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web posted February 28, 2000

McCain claims key wins in Arizona, Michigan

Arizona Sen. John McCain scored key wins in the Michigan and Arizona GOP primaries on February 22, reinvigorating his campaign's momentum and sending it barreling toward the essential March 7 multiple-state primaries.

"What a difference a couple of days makes," McCain exclaimed at his victory speech in Phoenix on victory night, in reference to his stumble in South Carolina. "We took on the 'iron triangle' of big money, lobbyists and legislation, and we won another battle."

McCain's harrowing loss to Texas Gov. George W. Bush in the South Carolina Republican primary was a potentially devastating blow to his self-described "insurgent campaign." Campaign aides set their sights on Michigan as a must-win state, and droves of independent and Democratic voters delivered the state to the Arizona senator.

Bush told a crowd of supporters crammed into an airplane hangar that though he had lost, he was proud to have taken "68 percent" of the Republican vote in Michigan.

"When you're looking at Republicans who voted (in Michigan), you're looking at the candidate who got 68 percent of the vote," Bush said, adding that he needed to appeal to core Republicans and independents in California when the Golden State's voters cast primary votes on March 7.

"I want your help," he said. "I need your help."

Bush congratulated McCain for running a successful campaign in Michigan, but did not make mention of McCain's victory in Arizona.

Polling data indicated that a stunning number of Democrats and independents turned out to vote in Michigan through the course of the day -- and their combined numbers represented some 52 percent of the state's electorate.

Some 35 percent of the people who cast votes in Michigan described themselves as independent, while 17 percent said they were Democrats. That leaves a Republican turnout -- for the state's Republican primary -- at only 48 percent.

Of the registered Republicans who cast votes in Michigan, 67 percent said they voted for Bush, 25 percent for McCain, and 8 percent for other candidates, including Keyes and some third party hopefuls.

Of the self-described Democrats who voted in Michigan, a whopping 82 percent cast votes for McCain, 13 percent for Bush, and 5 percent for other candidates, according to estimates.

Bush chief campaign strategist Karl Rove told CNN that the Michigan numbers belied the reality of the GOP faithful, who he said voted "4 to 1" for Bush over McCain.

"While we are improving among independents, (McCain) is dropping among Republicans," Rove said. Rove said such numbers added up to "bad news" for the McCain campaign.

McCain enjoyed a significant victory at home in Arizona. Polling data showed that 54 percent of the Republicans who voted in the state voted for McCain, who has represented Arizona in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate for 17 years.

Forty-two percent of Arizona Republicans cast votes for Bush. Sixty percent of those who voted in Arizona's Republican primary and said they had lived in the state for more than 10 years voted for McCain, and 75 percent of the people who voted for McCain said they believed he had the right temperament to become president -- despite persistent rumors of his allegedly foul temper.

Arizona's Republican primary was "closed," meaning only registered Republicans could cast votes.

"We scored a great victory here, in the place that has always mattered so much to me, my beautiful Arizona," McCain said.

China, Taiwan face off in war of words

China repeated a clear warning to Taiwan on February 22: Come to the negotiating table to discuss reunification or face military action.

"If the Taiwanese authorities refuse peaceful negotiation to solve the reunification issues, China will have no choice but to take all measures including the use of force to defend its territorial integrity," said Chinese Foreign Minister spokesman Zhu Bangzao.

Zhu was reiterating a government policy paper, released the day before, warning that time is running out for Taiwan to sit down and talk with Beijing about the sensitive issue.

But the government in Taipei cautioned China to be flexible, and accept that Taiwan and China are separate and ruled by separate governments.

"Communist China's continual denial of the existence of the Republic of China is going to create more trouble for the two sides and make the relations more tense," said Lin Chong-pin, vice chairman of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, referring to Taiwan by its official name.

Lin called on the two governments to return to the 1992 consensus acknowledging "one China" comprised of two components, each free to define that one China as it sees fit.

China's release of the strongly-worded policy paper seemed timed to coincide with the approach of Taiwan's second direct presidential election, scheduled for March 18. During the last election, in 1996, China held war games in waters off the island, prompting the United States to send warships into the region as a safeguard.

The United States again warned it would not look kindly on the use of force.

"We have repeated, in I think both actions and words, that we view any threat to Taiwan with grave concern," said White House spokesman Joe Lockhart in Washington.

Lockhart said the United States believes "peaceful dialogue and bilateral engagement" to be the answers to the east China problems, but said the country would not hesitate to respond if China attacks Taiwan.

"In 1996 we responded appropriately to what we viewed was a threat," Lockhart said. "That should give you some indication of how we view this situation."

Hollywood backs Hillary for N.Y. Senate seat...Yes, we're shocked as well

What do Sean "Puffy" Combs, Barbra Streisand and Tom Cruise have in common? They are all donors to First Lady Hillary Clinton's campaign to become New York's next senator.

The entertainment industry has embraced Mrs. Clinton's campaign, giving a total of $437 000 to her Senate effort, according to a Center for Responsive Politics report. As a group, only lawyers, who added more than $667 000 to her campaign coffers, have provided more support to Clinton.

Walt Disney Co. and its Miramax Films division, in particular, were enthusiastic supporters of the first lady, coughing up a total of $56 650 in donations. Even though Clinton is running to represent another state, Los Angeles residents wrote checks worth $408 000 to her Senate campaign.

Larry Makinson of the Center for Responsive Politics said it is highly unusual for Hollywood to emerge as the second largest category of support for someone who is not running from California. "She has a profile that makes it look like she is running from the heart of Hollywood," he declared.

But Makinson said it should not be surprising that Mrs. Clinton has such stellar donors after spending eight years in the White House. "She has amazing connections."

Among the other notable contributors are: actors Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, Martin Short, Susan Saint James, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Diane Keaton, Harvey Keitel, Nicole Kidman, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Kyle MacLachlan, Blythe Danner, Cicely Tyson, Jane Alexander, Kate Capshaw, Carrie Fisher and Jamie Gertz; directors Rob Reiner, Ted Demme and Martin Scorsese; executives Frank Biondi, David Geffen, Harvey Weinstein, Aaron Spelling, Russell Simmons, Gary Goldberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Norman Lear, George Stevens, Lew Wasserman and Edgar Bronfman Jr; rockers Don Henley and Jimmy Buffett; fashion designers Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Oscar De La Renta, Vera Wang; author Richard North Patterson; and rock widow Gail Zappa, former model Christie Brinkley, writer Elaine May, publisher Tina Brown and humorist Al Franken.

During 1999, Mrs. Clinton raised more than $8 million, the majority of which came from individuals giving $1 000 or more.

Europeans shocked over spy charge

Europeans reacted sharply on February 24 to reports that a U.S.-led spy network snoops on billions of private phone calls, faxes and e-mails.

Allegations that the bugging network is eavesdropping on Europe's businesses were unveiled the day before in a report commissioned by the European Parliament.

Despite denials from governments named in the report, the head of the EU's assembly called for strong action.

"We have every reason to be shocked at the fact that this form of espionage, which has been going on for a number of years, has not prompted any official protest," European Parliament Speaker Nicole Fontaine said.

The report inspired demands for further investigation. European leaders called the report shocking and said people should to be wary about what they say electronically.

"It's like a technological nightmare extracted from the crazy conspiracy theories of the X-Files," wrote the leading Portuguese daily Publico. The Dutch daily "De Telegraaf" headlined its story: "U.S. guilty of misuse of satellites."

The EU Commission has not said whether it will launch an investigation into the allegations, but commission officials said they are "very concerned."

The U.S.-led intelligence group, called Echelon, also includes Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It was set up at the beginning of the Cold War in 1947 and gradually grew to include a network of surveillance-interception stations spread across the globe.

An earlier report said firms in EU nations lose several billion dollars per year as a result of corporate espionage. Allegations that Echelon carries out such spying against fellow European allies have met with deep concern, especially from the French, who themselves are members of a wider intelligence ring connected to Echelon.

"We have to be as prudent as possible in the transmission of data. Such data must never contain vital information, especially when its relayed by retransmission satellite ... with international connections," Justice Minister Elisabeth Guigou told the National Assembly in Paris.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair denied the reports outright on a visit to EU headquarters the day of the report's release.

"'No' is the short answer to that. These things are governed by extremely strict rules and those rules will always be applied properly," Blair said.

In Washington, State Department spokesman James P. Rubin denied any involvement in commercial espionage by the National Security Agency. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said her department does not comment on "actual or alleged intelligence activities."

"But as our spokesman said, the NSA is not authorized to provide intelligence information to private firms, and that agency acts in strict accordance with U.S. law," Albright said.

The report on Echelon was written by a British investigative journalist, Duncan Campbell. Campbell said most international Internet communications are being routed through the United States - and through nine known NSA interception sites.

Intelligence facilities can easily tap into "billions of messages per hour," including telephone calls, fax transmissions and private e-mails, he said. He urged the EU to take action to protect against unwanted interception of communications, insisting the interceptions violate human rights.

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