Inside Politics

Article excerpt

Byline: Greg Pierce


"The White House has decided the war against terrorism should minimize President Bush's role in partisan politics. So neither he nor Dick Cheney will campaign for GOP gubernatorial nominees Bret Schundler in New Jersey and Mark Earley in Virginia. Such political caution may prove shortsighted," Wall Street Journal editorialist John H. Fund writes.

"If the GOP loses Virginia next week, you can bet the media will note its retiring governor, Jim Gilmore, is Mr. Bush's hand-picked chairman of the Republican National Committee. If Democrats win New Jersey, Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe will claim tax cuts have lost potency as an issue. Pundits will note the GOP's 1989 defeat in both states was a sign of the first Bush administration's political weakness, while the GOP victory in both in 1993 was a precursor to the party's capture of Congress the next year," Mr. Fund said.

"If the GOP ends up losing either state narrowly, questions about the White House's hands-off strategy will be raised. Nothing prevented Lyndon Johnson or Richard Nixon from being political during the Vietnam War, or for that matter George Bush Sr. during the Gulf War buildup."

If Democrats do well on Tuesday, "it will mean a ratification of DNC Chairman McAuliffe's game plan: massively outspend Republicans on get-out-the-vote efforts and national party TV ads, and attack GOP opponents as `extremists' while Democrats run purposefully vague, centrist-sounding candidates."


"Election Day is drawing near and New York GOP mayoral contender Mike Bloomberg's chief strategist, Bill Cunningham, insists that President Bush will do something to help out, but he's coy about what," the New York Post's Deborah Orin writes.

"But the White House also hints something could be coming - perhaps along the lines of the letters and prerecorded phone calls that Bush is doing for Republican governor candidates" in New Jersey and Virginia, Miss Orin said.

"`The president supports Bloomberg. He believes he's a strong candidate. Unfortunately, the president's schedule is subject to quick changes and we've been unable to put a political stop on it,'" said a White House official.

"Bloomberg got a brief moment with Bush at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night, after the president threw out the first pitch, Cunningham says."


Former California State Assemblywoman Audie Bock has brought her campaign to unseat Rep. Barbara Lee to New York City.

Mrs. Lee, a California Democrat, was the only member of Congress to vote against the resolution authorizing the use of force against those responsible for the September 11 attacks. She also voted against President Bush's anti-terrorism bill.

Ms. Bock hopes to make Mrs. Lee pay for those votes by ousting the congresswoman in next year's Democratic primary.

"Such refusals to adhere to Congresswoman Lee's congressional oath to defend her nation from `all enemies foreign and domestic' while playing `Blame America' and `Blame Israel' politics has resulted in an outpouring of support for the Bock for Congress campaign from many in New York. Area residents have made campaign contributions as well as writing e-mails and letters of support to Bock thanking her for her efforts," the Bock campaign said yesterday in a prepared statement.

Ms. Bock traveled to New York City as a delegate of her church, which is an affiliate of the New York Metropolitan Baptist Church. She will participate in a memorial service for the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks tomorrow at the Riverside Church in New York.

In addition to the memorial service, Ms. Bock will be meeting with prominent New York Democratic leaders, activists, firefighters and veterans groups' representatives, her campaign said. …