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Billary Clinton handles email surcharge hoax

Not so her Congressman opponent

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Sunday's debate between New York Senate hopefuls Hillary (Mrs. President) Clinton (Democrat, Nowhere) and US Representative Rick Lazio (Republican, New York) took a comical turn when moderator Marcia Kramer of WCBS-TV asked then about "bill 602-P", a persistent Internet hoax claiming that Congress is contemplating the assessment, by the US Postal Service, of a five-cent surcharge on each e-mail message.

Clinton immediately, and wisely, confessed that she had no clue what the bill was about; but when it was 'explained' she exhibited her Clintonesque rhetorical pedigree, saying, "you know, based on your description, I wouldn't vote for that bill. It sounds burdensome and not justifiable to me."

But Lazio, who is serving his eighth year in the House and has every reason to know that "602-P" is an impossible designation, tore into the political red meat, rashly declaring, "I am absolutely opposed to this. This is an example of the government's greedy hand and trying to take money from taxpayers that frankly it has no right to."

Senate bills begin with S- followed by a number, and House bills begin with HR- followed by a number. Letters do not appear after in either case. Duh.

The hoax persists in spite of vigorous US Postal Service denials, and hopeless appeals to logic that it clearly hasn't got the authority to collect money for messages transmitted via the Net.

Clinton, who has no experience in Congress, might be forgiven her ignorance, but Congressman Lazio has more than the required background. Has this guy been asleep for the past eight years?

WCBS-TV says the question was one of many the station received from viewers eager to question the candidates via e-mail. Moderator Kramer didn't know the question pointed to a hoax, the station claimed.

Lazio's people suggested that the gaffe was irrelevant because his heart is in the right place. Clinton's people said that since she's not a Member of Congress, she shouldn't be expected to know the format for bill designations.

Tsk, tsk. Billary 1; Ricky Boy 0. ®

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