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THE LATEST NEWS CLIPS ON OUR CANDIDATES AND ISSUES


08/20/99 - NATIONAL JOURNAL - HOTLINE
  POLL:
BUCHANAN STRONGEST 3RD PARTIER
SCHROTH AND ASSOCIATES: Buchanan Stongest 3rd Partier
Conducted 8/15-17/99; surveyed 1,000 voters; margin of error +/- 3% (Release, 8/19).

General election matchup:

George W. Bush 39%
Al Gore 35
Pat Buchanan 16

George W. Bush 45%
Al Gore 31
Warren Beatty 11

George W. Bush 50%
Al Gore 37
Lowell Weicker 4

George W. Bush 43%
Al Gore 34
Jesse Ventura 12

George W. Bush 49%
Al Gore 36
Ross Perot 6


08/20/99 - NATIONAL JOURNAL - HOTLINE
  BUSH SLIPS IN 1st POST STRAW VOTE
POLL
New Hampshire Poll conducted by ARG from 8/15-17; surveyed 450 registered Republicans. Margin of error +/- 5% (release, 8/18).
GOP Primary Matchup:

         Now  7/99  6/99  5/99  2/99  12/98  12/97
Bush      40%   47%   39%   28%   21%   29%     3%
McCain    16    13    10     7     3    --     --
Buchanan   8     9     5     5     6     8     15
Dole       7     7    15    17    25     7     12
Quayle     6     3     4     8     6     4      7
Keyes      4     4     3     1     1    --     --
Forbes     3     2     2     5     2     5      2
Bauer      1     1     1     2     1     0     --
Hatch      0     0    --    --    --    --     --
Undec.    15    11    15    19    17    17     25


09/26/99 - WORLD WATCH NEWS - CANOE - AP [8/18]
  U.S. PANEL TO PUZZLE OUT
TRADE DEFICITS - Good? Bad? Should we worry?
For three decades, the United States has been buying more from foreigners than it sells to them. Now come 12 Americans, picked by the U.S. Congress, to answer the question: Do we have a problem here?    Washington's latest blue-ribbon commission, which holds its first public hearing today, has been given the job of figuring out what causes trade deficits, what is their impact on the U.S. economy and what should be done about them.

The group's chairman, Murray Weidenbaum, who was head of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Reagan administration, says he believes the panel will reach a consensus in a single report rather than one split between the six Republican-appointed members and the six chosen by Democrats.
Looking back
U.S. trade balance in merchandise and services. A minus sign means the country ran a deficit for that year and a plus sign shows a trade surplus. The figure for 1999 is an estimate based on results so far this year.

1999: -$225 billion US estimate
1998: -$164.3 billion
1997: -$104.7 billion
1996: -$108.6 billion
1995: -$99.9 billion
1994: -$100.9 billion
1993: -$71.9 billion
1992: -$38.7 billion
1991: -$30.9 billion
1990: -$81.1 billion
1989: -$92.2 billion
1988: -$115.9 billion
1987: -$153.3 billion
1986: -$140.6 billion
1985: -$121.9 billion
1984: -$109.1 billion
1983: -$57.8 billion
1982: -$24.2 billion
1981: -$16.2 billion
1980: -$19.4 billion
1979: -$24.6 billion
1978: -$29.8 billion
1977: -$27.2 billion
1976: -$6.1 billion
1975: +$12.4 billion
1974: -$4.3 billion
1973: +$1.9 billion
1972: -$5.4 billion
1971: -$1.3 billion
1970: +$2.3 billion

Source: The Associated Press

"We go in with a united determination that we are not going to issue two separate reports. That would be the easiest way out, but not very helpful," said Weidenbaum, an economist at Washington University in St. Louis.   But the very existence of the U.S. Trade Deficit Review Commission, created by a provision in last year's budget bill, underscores the deep divide in U.S. trade policy. Politicians often turn to study panels to handle political hot potatoes.

President Bill Clinton, who won office as a centrist Democrat, has seen his trade agenda stymied for more than two years by members of his own party who have twice turned back his efforts in the House of Representatives to win authority to negotiate new global trade deals.   Even Republicans, normally backers of free trade because of its support in the business community, have seen a growing split on the issue.

Campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination, conservative commentator Pat Buchanan points to the soaring trade deficits and says, "America's working men and women are being sacrificed to the global economy."

  While the United States last enjoyed a trade surplus in goods and services in 1975, the deficits recently have been skyrocketing as the Asian economic crisis has dried up export markets for American manufacturers and farmers.   In addition, the booming American economy has increased demand for manufactured goods such as cars, trucks and minivans built in Canada to machinery and steel from Europe and consumer goods from Japan and China.

  Last year's deficit hit an all-time high of $164.3 billion US and this year's deficit is running at an even higher annual rate of $225 billion.   Such figures have politicians in both U.S. parties worried about a backlash, especially if the economic boom begins to slow and the unemployment level, now at a three-decade low, starts creeping back up.   "Congress has become deeply fragmented on trade policy," said Greg Mastel, an economist at the National Policy Center, a Washington think tank. "The consensus that kept trade policy moving in the same direction since the Second World War has really begun to erode." ...

  For the U.S., even the existence of perennial deficits was not viewed as a problem because foreigners have been happy to exchange their products for U.S. dollars, which they invest in U.S. financial markets, thus pushing American stock prices higher and helping hold down U.S. interest rates.   But those rising trade deficits have triggered a flood of dollars into foreign hands, and some economists have begun to worry what the future might hold should foreign investors suddenly rush for the exits.    "If we keep running trade deficits of the magnitude we have been running, at some point it will hurt the economy," said Lawrence Chimerine, economist at the Economic Strategy Institute in Washington...


08/19/99 - USA TODAY - Paul Leavitt
 
SMITH DECIDES AGAINST USTP
The possible lineup of third-party candidates for president shifted Wednesday. Sen. Robert Smith, a New Hampshire independent, said he won't seek the U.S.Taxpayers Party nomination, and he appeared on the verge of ending his presidential campaign altogether. Smith cited a family health concern, but others said he believes that conservative commentator Pat Buchanan will seek the Reform Party nomination and draw most of the media attention for conservative causes.

Members of the Taxpayers Party are scrambling to woo Buchanan, who is running as a Republican but finished sixth in Saturday's nonbinding Iowa straw poll. "A great many admirers of Pat are within our party," said Howard Phillips, chairman of the Taxpayers Party, which tried to recruit Buchanan in 1996. Phillips said he and others in the party would embrace a Buchanan-Smith ticket. But there isn't much time. The Taxpayers nominating convention is in St. Louis over Labor Day weekend. "If Pat decided he wanted to do it," said Phillips, "he should move smartly on it." --

TERM LIMITS: House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert said a proposed constitutional amendment to limit how long someone may serve in Congress is dead for now. "We haven't been able to pass that the last four years. I don't think the support is there in Congress now," he said. "We brought it to a vote, and I don't think we'll see this again in the near future." Hastert was in Spokane, Wash., campaigning for Rep. George Nethercutt, a Republican who supported a three-term limit for members of the House when he was elected in 1994 but has decided to seek a fourth term. "He changed his mind. We all have the right to do that," Hastert said...


08/19/99 - THE LOS ANGELES TIMES - GEORGE SKELTON
 
WHY THE MEDIA MAKES HAY OUT OF THE IOWA STRAW POLL
Collapsing into a soft recliner after having just towed a heavy boat down a rutted, crowded interstate, I clicked on the PBS "NewsHour." I am a political junkie, after all. And I was immediately reminded why there are so very few of us. There on my living room TV was Elizabeth Dole patting a pig. Why wasn't this former transportation secretary talking about fixing our federal highway system? Pat Buchanan then was shown petting a dog. And George W. Bush was flipping flapjacks. Or were they burgers? Whatever. Since when does fast-food dexterity qualify one for a job in the Oval Office?

It's no wonder only 15% of Americans recently polled by the Pew Research Center said they were paying "very close attention" to the 2000 presidential campaign--and less than half the voting-age population cast ballots in the last presidential election. The "NewsHour" is the most respected, most substantive TV news program in the nation, and here it was showing presidential candidates stroking livestock and displaying the skills of high school dropouts.

Such corn may be fine for Iowa and its state fair, but why must it lead the national news? Well, we're told, this really was about the Iowa Republican straw poll. You know, that very meaningful straw poll that never has produced a GOP presidential nominee, let alone a president. Indeed, Ronald Reagan finished fourth there 20 years ago, one year before his electoral landslide. This time, Bush may well make Iowa history by being elected president despite having won its straw poll. But there will be no correlation. As Times political writers Ronald Brownstein and Mark Z. Barabak wrote, that exercise last Saturday "did more to reaffirm than reshape the GOP presidential race."

So why all the hype? Why did 600 members of the news media descend on Ames? Why did their stories lead the national TV news and major papers across the country? You may have heard and read the official justifications, some of which don't track:

* The candidates' organizing skills were on display. What organizing skills? Organizing bus tours? The candidates provided free bus transportation, food, entertainment and $ 25 voting tickets to Iowa attendees. What does any of that have to do with organizing a presidency?

* This started the winnowing out process. Nonsense. Lamar Alexander already was in the political grave waiting to be buried. If Dan Quayle and Orrin Hatch had any sense, they'd give it up too; nobody needed the Iowa straw poll to tell they're losers.

* This was the first vote of any kind. All other tests have been polls, endorsements and fund-raising.

Now we're approaching the real truth. The seldom-mentioned media fact of life is that every major news organization has committed substantial resources to covering the 2000 presidential campaign. And as any manager in any field knows, committed resources must be used. Or lost. Reporters, editors, commentators, TV crews--with fat expense accounts; they're now all in place and eager to be used. And they will be, even if the "vote" being covered essentially is meaningless, except as a state party moneymaker.

Feeding this are the August dog days in Washington, when the town is shut down politically and the news is slow. Something has to fill those time slots and news pages. For reporters, a commonplace burg like Ames suddenly takes on the exciting aura of a convention city, where war stories are exchanged with friendly rivals and contacts are cultivated among politicos, often over long, relaxing meals.

This is the nature of every election. And it helps explain why we tend to keep a race alive when most people--the public and even the pundits-- figure it's really over. One way--subconsciously perhaps--is through the expectations game: Sure, he won that skirmish, but not by as much as expected. This is still a fight.

Right!

California Secretary of State Bill Jones has been pushing a proposal that would stretch out the nominating process and, hopefully, lessen the focus on such non-events as a straw poll. He would hold a rotating series of regional primaries during the spring of the election year. Thus, it would be unlikely that a candidate could sew up the nomination early, as is sure to happen next March with all the front-loaded primaries.

Candidates would be forced to campaign in more states and be specific about issues, national and regional--like rutted interstates. Jones' idea has drawn some national support and is being considered for 2004. "We need to raise the presidential election process to the level it deserves," he says. We meaning the politicians and the media alike.


08/19/99 - ASSOCIATED PRESS
  CANDIDATES ANSWER TO
DRUG QUESTIONS
The presidential campaigns were asked Wednesday if the candidates had ever used illegal drugs and whether they believed that the question is appropriate. Their responses:

DEMOCRATS:
Bill Bradley: In his book, "Time Present, Time Past", Bradley acknowledged using marijuana. "Several times in the early 1970s I had taken a few puffs of marijuana," Bradley wrote. "He has said for a long time that he thinks in general the media ought to focus much more on substantive issues than it does. Substantive issues like policy, like what a candidate stands for," said Bradley spokesman Eric Hauser. "Beyond that, it is up to the media how they want to decides its role."

Al Gore: Gore has admitted to smoking marijuana in the early '70s. Spokesman Roger Salazar says Gore has never used cocaine. "Every candidate has a responsibility to decide what questions are appropriate and how they are going to respond," Salazar said. "The vice president thinks that this election will be decided by the voters on issues that affect their everyday lives and that is what he is focusing on."

REPUBLICANS:
Gary Bauer: Spokeswoman Jessica Morris said Bauer has not used any illegal drugs. "We ought to be able to say with no hesitation that 'no, we have not broken the drug laws of the United States,' and 'no we have not used cocaine."' Gary Bauer on CNN's "Late Edition," Aug. 15.

Pat Buchanan: Buchanan has not used any illegal drugs, according to spokesman Bob Adams. "As a journalist he would not ask," Adams said. "As a candidate, he will not ask."

George Bush: Bush had refused to answer questions about whether he had used drugs. But on Wednesday, when asked by The Dallas Morning News whether, as president, he would insist that his appointees answer drug-use questions contained in the standard FBI background check, Bush responded: "As I understand it, the current form asks the question, 'Did somebody use drugs within the last seven years?' and I will be glad to answer that question, and the answer is 'No."'

Elizabeth Dole: Dole has not used any illegal drugs, spokesman Mike Paranzino said. He said Dole has noted "that some honorable people have been driven away from public life because of some of the intrusiveness of being in public life today, and she thinks that is unfortunate."

Steve Forbes: Forbes' political director Bill Dal Col said the candidate has not used any illegal drugs. As to whether candidates should be asked the question, Dal Col said, "That's up to the media." ...


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