Torrecelli: A 'Fine' Senator?

Cal Thomas | Syndicated columnist | Thursday, August 1, 2002

Torrecelli: A 'Fine' Senator?

Senator Robert Torrecelli of New Jersey has been reprimanded by the Senate Ethics Committee. Torrecelli apologized and said he would comply with orders to pay for gifts he received. The man who gave Torrecelli expensive gifts, which he did not declare, is serving an 18-month jail term. And Torrecelli several years ago denied doing anything wrong.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle said Torrecelli is a fine senator. Maybe by his standards. But this isn't about ethics. It's about holding on to the one-seat majority Democrats enjoy, thanks to Senator Jim Jeffords. If Republican challenger Doug Forrester can't win this race, then Republicans had better give up any chance of taking back the Senate.

New Jersey politics has a history of shady activities. But this is really too much. And Republicans can use Tom Daschle's endorsement of Torrecelli in their own campaign commercial in South Dakota where Daschle has endorsed Senator Tim Johnson for re-election against congressman John Thune. Stay tuned. It's going to be an interesting election season. I'm Cal Thomas in Washington.