UPI's Capital Comment for Feb. 5, 2002

By United Press International  |  Feb. 5, 2002 at 6:36 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Capital Comment -- News notes, political rumors, and important events that shape politics and public policy in Washington and the world from United Press International.

Pax accommodata Nevada -- In the western United States, the "large L" Libertarian Party is strong enough to play the spoiler. On several occasions, including the 1998 U.S. Senate race in Nevada, the Libertarian candidate polled more votes that separated the losing Republican from the winning Democrat.

Several "small l" libertarians within the Republican Party, including Nevada's Chuck Muth of the Republican Liberty Caucus, have been working on ways to keep that from happening in the future. One who has refused to help is the state's GOP Gov. Kenny Guinn; refused, that is, until now.

Their relationship has recently thawed, to the surprise of many who believed Guinn saw himself as untouchable. Now the reason for the thaw has come to the surface. Aaron Russo, the film producer-turned-politicians whom Guinn defeated for the GOP nod in 1998, is running ads on Nevada TV and making noises about another run for governor -- this time as a libertarian.

The Guinn people don't think they can lose to Russo -- but they are worried about how a well-financed effort by the libertarians running under Russo's banner might siphon votes away from the GOP.

Lebensraum -- The Heritage Foundation is busily expanding its headquarters on the Senate side of Capitol Hill. The group has grown so big that they are taking over an adjoining apartment building and turning it into office space. But they have apparently hit a snag. A source tells us they have run afoul of DC zoning regulations that require at least part of the new building to remain as residential space. The forward-thinking wonks have hit on a novel solution, the source says: living quarters for foundation interns inside the new space.

Not the best advice -- Former Clinton Press Secretary Mike McCurry told a packed audience of conservative activists at the recent CPAC conference that the worst piece of advice he ever gave former President Bill Clinton was to be more forceful in his denials about his relationship with a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky. McCurry told the group that the American people really did not understand the denial and that he told the president he needed to get in front of them and be strong.

"And most of you remember what followed," McCurry said, referring to the infamous news conference where Clinton uttered the immortal words, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman (pause) Miss Lewinsky."

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