The Political Grapevine: Snared by the Internet

And now the most compelling two minutes in television: the latest from Special Report's "Political Grapevine." 

Familiar territory?

If a new poll can be believed, Gary Condit finds himself in nearly the same spot politically as Bill Clinton did after the Lewinsky affair.  This survey, published in the Modesto, California Bee, found that voters in Condit's district in California had an unfavorable opinion of him by 56 to 27 percent.  But like Clinton, Condit continues to enjoy high job approval ratings by a whopping 66 to 20 percent.  As for reelection, 53 percent said they would not vote for him, nearly twice as many as said they would.  But only 39 percent thought he should resign, while 44 percent thought he should not. 

The good and the bad of health care

And speaking of polls, there is good news and bad for backers of a patients' bill of rights.  A survey of older voters taken for a group called the United Seniors Association found that 54 percent had an unfavorable view of health maintenance organizations and disapproved of  drug companies by 43 to 27 percent.  So, are older people unhappy with their health care?  Hardly.  By 87 percent to 8 percent, those surveyed said they were happy with their current health care services. 

And 75 percent said they have prescription drug coverage.  Would they give it up to get into a government-run prescription drug program?  Sixty-three percent said no. 

Snared by the Internet

An Internet hoax that was exposed weeks ago nonetheless seemed to have snared Garry Trudeau, the cartoonist who draws the popular Doonesbury  strip.  Trudeau delights in picturing President Bush as an empty cowboy  hat.  And his Sunday strip portrayed Mr. Bush as confounded by a presidential I.Q. study that found him with a score of 91, half that of Bill Clinton.  Word of such a study by something called the Lovenstein Institute has been kicking around the Internet for weeks.  But there is no such thing as the Lovenstein Institute and there was no such study. 

Naming his source

David Brock, the one-time conservative journalist and author who has now become a liberal journalist and author, recently told the Senate Judiciary Committee the identity of a source back in his conservative days.   Brock claims Terry Wooten, now a Bush nominee for the federal bench, leaked him information from Anita Hill's FBI file during the Clarence Thomas  Supreme Court fight. 

How does Brock justify the cardinal sin of revealing an alleged source?  Well, he told The Washington Post, back then "I've concluded what I was involved in wasn't journalism; it was a political operation."

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