- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 25, 2000

HUD's campaigner

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew M. Cuomo "will play key roles in Al Gore's and Hillary Rodham Clinton's New York campaigns," the New York Post reports, citing anonymous Democratic sources.
"The view is that Bradley's national campaign can be buried here in New York, and Andrew, with Gore's personal approval, is going to play a big role in doing that," a source close to the vice president told the Post's Albany bureau chief, Fredric U. Dicker.
After the March 7 primary, Mr. Cuomo will take on "a growing and important role" in Mrs. Clinton's Senate campaign, Democratic sources said.
"Andrew will be very public in his support for Mrs. Clinton upstate, and he'll be working behind the scenes to strengthen her campaign organization," a source said.
Of course, Mr. Cuomo already has acted to help Mrs. Clinton; he seized federal funds for the homeless that normally would have been under the control of New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, the first lady's likely Republican opponent. Mr. Cuomo, who claimed the mayor was being unfair in not funding two liberal special-interest groups, immediately rushed to another part of the city to endorse Mrs. Clinton a ham-handed performance that seems to have done nothing to help Mrs. Clinton or the reputation of HUD.

A vast conspiracy

First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton said yesterday that if Rudolph W. Giuliani were elected to the Senate, he would be "beholden to the far right of the Republican Party and fringe groups."
The Giuliani campaign's fund-raising letters "demonstrate clearly that his campaign has gone to those who have always funded right-wing causes," the first lady said after a speech to environmentalists at a restaurant in White Plains, N.Y.
She said, "The people of New York are going to be asking themselves come next November, 'Do I want to vote for somebody who is going to be beholden to the far right of the Republican Party and fringe groups because they helped raise all this money, or do I want somebody who is going to listen to New Yorkers and do what is in the best interest of New Yorkers?"
On Sunday, Mrs. Clinton's campaign spokesman, Howard Wolfson, handed out Giuliani fund-raising letters describing Mrs. Clinton as "leader of the ultra-left-wing Democrats" and "the champion of every left-wing cause you can imagine" with a "radical agenda" designed to protect the federal bureaucracy, high taxes and spending.
One referred to her as "an overnight Yankee fan" with political ambitions beyond the Senate.
Mrs. Clinton said yesterday, "A lot of these names and these labels that they're trying to stick on me are purely for the sake of really stirring up the right wing."
Bruce Teitelbaum, Mr. Giuliani's campaign manager, said Sunday that the reaction to the letters "sounds an awful lot like sour grapes to me."
"They fell way short of their fund-raising goals. We broke a record, have 90,000 donors, and now the Clintons are trying to explain their way out of a problem by distorting the truth and concocting conspiracy theories," Mr. Teitelbaum said.

Gore's denial

Vice President Al Gore denied yesterday that he had smoked marijuana regularly, even daily, with a Tennessee friend as late as 1976, as the man now contends.
The question came up when a reporter said to Mr. Gore at a diner in Davenport, Iowa: "It's been reported that after you came back from Vietnam, you were smoking on a daily basis."
Mr. Gore responded, "No. When I came back from Vietnam, yes, but not to that extent… . This is something I dealt with a long time ago. It's old news."
Mr. Gore said in 1987, during the 1988 presidential campaign, that he had used marijuana on infrequent occasions, the last time about 1972.
The Tennessee man, John Warnecke, was quoted by the on-line magazine Salon. He said he had covered up for Mr. Gore in the past, but wanted to set the record straight. But he still plans to vote for Mr. Gore.

Symbolic event

"Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey's decision to retire strikes us as a symbolically larger event than the potential loss of another Democratic seat," the Wall Street Journal opines.
"It's a loss for the country because of what he represented: a rare exception to his party's drift into a troubling power-above-all orthodoxy," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"Mr. Kerrey has been one of the few Washington Democrats willing to show political independence from the mores and policies of the Clinton Age. New York Senator Pat Moynihan is another, but he's retiring in 2000, too. It's no coincidence that both men are stumping for Bill Bradley, another sometime free-thinker. With those men all likely to be out of public life after 2000, Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut is the only leading Democrat left who has bucked the Bill Clinton-Al Gore-Tom Daschle-Barney Frank political ethic that anything goes in the cause of defeating Republicans and holding on to the party's ancient loci of power."

Advice for Bradley

New York Times columnist William Safire, noting that Vice President Al Gore was favored to win last night's Iowa caucuses, offered an outline yesterday for a Bill Bradley comeback.
"Here's how: Stop complaining about Gore's exaggeration about the cost of your big-idea proposals. The let's-not-go-negative pitch is posited by goo-goos who don't vote. Instead, embrace the 'upbeat negative': attacking the other guy's cheap weaselly, crack-brained ideas is a necessary counterpoint to presenting your own," Mr. Safire said.
"In going upbeat negative, don't dredge up ancient history about Gore's first use of Willie Horton. In this week's debate, be realistic about the great danger to Democrats in the fall campaign: Gore's shameful record in abetting Clinton's 1996 political money corruption."
Mr. Safire added, "Your central point to Democrats: Gore Can't Win. Recount the influence-peddling charges sure to come from Republicans as stipulated in Orrin Hatch's recent damning speech. When all this sleaze was going on, where was Al? Up to his hips in it. Where were you? Miles away, earning an honest living."

Not a Republican?

The cover of the latest issue of the New Republic features the smiling face of Arizona Sen. John McCain, accompanied by the headline "This Man Is NOT a Republican."
Inside, writer Jonathan Chait argues that while Mr. McCain has not completely abandoned "conventional Republicanism," he is "increasingly taken with the aims of liberalism, and he is starting to recognize that the two cannot always be reconciled. The John McCain of today is a mass of uncertainty and contradiction, his economic and moral principles at war with each other."

Mysterious ritual

"How odd that the political community will interpret with such definitive certainty the caucus verdicts of maybe 200,000 Iowa voters," USA Today political columnist Walter Shapiro wrote yesterday, prior to the event.
"In a mysterious ritual analogous to Wall Street determining whether a company's earnings exceed the rumored 'whisper numbers,' the press will decide in Solomonlike fashion which candidates should be rewarded for 'exceeding expectations.' Forgotten in the heady excitement is that the difference between a strong or weak showing for, say, Steve Forbes, could be as few as 3,000 caucus votes."

Granny's coming

Doris "Granny D." Haddock, who has been slowly walking across the country to promote campaign-finance reform, arrived in Cumberland, Md., yesterday, her 90th birthday, according to a press release put out by Common Cause.
Mrs. Haddock began her walk on Jan. 1, 1999, and is now expected to arrive at the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 29, the group said.

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