Bush, McCain dead even

Trump quits, more reasons not to love John McCain and Keyes has one strange Valentines Day

Published February 14, 2000 3:57PM (EST)

A Los Angeles Times poll shows George W. Bush and John McCain even among those planning to vote Saturday in the South Carolina GOP primary. But nearly 1 in 7 voters is still undecided, the poll shows, and 25 percent of those supporting both candidates say its still possible they will switch votes.

That, of course, has only made the race that much uglier, and McCain continues to hammer Bush for using smear tactics as the Texas governor denies using "push-polling," the technique of using seemingly scientific polling to trash-talk an opponent. The New York Times visited a Bush polling outfit where students and grandmothers spin negative on the phone "to learn about issues and their opponents possible weaknesses." One worker there calls it "mudslinging."

Trump opts out

Donald Trump is expected to end his high-profile flirting with a presidential bid, citing as a main reason the "general fratricide" among members of the Reform Party (the weekend ruckus made one Salon writer suggest the party is over).

Gore gets high praise

Al Gore, campaigning in New York, got the endorsement of an influential
African-American minister, the Rev. Floyd Flake. And Gore insiders admit to concerns over having to run against McCain rather than Bush in a general election. "Its like weve been studying for a mathematics exam for months, and suddenly the teacher hands you a pop quiz on history," a Gore staffer told the Washington Post. "You are left for a minute sort of blinking, with that dumb look on your face."

They love me, they love me not

McCain has been feeling a perhaps inevitable backlash from the media, which is now mussing up the image it had done such a good job of spit-polishing. Today, a Washington Post column finds a "dark side to McCains wonderful straight talk," saying that those who have worked closely with him -- specifically, other senators -- are unsupportive of his run. The column recounts how McCain trashed Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, claiming he was pushing legislation on behalf of big-money donors. When Bennett demanded evidence, McCain demurred. The piece follows a Salon editors own narrowly averted seduction by McCain and Slates Chatterbox,which reminded of the senators more "disgraceful" behavior.

Keyes bad date

McCain blasted Bush Sunday on "Face the Nation" for speaking at conservative Bob Jones University, calling the schools ban on interracial dating "not American." Meanwhile, Alan Keyes, the only African-American running for the president, has apparently decided to go ahead with an unfortunately timed visit to Bob Jones. Hell be at the school Monday morning -- Valentines Day.

By Kerry Lauerman

MORE FROM Kerry Lauerman

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Al Gore Democratic Party John Mccain R-ariz.