The Political Grapevine: Weeding out the problem

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And now some fresh pickings from Special Report's "Political Grapevine."

Looking for cash and candidates to knock out Jeb

Palm Beach County Democrats are holding a fund-raiser on the anniversary of the November election. And they say the party will attract every Florida Democrat interested in running next year against Republican Governor Jeb Bush. That list, of course, includes ex-Attorney General Janet Reno.

The organizers also hope to reunite Al Gore and Joe Lieberman. The Pensacola News Journal says Gore has the date penciled in and Lieberman is tentatively scheduled to attend.

Weeding out the problem

The Colorado governor's office says they've been victimized by a planted story. The Denver Post reports a marijuana plant somehow grew knee high in a garden behind the governor's mansion.

Republican Bill Owens, known for his tough anti-drug message, doesn't actually live at the mansion. It is used only for official functions. State workers have yanked the plant. But law enforcement officials want to know how the controversial cannabis got on gubernatorial grounds.

The spokesman for the governor jokingly points to political opponents. Dick Wadhams says the governor's foes staged a "joint effort to discredit Owens," but adds, "they're just blowing smoke."  I didn't say it was a good joke.

Third time's a charm -- or fourth

The Boston Globe reports that Republican Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift has admitted that she and her husband lied on their 1994 marriage application. They had claimed that her husband to be had been married only once before. In truth, Charles Hunt had three priors.

Swift was a state senator at the time. She says the couple lied to protect Hunt's privacy, despite the risk of getting punished for perjury. Swift says she hopes the public will understand what she calls their misguided decision. She and Hunt are going to pay the maximum $100 fine for a perjury on a marriage application, although the statute of limitations has expired on the offense.

A TV past -- and future?

Finally, The New York Times reports that NAACP President Kweisi Mfume may be the next Oprah. He has typed a pilot for an Oprah Winfrey-style talk show that would be syndicated by NBC and could hit air as early as January.

Executives in charge of the production say they approached Mfume because he once hosted a public affairs show in Baltimore, and is "good on the air." Mfume has been an outspoken critic of network television, including NBC, for not hiring enough minorities and for acting and executive roles.

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