An article Sunday incorrectly quoted Rep. Claudine Schneider (R- R.I.) as saying that she was not a "prime mover" of a bill regulating and eventually banning garbage dumping at sea. (Published 8/7/90)
Sen. Claiborne Pell (D-R.I.) discovered firsthand the hazards an incumbent faces debating a challenger when he and Rep. Claudine Schneider (R) faced off in their first televised forum last week.
Pell suffered what he later told reporters was "a self-inflicted wound." He hesitated when asked to identify the last piece of legislation he pushed that directly benefited Rhode Islanders. "I couldn't give you a specific answer," he said. "My memory's not as good as it should be."
Pell, running for his sixth term, explained later that he had been trying to think of a bill that would affect only Rhode Island.
When Schneider was asked to name the last bill that "you've sponsored and were the prime mover on that directly benefits Rhode Island in some way," the five-term House member cited a bill regulating and eventually banning garbage dumping at sea.
"My bill later became the committee bill," she said. But she acknowledged she was not the bill's "prime mover." And the version she sponsored was changed in ways she opposed.
Several days earlier Schneider found it necessary to extricate herself from an awkward situation. She requested the cancellation of a television commercial in which she endorses an inspirational tape program that sells for $179.95.
The commercial, "Personal Power," promotes a self-help program created by Tony Robbins. "To light the fire under people to get up, move on and be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem, to me, I think, is the gift I constantly aspire to. It is one that Tony Robbins clearly has," Schneider says in the 30-minute commercial.
Spokeswoman Josie Martin said Schneider agreed to endorse the audio tapes because she believes that a similar self-help program helped her beat Hodgkin's disease 17 years ago.
Schneider was not paid for appearing in the commercial, but did receive a $2,000 contribution from Robbins six months later. When the ad appeared on cable television in the state and region, Schneider "asked for it to be withdrawn so she would not appear to have an unfair advantage over her opponent in getting free air time," Martin said.