UPI Political Roundup

By AL SWANSON, United Press International  |  Oct. 17, 2002 at 5:30 PM
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Oops! Wrong TV ad aired

Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for governor in Massachusetts, was quick to pull a new television campaign commercial this week after just one airing. He said the wrong ad was mistakenly sent out by his ad agency.

The target of the ad, the Democratic nominee and state Treasurer Shannon O'Brien, quickly pounced on the commercial, which contained her edited remarks, as further proof Romney can't be trusted.

In the commercial, O'Brien is heard at a recent debate saying she would not attempt to recruit "big Fortune 500 companies" to Massachusetts from other states with corporate welfare and give-away programs. She referred to such companies as "dinosaurs."

Romney, a millionaire businessman, said that was "dinosaur thinking," and that he would recruit such companies because they would bring jobs to the state.

What the ad agency did was delete 74 words from her exact quote, prompting her to label the commercial as "sleazy, dishonest and unethical."

O'Brien criticized the Romney campaign for manipulating her words and "resorting to negative, untruthful attacks on my record, and the people of Massachusetts have seen through him and know they can't trust him."

Romney, however, said as soon as his campaign realized the agency "sent the wrong ad to the TV stations ... we immediately called the stations and told them we were sending the correct version."

Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom defended splicing the quotes. He said it was "something reporters do every day" when they edit soundbites.

Davis pulls attack ads

Running comfortably ahead in recent California polls, Democratic Gov. Gray Davis is pulling his negative ads attacking Republican Bill Simon Jr.

The Davis for Governor campaign says the public will see only positive commercials about the incumbent for the remaining weeks of the race.

Davis campaign strategist Garry South told the Los Angeles Times, "We think we've reached a point in the campaign where Simon has utterly failed to make his case."

Davis ads have called Simon a failed investment banker and right-wing extremist. Simon ads call Davis a failed governor and political sell-out.

Pollsters said the switch to positive ads is an attempt by the Davis camp to boost voter turnout in an election where a majority of voters said they wished they had a third choice.

Republican pulls out of Hawaiian special election

Republican Bob McDermott has withdrawn from the Nov. 30 special election to fill the last month of late Democratic Rep. Patsy Mink's term.

McDermott made the announcement after Mink's husband, John, announced he was running to complete her term in a show of respect. John Mink said he would not run in a second special election on Jan. 4 if his wife is re-elected posthumously on Nov. 5. Mink died Sept. 28 of viral pneumonia, a complication of chickenpox. She was 74.

Her name remains on the ballot since she died three days after the deadline for changes under Hawaii election law.

McDermott will be a candidate in the Nov. 5 election.

Family tragedy overshadows Bush visit

On the same day he traveled to Florida for a fundraiser for his brother's re-election campaign, President George W. Bush's 25-year-old niece was led away in handcuffs to serve a 10-day sentence for drug possession in the Orange County Jail.

"I sincerely apologize," Noelle Bush told Circuit Judge Reginald Whitehead in Orlando.

Noelle, accompanied by her aunt, Dorothy Koch, the president and governor's sister, was caught with a rock of crack cocaine in her shoe Sept. 9 at the Center for Drug Free Living where she was undergoing treatment.

She had been placed under court supervision after trying to use a phony prescription to buy Xanax, an anti-anxiety drug in January.

Gov. Jeb Bush said his daughter had to face the consequences of illegal drug use, and he hoped she would learn from her mistakes and successfully complete drug treatment.

She will be confined in a single-person cell in "protective custody" away from the jail's general population.

Her father did not appear in court and issued a statement thanking people for their support.

"Every parent of a child with an addiction understands that the long road to recovery is never easy and that there are numerous challenges along the way," Bush said. "This is a very difficult time for all of us ... and I pray every day our beautiful daughter will once again know a life free from the horrors of substance abuse."

President Bush, on his sixth visit to the state, discussed education issues at a grade school in New Smyrna Beach. He has raised more than $5.5 million for Florida Republicans this year.

Gore galore

Al Gore met behind closed doors at a $250 a person fund-raiser for Wisconsin Democrats in Milwaukee Wednesday but it wasn't your typical media event.

All the sessions were private.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said the only reporter in the room was asked to leave. The former vice president, fresh from two days of stumping for congressional candidates in Iowa, was in Wisconsin to raise money for gubernatorial candidate Jim Doyle, who is leading Gov. Scott McCallum in the polls.

The two men did not make any public appearances together.

Gore later spoke to about 50 local Democratic Party activists about getting out the vote during a stop at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and met with students at the campus in Madison.

Gore is scheduled to give his first interview since the 2000 election to ABC's Barbara Walters. Walters will interview Gore and his wife, Tipper, at their Nashville, Tenn., home and ABC will follow Gore to Iowa, home of the caucuses that begin the presidential nominating process.

The Gores have written a book together on family and community that will be published after the election.

The Gores' interview with Walters will air on "20/20" on Nov. 15.

You pays your money ...

Fundraising efforts are a contrast in styles in Rhode Island's 1st Congressional District.

For a $25 donation to incumbent Democratic Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, contributors get a chance to meet Caroline Kennedy -- the daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy -- at a fundraiser Sunday in Lincoln, R.I., according to the Providence Journal.

For $35, contributors to the campaign of Republican David W. Rogers can get a Navy SEAL T-shirt. For a $1,000 donation, the former Navy SEAL is giving away two SEAL jackets with the official "special warfare patch."

Jake's revenge thwarted

The owner of a closed Minnesota strip club allegedly planned to hijack an election for mayor.

Dakota County, Minn., prosecutors said Richard Jacobson, the owner of Jake's, obtained 95 illegal voter registrations -- enough potential votes to oust the current mayor of Coates and take over government in the town, population 163.

Jacobson, 32, a Wisconsin resident, and 94 others including dancers and patrons of the men's club were charged with forgery and conspiracy to commit forgery, both felonies.

The power-grab scheme was discovered when someone noticed the voter registration cards all used the closed club's address for a residence.

Most of the suspicious registration cards were postmarked Oct. 5. The town has about 82 registered voters.

"They thought they were going to overthrow the town," Sheriff Don Gudmundson told the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Jacobson's lawyer said his client did not break the law.

"If his object was to move 94 people into Coates to get the (city officials) out of office, that's not a conspiracy. That's democracy," attorney Randall Tigue said.

Jake's has been feuding with the town for more than a decade. Last August club backers dumped 600,000 pennies at a City Council meeting to pay a legal bill.

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