- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tense relations

” ‘Serious tensions’ exist between U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Washington-based presidential campaign staff and those working on her campaign in New York,” the New York Post’s Fredric U. Dicker writes, citing “Democratic insiders.”

” ‘Her New York crew is fighting … with her D.C. folks, and it’s worse than the normal stuff, real serious tensions,’ said a Democratic Party source. ‘The New York folks are the ones who got her elected to begin with. They’ve done it and know what to do. The D.C. folks are the “geniuses” who do “national elections” and think everyone here is a rube.’

” ‘The Washington types hold meeting after meeting and then send a group of fatheaded 27-year-olds to do events in New York, and they wind up fighting with her staff here,’ continued the source, who is in day-to-day contact with party activities.

“The source said the tensions exploded at Clinton’s endorsement event with [New York] Gov. [Eliot] Spitzer and other high-ranking Democrats earlier in the month at the [state] Capitol. ‘The New York locals were incensed that so many of these outsider kids were sent in from Washington, and they were trying to run the event, and they couldn’t even make a contribution to it.’

“Meanwhile, the source said many New York Democrats believe Clinton ‘isn’t doing so well out there, that she may not have what it takes to become president.’

” ‘When you’re out talking to real Democrats in the field, you hear them say, “She has no pulse. Just polls.” Did you see how she voted on the Iraq resolution? … She waited to see how [Barack] Obama voted before she did. So calculated even on such a core issue,’ the source said.”

Kerry’s calculation

Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, voted for the Iraq war resolution in 2002 after weighing the political ramifications and being told by his future campaign manager that he would never be elected president in 2004 unless he sided with President Bush on the issue, according to a forthcoming book by Mr. Kerry’s former strategist.

The book by veteran Democratic Party strategist Robert Shrum, titled “No Excuses,” paints a portrait of an often-dysfunctional Kerry presidential campaign in which senior strategists clashed with each other, the Boston Globe reports.

An advance copy of the memoir of Mr. Shrum’s years in politics, slated for release in early June, was provided to the Globe.

Mr. Shrum provides a vivid description of events leading up to Mr. Kerry’s decision to vote for the war.

He writes that Mr. Kerry telephoned him on the eve of the Oct. 11, 2002, vote. Mr. Shrum said that Mr. Kerry was skeptical of Mr. Bush’s claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and that he “didn’t trust Bush to give the diplomatic route a real chance.” Nonetheless, Mr. Kerry asked Mr. Shrum whether he would “be a viable general election candidate if he was in the small minority of senators who voted no.”

Mr. Shrum wrote that he told Mr. Kerry that it was “impossible to predict the political fallout if we went to war.” But he wrote that Jim Jordan, Mr. Kerry’s former Senate press secretary and future campaign manager, “was insisting that he had to vote with Bush.”

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