Another apology from another Utah senator for another racial remark. Republican Sen. Orrin G. Hatch said he had been "inarticulate" and apologized to NAACP officials for a statement in which he contrasted the legal rights of homosexuals and blacks.

What the GOP presidential candidate said was: "People of color can't do anything about their color." That preceded: "I do believe gay people have a choice to live within the legal rules or not. That's why we have civil rights laws to protect African Americans from discrimination."

Jeanetta Williams, president of the Salt Lake branch of the NAACP, and Edward J. Lewis, president of the NAACP tri-state conference for Utah, Nevada and Idaho, said they believed that Hatch's apology was sincere after meeting with him for 45 minutes on Wednesday, the Salt Lake City Tribune reported.

Hatch has already explained that he meant no offense to gay people.

Earlier this week, Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah) apologized to the Utah NAACP for a racially insensitive comment he made in talking about Texas Gov. George W. Bush's presidential campaign.

Bush's Youth: Open Book?

Deja vu on the campaign trail: Texas Gov. George W. Bush was fumbling yesterday for an answer to a question about his youthful indulgences.

This time the inquisitor was a little nipper at Royall Elementary School in Florence, S.C., who wanted to know what was Bush's favorite book as a child.

"I can't remember any specific books," Bush answered. He did like reading about Willie Mays, he added--and there was some book on Texas history he enjoyed. Mostly, he read because his mother made him.

The other question about his past--you know the one--did not resurface. Despite a rough stretch last week, Bush said, "I think the press has been fair to me. I don't get to decide what you ask," he told reporters in Myrtle Beach, S.C., "but I get to decide how I answer."

Habla Espanol?

There could be a lot of Spanish spoken on the campaign trail if a new poll is any indication. The poll, by the William C. Velasquez Institute, shows Vice President Gore with a 2 to 1 lead over Bush among Hispanics in California; the two Spanish-speaking candidates split Hispanic support in Texas.


GOP pollster Linda DiVall on the impact Republican members of Congress have on the party's presidential prospects: "Well, right now they're home, so that's a good thing."