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GannettUSA Today

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Oh, that New Jersey traffic!

The beleaguered New Jersey Republican Party can't even get a campaign fund-raiser right. Vice President Cheney came to Newark to boost the campaign of state Sen. Tom Kean, the expected GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate. But Kean wasn't even there.

Kean was in Trenton for a state Senate voting session that didn't end until about 4 p.m. He said he was stuck in Route 1 traffic and didn't make it to the event until just after 6 p.m. - minutes after Cheney finished his remarks and exited the stage.

It's just as well. Kean avoided the dilemma of how to react when Cheney told the donors that ''he carries one of the most trusted names in American politics.'' Cheney must have forgotten that Kean's father, the former governor of the same name, was chairman of the 9/11 Commission. Its report wasn't a best seller on the VP's reading list last year.

But the traffic snarl will provide Kean with a useful sound byte about his dedication: "I would not miss votes in order to make a political event.'' Let's hope he remembers that in the heat of the fall campaign. And, if elected, his adventure offers a fresh source of firsthand experience to his advocacy of federal money to improve transportation in New Jersey.

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