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RILEY'S CHIEF OF STAFF, 34, CONSIDERED MATURE, SMART
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RILEY'S CHIEF OF STAFF, 34, CONSIDERED MATURE, SMART

BY DAVID WHITE

MONTGOMERY - Tobin Bernard "Toby" Roth rubbed elbows 18 years ago with President Reagan, Vice President Bush and other Republican stars such as Bob Dole, Jack Kemp and Phil Gramm, and it changed his life. The 16-year-old student volunteer at the Republican National Convention decided then and there that politics would be a big part of his future. Last week he flew to Washington, where he met Colin Powell, John Ashcroft, Tom Ridge, Gale Norton, Christine Todd Whitman, Rod Paige and other top presidential advisers, including chief of staff Andrew Card This time, he met them as a professional. Roth traveled as Gov.-elect Bob Riley's new chief of staff to attend briefings that President Bush's Cabinet held for incoming governors. Page 2A 1A Roth said he and Riley are negotiating a salary, something in the $80,000 to $100,000 range, for when he takes his position next month. But Roth, who also was Riley's campaign director, already is playing a big role in Riley's administration, helping him interview candidates for his Cabinet and other senior staff positions. Riley said he wants Roth to act as his chief operating officer, "to make sure policy is implemented, that schedules are taken care of, and that communications allow you to get your message to the people." He also said he wants Roth to be "an integral part" of setting policy. "He's one of the smartest people I know," Riley said. Roth has been a lawyer operating in private practice and has worked with the Business Council of Alabama and the Citizens for a Sound Economy, which bills itself as campaigning against "big government bureaucrats," "greedy trial lawyers" and "tax-and-spend liberals." Roth calls himself a fiscal and social conservative who believes in limited government. He sees himself as Riley's co-pilot and right-hand man, the one who will chair Cabinet meetings in Riley's absence and oversee staff operations. Once Riley decides on a position, after talking with top aides, Roth would be the one to step in if someone publicly broke with that view, he said. "After we have talked through the issue of the day and reach agreement on what the administration's perspective will be, then that's when I expect harmony. When I need to drop the hammer, I will." The age factor So can a 34-year-old, young enough to be a son to Riley, who is 58, handle the day-to-day operations of a Cabinet and staff filled with dozens of talented, experienced people? Roth says age has been an issue before when he's been hired for jobs, "and I've succeeded. There are more important issues, in terms of commitment, work ethic, your professionalism." Bill O'Connor, who as president of the BCA in 2001 hired Roth to oversee membership and fund raising, said, "Toby was born old. "While he has a sense of humor, he's serious-minded and pays attention to detail, all important assets for a chief of staff." Roth's father doesn't think his age will be a problem, either. "He's always been extremely mature, even when he was just a little kid," said Bob Roth, a New York Life agent in Muskogee, Okla. "You'd just tell him to do something one time. Nobody ever had to light a fire under him to do well. " Montgomery trial lawyer and former lieutenant governor Jere Beasley, who has been at the other end of barbs hurled by Citizens for a Sound Economy under Roth, said Roth's relative youth could cause slight problems at first. "It depends how he functions," Beasley said. "If he proves to be capable, I think everyone will say, 'OK.' If not, he won't be there long." Political heritage Born in Wichita, Kan., Roth moved with his family a few times before settling in Muskogee when he was 7. He said his father and mother, a stay-athome mom most of the years he and his older sister were growing up, instilled a strong sense of right and wrong in their children. "I do think our society's sense of right and wrong has gotten a little gray," Roth said. "I'm very appreciative to my parents." One of his great-grandfathers served in the Kansas Legislature. His dad's mother, a Democrat, ran in her 60s for mayor of Goodland, Kan. Roth played trombone at Muskogee High School. His father said Roth was valedictorian when he graduated in 1986, winning a scholarship to the University of Alabama. He graduated in 1990 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Three years later, he earned a law degree from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. Roth and his wife of 11 years, Michelle, live in Montgomery and have three daughters. He and his family attend First United Methodist Church in Montgomery. Roth said, "I am a Christian. I am someone who holds my faith very dearly." First Methodist senior pastor Karl Stegall said Roth chaired the church's work area on evangelism this year, sits on its administrative board and is active in the church on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. "He's very strong in his Christian faith," Stegall said, adding that Roth has a keen mind and warm heart. After law school, Roth practiced with Birmingham lawyer Ottie Akers until October 1995, when Harold See hired him to be finance director of his successful 1996 run for the Alabama Supreme Court. Roth said he took a big pay cut but wanted to work in politics. See called Roth "a fine young man. He works hard, he deals well with people. He's pleasant, he's considerate. "He's a respectful, decent person," See said. "He's not going to work for someone he doesn't believe in." Roth joined the Business Council as its manager of political affairs in December 1996. He left to be Alabama director for Citizens for a Sound Economy, a job he held from January 1998 to January 2001. Marty Reiser, vice president of public affairs for Citizens for a Sound Economy in Washington, was Roth's boss when he worked for the group. "He'd find lots of different ways to get things done," Reiser said. "If we needed a rally on the state Capitol steps, he'd do that. If we needed letters from business leaders, he'd get that done." Beasley said insurance, tobacco and pharmaceutical companies finance the group, which ran TV ads in Alabama that pounded Democrats and trial lawyers. CSE spokesmen said they don't publicize their donors. Roth, Beasley said, is: "Capable. Smart. Apparently a hard worker. He was a hired hand for them. He just did what he was told to do. "I don't think he was ever rude," Beasley said. "I think he was wrong." Stands on issues Roth said he still supports many of CSE's big issues. He would favor a flat federal income tax that imposed the same tax rate on the rich and middleclass alike, with the first $33,000 or so of a family's income exempt. Roth said he supports school choice and the idea of state vouchers that could help pay students' private-school tuition. He opposes lotteries on moral grounds, saying they hurt the poor people who tend to play them most. He also favors lower taxes, less government and less regulation. "I am an advocate of limited government," Roth said. But he said the problem of a big, intrusive government is much greater at the federal level. "At the state level, I don't think it's to as great a degree an issue," Roth said. "But any attempt to raise taxes, any attempt to increase the size of government should be skeptically considered. That does not mean it should be ruled out." When he left CSE in January 2001, Roth returned to the Business Council of Alabama as vice president for advancement, overseeing membership, endowment and BCA's political action committee. "He's a very straight shooter," O'Connor said. "You have a question and you'll get a direct response. " Roth left that job to become Riley's campaign director in June and agreed to be his chief of staff a few weeks ago. "Toby's one of those unique people who come around every once in a while who has a great work ethic combined with a really bright mind," Riley said. "I'm excited about the potential he adds to our Cabinet." Roth said he's committed to Riley, who has been in Congress since January 1997, and supports the changes on ethics, tax reform and other issues that Riley outlined in his "Plan for Change." "I'm a realist," Roth said. "I know it's going to be difficult. I feel I do bring the background here of having a pretty good idea of how things work in and around Montgomery to help him navigate the shoals." "It was an honor to be asked to do this," Roth said.

12/22/2002
Centrists Mixed on Pelosi Vote
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Centrists Mixed on Pelosi Vote

BY Ethan Wallison

Democratic insiders are predicting that a small group of party centrists and vulnerable incumbents will abandon Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D) in next month's Speakership election in an effort to distance themselves from the liberal California lawmaker. Some knowledgeable insiders suggest the vote could amount to the largest defection from one party's candidate for Speaker since nine Republicans deserted Rep. Newt Gingrich (R) in 1997, amid swirling ethics allegations against the Georgia lawmaker.

12/19/2002
HOUSE LEADERSHIP: A UNANIMOUS DEM VOTE FOR PELOSI? DON'T COUNT; ON IT
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HOUSE LEADERSHIP: A UNANIMOUS DEM VOTE FOR PELOSI? DON'T COUNT; ON IT

Roll Call's Wallison reports, Dem "insiders are predicting that a small group of party centrists and vulnerable incumbents will abandon" expected Min. Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) in the 1/03 Caucus election "in an effort to distance themselves from the liberal ... lawmaker." Some "knowledgeable insiders" say the vote "could amount to the largest defection from one party's candidate for Speaker since" nine GOPers deserted then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R) in '97. A "senior party strategist": "There's little doubt in my mind that there are a lot of Members who are weighing how they are going to deal with this vote for Speaker. A number of people are saying grace over this together." One "senior" Dem aide "noted": "For many people, they consider [a vote for Pelosi to be] political suicide." There is "little chance Pelosi will receive votes from ... conservatives such as" Reps. Ralph Hall (D-TX) and Ken Lucas (D-KY). Blue Dog Dem Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS) "has indicated that he will once again back" Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) in the vote for Speaker, though Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA) spokesperson Selby McCash said the "centrist" Bishop is "as firm for Pelosi as [a moderate Democrat] can be." A "senior Pelosi aide noted that in every Congress there tends to be one or two Democrats who vote against the party's candidate," but added no one has yet "detected any evidence" of "any significant opposition" to Pelosi: "If it's a political problem for some people then it's something we'll have to discuss with them in the weeks to come. We're not here to kill people." Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Martin Frost (D-TX) and Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN) all "sought to challenge Pelosi's climb through the leadership ranks by tapping" into the "anxiety ... that she would serve as a useful symbol" for GOPers "hoping to paint" Dems "as a party of intransigent liberals." Conservative group Citizens for a Sound Economy said in a recent press release: "If Nancy Pelosi wants to take radical positions, that is her own business, but she shouldn't lead other Democrats down the same path to economic and political oblivion." However, "many party strategists doubt that Pelosi will pose a problem for Democrats seeking re-election in 2004, in spite of her ideology." Consultant Bob Doyle, "who has worked with a number of party moderates": "My belief is that she will see [the next two years] as a tremendous challenge, and will go out of her way to find a leadership agenda that will be good for these people" (12/19). AT LEAST THE DCCC STAFF CAN'T VOTE AGAINST HER Roll Call's Cillizza reports, Pelosi "is expected to install her top fundraiser," '00 San Francisco ex-VP Gore fundraiser and current Pelosi DCCC liaison Brian Wolff, "as the finance director" at the 1/03 DCCC meeting "in an attempt to answer critics who charge that the delay in choosing a chairman will financially handicap" Dems in '04. Meanwhile, the DCCC "has begun using Pelosi in its fundraising efforts, sending out its first direct-mail appeal from" Pelosi 12/6, which DCCC spokesperson Mark Nevins said "brought in the largest one-day financial take ever recorded at the committee ... although he would not say how much was raised." Nevins: "People are incredibly energized by leader Pelosi. That is reflected in the overwhelming response we got." Both developments "come amid rising criticism that Pelosi's continued silence about the next" DCCC "is hamstringing efforts to remain competitive" in '04. A "senior" Dem leadership aide said the delay gives the DSCC "a head start ... in the race for hard dollars." Some "well-placed" Dems also "expressed concern that Pelosi was planning a major house-cleaning of the current" DCCC finance staff. On Pelosi's leadership problems: "It is certainly not helpful." Questions "surrounding the role the DCCC will play in House elections given these fundraising constraints have made Pelosi's job of recruiting a chairman much more difficult than in past cycles." Candidates "who have shied away" from the post, including Reps. Ed Markey (D-MA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Robert Matsui (D-CA) "greatly outnumbers those who have expressed an interest in it": '02 DCCC chair Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) "is not interested in a return engagement, and only Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) "has made his desire for the job publicly known." Rep. Martin Frost (D-TX) "is also mentioned, although most observers believe it is unlikely Pelosi will install a longtime nemesis in a leadership post" (12/19). ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE... Roll Call's Crabtree reports, incoming House Maj. Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) "plans to offer a change to current House rules that would eliminate the eight-year GOP term limit on the Speakership." House Speaker Dennis Hastert's (R-IL) "term limit will expire at the beginning of" '07, but "has repeatedly denied perennial, widespread speculation that he is contemplating retirement." Blunt said there is absolutely "no movement for [Hastert] to leave" and denied "that his actions are aimed at motivating Hastert to stay on as Speaker or to leave before his term limit expires": "There needs to be a strong sense of continuity -- a strong sense that the person who is making a commitment to you has every opportunity to maintain that commitment. The job benefits from consistency and continuity." Hastert spokesperson John Feehery "said his boss would keep his opinion about the rules change to himself in order to allow the Conference to work its will on the matter. It's something for the Conference to decide. Obviously he is not a disinterested observer. He is obviously going to be impacted by this decision, but he'd rather have the Conference decide." Feehery "also dismissed any speculation" that Hastert "would retire soon": "He really enjoys his job and is excited about the next term as Speaker." Even though "Blunt's name has been bandied about as a potential successor to Hastert whenever he decides to leave Congress, Blunt denied that his future plans played any role" in the proposal: "The whip job is not the popularity contest job in our Conference. I think it is a mistake for the whip to worry about what we're going to do next. ... I'm focused on doing this job the very best I can." Blunt informed Hastert, incoming House Maj. Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) and Conference Chairwoman Deborah Pryce (R-OH) "of his plans in a meeting earlier this week," explaining: "Leadership limits just don't make sense ... We want to make sure that Members are not immediately calculating whether the Speaker will be around." Pryce: "This is definitely a good thing regardless of when Denny Hastert is going to leave," she said. "He isn't a lame duck, but that's what term limits would do. This certainly isn't something that he's asked for. He's still free to go whenever he wants. This just gives him the ability to be in control while not becoming a lame duck" (12/19). WE'LL SIT THIS ONE OUT, THANKS In "stark contrast" to Senate GOPers' "public struggle over the fate of" Senate GOP leader Trent Lott (R-MS), "the top four members of the newly elected House GOP leadership team met privately earlier this week to lay the groundwork for a smooth transition." The Lott controversy "has consumed Washington's chattering class for nearly two weeks and has drowned out any talk of next year's legislative agenda." Pryce, on the matter: "It won't make the overall picture any easier. We still operate as a House, we still have our job to do. I don't think it will make our job that much harder, but it might make things more uncertain. We're still ready to roll. It's important to get our act together and hopefully [the Senate] will be able to do the same sooner rather than later." DeLay "declined to comment about any distraction the Lott feeding frenzy has caused to their planning process and also would not say whether he wanted Lott to stay or go": "I'm not touching that with a 6-foot pole. The Senate has to do what they have to do" (Crabtree, Roll Call, 12/19). THE DEMS WILL NOT BE TELEVISED? Washington Post's Eilperin reports the DCCC's Harriman Center, "which allows lawmakers to cut commercials, provide digital tours of the Capitol and do interviews with reporters in their districts," may "disappear altogether now that the national political parties cannot accept" soft money. Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA): "They kept me on television every week. [The staff] can give you political advice. These guys are trying to make you look good because they're Democrats." DCCC exec dir. Howard Wolfson said the cmte "is laying off the center's five unionized employees ... at least until it moves back into the party's headquarters," adding: "Campaign finance reform will mean a smaller committee. The next chair needs to weigh the services provided by the Harriman Center against the costs of running it in a post-McCain-Feingold era." Pelosi spokesperson Brendan Daley "said a final decision has not been made on the center": "We understand it's a very valuable service the Harriman Center provides, and we would like to continue offering that service to members." NRCC spokesperson Steve Schmidt "said he is confident his party will be able to provide members with television services": "Because of our ability to mine hard dollars, we will not have to close vital operations like our TV center. The committee will be a little leaner, a little smaller, but it's going to be involved in campaigns across the country in a very substantial way." Watchdog group Democracy 21 head Fred Wertheimer: "The bottom line here is, everyone's in a new world, where they have to operate with hard money" (12/19).

12/19/2002
Centrists Mixed on Pelosi Vote
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Centrists Mixed on Pelosi Vote

BY Ethan Wallison

Democratic insiders are predicting that a small group of party centrists and vulnerable incumbents will abandon Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D) in next month's Speakership election in an effort to distance themselves from the liberal California lawmaker. Some knowledgeable insiders suggest the vote could amount to the largest defection from one party's candidate for Speaker since nine Republicans deserted Rep. Newt Gingrich (R) in 1997, amid swirling ethics allegations against the Georgia lawmaker. "There's little doubt in my mind that there are a lot of Members who are weighing how they are going to deal with this vote for Speaker," said one senior party strategist, who indicated that "multiple" Members have sought out his advice on the matter. "A number of people are saying grace over this together." But some centrists, such as Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), have signaled that they will support Pelosi in the largely symbolic vote at the beginning of the 108th Congress. "He's as firm for Pelosi as [a moderate Democrat] can be," Bishop spokesman Selby McCash said. Nevertheless, one senior Democratic aide noted, "For many people, they consider [a vote for Pelosi to be] political suicide." Already Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.), a member of the party's conservative Blue Dog Coalition, has indicated that he will once again back Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) in the vote for Speaker. Insiders say there is little chance Pelosi will receive votes from other conservatives such as Reps. Ralph Hall (D-Texas) and Ken Lucas (D-Ky.), who only recently flirted with switching parties. Neither Hall nor Lucas could be reached for comment this week. A senior Pelosi aide noted that in every Congress there tends to be one or two Democrats who vote against the party's candidate for Speaker, but indicated that no one has yet "detected any evidence" of any significant opposition to the California lawmaker. "If it's a political problem for some people then it's something we'll have to discuss with them in the weeks to come," the aide said, while indicating it is the leadership's "preference" - not its demand - that Members back Pelosi. "We're not here to kill people," the aide said. Uneasiness about Pelosi - but specifically with her liberal credentials - has been evident among moderate Democrats since the California lawmaker was first elected to the leadership as the party Whip. First Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and later Reps. Martin Frost (D-Texas) and Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) all sought to challenge Pelosi's climb through the leadership ranks by tapping this anxiety and suggesting that she would serve as a useful symbol for Republicans hoping to paint the Democrats as a party of intransigent liberals. That message would appear to have some traction in the Caucus. In spite of an 11th-hour start, Ford received 29 votes in his leadership matchup with Pelosi last month. In fact, many party strategists doubt that Pelosi will pose a problem for Democrats seeking re-election in 2004, in spite of her ideology. Bob Doyle, a political consultant who has worked with a number of party moderates, noted that voters are most likely to make judgments about the Democrats from observing the party's nominee for president, not from its leader in the House. Doyle, who has often in the past clashed with party leaders over ideology, said moderates are likely to find reason for optimism in Pelosi's reign as leader. "My belief is that she will see [the next two years] as a tremendous challenge, and will go out of her way to find a leadership agenda that will be good for these people," Doyle said. GOP strategists did in fact seek to link conservative Democrats such as Lincoln Davis (Tenn.) and Rodney Alexander (La.) to Pelosi in the just-completed election cycle. Both candidates won, but insiders suggest that neither is expected to back Pelosi for the Speakership. At least one outside group, Citizens for a Sound Economy, which promotes tax cuts and other conservative economic policies, has begun an effort to undermine Pelosi's tally - the Speakership election is a recorded vote - by seeking to pressure Democrats elected from relatively conservative districts. "If Nancy Pelosi wants to take radical positions, that is her own business, but she shouldn't lead other Democrats down the same path to economic and political oblivion," CSE said in a press release this week. CSE indicated it has targeted 14 moderates, who are identified on the campaign's Web site, http://www.notpelosi.com. They are Bishop, Ford, Hall, Lucas and Taylor, plus Reps. Marion Berry (Ark.), Leonard Boswell (Iowa), Brad Carson (Okla.), Bud Cramer (Ala.), Chris John (La.), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Max Sandlin (Texas) and Charlie Stenholm (Texas). CSE is likely to find that some of those targeted are not at all susceptible to whatever pressure is brought to bear. Berry, Peterson and Sandlin, for instance, are longtime Pelosi allies who supported her publicly through her first forays into leadership politics. Bishop, who is someone who has to rely on Pelosi's goodwill for a seat on the Appropriations Committee - or, alternatively, to take over for her as the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee - is a more recent ally.

12/19/2002
Economic Group Hopes to Undercut Pelosi's Rise to Prominence
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Economic Group Hopes to Undercut Pelosi's Rise to Prominence

BY Chad Groening

(AgapePress) - A Washington, DC, activist group is urging moderate House Democrats not to "rubber-stamp" the selection of Nancy Pelosi as the new minority leader, because of her radical voting on economic issues. Citizens for a Sound Economy calls itself a non-partisan grassroots group dedicated to lower taxes, less government, and more freedom. Spokesman Chris Kinnan says the CSE has rated members of Congress on 20 economic issues -- and Democrat Nancy Pelosi scored a perfect zero.

12/18/2002
All We Want for Christmas is PERS Reform!
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Press Release

All We Want for Christmas is PERS Reform!

The best Christmas present all Oregonians could receive is a long-term solution to the PERS crisis that continues to threaten the health and future of our state. While politicians in Salem continue to debate how best to address the latest biennium fiscal crisis, they ignore the most pressing fiscal problem facing the state, namely, the exploding unfunded costs of the state’s Public Employees Retirements System (PERS). Originally designed as a “competitive” pension system to allow state and local government to attract and retain talented people, PERS quickly morphed into a taxpayer-financed orgy for public employees with total unfunded liability currently estimated to range between $11.5 and $15.7 billion. If the legislature does not take immediate steps to rectify the problem, funding for schools, fire and police departments, and basic government services will be in jeopardy.

12/18/2002
Let the Confirmation Process Begin
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Press Release

Let the Confirmation Process Begin

When Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist lamented on the pace of judicial confirmations during the 107th Congress, you knew that something was wrong with the process in the Senate. Rehnquist solemnly wrote in his yearly review of the judiciary: in “times such as these, the role of the courts becomes even more important in order to enforce the rule of law. To continue functioning effectively and efficiently, however, the courts must be appropriately staffed. This means that…judicial vacancies must be timely filled with well-qualified candidates.” Moreover, when the editors at Washington Post bemoaned the dawdling rate at which President Bush’s judicial nominees were voted on -- let alone scheduled for a hearing in the Judiciary Committee – it’s a good indicator that someone or party stonewalled and hijacked the confirmation process.

12/18/2002
Alternative Minimum Monster
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Press Release

Alternative Minimum Monster

Taxes targeting the rich eventually end up hitting the average guy. For example. when the modern federal income tax became law in 1913, Congress intended to only tap the wealthiest Americans. Rates ranged from 1 percent to 7 percent, and well over 90 percent of the population was exempt from filing. Of course, today, income tax rates range from 10 percent to nearly 40 percent, and the income tax takes from all but the poorest workers.

12/18/2002
Rubinomics Revisited
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Press Release

Rubinomics Revisited

Speculation that the new Republican Congress may propose a sizeable tax cut as its first order of business in the New Year has lead many to question whether our nation can “afford” to reduce tax rates. A steady drumbeat of opposition has manifested itself in the pages of left-of-center publications and on Wall Street, where bankers fear increased deficits will reduce the price of their agglomeration of Treasury notes and depress corporate borrowing and the underwriting fees associated with it.

12/18/2002
Taxes, Spending, and Deficits
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Press Release

Taxes, Spending, and Deficits

Fiscal policy is making a comeback in Washington. President Bush underscored this point with a recent economic policy shake-up that included replacing the Treasury Secretary and the White House economic adviser. With a sluggish economy and the return of deficit spending, Republican Washington realizes that remaining in power will require an agenda broader than war in Iraq. Democrats, on the other hand, accuse the president of irresponsible tax cuts and a weak domestic policy agenda.

12/18/2002

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