Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times, published October 1, 2000
Report: FBI expands tape probe
WASHINGTON -- The FBI has expanded its investigation to determine if superiors of an employee of George W. Bush's media consultant were involved in sending a Bush debate tape to his Democratic opponent, the Associated Press reported.
Bush expressed confidence that none of his supporters were involved and the media consultant, Mark McKinnon, helped him prepare on Saturday for the debate at his ranch outside Crawford, Texas.
"I'm confident that nobody who supports my candidacy would have mailed the tape," Bush said. "I look forward to finding out who it is."
Asked if he would fire anyone if a theft were discovered, he said, "If I found somebody stealing from our campaign? I sure would."
McKinnon said he didn't believe his employee, Yvette Lozano, had anything to do with mailing the debate tape to an Al Gore confidant. "I'm just anxious to get this resolved," McKinnon said.
Chief Bush strategist Karl Rove and several Bush advisers said they have confidence in McKinnon, and there are no signs of finger-pointing between advisers. The campaign has also defended Lozano, the initial focus of the FBI investigation.
The FBI questioned Rove on Saturday for about 30 minutes at Bush campaign headquarters in Austin, said Dan Bartlett, a Bush spokesman. He called the questions routine, involving Rove's access to debate material and about the material itself.
The AP reported that a federal law enforcement official said Saturday that the bureau has opened a full criminal investigation in the matter. Previously the bureau was conducting a preliminary inquiry and officials had thought it could take some time.
Opening a full criminal investigation means agents and prosecutors are more confident of the evidence they have in hand, and are more confident that some federal statute has been violated and are closer to resolution.
Campaign officials were surprised by news of the expanded FBI probe.
Karen Hughes, Bush's director of communications, said the FBI has not contacted the campaign since last week when FBI director Louis Freeh spoke with campaign manager Joe Allbaugh and assured him the agency was taking the investigation seriously. She questioned why details of the probe were leaked.
"I hope that someone in Washington is not playing politics with the investigation," Hughes said.
Bush aides say they suspect the material was illegally obtained by a junior staff member or -- more likely, they say -- by somebody who gained access to McKinnon's firm through an editing company in the same building. A security lapse may have given somebody the opportunity to copy the material illegally, aides say.
Bush sends message of support to Christian Coalition meeting
WASHINGTON -- George W. Bush reaffirmed his support for the Christian Coalition's values Saturday in a three-minute videotaped address meant to soothe any hard feelings created by his absence from their convention.
"Should I be elected, I will lead our nation toward a culture that values life, the life of the elderly and the sick, the life of the young and the life of the unborn," Bush said. He didn't explain why he initially hadn't intended to speak.
Addressing abortion, which is high on the list of concerns at the convention, Bush said good people disagree on the issue, but everyone should seek ways to promote adoption and parental notification.
"And when Congress sends me a bill against partial-birth abortion, I will sign it into law," he added.
Bush outlined his support for cutting taxes, restoring children's moral values and reforming Social Security and education.
"Like Ronald Reagan, I believe that the freedom we cherish ultimately depends on the values our families teach," Bush said.
Clinton's task: energize N.Y.'s black voters in Giuliani's absence
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Hillary Rodham Clinton, trying to stitch together a coalition that will carry her to the U.S. Senate, faces a stiffer test in making sure blacks go the polls since New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani left the race.
Her success at mobilizing the black vote could determine the outcome of a close race against her new Republican rival, Rick Lazio, a congressman from Long Island who has not generated the sort of animosity among blacks that the mayor did.
"With Giuliani in the race, there would have been an avalanche" of black votes for Clinton, said state Comptroller H. Carl McCall, the only black person ever elected to statewide office in New York.
"The difference is, we'll need a bigger effort to energize the community, but it will be energized on the basis of the issues that Hillary Clinton has been talking about," said McCall, a Democrat considering a run for governor in 2002.
Some black leaders insist she must do more.
"We all knew why we didn't want Giuliani in the Senate," said the Rev. Al Sharpton, a prominent New York City activist. "With Giuliani out, you've got to give us a reason to put you in the Senate, and I'm not sure that has been done."
© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727-893-8111
From the Times wire desk
From the AP