- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 2, 2003

Young hesitates

Andrew Young, the former mayor and ambassador who told Georgia Democratic leaders he planned to run for U.S. Senate next year, is now telling close friends that he is leaning toward skipping the race, the Associated Press learned yesterday.

“He is thinking of not running,” said a Young associate who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Although Mr. Young never officially announced that he was running, he had told party officials that he would seek the seat being vacated by Democrat Zell Miller.

“He informed the party of his intention to run and has not informed us of any other intention,” said Jeff DiSantis, executive director of the Georgia Democratic Party.

No prominent Democrats have announced for the seat, while four Republicans, including U.S. Reps. Mac Collins and Johnny Isakson, are already campaigning.

Mr. Young was a congressman, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Atlanta’s mayor for two terms and a gubernatorial candidate in 1990, losing to Mr. Miller in a primary runoff.

Michelle Nunn, the 36-year-old daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn, had said in August she would consider seeking the nomination if Mr. Young opted out. U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall, a freshman Democrat from Macon, had also said he would not enter the race if Mr. Young ran.

Targeting Rove

“We’ve been knocking our heads trying to figure out how a minor and well-known story about an alleged CIA ‘outing’ has suddenly blossomed into a Beltway scandal-ette,” the Wall Street Journal says.

“The light bulb went off reading Monday’s White House press briefing,” the newspaper said in an editorial.

“Right out of the box, Helen Thomas asked if ‘the President tried to find out who outed the CIA agent? And has he fired anyone in the White House yet?’ OK, the point of this exercise is to get President Bush to fire someone. But whom? That answer became clear when the press corps quickly uttered, and kept uttering for nearly an hour, the name ‘Karl Rove.’

“Of course! The reason this is suddenly a story is because Mr. Rove, the President’s political strategist and confidant from Texas, has become the main target. Joseph Wilson, the CIA consultant at the center of this mini-tempest, had recently fingered Mr. Rove as the official who leaked to columnist Robert Novak that Mr. Wilson’s wife works for the CIA. Mr. Wilson has offered no evidence for this, and he’s since retreated to say only that he now believes Mr. Rove had ‘condoned it.’ The White House has replied that the charge is ‘simply not true.’ But no matter, the scandal game is afoot.

“The media, and the Democrats now slip-streaming behind them, understand that the what of this mystery matters much less than the who. It’s no accident that Tony Blair’s recent and evanescent scandal over [weapons of mass destruction] evidence concerned his longtime political aide and intimate, Alastair Campbell. We’re also old enough to recall what happened to Jimmy Carter’s presidency once his old Georgia friend Bert Lance was run out of town. If they can take down Mr. Rove, the lead planner for Mr. Bush’s re-election campaign, they will have knocked the props out of his presidency.”

Falling numbers

President Bush’s support among New Yorkers has dropped since June to the point that he now trails five Democrats in the heavily Democratic state, according to a poll released yesterday.

The Quinnipiac University Polling Institute found the Republican president’s approval rating is at its lowest in New York, 42 percent, down from 52 percent in June. Mr. Bush’s previous low was 44 percent in June 2001, before the September 11 terrorist attacks and Mr. Bush’s historic high support — 82 percent approval — that had New York Republicans saying he could win New York’s electoral votes in 2004.

“He’s had a bad run,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac poll.

“I still think that the Republicans are going to work in New York” to re-elect Mr. Bush, Mr. Carroll said. “They aren’t going to skip it like they did last time [in 2000] … and look at the numbers. Upstate and in the suburbs, it’s close.”

There are 5 million Democrats statewide and 3 million Republicans.

In yesterday’s poll, Mr. Bush runs behind the major Democratic candidates and potential candidates. Those polled favored former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean 47 percent to 43 percent for Mr. Bush; backed Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut by 49 percent to 42 percent; Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts 48 percent to 43 percent; and Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri 46 percent to 44 percent.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was favored over Mr. Bush, 51 percent to 43 percent. But Mr. Bush leads Mrs. Clinton, who denies being interested in a presidential bid next year, 51 percent to 42 percent upstate and by 52 percent to 39 percent in the New York suburbs, where Mrs. Clinton has a home.

Howard and Jay

Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean poked fun at his fund-raising success Tuesday in his first appearance on “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno.

In a film clip, Mr. Dean was shown playing a guitar on a street next to signs reading, “Your change for real change” and “Will strum for presidency.” People were shown placing money in an open guitar case.

Posted updates on his Web site showed Mr. Dean had raised more than $14.2 million in a three-month period, breaking the Democratic presidential record for a single quarter set by President Clinton, who raised $10.3 million over three months in 1995, the Associated Press reports.

Playing ‘Hardball’

The Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government will host a series of one-on-one, hourlong, live interviews with Democratic presidential candidates by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.

MSNBC will produce and telecast each forum as part of its program “Hardball: Battle for the White House.”

The interviews will be shown on Mondays at 7 p.m., starting with Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina on Oct. 13. The audiences, which will be made up mostly of local college students, will also ask questions of the candidates, the Kennedy School announced.

All the Democratic candidates have been invited to participate. Besides Mr. Edwards, the following candidates and dates are confirmed: Oct. 20, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts; Oct. 27, the Rev. Al Sharpton of New York; Nov. 3, Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri; Nov. 10, Sen. Bob Graham of Florida; Nov. 17, former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois.

Youthful debate

CNN and Rock the Vote will co-host a live forum of young voters and the Democratic presidential hopefuls at Faneuil Hall in Boston on Nov. 4, exactly one year before the 2004 election.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper will moderate “America Rocks the Vote,” a 90-minute, town hall meeting that will allow young people to directly question Democratic presidential candidates. The program will air on CNN between 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. and will be simulcast on CNN Radio.

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

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