- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Clinton miffed

The Drudge Report said yesterday that former President Bill Clinton is upset at being left off the speakers’ list for the funeral ceremony for former PresidentRonald Reagan at the National Cathedral on Friday.

“President Clinton really held out all hope the funeral would be a nonpartisan event, like Nixon’s was,” the Web site quoted a “top Clinton source” as saying. “He’s angry and disappointed neither he nor President Carter have been asked to speak, as of yet.”

Former President George Bush, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney will join President Bush in eulogizing Mr. Reagan.

As for the ceremony today, when Mr. Reagan’s body is transported to the Capitol to lie in state, only Vice PresidentDick Cheney, House SpeakerJ. Dennis Hastert and Senate President Pro Tem Ted Stevens will speak. With Republicans controlling the White House and both chambers of Congress, that makes for an all-GOP lineup.

That arrangement was fine with Democratic leaders, who said they had been told that’s what the family wanted and what has happened in the past.

“I’d be honored to speak, and I know others would, too, who are Democrats. But if that is the family wish, then certainly we’d respect that,” said Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, adding that he was satisfied with the arrangements for the ceremony.

Congressman quits

Rep. Frank W. Ballance Jr., North Carolina Democrat, resigned from Congress yesterday, saying a neuromuscular disorder has affected his ability to carry out his duties.

Mr. Ballance, 62, was diagnosed in February with myasthenia gravis, a condition that results in muscle weakness.

Mr. Ballance said he was resigning as North Carolina’s 1st District representative in the U.S. House “because I am no longer able to carry out the responsibilities of this office due to my current health condition.”

Spokesman Ken Willis told the Associated Press that Mr. Ballance was at his home in North Carolina, but had been in the hospital last week.

Elected to the House in 2002 after a long career in the North Carolina General Assembly, Mr. Ballance is facing a joint federal-state investigation into activities of a drug and alcohol counseling program he founded in northeastern North Carolina. The John A. Hyman Memorial Youth Foundation was the subject of a stinging state audit in October for conflict of interest and $325,000 in questionable payments.

The foundation has received $2.1 million in state money since 1994, thanks in part to Mr. Ballance, who is chairman of the foundation’s board.

80th birthday

Former President George Bush is planning to go ahead with an 80th birthday parachute jump this weekend after the week of mourning for formerPresident Ronald Reagan.

Mr. Bush and his wife, Barbara, will attend the Reagan memorial service at the National Cathedral on Friday, then immediately return to Houston for a birthday party Saturday and the Sunday parachute jump will be over College Station, said Jim McGrath, spokesman for the organizing committee, 41(at) 80. The group’s name is for the 41st president at 80 years old.

Mr. Bush, a Navy pilot who bailed out from a damaged plane during World War II, also made a parachute jump on his 75th birthday.

He will be accompanied by members of the Golden Knights, the Army parachute team, but will not be linked to a younger jumper, Mr. McGrath said.

“This is a very, very important thing to the president. This is a solo jump. There will be knights around him, but it is not a tandem jump.”

Klayman sued

A polling firm sued U.S. Senate candidate Larry Klayman on Monday, arguing that the Republican’s Florida campaign failed to pay $60,000 in fees.

The Arlington polling company of Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates Inc. said in a lawsuit filed in Florida Circuit Court that it had conducted a poll of 800 Republican primary voters in September.

Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio met with Mr. Klayman to discuss the results and the payment was listed on the candidate’s Federal Election Commission report, the lawsuit said. But Mr. Klayman has failed to pay the company $60,000 for the poll, the suit said.

Mr. Klayman said his Senate campaign was overcharged for the poll, the Associated Press reports.

“Among other issues, Klayman for Senate disputes the amount. This is in part a commercial dispute,” Mr. Klayman said. He said it “in no way affects our Senate race.”

Mondale’s memories

Former Vice President Walter Mondale, the Democrat who challenged Ronald Reagan for the presidency in 1984, says Mr. Reagan was a civil opponent, not prone to harsh pronouncements, who had an innate ability to communicate with voters.

“It was a fairly nice campaign. He was not mean. It was not a personal, harsh campaign,” Mr. Mondale told the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune. “Although we were political adversaries, I always liked the guy.”

Mr. Reagan “hit the theme of government grown too huge and argued for huge tax cuts,” Mr. Mondale said. “He changed the way people looked at government and what their expectations were from it.”


Chrissy Gephardt, daughter of former presidential candidate Rep. Richard A. Gephardt, Missouri Democrat, has won a slot on a new pay-TV political reality series, “The American Candidate.”

Showtime’s “American Candidate” will attempt to identify, through a series of competitions, one individual from a select few who has the qualifications and qualities to be the candidate for U.S. president.

Miss Gephardt served as outreach director to homosexual groups during her father’s campaign.

Connecticut case

A special state House committee opened hearings yesterday into whether to impeach Gov. John G. Rowland, Connecticut Republican, for his dealings involving lucrative state contracts.

The hearings began with evidence that Robert V. Matthews, a wealthy businessman who has received millions of dollars in lease payments and aid from the state, paid inflated rates to rent and later purchase the governor’s condominium.

Some panel members have called the deal a de facto kickback.

“That certainly makes the transaction look more questionable and more suspicious, and it goes to the question of whether or not there was some intent to deceive people as to what was going on,” said Rep. Arthur O’Neill, a Republican who is the committee’s co-chairman.

Mr. Rowland, who is also under federal investigation, had no comment about the session yesterday.

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

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