Pat Buchanan aimed his pitchfork at Hillary Rodham Clinton during a New York campaign stop. According to CBS News, Buchanan blasted the first lady, saying her attitude toward law enforcement contributed to police inaction during recent group sexual assaults in Central Park. Buchanan said "liberal cop-bashing by folks like Hillary Rodham Clinton is in part responsible for the diminishment of the morale of the police." The first lady responded by branding Buchanan a bully. "He's always looking to try to put people down and insult them, so I'm not surprised," she said.
No more Ms. Nice Guy
Clinton has so far refrained from attacks in her own race for the Senate against Rick Lazio. But now the gloves are coming off. ABC News reports that she has debuted a new negative ad that slams Lazio's congressional record as too conservative on health care and hate crimes. "If my opponent wants to stand on the sidelines and say that HMOs should not be held accountable, that's his choice," Clinton says in one television spot. "But that's not where I am and that's not where I think the majority of New Yorkers are." Until now, Clinton had kept to the high road against Lazio, preferring to leave behind the mud-wrestling of her race with Rudy Giuliani.
Little Ricky got lucky
If Lazio loses the campaign to Clinton, he may have a future on Wall Street. The Associated Press reports that Lazio pocketed a 600-percent profit in two weeks by investing in a company controlled by some of his biggest backers. In 1997, the Republican congressman spent $2,300 on securities trades in Quick & Reilly, a brokerage where Lazio backers Peter Quick and Christopher C. Quick held senior executive posts . Weeks later, Lazio sold the options for nearly $16,000 on the day Quick & Reilly announced it was being bought by Fleet. Though Lazio had little previous experience with options trading, his spokesman, Dan McLagan, denied rumors of insider trading. "These are modest investments, and Rick's investment portfolio has returned about 5 to 10 percent, which is quite modest," he said.
New York's other Senate hopeful once had beginner's luck in the market. The first lady came under suspicion over a $99,000 profit she made off a 1978 investment in cattle futures.
Gore's poll numbers sink
George W. Bush has opened up a 10 point lead in the presidential race, according to a Los Angeles Times poll, with voters backing the Texas governor 50 percent to Al Gore's 40 percent. The survey, conducted from June 8-13, was a bad news buffet for Democrats, with Gore trailing among independents by 21 points, married voters by 19 and men by 16. Even the gender gap has evaporated for Gore, with women favoring Bush 46 percent to 43 percent, a stunning blow considering how heavily Democrats have relied on female voters. In addition to his own campaign missteps, Gore may be suffering from dwindling voter optimism and Clinton fatigue. The number of Americans who feel the country is on the right track is down to 43 percent, slipping from 53 percent in January, and the president's approval rating has reached a second-term low of 55 percent.
If misery loves company, Gore might want to call Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, aspiring GOP veep and the poll's other clear loser. The survey shows that a pro-choice running mate like Ridge would do Bush more harm than good, with about a quarter of self-described conservative Republicans, and close to 40 percent of religious conservatives, saying that it would make them less likely to back the Bush ticket.
Bush rubs it in
As if the numbers weren't hard enough on Al Gore, Bush blasted him for pandering to public opinion, Reuters reports. "Surely America doesn't want a focus-group driven presidency," Bush said during a news conference aboard his campaign plane. The Texas governor sneered at Gore's shifting positions, and declared himself a stronger and more decisive leader. "I don't need a poll or a focus group to tell me what to believe," he said.
Bush also showed his lighter side when asked for his view of Gore's tax cut plan. "Really risky," he said, then smilingly added, "No, just kidding."
Texas two-step on abortion
Bush wasn't always as ideologically steadfast as he claims to be now. Writing for the Nation, David Corn finds evidence that Bush was pro-choice at the time he ran for Congress in 1978. During an interview that year with a reporter from the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Bush claimed opposition to federally funded abortions, but not abortion rights. Even in his 1994 governor's race against Ann Richards, though he declared himself to be pro-life, Bush dodged the issue for much of the campaign. "The United States has settled the abortion issue," he told Texans in his campaign literature.
Despite the apparent change, Bush's current campaign staff denies a flip-flop and calls the Avalanche-Journal article a "misinterpretation." Dan Bartlett, a Bush spokesman, said "He is pro-life. He was always opposed to abortion."
Vice presidential preferences (previous):
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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