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Reagan Legacy… Dissing DC?

Reagan legacy

Deirdre Shesgreen Jon Sawyer Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau

November 9, 2003
Copyright © 2003
St. Louis Post-Dispatch. All rights reserved. 

Grover Norquist, the Republican tax-cut impresario, was meeting with a group of Washington reporters for breakfast the other day when he ostentatiously took a cell-phone call - and then announced, with considerable glee, that CBS had just pulled a docudrama that presented Ronald Reagan in what some considered a less than favorable light.

Norquist, a leader of the "Reagan legacy" project, aimed at commemorating the former president in as many places as possible, said that campaign was going full steam ahead. The group was considering pitching statehood for Puerto Rico, he quipped, so long as the new state was called "Reagan."

And for those still grousing over the addition of Reagan's name to Washington's National Airport, Norquist said he'd like to see every airport in America named for the Gipper. Wouldn't that be confusing?

"I don't see why," he said. "After all, they're all called 'airports,' aren't they?"

Jon Sawyer

Dissing DC?

Al Sharpton, if nothing else, loves making his Democratic rivals squirm. And that he did this past week with twin jabs on the hot-button issue of race.

First, he went after Howard Dean for the ex-Vermont governor's remark that he wanted to "be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags" in their trucks. Sharpton's demand that Dean apologize put him in the spotlight for a nanosecond, but it's not a move that's likely to help the Democrats craft a viable Southern strategy.

The next day, Sharpton questioned all his rivals' sincerity in courting black voters with promises of statehood for the majority-black District of Columbia.

With great fanfare and many TV cameras in tow, Sharpton became the first candidate to file for the District's presidential primary. Set for Jan. 13, ahead of the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, the District's nonbinding "beauty contest" defies Democratic Party rules that give deference to those two states.

District officials chose the early date to protest the lack of representation in Congress for residents of the district. The move has the Democratic contenders in a tight spot, wanting to court black voters without irking residents of Iowa and New Hampshire, who fiercely guard their first-in-the-nation status.

After filing his papers Wednesday, Sharpton said, "My actively running in this primary is a signal that we can't talk out of both sides of our mouth. You can't pay lip service to D.C. statehood if you don't pay hip service to the D.C. primary."

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