And now the most engaging two minutes in television, the latest from the political grapevine.
Presidential Press Secretary Ari Fleischer ended up having to eat his words when he said, off camera, to a group of reporters this morning that the Clinton administration's peace efforts may have led to the current Mideast violence. You can make the case, said Fleischer, "that as a result of an attempt to push the parties beyond where they were willing to go, it led to expectations that were raised to such a high level that it turned into violence." By midafternoon, he was out with a statement, of "regret," saying his comments were not the position of the president, who supported President Clinton's Mideast peace efforts.
The Democratic National Committee has decided to give whoever builds its new Washington headquarters a remarkable deal. The builder, according to the New York Post, will receive the entire cost of the building up front – an estimated $30 million. And why would Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe make such a deal? The answer, says the Post, is that it's the only way to get the building paid for by the time the soft-money ban included in the campaign finance reform bill now before Congress goes into effect. Otherwise, the Democrats would have to find another way to pay for the building.
The latest Fox News Opinion Dynamics Poll suggests that while some Democrats may be claiming the war on terror will be a failure unless Usama bin Laden is captured or killed, the public is feeling less that way as time goes on. Last November, 73 percent thought getting bin Laden was very important and other 20 percent thought it was somewhat important. Now, though, only 59 percent thinks it's very important, with 27 percent saying it's somewhat important.
Remember all those reports about how upset the South Korean government was with President Bush for including North Korea in his "axis of evil." The Los Angeles Times reports that South Korean President Kim Dae Jung said in an interview that "there are no substantial differences of opinion between him and Bush on the subject of North Korea." And, said Kim, "The North must make a decision. It is their choice. We believe the Bush administration is sincere about wanting a dialogue. It is in the best interest of North Korea to pursue it."