WASHINGTON, March 8 (UPI) -- Capital Comment -- Daily news notes, political rumors, and important events that shape politics and public policy in Washington and the world from United Press International.
Index vexed -- The publication of David Brock's memoir "Blinded by the Right" is creating a buzz around Washington, but probably not the kind that the publisher hoped. It seems the most common complaint about the book is that it has no index -- vexing those who want to engage in the age-old Washington practice of picking up a gossipy tome in the bookstore and flipping to the back to see if they are mentioned. Folks looking for juicy gossip about their enemies or references to themselves are just going to have to purchase the book to find them.
Running it up the cherry tree -- Florida's 192,640 fifth-grade students will soon delve deep into the roots of American history with a new curriculum about the life of George Washington. Mr. and Mrs. John A. Moran and the John A. Moran Charitable Trust have made it possible for Mount Vernon's George Washington Biography Lesson -- introduced by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association in 1989 -- to be distributed free-of-charge to 7,200 teachers at 1,646 schools across the state.
The lesson includes an instruction manual, art-based lessons, facsimiles of historic documents, trading cards, and other classroom readings and activities. "I am thrilled that the Morans have made it possible for the state of Florida to add these compelling lessons about our first president to its fifth-grade curriculum," said Gay Hart Gaines, Florida vice regent of the association.
Off message -- A source close to the White House says that insiders are furious with several high profile GOP supporters of former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan who have spent much of their time this week engaged in a public trashing of California Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon, who won in an upset victory on Tuesday.
"The White House is livid with some of the Riordan finance guys, especially the guy who ran to the New York Times and cheerfully told them on the record that Simon couldn't win," the source says. "California is going to be tough enough. Everyone has to be on message here and these guys aren't and the political team is not happy about it," he said.
On Thursday, Gregory Slayton, who had been co-chairman of Riordan's finance committee, was quoted in The New York Times as saying: "Simon's got a shot if he runs a perfect race... But the most likely outcome is he loses by 10 to 20 points. He's a neophyte, and there's no track record whatsoever. This is California, not Colorado or Idaho. This is a liberal state, and Bill Simon's a true conservative."
Any volunteers -- The surprise decision by Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., not to seek re-election this fall has set off a scramble. Former GOP Gov. Lamar Alexander will likely make the race to succeed him on the Republican side, as will U.S. Rep. Ed Bryant.
GOP leaders are confident of retaining the seat and see the shuffle as potentially good news for them. Washington Republicans have long had their eye on Bart Gordon's congressional seat and think, if it is open, they can win it.
Help! -- Leaders of the Iraqi National Congress are making the rounds in Washington, try to get their hands on what they believe is $97 million in financial support they believed the U.S. government promised them during the Clinton years.
They want the United States to allow them to pursue lethal action inside Iraq's borders in an effort to kick off a popular uprising against Saddam Hussein, believing the army will no longer support him. In exchange, the promise to hold some type of referendum once they take control to allow the Iraqi people to decide what kind of federalist, democratic system of government they want installed in Baghdad.
Moving on? -- It's the rumor that will not die. Sources continue to say that Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., is on the short list of candidates for the top slot at the American Council of Life Insurers, one of Washington's highest paying lobbying jobs. Pomeroy denies this, saying that he will be running for re-election in the fall but the association, which needs a new leader after former head Carroll Campbell stepped down for health reasons, reportedly finds Pomeroy, a member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee and a former North Dakota State Insurance Commissioner, an attractive candidate.
Toss up -- A new statewide poll by Zogby International suggests the race for the Democrat nomination for governor of New York is now neck and neck.
The telephone survey of 326 Democrats showed former U.S. Housing Sec. Andrew Cuomo at 42 percent and State Comptroller Carl McCall at 38 percent -- with a margin of error of plus or minus 5.5 percent. The closeness represents a stunning surge by McCall, who in past weeks has lost the support of a number of prominent state Democrat leaders who defected to Cuomo, son of former 3-term Democrat New York Gov. Mario Cuomo.
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