- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Election monitors

Election officials in Miami said that despite scheduling conflicts, they intend to meet with international observers who are touring Florida this week to study how elections have been conducted in Miami-Dade, Broward and Orange counties since the 2000 presidential vote, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.

Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections Constance Kaplan informed the group on Sept. 4 that she could not meet with them yesterday because she had to finalize several tasks, such as coding ballots and qualifying candidates for upcoming municipal elections, reporter Tania Valdemoro wrote.

“I am trying to see if my deputy, Lester Sola, can meet with them,” the elections supervisor said Sunday. “Between the [Ralph] Nader issues and the hurricanes, I just don’t have the time tomorrow.”

Fair Election International, a project of the human rights group Global Exchange, brought 20 international election experts from 14 countries to Florida, Arizona, Georgia, Missouri and Ohio to investigate election controversies.

This week, Florida’s four-person delegation will study touch-screen voting machines, voter registration, absentee ballots, poll-worker training, manual recounts and restoring voting rights for ex-felons.

All 20 observers will compile observations and issue a report by mid-October, said Ted Lewis, director of Fair Election International.

The group members said they were meeting with Broward County Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes yesterday.

Deja Dukakis

Harold Meyerson, editor of the liberal magazine the American Prospect, tells a story of a friend of his who had a dream,” John Fund writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“He was walking through the headquarters of the Kerry campaign. Behind a door marked ‘Campaign Manager’ he found Kerry manager Mary Beth Cahill. As he drew nearer, however, the woman suddenly ripped off her Cahill mask, behind which was … Susan Estrich, Michael Dukakis’ campaign manager! Mr. Meyerson’s friend woke up screaming.

“Lots of Democrats are having similar nightmares about 1988, when Mr. Dukakis, once ahead 17 points in the polls, lost by eight to George W. Bush’s father.” Mr. Fund said.

Mr. Fund quoted one unnamed Democratic consultant as saying: “I would have called you crazy if in 1989 you would have told me that a decade and a half later this party was going to nominate Dukakis’ lieutenant governor — another aloof Massachusetts liberal who would overconfidently feel he would mop the floor with this clueless guy named Bush. But I fear I’ve seen this movie, and it’s ‘Groundhog Day.’”

DNC on CBS

Even Dan Rather now admits that CBS used fake documents in a story on George W. Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard.

But the Democratic National Committee kept pushing the Guard story (under the headline “Bush Lied”) several hours after CBS confessed it had been “misled” on the story.

The DNC Web site (www.democrats.org) yesterday continued to cite the CBS story — and the fake Guard memos on which that story was based — as proof that Mr. Bush “disobeyed a direct order” and “tried to go over his commander’s head to get a positive evaluation.”

Teresa’s ‘vulgarity’

Teresa Heinz Kerry recently referred to her critics as “scumbags,” Judith Thurman writes in the latest issue of the New Yorker.

“Despite her linguistic prowess and her worldliness, Heinz Kerry has, at times, a deaf ear for the nuances of slang, code, condescension and vulgarity in English — for the emotion of the language,” the writer said.

“‘There are these bizarre moments that make you shudder,’ the [unnamed] Kerry adviser said. ‘Like calling herself African-American to black audiences.’ She dismissed voters skeptical of her husband’s health-care proposals as ‘idiots,’ and, in a television interview with a Pittsburgh anchorwoman, employed the word ‘scumbags’ to describe some of her detractors.

“I doubt that she knows the literal meaning of ‘scumbag,’ but perhaps, after 40 years in America, nearly 30 of them as a political wife, observing how the flaws and contradictions of a personality as complex as hers are melted down for ammunition by the other side, she should have learned it.”

Arkansas and Nader

An Arkansas state judge yesterday took Ralph Nader’s name off the Nov. 2 presidential ballot, ruling his supporters failed to properly disclose his party affiliation while collecting signatures.

Mr. Nader’s supporters were required by law to disclose he would run as part of the Populist Party, but no affiliation was listed as canvassers collected 1,286 signatures, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Timothy Fox ruled.

Mr. Nader’s campaign said it would appeal to the Arkansas Supreme Court, the Associated Press reports.

The Democratic Party of Arkansas had challenged the petitions, saying that 360 signatures could not be matched in a state voter database. Judge Fox said the Democrats needed to invalidate 287 signatures for their petition to be successful, but didn’t reach that mark..

Police back Bush

The 318,000-member Fraternal Order of Police, the largest law enforcement labor organization in the United States, has endorsed President Bush for re-election.

“For the past four years, President George W. Bush has proved himself to be one of the very best friends that rank-and-file law enforcement officers have ever had,” said Chuck Canterbury, FOP national president.

It was the first time a presidential candidate had won the endorsement by a unanimous vote of the organization’s board of directors.

For a candidate to receive the FOP endorsement, he or she must receive a two-thirds majority of the national board, which has one trustee from each of the organization’s state lodges. Mr. Bush received the endorsement of every trustee at the FOP’s national board meeting this month in Albuquerque.

In 2000, the FOP also endorsed Mr. Bush, but it backed President Clinton in 1996.

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the Democratic presidential nominee, did not respond to the FOP’s detailed questionnaire.

Bunning’s lead

Sen. Jim Bunning, Kentucky Republican, holds a 17-point lead over Democratic challenger Daniel Mongiardo, according to a new poll.

The Louisville Courier-Journal’s Sept. 10-15 Bluegrass Poll of 657 likely voters found that 51 percent of respondents back Mr. Bunning, while 34 percent said they plan to vote for Mr. Mongiardo, a medical doctor who was elected to the state Senate in 2000. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points, United Press International reports.

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

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