Monday, November 1, 2004

Bottom line

After months of Michael Moore and Swift Boat Veterans, “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “FahrenHype 9/11,” Vote for Change and Babes for Bush, missing weapons and doctored documents, Election Day — not a moment too soon — is upon us.

All said and done, who — and what — will Americans be voting for today?

Democrat Sen. John Kerry: “Moving our economy, our government and our society back in line with our best values.”

President George W. Bush: “I am confident they will vote for consistency, for conviction and for principle.”

Oink, oink

Sen. John Kerry yesterday was busy as … a pig?

That’s what Vice President Dick Cheney suggests, summing up the last day of presidential campaigning.

“He’s trying every which way to cover up his record of weakness on national defense. But he can’t do it. It won’t work,” Mr. Cheney said. “As we like to say in Wyoming, you can put all the lipstick you want on that pig, but at the end of the day, it’s still a pig.”

Bubba’s bet

So, former President Bill Clinton, who will take the Election Day cake?

“I have seen a lot of crowds,” Mr. Clinton says, “and I’ve gotten pretty good at sensing which way the momentum is going. And let me tell you, this year the atmosphere is electric, and the momentum is clearly going in the direction of the Democratic Party.”

Voting dead

“We’ll be summoned from slumberous state

To endorse the quadrennial slate;

Then it’s back to the grave,

Where we’ll try to behave

‘Til the conclave of 2008.”

— F.R. Duplantier

People vs. press

White House correspondents came face to face yesterday with supporters of President Bush, who were “standing and sitting” in the press filing center at one of the last campaign stops, William Douglas, of Knight Ridder newspapers, writes in the official White House pool report.

“They were not the friendliest folks in the world when we politely asked them to leave,” Mr. Douglas notes. “One took a snappish attitude … and huffed about why should he leave because the liberal media hasn’t helped Bush.”

Green Bush

Environmentalists take note: 2004 has seen the lowest ozone smog levels in this country since states began measuring back in the 1970s.

Preliminary data reveals that the number of days exceeding the Environmental Protection Agency’s tough new eight-hour ozone standard declined an average of about 50 percent from 2003, which also was a record low smog year, reports Joel Schwartz, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.

He credits a combination of continuing emissions reductions and cool wet weather.

“But the weather is only part of the story,” the researcher insists. “During the last 30 years … never have smog levels been anywhere near this low.”

Night keeper

We got some intriguing feedback on the heels of our item about a candidate’s chances of being elected president increasing by the number of pets they own.

“I noted you did not mention 1928,” writes Jerry L. Wallace of Oxford, Kan. “In that year, Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover ran against Gov. Alfred E. Smith of New York. I do not know how many pets Hoover had at the time, but I do recall that Governor Smith maintained a small private zoo at the executive mansion in Albany. …

“After his defeat, Smith moved to New York City and was forced to part with his zoo. His friend, Robert Moses, who was then New York City park commissioner, jokingly appointed him ‘honorary night superintendent’ of the Central Park Zoo, which was close to Smith’s apartment.

“Actually, Smith did receive a set of keys to the zoo buildings, and on occasion would take friends over to visit the animals after the zoo had closed.”

• John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or

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