Paying off bets on Canes

June 21, 2002 

With the Carolina Hurricanes' Stanley Cup loss to the Detroit Red Wings, several members of the North Carolina delegation had to settle some friendly scores this week.

U.S. Rep. David Price, a Chapel Hill Democrat, made good on a promise to provide the Washington staff of U.S. Rep. David Bonior, a Michigan Democrat, with a barbecue lunch from Bullock's in Durham. The meal was sent by Federal Express to Washington on Wednesday.

Price also read a tribute to the Red Wings on the House floor, in which he asserted that "The Detroit Red Wings are a team for the ages." Upon completion of his statement, Price noted: "Mr. Speaker, this speech, obviously, was written by Mr. Bonior."

U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge, a Lillington Democrat, lost a similar wager with U.S. Rep. Nick Smith, a Michigan Republican.

Etheridge presented Smith with 10 pounds of North Carolina barbecue on the House steps.

"North Carolinians are folks of their word," Etheridge said, adding: "I am proud of the grit, determination and strength our hometown team displayed throughout this season, and I can't wait until next year."

U.S. Sens. Jesse Helms and John Edwards also came out on the losing ends of bets with colleagues.

Kudos for Helms

President Bush praised Helms this week during a Rose Garden announcement of $500 million to fight AIDS in Africa.

Bush's proposal, which focuses on preventing mother-to-child transmission of the disease, is based on legislation crafted by the North Carolina Republican and U.S. Sen. Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican.

"I thank all the members of Congress who supported this initiative, especially Senators Frist and Helms," Bush said. "Their visionary leadership on this issue will mean the difference between life and death for hundreds of children."

Helms, who is recovering from open heart surgery, did not attend.

Critics charge that the $500 million offered by Bush is inadequate for the AIDS crisis ravaging sub-Saharan Africa and that the focus on prevention is too narrow.

Lane lands law job

U.S. Sen. John Edwards' departing chief of staff, Jeff Lane, has landed a job in the Washington office of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, a North Carolina law firm.

The firm employs about 450 lawyers, including about 50 in the Washington area. Some of the notable names associated with the practice include former Gov. Jim Hunt and former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Burley Mitchell, both Democrats.

As previously noted, Edwards' legislative director, Miles Lackey, is taking over for Lane. Lackey, a Shelby native, served in the Clinton administration.

Character counts

Two Democratic members of the North Carolina delegation -- Etheridge and Mike McIntyre of Lumberton -- attended a White House summit this week on character education.

The East Room event was led by President Bush and first lady Laura Bush and also featured Secretary of State Colin Powell and U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige.

Etheridge, a former North Carolina schools superintendent, has been a big booster of character education. McIntyre has volunteered in the state's schools for more than 20 years in an effort to teach about citizenship.

By Washington correspondent John Wagner, who can be reached at (202) 662-4380 or jwagner@mcclatchydc.com.

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