Gore changes position on Eli

McCain gives up some delegates, Bush adds to his education plan and Clinton picks on congressional Republicans.

By Compiled by Max Garrone

Published March 31, 2000 8:41PM (EST)

Al Gore redefined his position on Elian Gonzalez Thursday with a statement that said: "I have said that Elian Gonzalez's case is at heart a custody matter." Further, "It now appears that our immigration laws may not be broad enough to allow for such an approach in Elian's case. That is why I am urging Congress to immediately pass legislation ... which would grant permanent resident status to Elian, his father, stepmother, half-brother, grandmothers and grandfather."

According to the New York Times, Gore's shift was a shock to the Clinton administration and other Democrats. The Times quoted an administration official as saying, "Oh, my God, it's unbelievable!" and Rep. Maxine Waters as saying, "I was totally blindsided. The calculation doesn't make sense. If Gore did it because he's trying to get the anti-Castro Cubans, first of all, they're not going to vote for him anyway. These are Republicans. And number two, the last polls I saw a month ago showed the American public is on the side of sending Elian back to his father."

The Bush campaign issued a release saying, "I'm glad the Vice-President now supports legal residency for Elian Gonzalez. I wish he could convince the rest of the Administration of the wisdom of that approach. The Vice-President is an influential member of this Administration. I hope he'll use his influence to encourage the president and the attorney general to follow suit."

In his statement Gore pointedly noted, "Let us be clear that the real fault in this case lies with the oppressive regime of Fidel Castro."

Half of us are related to Bush

Research reveals that George W. Bush is related to 16 presidents and Pocahontas but also distantly
related to roughly half of the American population.

Granny D controversy fizzles

Thursday the Bush campaign sent out a press release
lambasting Gore for having turned away Granny D, the 90 year old grandmother who walked across
America to promote the cause of campaign finance reform, from a fund raiser because she couldn't pay
the $500 entrance fee. The story isn't that clear cut. It turns out that when Granny D was
walking through Little Rock, Arkansas President Clinton and Al Gore were holding a fund raiser so she
and Mark Keller, a lobbyist with the campaign finance watchdog group Common Cause, decided to try and
see Gore. According to Keller they went to the fund raiser and were turned away because
they didn't have a ticket.

Bush courts New York conservatives

The Associated Press reports that George W. Bush has agreed to speak at the New York Conservative Party's annual dinner, noting that no Republican candidate has carried the strongly Democratic state since Ronald Reagan in 1984 and that "Reagan courted New York's Conservative Party early on, speaking at its annual dinner in 1975."

The AP also reports that New York Gov. George Pataki is raising money for the Conservative Party despite the fact that party chairman Michael Long "also is courting potential alternatives to the New York City mayor."

McCain giving Bush some delegates

The AP reports that John McCain is giving Bush some of his delegates. "The deal reached Thursday in Michigan allows Gov. John Engler to attend the National Republican Convention as a Bush delegate and is the latest move toward GOP reconciliation after the divisive primary contest."

Bush ads to his education plan

According to the AP, "After a morning of finger painting and storytelling, the Texas governor promoted his five-year, $2.9 billion package for teacher training, recruitment and retention." Bush's plan, titled "Strong Teachers, Strong Schools," would funnel more retired military personnel into teaching, expand financing for teacher training in return for higher state standards on teachers, feature a "Teacher Protection Act to shield teachers from meritless lawsuits when they enforce reasonable classroom rules" and allow teachers to deduct $400 for classroom supplies annually.

The New York Times writes that, despite their differing education plans, either Bush's or Gore's plan would mark a shift to a more activist role for the federal government in education.

Clinton takes on the GOP

The Washington Post reports that President Clinton attacked Bush and congressional Republicans directly in a speech Thursday. Referring to their failure to pass a nuclear test ban treaty last fall, he blamed his failed efforts at easing tensions between India and Pakistan on congressional Republicans: "One of their greatest strengths, by the way, is they have no guilt and no shame. I mean, they'll say anything." He also accused Bush of sinking hate-crimes legislation in Texas: "All he had to do was lift his hand and they would have had a hate-crimes bill."

The AP reports that Friday Bush responded "This is about the fifth or sixth time that the president
of the United States during the course of this campaign has
taken time out of his busy schedule to serve as campaign manager
for Al Gore and I'm honored that he would take
my campaign so seriously." The AP also reports that Bush said he felt the administration was trying to "tear me down."

New York headed for the record books

The Washington Post reports that the New York Senate race is well on its way to becoming the most expensive Senate race in U.S. history. Through the first quarter of 2000 Rudy Giuliani raised $19 million and Hillary Rodham Clinton raised $12 million.

Giuliani gets conciliatory

The New York Times
reports that in recent days Rudy Giuliani
and his police commissioner, Howard Safir, have been getting more conciliatory towards the relatives
and supporters of Patrick Dorismond, the unarmed man killed by police March 16. The Times notes that
"The tenor of Mr. Giuliani's remarks shifted subtly, almost imperceptibly, beginning on Sunday, when the mayor for the first time
publicly said Mr. Dorismond's parents deserved condolences." and that he's recently acknowledged
that there's room for improvement in the police department.

He who spends the most ...

The Washington Post takes a look at Bush's campaign spending, noting that he spent $66 million through the primary season. The article cites evidence that Bush was spending early. Dylan M. Snyder, catering director for Famous Dave's, a Midwestern chain of roadside barbecue stands, collected a check for $62,678.38 on Aug. 14, 1999, for an "all-day lunch at a silly summer straw poll in Iowa. Turns out the silly summer straw poll became the first test of muscle for GOP candidates and, for Bush, an exercise in steamrolling." Snyder said it was the "biggest check [he'd] ever collected."

Congress owes $10.5 million in taxes

The AP reports that members of Congress are delinquent for about $10.5 million in taxes "one of the
highest rates of delinquency in the federal government." An Internal Revenue Service report
released Thursday also shows that all federal employees owe an estimated $2.4 billion.

Who should you vote for?

Try our new presidential selector. It asks you where you stand on issues and pairs you with the candidates
who agree. The answers may surprise you.

Talking heads

(All EST and all guests tentative)

  • C-Span's "Washington Journal":

    7 a.m. -- Robert Novak, syndicated columnist.

    8 a.m. -- Bob Somerby, the Daily Howler.

    9 a.m. -- Jane Garvey, administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.

  • CNN's Crossfire:

    Topic: Vice President Al Gore

    Guest: Bill Turque, author of "Inventing Al Gore: A Biography"

    Poll positions

    Presidential race (previous):

  • Bush 44 to Gore 42 (Fox News/Opinion Dynamics March 22-23).

  • Bush 47 to Gore 42 (Fabrizio, McLaughlin and Associates March 21-23).
  • Bush 49 to Gore 42 (CBS News March 19-21).

  • Bush 46 to Gore 43 (Hotline Bullseye poll conducted by the polling company (R) and Global Strategy Group (D) March 16-19).

  • Gore 49 to Bush 43 (Pew Research for the People and the Press by the Princeton Survey Research Associates March 15-19).

    Vice presidential preferences (previous):

    Preferences for Republican vice presidential candidate among all voters (Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll March 22-23):

  • John McCain, 27 percent
  • Elizabeth Dole, 19 percent
  • Rudy Giuliani, 6 percent
  • Christine Whitman, 6 percent
  • George Pataki, 3 percent
  • Tom Ridge, 3 percent
  • Fred Thompson, 3 percent
  • Connie Mack, 2 percent
  • Other, 3 percent
  • Not sure, 28 percent

    Preferences for Democratic vice presidential candidate among all voters (Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll March 22-23):

  • Bill Bradley, 27 percent
  • Dianne Feinstein, 10 percent
  • Bob Kerrey, 6 percent
  • Bob Graham, 5 percent
  • John Kerry, 4 percent
  • Bill Richardson, 4 percent
  • Evan Bayh, 3 percent
  • Other, 6 percent
  • Not sure, 35 percent

    New York Senate:
  • Giuliani 46 to Clinton 43 percent (Marist Institute poll March 27-28)


    "Not only is the United Nations not perfect. It will never be perfect. It is not Microsoft."

    Robert Fowler, Canada's delegate to the United Nations, protesting Jesse Helms' desire to tie American contributions to the U.N. to reforms. (AP)

    On the trail

    Bush: Green Bay, Wis.

    Gore: No public events.

    Sound off

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

  • Compiled by Max Garrone

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