Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Dean’s surge

Democrat Howard Dean has jumped to a commanding 21-point lead over rival John Kerry in the latest New Hampshire poll.

Mr. Dean, who held a single-digit advantage in a recent survey, led Mr. Kerry 38 percent to 17 percent in the Zogby International poll of likely primary voters conducted Aug. 23-26 and released yesterday.

Mr. Kerry, a Massachusetts senator, led in New Hampshire polls earlier this year, including a 26 percent to 13 percent advantage in February. The two candidates essentially were tied in a poll by Zogby in June.

The August survey comes as Mr. Dean has shown political strength in his fund raising, drawn large crowds for his “Sleepless Summer” tour and appeared in television ads in New Hampshire, which is slated to hold its primary Jan. 27.

Pollster John Zogby said Mr. Dean’s support was in all regions of the state, among men and women, Democrats and independents, liberals and centrists. Mr. Dean took support from Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri and from undecided voters.

Mr. Gephardt, who was at 11 percent in February, dropped to 6 percent. Undecided voters fell from 29 percent to 23 percent.

“His support is really across the board,” Mr. Zogby said of Mr. Dean, the former Vermont governor.

The rest of the Democratic field was in single digits. Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut was at 6 percent, and Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina was at 4 percent. Mr. Edwards also is airing ads in New Hampshire.

Retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark, who is considering a presidential bid, was at 2 percent, while Sen. Bob Graham of Florida and Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio were at 1 percent. Former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun and the Rev. Al Sharpton were at 0 percent.

Almost two-thirds of those in the poll, 64 percent, said they think it is likely that President Bush will be re-elected in 2004, the Associated Press reports.

The poll of 501 likely primary voters has an error margin of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

Hot and hip

Democrat Howard Dean is the hot and hip presidential candidate of the summer, Reuters reports.

From Rolling Stone to Modern Physician magazine, everybody wants a piece of the doctor running for his party’s nomination, reporter Patricia Wilson writes.

Aboard the “Grass Roots Express,” the chartered jet that ferried him coast to coast on a late summer political swing, the former governor of Vermont found himself squeezed in a center seat discussing Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young with a reporter on his left and medical-malpractice caps with a correspondent on his right.

German television, the New Yorker magazine and CBS’ “60 Minutes II” vied for face time with the one Democratic contender to create early buzz with a sense of momentum almost five months before the first contests on the road to the White House.

Mr. Dean was the flavor of the week as his “Sleepless Summer” tour across eight states in four days wound up with a boisterous late-night rally Tuesday in New York City’s Bryant Park.

Franken’s fibs

Left-wing comedian Al Franken readily admits he lied in a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft and others. And that’s not all. Mr. Franken also admits to deception by misappropriating the letterhead from Harvard’s Shorenstein Center for Press, Politics and Public Policy

The irony: Mr. Franken’s new book is called “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.”

Matt Lauer, on NBC’s “Today” show Monday, did not let Mr. Franken get away without explaining himself. The conversation was recorded by the Media Research Center (

Mr. Lauer: “They’re gonna kill me downstairs, but I gotta ask you, I don’t want you to go without asking about an apology you were forced to issue … I guess it was last week. You sent a letter to John Ashcroft, the attorney general of the United States.”

Mr. Franken: “I sent it like to 27 people.”

Mr. Lauer: “And you basically said, ‘Look I’m doing a book on, on abstinence and, and I’ve gotten positive responses from other key administration officials.’”

Mr. Franken: “Yeah, can I, can I read it real quick?”

Mr. Lauer: “No, no, I don’t have time for that. But you sent it on Harvard letterhead, the Shorenstein Center for Press, Politics and Public Policy. They didn’t know anything about this.”

Mr. Franken: “Yeah. Right, right.”

Mr. Lauer: “You had not, in fact, received positive responses from these. …”

Mr. Franken: “Right.”

Mr. Lauer: “So, in, in effect, you misled or lied.”

Mr. Franken: “Exactly.”

Franken’s fibs II

Former “Saturday Night Live” comic Al Franken’s new book is “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.” He knows all about lying, says Bridget Maher.

In an appearance this week on CNN, Mr. Franken “complained about conservatives, saying in effect that they are all pathological liars. Mr. Franken then proceeded to tell a lie of his own, saying that abstinence education ‘doesn’t work’ and that the decrease in teen pregnancy in the 1990s was a result of condom-based sex education,” Miss Maher, an analyst with the Family Research Council, says in a press release.

“In claiming that studies do not prove abstinence education to be effective, and by stating that pro-abstinence conservatives are lying when they speak of the abstinence-education success rate, Mr. Franken has shown his disdain not only for conservatives, but also for the truth,” Miss Maher says.

“In fact, many abstinence-education programs have proven to be effective in helping teens remain abstinent. At the end of the 1990s, the National Center to Prevent Teen Pregnancy released a comprehensive study, which showed that abstinence was on the rise, condom use was sharply down, and public support for abstinence was growing. Also, a 2003 study from the journal Adolescent and Family Health found that the decrease in teen birthrates was due to an increase in the number of abstinent teens, not increased condom use.

“While Mr. Franken claims the decrease in teen pregnancy was almost exclusively due to ‘the increased use of contraception,’ the facts prove otherwise,” Miss Maher said.

Colorado native

Sen. John Kerry brought his presidential campaign to Colorado on Tuesday and proudly announced that he is a native of the state.

The Massachusetts Democrat, who spent about six hours in Denver, revealed that he was born in 1943 at the now-closed Fitzsimons Army Hospital, where his father was recovering from tuberculosis while serving in the Army Air Corps.

Mr. Kerry’s brief homecoming wasn’t planned to put him in touch with his roots, the Denver Post reports. Instead, the campaign rally and fund-raiser snagged him $125,000 in less than two hours, organizers said.

The contributions come a week before Mr. Kerry is scheduled to formally kick off his presidential bid Tuesday in front of an aircraft carrier in Charleston, S.C.

Warner to wed

Sen. John W. Warner is planning a December wedding to Alexandria real estate agent Jeanne Vander Myde, a newspaper reported yesterday.

Mr. Warner, a five-term Republican from Virginia and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, proposed to Mrs. Vander Myde Aug. 15 in a small chapel in Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

“I’m a very, very fortunate man to have the honor and privilege to be married to this wonderful lady,” the 76-year-old told the newspaper in a telephone interview from Botswana, where he and his fiancee were traveling.

“I’m proud of her independence and small-business work,” the senator said.

The marriage would be the third for Mr. Warner and for Mrs. Vander Myde, 65.

The couple plan to wed Dec. 15 at National Cathedral in Washington, the Associated Press reports.

• Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or

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