- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Doubting Kerry

Even though Sen. John Kerry promises not to raise taxes on the middle class, Americans in this vast income group have “significant doubts about Kerry’s pledge,” the Gallup Poll reports.

In a poll conducted Saturday and Sunday, Gallup found that a near-majority of 48 percent of Americans “believe their income taxes would be increased if Kerry is elected president, 13 percent say they would be decreased and 34 percent say they would remain the same.”

Even among Mr. Kerry’s base of supporters, those making less than $50,000 a year, 44 percent said they expect the Democratic presidential nominee would raise their taxes if elected, while 16 percent said he would cut them and 35 percent said they would stay the same.

“A [55 percent] majority of Americans who make at least $50,000 and less than $100,000 … believe their income taxes would in fact be raised if Kerry were elected,” the pollsters said.

“Conversely, most Americans, 57 percent, think their taxes would stay the same if [President] Bush is re-elected, while 25 percent would expect a tax increase and 13 percent a tax cut,” Gallup said.

Sundance vs. Bush

“Liberals, claiming the Sinclair Broadcast Group is trying to ‘tip’ the presidential election, are enraged by plans to air a documentary critical of John Kerry’s 1970s anti-war activities. The anti-Kerry expose, however, pales in comparison to the current political high jinks at Robert Redford’s Sundance film channel,” William P. Kucewicz writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“Organizing what amounts to a Dump George Bush film festival, the Sundance Channel, which is under Redford’s ‘creative direction’ but is operated by Viacom’s Showtime Networks, is pre-empting its scheduled lineup in order to devote nearly one-sixth of its airtime through Election Day to programming opposed to President Bush and the GOP. So far, however, this highly partisan scheme has slipped under the news media’s radar,” Mr. Kucewicz said.

14 states

Television advertising by President Bush and Sen. John Kerry and their political parties is focused on 14 states, reflecting a shrunken battleground in the final few weeks of the presidential campaign.

Mr. Bush’s campaign has scaled back its ads in Democratic-leaning Washington in recent weeks and is pulling out of Missouri, where polls show the president leading, because Mr. Kerry and the Democratic Party are no longer on the air there. The Democrat, meanwhile, abandoned plans to return to the air this week in North Carolina, historically a Republican state.

Both sides are saturating airwaves in 14 other states, according to an Associated Press analysis of airtime bought in the past week by Mr. Bush and the Republican National Committee and Mr. Kerry and the Democratic National Committee.

The most ads are running in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. However, 10 other states — Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon are Wisconsin — also are seeing heavy advertising.

South Carolina debate

South Carolina Republican Rep. Jim DeMint, hoping to claim a U.S. Senate seat held by a Democrat since 1966, attacked his rival on Tuesday as a liberal beholden to national Democrats.

Inez Tenenbaum, the state education superintendent who is campaigning as a centrist Democrat, countered in their second televised debate that the race for the open seat was about “who is going to put South Carolina first.”

Mr. DeMint said Mrs. Tenenbaum has made an issue out of being an independent, but said she has supported liberal Democrats such as presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry and former President Bill Clinton, the Associated Press reports.

Mrs. Tenenbaum, who has trailed in recent polls, said she would vote for Mr. Kerry, but said she disagrees with his statement that the war in Iraq is the “wrong war at the wrong time for the wrong reason.”

The candidates are vying to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Ernest F. Hollings, who has held the seat since 1966.

Bunning’s charge

Kentucky Republican Sen. Jim Bunning said his wife was “black and blue” after his opponent’s staff physically assaulted her at a summer picnic — a charge that his rival called “outrageous.”

Mr. Bunning’s comment came after his debate with Democratic state Sen. Daniel Mongiardo Monday, in which Mr. Bunning apologized for having said Mr. Mongiardo looked like one of ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein‘s sons.

The baseball Hall of Famer then demanded an apology from Mr. Mongiardo for supposedly spreading false rumors that Mr. Bunning’s health was failing.

NRA vs. Kerry

The National Rifle Association endorsed President Bush for re-election on Wednesday, promising millions of dollars for ads, phone banks and other get-out-the-vote efforts.

“The Supreme Court is going to be crucial to the future of the Second Amendment, and President Bush will appoint justices that respect the Bill of Rights,” NRA Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre told the Associated Press in a phone interview before announcing the endorsement at a press conference in Duluth, Minn.

Mr. Bush also supports legislation to protect the firearms industry from lawsuits and opposes centralizing files on gun owners, Mr. LaPierre said, calling the difference between Mr. Bush and Democrat Sen. John Kerry on guns “day and night.”

Electoral lawsuit

A lawsuit filed yesterday challenges a ballot measure that would scrap Colorado’s winner-take-all system for Electoral College votes and award the votes proportionate to the statewide popular vote.

The lawsuit filed by Jason Napolitano asks a federal judge to declare Amendment 36 unconstitutional before the Nov. 2 vote, the Associated Press reports. Mr. Napolitano, who describes himself simply as a registered voter, said the U.S. Constitution requires that state legislators determine how electoral votes are distributed.

“The notion that unelected citizens constitute the legislature and people are the General Assembly is a real stretch,” University of Denver law professor Robert Hardaway said. “On its face, Amendment 36 is unconstitutional.”

Amendment 36 has drawn attention, in part, because the race between President Bush and Democrat Sen. John Kerry is expected to be close in Colorado. The plan would apply to this year’s election, meaning that the candidate who wins might get only five of the state’s nine electoral votes.

Supporters say the proposal would make sure that every vote is represented. Critics say it would make Colorado politically irrelevant because only one electoral vote would be up for grabs in most elections.

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

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