Streisand's memo.(NATION)(INSIDE POLITICS)

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Streisand's memo

Barbra Streisand, in a memo to House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt, says Democrats should oppose any attack on Iraq by suggesting that the Bush administration just wants to enrich war-related industries that are "big Republican donors."

A copy of the memo, dated Sept. 25, was leaked to this column yesterday. It is addressed to "Congressman Dick Gebhardt" [sic] and came from "Barbra Streisand/Margery Tabankin."

Miss Streisand "asked me to convey to you her feeling that it is time for the Democrats to get off the defensive and go on the offensive," said the "Confidential Memo" under the letterhead "Margery Tabankin & Associates" of Santa Monica, Calif.

"Naturally, Barbra's not surprised to see the Bush administration evoke

strong rhetoric about Democrats caring more about their own 'special interests' than protecting the security of the country. Of course, Republicans will say anything they need to in order to accomplish their own political agenda. Barbra feels that the Democratic Leadership must not continue to take this lying down.

"While the Republicans are shouting about the Democrats' special interests, why are the Democrats not saying the same about the Republicans? How can we ignore the obvious influence on the Bush administration of such special interests as the oil industry, the chemical companies, the logging industry, just to name a few? Many of these industries, run by big Republican donors and insiders, clearly have much to gain if we go to war against Iraq. Barbra urges the Democrats to publicly convey this message to the American people.

"While there are serious problems with Iraq and Saddam Hussein, Barbra feels that we can't let this issue become a distraction from the country's domestic problems and the President [sic] inability to fully dismantle the Al Queda network. Afterall [sic], Sadam [sic] did not bomb the World Trade Center.

"Feel free to call Barbra or me at 310-395-3599 if you would like to discuss this further," the memo concluded.

Florida race tightens

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's lead over Democratic challenger and political newcomer Bill McBride has narrowed, according to a new poll.

A survey released yesterday by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research showed Mr. Bush leading Mr. McBride 49 percent to 43 percent, the Associated Press reports. The Mason-Dixon poll of 625 likely voters was conducted Sunday through Tuesday and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Another poll conducted by MSNBC/Zogby on Sept. 17 and Sept. 18 and released Monday had showed Mr. Bush leading Mr. McBride 49 percent to 39 percent among likely voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Mr. McBride called the results of the latest poll "astounding" and said the governor was "nervous." Mr. Bush, campaigning in Orlando, said the survey result "doesn't surprise me at all" because Mr. McBride had been expected to get a bounce in the polls after his primary victory.

Chief justice a 'nut'?

A left-wing lawyer suing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Judicial Building's lobby mistakenly sent a letter to his adversaries in which he calls the state Supreme Court's chief justice a "religious nut."

In August 2001, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore had the 5,280-pound monument moved into the rotunda of the Judicial Building in Montgomery.

Southern Poverty Law Center director Morris Dees, who is suing to have the monument removed, intended the letter for another attorney on his legal team.

"I was laying our trial theme, i.e., how this was the act of a lone religious nut," Mr. Dees wrote.

Chief Justice Moore's attorney, Stephen Melchior, received the letter and filed it in the court record in response to a motion asking a federal judge to order the removal of the monument without a trial. …