Perhaps George W. Bush doesn't get enough credit for brains. He was wise enough to tap nephew --and total babe -- George P. Bush to star in an upcoming television spot for his campaign, according to the New York Times. The 23-year-old son of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and his Mexican-American wife, Columba, will speak in both English and Spanish about his uncle's record on diversity. Team Bush believes that George P. will prove an invaluable asset in reaching Latino voters. "He's able to deliver a message in a very natural way, and is, in fact, not only a handsome young man, but also totally Latino-looking and as proficient in Spanish as he is in English," said Lionel Sosa, who leads Bush's marketing effort among Hispanics. Sosa first grasped George P.'s potential while watching him speak to California farm laborers. The workers liked George P. so much, Sosa said, "they forgot he was a Republican."
Bush soft on Microsoft
A Republican presidential victory could reverse the Microsoft breakup, so the Justice Department is playing beat the clock. Writing in the New Republic, Richard Wolffe reports that trust-busting government lawyers are accelerating action in the Microsoft case because they fear a win by litigation-loathing Bush would ruin their work. The Texas governor has gone on record strongly defending the software giant against the federal suit. "What I am worried about is if this company were to be broken up, this engine of change and this engine of growth," Bush said in February. "I am not sympathetic to lawsuits. Write that down."
Wolffe asserts that Joel Klein, head of the Justice Department's antitrust division, is anxious to lay a paper trail so thick that a reversal of the Microsoft verdict would be politically precarious, even for Bush. "By Klein's logic, a strong remedy from Jackson, combined with his damning findings of fact and legal conclusions, might constitute the kind of legacy that no future administration could ignore," he writes. But Wolffe concludes that the strategy is just "wishful thinking."
"Reformer" wants results from capital
Taking aim at the paralyzing political battles in the nation's capital, Bush is pushing for a long list of reforms, the Washington Post reports. "Americans look upon the spectacle of Washington and they do not like what they see," Bush declared during a campaign stop. "I agree with them. It's time for a change." Among the Texas governor's proposal is a measure to end the annual shutdown showdown between the president and Congress over the federal budget. He also mentioned the slow nomination process and the lack of a line-item veto as ills in need of his remedy.
Though Bush said the reforms were necessary no matter who won in November, he painted Al Gore as part of the problem. "All we have heard from my opponent are the familiar exaggerations and scare tactics," Bush told the Tennessee crowd. "Proposals he disapproves of are never just arguments; they're 'risky schemes.' This kind of unnecessary rhetoric is characteristic of the tone in Washington, D.C. It's the war room mentality." Though Bush conceded that some of the locals might find the speech dry, his remarks were aimed a different audience. "If anybody pays attention, people in Washington will pay attention," he said.
Summer job for Gore
Over the next few months, the vice president must pay attention to his base, the Christian Science Monitor reports. From Bush's surprising strength among women, to the pro-Nader rumblings from labor unions, Gore is challenged on the home front. "He has some problems with his core constituency," says pollster John Zogby. But Anna Greenberg of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government predicts that the disaffected Democrats won't stay gone for long. "[Democrats] will have to turn out and mobilize for him; they don't have anywhere else to go," she said. "I just don't see them holding back."
Victory for McCain
The Arizona senator won a rare victory in his crusade for campaign finance reform. The Washington Post reports that his measure to mandate disclosure of donors for some secretive political nonprofits -- and effectively close a loophole in the tax code -- survived Republican resistance and passed 57-42 in the Senate Thursday. The amendment will now go to the House of Representatives, where its fate is uncertain. Nonetheless, McCain expressed confidence that the reform plan will ultimately prevail. "This will become law one way or the other," he said in a news conference after the vote.
The Section 527 loophole allows some nonprofit organizations to participate in election politics without disclosing their donors. In an exclusive Salon interview, McCain talked about being targeted by a 527 ad during his primary race, but insisted that he's motivated solely by his desire to renew the nation's trust in politics. "Americans were concerned about the Chinese money coming into the 1996 elections," he said. With the 527 exemption, McCain believes even more unsavory elements have the chance to enter the political racket. "Criminals, Mafiosi, drug dealers ... Anybody can play," he said.
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Preferences for Republican vice presidential candidate among Republican voters (NBC/Wall Street Journal April 29-May 1):
Preferences for Democratic vice presidential candidate among all voters (Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll March 22-23):
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