- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 8, 2004

The gambler

“As President Bush rounds the bend and heads into his second term, perhaps you’re looking for a new motto to describe his presidency,” the Wall Street Journal’s Gerald F. Seib writes.

“Try this one: Livin’ Large with George W. Bush.”

“Amid the campaign-year debate over the merits and flaws of the U.S.’s 43rd president, perhaps the least discussed of his attributes is his most important. He is a gambler, and plays for high stakes. For better or for worse, don’t look for that to change, because his history suggests the characteristic is embedded in his personality,” Mr. Seib said.

“‘The guy does not think small,’ says Nicholas Calio, who handled relations with the U.S. Congress for the Bush White House for much of the first term. ‘This is part and parcel of his personality and his worldview. … The smart money is on him moving out fast and moving out big.’”

Changing the party

“In 2002 and 2004, Democrats were the party of power and by definition should have been the party of change,” Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Illinois Democrat, writes in the New York Times.

“Yet they failed to provide credible alternatives to Republican policies. In a presidential race during which 55 percent of Americans asked for a new direction, we — the party of landmark reforms like Social Security, Medicare, Pell Grants and a balanced budget — allowed ourselves to be positioned as the party of the status quo,” Mr. Emanuel said, calling on the party to back his tax-reform plan rather than simply oppose ones being considered by the Republicans.

Tauzin concedes

Republican Billy Tauzin III conceded a narrow loss to succeed his retiring father in the House after a runoff election in Louisiana’s Cajun country.

After an examination of parish (county) vote totals throughout the district, Mr. Tauzin lost by 569 votes to Democrat Charles Melancon in Saturday’s runoff, according to the secretary of state’s office. The final tally was 57,611 for Mr. Melancon to 57,042 for Mr. Tauzin.

Mr. Tauzin’s campaign issued a statement Tuesday in which he congratulated Mr. Melancon and offered his assistance. He said he would remain active in his Thibodaux community in the 3rd Congressional District along Louisiana’s swampy southern coast, the Associated Press reports.

“The next step is for the district to come together and work together to tackle the serious issues facing all of us,” Mr. Tauzin said.

Mr. Tauzin’s father, Rep. Billy Tauzin, is retiring after 12 terms.

New York poll

Democrat Eliot Spitzer has a double-digit lead over Republican Gov. George E. Pataki in the 2006 New York governor’s race, but the state attorney general trails outgoing Secretary of State Colin L. Powell in a hypothetical matchup, according to a poll released yesterday.

The poll was conducted before Mr. Spitzer announced Tuesday that he would run for governor, a move that generally gives a candidate at least a temporary boost in the polls.

Mr. Spitzer led Mr. Pataki 50 percent to 38 percent in the poll by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

The poll respondents favored Mr. Powell 47 percent to 42 percent for Mr. Spitzer. Mr. Powell, who announced last month he would not serve in President Bush’s second term, has not commented on speculation about a bid for governor. The New York City native has never run for political office.

Mr. Pataki has yet to say if he will seek a fourth term as governor two years from now. He also has been considered a potential opponent to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, in 2006, but the poll showed the senator widely favored, 58 percent to 36 percent.

The Nighthorse brand

Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell plans to help design a line of camping and outdoor gear that will bear his name after he leaves office next month.

The 71-year-old Colorado Republican also will continue his jewelry-design business and is planning to speak at colleges and universities, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Campbell, the only American Indian in the Senate, also has interviewed with law firms that do business with American Indian tribes.

Mr. Campbell said Monday he has reached a tentative agreement with an unidentified company to make tents, backpacks and other gear for a “Nighthorse” signature line.

“I’ll do some of the designing, and they’ll do some of the designing,” he said.

Mr. Campbell, the outgoing chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, said he also could work for a law firm trying to improve its contacts with tribes.

Mr. Campbell also has worked as a rancher, horse trainer and teacher. He was first elected to the Senate as a Democrat in 1992 and became a Republican in 1995.

Franken to stay

Comedian Al Franken has signed up for at least another two years on Air America Radio, a startup radio network that offers liberal talk and commentary.

Air America has been signing up more stations and gaining its footing after a shaky start earlier this year. The company went through a management shake-up in May, about five weeks after going on the air, that included the departure of its chairman, Evan Cohen, and other executives.

The network now can be heard on 40 stations around the country as well as on the satellite radio services offered by Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. and XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., the Associated Press reports.

Air America also signed a new contract with Randi Rhodes, another radio personality, for three years. Its contract with Mr. Franken is for two years, with an option to extend for another year. The company did not disclose how much it was paying the personalities.

Closing time

Walter Shapiro, who over the years was occasionally quoted in this space, has written his last political column for USA Today.

“After more than 800 columns over the past nine years, this is closing time as I ask the bartender for ‘one for my baby and one more for the road.’” Mr. Shapiro wrote yesterday in his final Hype & Glory column.

“This newspaper, in a decision that was not wildly cheered by all concerned, has decided to end this column and my affiliation with USA Today,” he said, adding: “Here’s hoping we meet again on the pages of other publications.”

Exodus continues

On the same day Treasury Secretary John W. Snow announced he will remain for President Bush’s second term, Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony J. Principi told his staff he was resigning, according to a senior administration official. Mr. Principi is the ninth member of the president’s 15-person Cabinet to leave. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a decorated Vietnam veteran.

“It is now time for me to move on to fresh opportunities and different challenges,” Mr. Principi told the president in a letter released by the White House.

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

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