Bush administration officials, headed by U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, have promised to help protect Rep. Robin Hayes from a backlash in his closely contested North Carolina district caused by his vote for the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).
Rep. Phil English of Pennsylvania, sponsor of a House-passed bill authorizing retaliatory tariffs against China, traveled to Charlotte in Hayes's district Monday to help him out. English praised Hayes for supporting his bill, as both argued that China -- not Central America -- is the threat to the United States.
A footnote: Republican leaders were unhappy that House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter, representing a safe district, voted against CAFTA and thereby forced Hayes to cast his politically risky vote. As a standing committee chairman, Hunter was expected to follow the Republican Party line.
HILLARY IN NANTUCKET
Although Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is awash with contributions to finance her 2006 re-election campaign in New York, a large local newspaper advertisement solicits vacationers to pay $1,000 per person to attend a two-hour reception Friday evening in Nantucket, Mass.
The quarter-page ad in the Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror gives "President William Jefferson Clinton" second billing under his wife as a "special guest." The event will be held at Innisfree, the palatial mansion of liberal socialites Smith and Elizabeth Bagley. Mrs. Bagley was U.S. ambassador to Portugal during the Clinton administration.
The contact for the fund-raiser is Dan Turrentine, the Washington-based national financial director for "Friends of Hillary."