Arizona Sen. John McCain was in an effusive mood the morning after the Republican presidential candidate debate this week. He would be pleased, he told a New Hampshire audience, to have all his rivals in a McCain cabinet.
So a reporter aboard the McCain bus asked the candidate what jobs he would give his rivals.
The first was easy. Texas Gov. George W. Bush would be his vice president, McCain said; his only regret was that Utah Sen. Orrin G. Hatch got to that line first in the debates.
Magazine publisher Steve Forbes, he said, "would be a good secretary of the treasury," while conservative activist Gary Bauer could fit in almost any of the important domestic agencies.
What about Alan Keyes, the conservative firebrand who has used the debates to chastise his opponents? "I think we could send Keyes back up to the United Nations," McCain said.
That left Hatch, with whom McCain may have the most difficult relationship of the candidates. McCain said the Justice Department would be the right spot. But he did not promise to make Hatch attorney general.
Bush to Push 'Affirmative Access'
Karl Rove, chief strategist for the presidential campaign of George W. Bush, said yesterday that the Texas governor intends to turn affirmative action into a campaign issue by formally calling for replacement of the controversial policy with a nonracial "affirmative access" proposal.
The debate over affirmative action "is a dead-end debate and what we ought to be doing as a society is looking at ways to open up access to everyone regardless of background," Rove said, describing Bush's views at the Sperling breakfast, a gathering of Washington reporters.
The affirmative access concept is modeled on a Texas program under which the top 10 percent of every senior high school class is assured entry into a state college or university. Bush "likes the idea of merit-based" policies and plans to raise the issue later in the campaign, Rove said. "We'll talk about it at the appropriate time."
Rove, incidentally, turned out to be a major draw. Godfrey Sperling of the Christian Science Monitor said more reporters--49--came to hear Rove than attended earlier breakfasts for two of Bush's major competitors, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and publisher Steve Forbes.
Ariz. Democrats to Allow Internet Voting
The Arizona Democratic Party plans to allow Internet voting in its presidential primary election next year, marking the first time that votes cast online will count for anything more than someone's favorite supermodel or Pokemon character.
On March 11 (Republicans will vote the old-fashioned way on Feb. 22), Arizona Democrats will be able to either show up at the polls and punch a paper ballot or simply plop down in front of a computer and click on the presidential candidate of their choice.
Details to follow on how the e-voting will work, who will administer it, and how the potential for fraud will be eliminated.
But Arizona Democratic Party Chairman Mark Fleisher is confident the move will bring scores of new voters into the process. "I believe it's the first thing that's come along since the elimination of the poll tax that will increase voter turnout," he said.
Some aren't so sure. Phil Noble, an Internet political consultant, said that while the technology is certainly available to make online voting secure and fraud-free, he is not sure the reaction will be overwhelming, at least at first. "The technology to do what they want to do is child's play," Noble said. "The question is, 'Is Bubba ready for it' "?
Gore Dines Out to E-Mail Bradley
Maybe his laptop was on the fritz? His Internet service was out?
Yesterday, the vice president headed to the Cyberstop Cafe in downtown Washington to fire off his own e-mail to Democratic rival Bill Bradley. Gore wants Bradley to explain how his health plan would ensure the future of Medicare.
Staff writer Ceci Connolly and researcher Ben White contributed to this report.