Bush Keeps Focus On Texas
EL PASO, Texas (AllPolitics, Dec. 4) -- With his heart in Texas and an eye on keeping the governor's seat, George W. Bush launched his re-election campaign Wednesday at the first stop on a six-day, 24-city tour.
Despite Bush's pledge to remain focused on Texas, speculation abounds about his possible bid for the White House in 2000, and he spent part of the day brushing aside that notion.
"I do know that my head and my heart are here in Texas and I intend to run a positive campaign, and I intend to win," he said at a press briefing at El Paso Community College. "I don't know if I will seek the presidency. I'm deeply concerned about what a national campaign would mean for my family."
Bush, who has raised more than $13 million already, faces no Republican opposition and is leading in polls over Democratic candidate Garry Mauro.
If re-elected, the eldest son of former president George Bush would become the first Republican since Dolph Briscoe in 1974 to be re-elected as governor of Texas.
DNC Searches For Convention Home
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Dec. 4) -- The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has asked 27 cities, including two in Vice President Al Gore's home state of Tennessee, to consider hosting the 2000 presidential convention.
The cities invited to compete are: Atlanta; Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Cleveland; Denver; Detroit; Kansas City, Mo.; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Memphis, Tenn.; Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis; Nashville, Tenn.; New Orleans; Orlando, Fla.; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; St. Louis; St. Paul, Minn.; San Antonio; San Diego; San Francisco; Seattle; and Washington, D.C.
Letters were sent to potential host mayors Wednesday by DNC Chairmen Steve Grossman and Roy Romer. A site advisory committee will be appointed in January. Committee members will visit potential sites next spring and make a recommendation.
Officials said most cities were chosen after their mayors informally expressed an interest to President Bill Clinton. A host city will not be announced until summer or fall of 1998.
Abernathy Fined For Drug Possession
ATLANTA (AllPolitics, Dec. 4) -- Georgia state Sen. Ralph David Abernathy III was fined $500 for possession of a small quantity of marijuana, a customs official said Wednesday. Abernathy was stopped Monday when a drug-sniffing dog at Hartsfield International Airport detected drugs hidden on him.
Customs agents have the ability to assess immediate fines on people found carrying small amounts of drugs, said Michael J. Vanacore, an official with the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Atlanta. Such cases are not prosecuted, he said.
"I made a stupid mistake, and I am truly sorry for that," Abernathy said in a written statement. "Even the president of our nation has admitted to being involved with marijuana."
Abernathy, 38, is the son of civil rights leader Rev. Ralph Abernathy Jr., who led the Southern Christian Leadership Conference after the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.
Fire In The House?
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Dec. 4) -- The U.S. Capitol was crawling with emergency workers who looked as if they were responding to a fire in the Senate basement this morning. But it was only a test whether the building could handle a major disaster. About 100 emergency workers were deployed for the drill, which assumed about a dozen injuries from smoke and fire bad enough to prompt a total evacuation of the Capitol.
Congressional staffers volunteered to be among the walking wounded, who assembled at a triage center for "treatment."
It was the first time such an event had been staged in the Capitol, and it comes as part of compliance with the Congressional Accountability Act. The law says Capitol Hill buildings must comply with OSHA safety regulations calling for tested emergency plans.
Former Missouri Speaker Sentenced
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AllPolitics, Dec. 4) -- Former Missouri House Speaker Bob Griffin was sentenced to four years in prison today after pleading guilty to charges that he accepted a bribe from a lobbyist while in office.
"I did a stupid act. ... I should never have taken that money," Griffin said prior to sentencing.
Griffin pleaded guilty to federal bribery and mail fraud charges in August. He illegally accepted $5,000 from lobbyist Cathryn Simmons in 1992. Simmons will be sentenced later this month.
When sentencing Griffin, U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple said, "Your conduct is an example of what happens when government becomes a government of men."
The 62-year-old Griffin served a record 15 years as speaker before resigning last year.
In Other News:
Thursday Dec. 4, 1997
White House Takes Jab At Freeh