Bush retreats on McCain

Filegate debunked, Gore sets up summer attacks, Bob Jones again and the "Body" dispenses Minnesota-style straight talk.

Published March 17, 2000 2:00PM (EST)

An interview with George W. Bush published in Thursday's New York Times in which he was dismissive of John McCain brought on quick contrition and an olive branch Thursday afternoon after McCain advisors let it be known that they were angry at Bush's "macho talk." Bush's actions renewed questions about whether he has been weakened by the primary contest and whether he can come up with a strong message for the general election. Or is all this just an imaginary controversy?

Pat Buchanan beat Bush to the punch Thursday when he unveiled a new stump speech that emphasized campaign finance reform and accused Democrats and Republicans of being "chemically dependent" on soft money.

White House 1, independent counsel 0

Kenneth Starr's replacement, Robert W. Ray, released the first in a series of reports dealing with alleged wrongdoing by the White House Thursday. It said that no criminal wrongdoing took place in the FBI Filegate incident.

Brush fires break out on the Republican prairie

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., is trying to contain any potential damage from well-financed challenges to moderate Republican incumbents in favor of more conservative GOP candidates.

Bob Jones, at it again

In the latest act of the Bob Jones University controversy, the school has returned descriptions of the Catholic and Mormon churches as cults to its Web site. Bob Jones III labeled interpretations of the wording's removal as "misleading" and said that the wording has been restored "in order to leave no doubt in anyone's mind of the university's integrity and absolute commitment to its biblical principles."

Look back in anger

Ex-McCain consultant Mike Murphy hasn't been shy with the dish since his candidate suspended his presidential campaign, though his stories seem self-serving, according to Slate's Jacob Weisberg.

Gore on the attack

Al Gore laid out his attack plans against Bush in a speech Thursday in which he invoked McCain's criticisms of Bush: "He should have been taking notes during McCain's campaign," Gore said, labeling Bush's economic plan "snake oil" and saying that it threatened to put the United States "back in a hole" and return the country to the "Bush-Quayle years." He also reminded the audience that he supports a $1 raise in the minimum wage.

Gore is not immune from criticism. Congressional investigators report that two former Gore aides acted improperly when they called the Internal Revenue Service on behalf of a union.

Straight talk, Minnesota style

Perhaps inspired by McCain's "Straight Talk Express," Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura has been conducting his own short bus trips around his state and dispensing his own version of straight talk.

Talking heads


  • C-Span's "Washington Journal":

    7 a.m. -- Robin Wright, Los Angeles Times

    Poll positions

  • Bush 49 to Gore 43 (Gallup/CNN/USA Today March 10-12).

  • Bush 47 to Gore 44 (Newsweek poll conducted by the Princeton Survey Research Associates March 9-10).

  • Gore 46 to Bush 45 (ABC News/Washington Post March 9-11).

  • Gore 46 to Bush 43 (CNN/Time poll conducted by Yankelovich Partners March 8-9).


    "I got a little tickled over the weekend when they got a little rough with me. I mean, I have so much scar tissue now, I can't even feel it. So it's totally immaterial to me what they say."

    Bill Clinton on the sharp words used against him in his fight with the National Rifle Association over the past week. (From the New York Times.)

    On the trail

    Bush: No planned events.

    Gore: No planned events.

    Sound off

    E-mail me with your comments, suggestions and tips at max@salon.com.

  • By Max Garrone

    Max Garrone is Salon's Vice President for Operations.

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