deliver letters to Gov. Jeb Bush and state Attorney General Charlie Crist, singling out the Lake Como nudist resort in Land O’ Lakes, Fla., which hosted a bare-skinned youth camp that ended last week, the St. Petersburg Times reports.

Mr. Foley said the camp, sponsored by the American Association for Nude Recreation, appears to exploit children to make money.

The camps operate under a Florida law that allows people to be nude as long as they’re not lewd. Mr. Foley wonders if state statutes should change. Thus the letters to Mr. Bush and Mr. Crist, the Florida newspaper said.

The adult nudists who run the camps say they teach teenagers healthy lessons about accepting their sometimes-awkward adolescent bodies. Other nude camps are held in Virginia and Arizona.

Erich Schuttauf, executive director of the nudist association, called Lake Como’s camp, which attracted about 25 young nudists from June 5 to 13, “good old-fashioned naked fun.”

EPA loses gas

The Environmental Protection Agency scrapped a detailed assessment of climate change from an upcoming report on the state of the environment after the White House directed major changes and deletions to emphasize the uncertainties surrounding global warming, according to internal EPA documents.

The changes prompted an EPA staff memorandum that said the revisions demanded by the White House were so extensive that they would embarrass the agency because the section “no longer accurately represents scientific consensus on climate change.”

The climate section was part of a comprehensive review by the agency on major environmental concerns and what is needed to address them. The assessment has been a top priority of EPA Administrator Christie Whitman, who wanted it completed before she departs the agency next week, the Associated Press reports.

Contrary to early EPA drafts, the final document — according to EPA officials and papers — gives only a cursory mention of climate change.

Chicago know-how

At a House Budget Committee hearing this week exploring ways the government can reduce waste, fraud and abuse in federal entitlement programs, Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Illinois Democrat, found his own egregious example.

Mr. Emanuel pointed to a recent New York Times story that told how U.S. officials “find themselves approving salaries for hundreds of thousands of no-show and no-work jobs” for out-of-work Iraqis.

The Chicago congressman pointed to that as a huge waste of money — and said he should know: “I’m from Chicago, where we know a little something about no-show jobs.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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