Bush goes green

Bush hasn't read Gore's book, but plans to see the movie. Gore gets digital, Hillary gets harried and Rudy gets McCain.

By Alicia Montgomery
Published April 4, 2000 10:23AM (EDT)

The Washington Post reports that George W. Bush has taken a Texas-size step onto Al Gore's turf by introducing his own environmental plan, which is heavy on business-friendly "brownfields" programs. (The programs encourage businesses to rehabilitate pollution-blighted sites.) The Rust Belt audience for Bush's announcement didn't exactly deafen him with cheers, according to the Dallas Morning News.

The Texas governor, according to the Associated Press, also took a shot at Gore's greener-than-thou tome "Earth in the Balance." "I think the vice president is probably going to have to explain what he meant by some of the things in his book," Bush said. Bush will surely be especially interested in Gore's explanation, since he later acknowledged that he has never read the book.

Gore's campaign, the AP reports, greeted the Bush plan with outright contempt, calling Texas "the most polluted state in the country."

Veepstakes: A silent partner

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge kept his lips sealed about a possible shot at the vice presidency during a Bush campaign stop in his state. The moderate Vietnam vet (sound familiar?) is thought to be near the top of the list of possible Bush running mates, according to the AP. Bush currently has a narrow lead among Pennsylvania voters, reports the online Post-Gazette.

Bush gives as good as he gets

As his campaign contributors know, Bush is pretty loose with the cash, especially for a worthy cause. The AP reports that the Texas governor and his wife gave a whopping $334,000 to charity in 1998, over $100,000 more than the Gores' 1998 taxable income. The vice president and his wife gave $15,197 in charitable gifts over the same period.

School's in for Gore

Not to be outdone in the "me too" department, Gore has called bad schools "a national emergency." As reported by the AP, the vice president also claims credit for having used that phrase first. But Gore may be worked up over nothing. According to a Washington Post story, polls show him to be in good shape on the education issue, despite Bush's school reform push.

Blacks lack surfers

The New York Times reports that Gore used an appearance at Atlanta's Morehouse College to highlight racial disparities in computer access. Borrowing his boss's hopeful rhetoric about our nation's current "mountaintop moment," Gore told the audience of future buppies: "This new technology of the Internet and computer communication can close that digital divide." So, we can close the divide, caused by the new technology of the Internet, through ... the new technology of the Internet. Maybe he should hit undo and start again.

Rudy hitches a ride on the "Straight Talk Express"

The New York Daily News reports that Washington's favorite rebel, John McCain, will log miles in Long Island for Rudy Giuliani's senatorial bid. And in a press conference, Giuliani shrugged off reports that Rep. Rick Lazio is reconsidering a primary challenge to the New York mayor. "I'm not stopping him," Giuliani said.

Hillary dives in

The first lady has met head-on charges that she has ducked the Elian Gonzales issue. A New York Times story quotes Hillary Rodham Clinton as saying, "I believe personally that this little boy should be with his father," a far stronger stand than earlier voiced by her campaign.

In other Clinton news, the AP reports that the first lady has discovered that campaigning is hard. "I'm almost embarrassed to think back -- all the times that I would say to my husband, 'Well, you could have said this differently, or you could have done that,'" Clinton said. No word on what else embarrasses her when she thinks back about her husband.

Newt's single again

Now for a bad marriage Democrats love to talk about. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Newt Gingrich and his soon-to-be ex-wife have settled their acrimonious divorce case, pending the court's approval. The former speaker resigned after the GOP took a beating in the 1998 elections, and was later revealed to have conducted a long-term affair with congressional staffer Callista Bisek. Lawyers say the terms of the agreement will remain secret, but Gingrich probably thought the same about his affair.

DeLayed criticism

The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call revealed some unsavory spending habits of the U.S. Family Network, a right-leaning nonprofit with close ties to House Majority Whip Tom DeLay. Expenses shown on the group's 1997 and 1998 tax forms include more than $100,000 in salaries for former DeLay staffers and their families, as well as $149,000 for a 15-year lease on an unspecified stadium skybox.

GOP disses census count

Editorials in the Washington Post and the New York Times take congressional Republicans to task for recent whining about intrusive questions on the census. David S. Broder points out that Congress reviewed every query on the dreaded long form, while Gail Collins suggests that an undercount of right-wingers might not be such a bad idea.

Talking heads

(All EST and all guests tentative)

  • C-Span's "Washington Journal":

    7 a.m. -- Morning newspaper articles.

    7:30 a.m. -- John Hendren, Washington correspondent, Seattle Times.

    8 a.m. -- Richard Boucher, spokesman designate,
    State Department.

    8:45 a.m. -- Nina Rees, senior education policy analyst, Heritage Foundation.

    Watch "Washington Journal" online.

    Poll positions

    Presidential race (previous):

  • Bush 46 to Gore 45 (CNN, March 30-April 2).

  • 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 47 to Bush 46 (Washington Post/ABC News, March 30-April 2).

  • 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).
  • Clinton 45 to Giuliani 42 percent (Zogby March 23-25).

    On the trail

    Bush: Pennsylvania.

    Gore: Pennsylvania and New York.

    Sound off

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

  • Alicia Montgomery

    Alicia Montgomery is an associate editor in Salon's Washington bureau.

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