A Duel Is for the Burrs, VP Says


The partisan sniping this election cycle has produced plenty of vitriol but no actual violence -- yet.

Both Vice President Dick Cheney and Sen. Zell Miller (D-Ga.), the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention, have mentioned dueling in the last two weeks.

First Miller, angry at MSNBC host Chris Matthews’ persistent questioning on the Sept. 1 edition of “Hardball,” told Matthews: “I wish we lived in the day where you could challenge a person to a duel.”


Cheney talked about it when asked about Miller’s comment during a radio interview in Des Moines on Tuesday.

“That brought back memories of when Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton went at it 200 years ago,” Cheney said, referring to the duel in which the vice president, Burr, killed former Treasury Secretary Hamilton in 1804. “I’m not sure we want to revert to that form of confrontation.”

Radio host Jan Mickelson then volunteered to serve as Cheney’s second, should the VP want to defend his honor against Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). Harkin recently called the vice president a coward for receiving several deferments from military service as a young man.

“I assume probably 200 years ago, those would have been grounds” for a duel, Cheney said of Harkin’s remark. “But dueling did go out some time ago. I expect I won’t need your services,” he told Mickelson, “but I’ll keep you in mind.”


Tough Decisions

Sen. John F. Kerry has been accused by his Republican critics of being wishy-washy and wavering on matters of national security -- a claim he adamantly denies.

But when it comes to ordering in a restaurant, the Democratic presidential candidate admits he sometimes has difficulty.


During a Labor Day stop in Canonsburg, Pa., Kerry praised a local restaurant because the choices were limited to whatever the cook decided to serve.

“My kind of place, you know, because when they give you the menu, I’m always struggling,” the Massachusetts senator said. “He just gives you what he’s got, right? You don’t have to order. It’s whatever he’s cooked up that day, and I think that’s the way it ought to work for confused people like me who can’t make up our minds.”


Who’s Counting?

$106,124,400: Estimated amount spent on TV ads by President Bush’s campaign and pro-Republican groups since March.

$181,792,922: Estimated amount spent on TV ads by the Kerry campaign or pro-Democratic groups in the same period.

127,628: Number of Bush campaign or pro-GOP spots that have aired since March.

244,435: Number of Kerry campaign or pro-Democratic spots that have aired in the same period.

Source: Campaign Media Analysis Group


Duly Quoted

“If we only included bake sales and how much money kids make at lemonade stands, this economy would really be cooking.” -- Sen. John Edwards, responding to Cheney’s comment Thursday that sales on EBay represent unmeasured economic activity.


Compiled from staff, Web and wire reports by Times staff researcher Susannah Rosenblatt.

The latest state polls and an interactive map to try out electoral vote scenarios is available at