Thanks, Dad

There were some unhappy Republicans in Washington last week when U.S. Senate candidate Thomas Kean missed a fundraising event featuring Vice President Richard Cheney; Kean said he was not trying to avoid appearing with Cheney, blaming his tardiness on heavy Route 1 traffic. Those same D.C. Republicans are likely to be further offended by statements made by the candidate’s father, former Governor Thomas Kean, who told the U.S. Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee that he believed President George W. Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress have failed to deal with what the possibility that terrorists could attack the United States using nuclear or radiological weapons. One Republican insider noted that while Kean may be accurate in his comments, his criticism of fellow Republicans on their main issue — the war on terrorism — won’t help his son’s fundraising efforts. Pundits say that the GOP has a better chance of picking up Democratic Senate seats in Washington, Minnesota and Maryland — all states where dollars go further than they do inthe expensive New York and Philadelphia media markets. During the subcommittee hearing, Democratic U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg asked Kean whether he supported a proposal to add $1 billion for port security to the next federal budget. Kean said he was, although he may not have known that the plan, which was rejected by the full Senate last week, was sponsored by his son’s opponent, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez. The Menendez amendment would have required 100% screening of all cargo going through the ports.