- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Backing Arnold

A top California Republican endorsed Arnold Schwarzenegger for governor yesterday, stepping up pressure on the party’s only other major candidate to drop out of the race.

State Senate Republican leader Jim Brulte said he had concluded that his Senate colleague Tom McClintock could not win in a crowded field of replacement candidates hoping to take office should a recall against Gov. Gray Davis on Oct. 7 succeed.

Republicans are increasingly concerned their many months of effort to unseat Mr. Davis could end up electing Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, who many see as more liberal and less experienced than Mr. Davis, Reuters reports.



“Arnold Schwarzenegger is the only Republican who can beat Cruz Bustamante,” Mr. Brulte, who has worked closely with Mr. McClintock on past campaigns, said during a telephone conference call. “Arnold Schwarzenegger will be a check we desperately need in California government.”

The conservative Mr. McClintock has repeatedly said that he would not drop out of the race.

Shaheen touts Kerry

Former New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen was named national chairwoman of Democrat John Kerry’s presidential campaign yesterday.

Mrs. Shaheen, the most sought-after Democrat in the state, had steered clear of the presidential race to focus on teaching. Her endorsement of the Massachusetts senator was no surprise given that her husband, Bill Shaheen, is running Mr. Kerry’s New Hampshire campaign, the Associated Press reports.

But the timing was unexpected because Mrs. Shaheen had agreed to moderate four candidate forums next month. The announcement also came shortly before Mr. Kerry’s top rival in New Hampshire, Howard Dean, was speaking in Boston — Mr. Kerry’s turf. Mr. Dean maintains a double-digit lead over Mr. Kerry in state polls.

“Vacation’s over,” Mrs. Shaheen said at a news conference with Mr. Kerry at his campaign office in Manchester, N.H. “The stakes are too great in the next presidential election for me or anyone who cares about this country to stay on the sidelines.”

Mrs. Shaheen was elected New Hampshire’s first female governor and its first Democrat in 16 years. She made it onto Al Gore’s short list of potential White House running mates in 2000. But last November, she lost a bid to become a U.S. senator, falling 20,000 votes behind Republican John E. Sununu.

Let me count the ways

“I hate President George W. Bush,” Jonathan Chait writes in the New Republic.

“There, I said it. I think his policies rank him among the worst presidents in U.S. history. And, while I’m tempted to leave it at that, the truth is that I hate him for less substantive reasons, too. I hate the inequitable way he has come to his economic and political achievements and his utter lack of humility (disguised behind transparently false modesty) at having done so. His favorite answer to the question of nepotism — ‘I inherited half my father’s friends and all his enemies’ — conveys the laughable implication that his birth bestowed more disadvantage than advantage. He reminds me of a certain type I knew in high school — the kid who was given a fancy sports car for his 16th birthday and believed that he had somehow earned it,” Mr. Chait said.

“I hate the way he walks — shoulders flexed, elbows splayed out from his sides like a teenage boy feigning machismo. I hate the way he talks — blustery self-assurance masked by a pseudo-populist twang. I even hate the things that everybody seems to like about him. I hate his lame nickname-bestowing — a way to establish one’s social superiority beneath a veneer of chumminess (does anybody give their boss a nickname without his consent?). And, while most people who meet Bush claim to like him, I suspect that, if I got to know him personally, I would hate him even more.”

Candidate forum

Ninety of the 135 candidates in California’s gubernatorial recall election took Jay Leno up on his offer to appear on “The Tonight Show.”

“Welcome to California, now under the division of Ringling Bros., ladies and gentlemen,” Mr. Leno said Monday as he welcomed the motley group to his 300-seat NBC studio in Burbank for the taping of the program.

Mr. Leno became a ringmaster of what some consider a political circus since Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his candidacy during a “Tonight Show” appearance on Aug. 6. When 135 candidates qualified to seek Gov. Gray Davis’ job, Mr. Leno invited them all to come to the show.

Mr. Leno said that looking out at the sea of candidates in the audience made him proud to be from Massachusetts, the Associated Press reports.

He also gave each candidate 10 seconds to say what they would do to improve California.

The catch? All 90 candidates had to answer at the same time.

Edwards’ new ad

John Edwards has launched ads in Iowa that criticize President Bush’s economic record, with the Democrat calling it “outrageous that this president has turned a $5 trillion surplus into a $5 trillion deficit.”

The new 60-second commercial began airing Monday in Iowa and will move quickly to New Hampshire, said campaign advisers, who declined to disclose the exact cost of the ad buy, saying simply that is was the most concentrated buy of the campaign.

The North Carolina senator, who remains in single digits in recent national polls, has been running ads in Iowa and New Hampshire, but those spots were largely biographical, the Associated Press reports. The latest ads are designed to highlight his differences with Mr. Bush.

“And now when we look at college education for more, doing something about the health care crisis, his answer is we don’t have the money,” Mr. Edwards says in the commercial. “Well, why don’t we have the money George Bush? He gave it away in tax cuts to the richest people in America.”

The commercial features Mr. Edwards speaking to backers at a town hall-style meeting.

Suspicious numbers

“The press has been trumpeting a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll showing Wesley Clark beating President Bush, 49 percent to 46 percent,” James Taranto writes in his Best of the Web Today column at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“But a look at the poll results makes us suspicious. For one thing, it is a survey of ‘1,003 National Adults’ — not registered voters or likely voters. Casting a net this wide tends to oversample Democratic voters, and sure enough, 480, or just under 48 percent, of those who answered the poll describe themselves as Democrats or ‘Democrat-leaners.’ That’s just a percentage point less than the 49 percent Clark gets,” Mr. Taranto said.

“What’s more, only 52 percent of those polled have an opinion of Clark (39 percent favorable, 13 percent unfavorable), so this is almost the equivalent of a poll pitting Bush against an ‘unnamed Democrat.’ Will Clark wear well when Americans — or, for that matter, Democrats — get to know him?”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]

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