Political File

News, notes and anecdotes
on government and politics

Monday, October 28, 2002

Former Bush aide Hughes
joins Hawaii political fray

One of President Bush's longtime advisers is in the islands this week to help the Hawaii Republican Party as the general election campaign moves into its final week.

Karen Hughes, considered to be one of the most influential female White House advisers ever, will be the featured guest at a $500-a-ticket fund-raiser for the party in Waikiki tonight, Hawaii Republican Party Chairman Micah Kane confirmed Thursday.

Hughes also attended a professional women's breakfast this morning, he said.

Hughes is the second prominent Republican to come to Hawaii this month. On Wednesday night, Environmental Protection Agency head Christie Whitman attended a fund-raising dinner for the GOP's gubernatorial candidate, Linda Lingle.

Former President Bill Clinton is coming this week to stump for the Democratic ticket of Mazie Hirono and Matt Matsunaga.

Kane said Hughes visit is "not really" intended to counter Clinton's visit.

"Our thoughts on Bill Clinton is that it cuts both ways. It can hurt them as much as he can help them," Kane said. "And the time when integrity is at the top of people's mind and the trust in government, he's not the guy I'd want giving my party line in the final days in the most important election of our state."

Congressional talk

Though they did not get the chance to debate, the two candidates vying for Hawaii's 1st Congressional District appeared together for the first time at a forum in Honolulu's Chinatown community.

Instead, Democratic U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie and little-known Republican challenger Mark Terry each took turns to address about 100 members of the Chinese community at a forum sponsored by the Chinese Community Action Coalition.

Abercrombie, who spoke first and left before Terry issued a challenge to debate him, promised to continue working to aid members of Hawaii's immigrant community.

"As your representative in the United States Congress, I have worked very hard with all the immigrant coalition groups, to see to it that every immigrant and every immigrant family has service from our office," said Abercrombie, who is running for his seventh term in office.

Candidates had 10 minutes to address the crowd, but had to allow time for their comments to be interpreted in Cantonese for the audience.

Terry, an auto detailer, spoke of his record as a neighborhood board chairman and pledged to back tax cuts.

"If you send me to Washington with your votes, I will vote against too much spending," Terry said. "I would vote to cut your taxes, so you will have more money. I will remember the poor and the working people."

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