- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 10, 2000

Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III hopes he and his compatriots in the Republican "truth squad" will have better success at the Democratic National Convention next week than Democrats had at the Republican convention last week.

Mr. Gilmore said he'll be in Los Angeles all next week, coordinating the efforts to put a Republican face and party nominee George W. Bush's message in stories and broadcasts coming out of the Democratic convention.

Democrats, they say, had a low profile at the Republican convention, and Mr. Gilmore wants to make more of an impact on coverage than they did.

Among the Democratic luminaries in Philadelphia were former Texas Gov. Ann Richards, Senate candidate and Delaware Gov. Thomas R. Carper and Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening.

"Someone asked me, did I think Governor Glendening was raining on our parade? And my response was 'a fine mist,' " Mr. Gilmore said.

Topping that means holding daily news conferences and being there to respond at a moment's notice when a newspaper or television station needs someone to argue a counterpoint to a Democratic charge coming from the convention.

"I imagine Democrats will have some rather radical things to say, and when they do, I have been asked to go out to provide some things to say from the Republican side," Mr. Gilmore said.

Mr. Gilmore will be joined in Los Angeles by his two co-chairmen on Victory 2000, U.S. Rep. Jennifer Dunn from Washington state and Rep. Henry Bonilla from Texas, and by Republican National Committee Chairman Jim Nicholson, New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman and Massachusetts Gov. Paul Cellucci.

Republicans have a good location they've set up shop in an office building a block from the Staples Center, where the Democrats will convene and they hope ready availability will help.

They also hope to pay particular attention to news organizations in swing states.

Mr. Gilmore, whose record in Virginia is very similar to Mr. Bush's in Texas on education, taxes and inclusiveness, said he's excited about the chance.

"The real opportunity is to state Republican themes, which I think are right for America, and not allow that to get knocked off track," he said.

All that means little rest for the weary. Mr. Gilmore kept a schedule of 18-hour days in Philadelphia, rising as early as 7 a.m. to speak to state delegations on behalf of the Bush campaign and making appearances until the early morning hours on the party circuit, including his own bash for Bush chief strategist Karl Rove.

Mr. Gilmore has done yeoman's work for Mr. Bush, and being tapped for the truth squad position just fuels the rumors of Mr. Gilmore's future in a Bush administration.

One of the rumors circulating in Virginia Republican circles is that Mr. Gilmore would be a good choice for RNC chairman when his term as governor expires after 2001.

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