The Republican presidential primary race is quickly approaching its conclusion, Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., predicted before headlining a campaign rally for presidential candidate John McCain at an American Legion hall in Phoenix on Friday.
Kyl foresees a McCain victory.
“He’s poised to win in Florida, and once that happens, he’s got all of the momentum going into Feb. 5,” Kyl said.
Florida’s primary is set for Tuesday, and since that state awards the Republican winner all 57 of its delegates, it’s a coveted race. Exactly a week later, 24 states, including Arizona, conduct their nominating elections and caucuses on Super Duper Tuesday.
“Of course, he’ll win big in Arizona,” Kyl said about his fellow Arizona senator.
“With the win in Florida and the strength he should have coming out of Feb. 5, that should be — pretty much — the race. I’m not going to call it, but it looks very, very good for him,” Kyl said.
Even a close second-place finish to Mitt Romney would set up McCain to do well on Feb. 5, he said.
KYL OPPOSES STIMULUS
With a few minutes remaining before the start of the Mc-Cain presidential campaign rally on Friday, Kyl offered his assessment of the proposed economic stimulus package developing in Congress.
Kyl, the Senate’s secondranking Republican, doesn’t support the plan at all.
The proposed $150 billion tax rebate program would distribute $600 each to 117 million eligible taxpayers earning $75,000 or less a year. That comes to $1,200 for a couple earning a combined $150,000 or less a year. Plus, $300 for each child.
“What don’t you like about it?” he was asked.
“Um, how much time do we have?” Kyl replied.
Keeping in mind that the McCain rally was scheduled to begin shortly, Kyl offered the condensed version of his concerns.
“First of all, it’s a great reinvestment,” he said sarcastically.
“They take 1 percent of the (gross domestic product) and they’re expecting a return of seven-10ths of a percent. Now, you wouldn’t stay in business long with that kind of a return — and that’s an optimistic forecast,” he said.
Kyl ticked off other reasons.
“It adds dramatically to the deficit. I don’t think it will stimulate the economy very much. And there are better ways to do it,” he said.
Most important, the tax rebate package currently being produced in the House won’t be the final version. Senate Democrats are talking about expanding it, Kyl said. The final version could end up totaling $30 billion or $40 billion more — or even fatter still.
Despite Kyl’s personal reservations, he expects the measure to pass.
“Politicians want to do something,” he said.
If the measure stays on track and President Bush signs it, $1,200 wide-screen televisions could start disappearing from store shelves in May.
There’s only one place where time moves slower than at the state Motor Vehicle Division. That’s at campaign events.
Consider Tuesday night’s rally for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton at Cesar Chavez High School in Laveen.
The New York senator initially was set to speak at 6 p.m., but the start time was rolled back to 7:30 p.m. throughout the day. No one at the rally had any serious expectations that 7:30 p.m. was any more firm than 6 p.m. had been.
People packed in the school gym starting about 4 p.m., waved signs and grooved to loud pop and rock music while they killed time waiting.
At 8:08 p.m., the flag presentation began.
At 8:11 p.m., Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox and former Senate candidate Jim Pederson took the stage and set the mood. “Have you had enough of George Bush for the last eight years? Are you ready to make history and elect the first woman president?” Wilcox asked the crowd of 2,500 inside the gym and several thousand more in overflow areas.
At 8:20 p.m., a campaign worker told the crowd how she met Clinton years earlier at the White House.
At 8:26 p.m., U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor’s wife spoke about her.
At 8:47 p.m., Cesar Chavez’s grandson and Clinton took the stage.
At 8:50 p.m., Chavez’s grandson led the group in prayer.
At 8:53 p.m., Clinton uttered her first words — nearly three hours after she was initially scheduled to speak.
Campaign insiders call it Political Standard Time.
After finally appearing at the rally Tuesday, Hillary Clinton seemed to enjoy the event.
She looked fresh and rested and talked easily with the crowd, often bringing those attending to laughter, mocking boos for President Bush, or to screaming cheers that drowned out her own voice on the public address system.
Two of her best lines came during a discussion about lessening the country’s dependency on foreign oil and developing renewable energy sources.
On foreign oil: “We’ve now got a $9 trillion debt. And we’re borrowing money from everybody. You hear about us borrowing money from China and Japan and rich countries like that. We even borrow money from Mexico now. You know, one way to think about it is we borrow money from China to buy oil from the Saudis. That is not a smart strategy for America.”
On Germany’s creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs developing solar power during the past three years: “Now I’m not a climatologist, but you know, it’s been my observation that Arizona has a lot more sunny days than Germany.”
Hillary Clinton even demonstrated a Bill Clintonesque touch during her campaign speech Tuesday by turning an interruption into a rallying point.
At the time, Hillary Clinton was talking to the crowd about global warming.
She said, “We need a new job creation source, and the best way for us to do this is through clean, renewable energy and to combat global warming. I want you to think about this: If we got serious about energy efficiency —”
A loudmouth screamed, “Al Gore!”
Clinton said, “If we got serious … You’re right! Al Gore was right! And we should have been able to do ...” She continued to make her point, but by then it was impossible to discern what she was saying because the pro-Gore crowd was screaming so loudly.
TITLA’S SON IN ARMY
The war in Iraq became more than just a political talking point for U.S. House candidate Mary Kim Titla earlier this month.
Her son, Micah Mosley, 17, left for U.S. Army basic training Jan. 17 in Fort Benning, Ga.
“He said he wanted to serve his country. We’re very proud of him,” Titla said. “My grandfather and great-grandfathers served in the military, as well as his paternal grandfather. He follows an honorable family tradition.”
Titla and her husband, John Mosley, have three sons.
Titla favors a phased withdrawal from Iraq, and supports U.S. troops stationed around the world, she said.
She is one of four Democrats seeking their party’s nomination in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District, which spans vast portions of the northern, central and eastern parts of the state, including parts of Pinal County.
The other Democratic candidates are cab company employee Jeffrey Brown, former state Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, and environmental attorney Howard Shanker.
On the Republican side, the lone announced candidate is radio talk show host Sydney Hay. Republican incumbent Rick Renzi is under FBI investigation for possible public corruption and is not seeking re-election.