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Inside Politics

By Greg Pierce
Washington Times, Friday, February 5, 1999
© Copyright 1999 New World Communications, Inc.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, is not much of a comedian.

At Tuesday's congressional press dinner, Mr. Schumer's attempts at humor "sparked stunned silence with a harsh routine that slashed everyone in sight," according to Roll Call's Ed Henry.

Taking a cheap shot at former House Judiciary Committee colleague Bob Barr, Georgia Republican, Mr. Schumer said Mr. Barr had plans to introduce a "Defense of White Marriage Act."

This was an apparent reference to Mr. Barr's sponsorship of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act -- a measure signed by President Clinton that effectively prohibited federal recognition of "gay marriages" -- and also to Mr. Barr's speech in June to the Council of Conservative Citizens.      

Ashcroft Hits Everyone
Sen. John Ashcroft of Missouri has condemned a group of supposed racists that a Democratic political group had linked to the Republican in a news release last month, the Kansas City Star reports.

He also sharply criticized the news release from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which called Mr. Ashcroft the "white supremacist's presidential choice."

"We felt like the press release was offensive, injurious and wrong," said Ashcroft aide Don Trigg.

The campaign committee's news release was based on a televised appearance by Gordon Baum of Bridgeton, Mo., a leader of the Council of Conservative Citizens. The group, criticized as racist and anti-Semitic, has made headlines recently because of its loose ties to GOP congressional leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi.

In an appearance on CNN, Mr. Baum said he could support Mr. Ashcroft for president, although at the time of the interview Mr. Ashcroft already had dropped out of the 2000 race.