- The Washington Times - Monday, August 14, 2000

LOS ANGELES As Hillary Rodham Clinton takes aim at her political future, her husband basks in the sunset of his presidency.
Tonight, the first lady and the president deliver prime-time speeches at the Democratic National Convention as their lives head in different and uncertain directions.
Mr. Clinton yesterday struck a nostalgic tone as he mused about charges from Republicans that his administration has squandered countless opportunities. "When I heard them talking about how we coasted through the last eight years, I sort of thought, where did I get all this gray hair, anyway?" he said.
Mrs. Clinton, for her part, sounded like the politician she has become.
"We're going to be staying out of sight. Really," Mrs. Clinton told the New York Times in an interview at the St. Regis Hotel in Century City. "We don't want there to be any attention anywhere except on Joe and Al."
But the Clintons have been anything but low profile.
On Saturday night, the pair addressed a star-studded fund-raiser for Mrs. Clinton's campaign, attended by a constellation of Hollywood luminaries such as Cher, Whoopi Goldberg, Gregory Peck, John Travolta and Stevie Wonder.
Last night, she attended a convention kickoff party at the Beverly Hilton Hotel hosted by People for the American Way.
Still, she said her 10-minute convention speech tonight will be a boost to Vice President Al Gore and she didn't need any help composing it.
"They don't really need to give me talking points," said Mrs. Clinton. "We know what our talking points are for this administration."
The Clintons maintained a furious pre-convention fund-raising and schmoozing schedule during the weekend.
William M. Daley, chairman of the Gore campaign, downplayed Democratic concerns that Mr. Clinton is addicted to his starring role as the toast of Tinseltown.
"President Clinton is here to thank Democrats who have supported him over the last eight years," Mr. Daley said yesterday in an interview on the Fox network.
Following tonight's speech, "which is an important speech for the president, for the campaign, for Democrats, this is Al Gore's convention, it is Al Gore's campaign and it's Al Gore's election."
But from their actions so far, it appears supporters of Mr. Gore are not too far off in their criticism that Mr. Clinton is hanging on to the Hollywood attention like a pit bull on a postman.
Yesterday Mr. Clinton attended a brunch in honor of his Cabinet at Casa Del Mar, a restaurant in Santa Monica. He then headed to Barbra Streisand's home for an event to raise millions for his presidential library. Next he attended a "Jewish community celebration" at Sony Pictures Studio. He then dropped by a private reception for the Arkansas delegation to the Democratic convention.
Mr. Clinton likely previewed his valedictory address during the brunch for his Cabinet. He tweaked Texas Gov. George W. Bush, who said at the Republican National Convention that the Clinton-Gore administration has refused to lead.
"I sort of thought, where do they think those jobs came from, where do they think those educational statistics came from?"
Tonight, Mr. Clinton is expected to review the nation's progress during his presidency, such as a surging economy, lower crime rates and shrinking welfare rolls.
Mr. Clinton said there will be no surprises in his 30-minute address. He likened himself to Tina Turner, noting that she has sung "Proud Mary" at every concert for 25 years.
"It's kind of like these singers who have been around a long time they always sing their old songs."
White House spokesman Joe Lockhart says Mr. Clinton reviewed President Reagan's address at the Republican National Convention in 1988 as he prepared his own remarks. Mr. Reagan praised his understudy, George Bush, and countered Democratic calls for a new course by saying: "We are the change."
White House aides say Mr. Clinton is unlikely to offer another apology for the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Mr. Clinton irked the Gore campaign Thursday when the president's latest personal reflections about the affair became front-page news.
In comments yesterday, Mr. Clinton acknowledged that Mr. Gore is down in the polls less than three months until the election, but he told members of his Cabinet to take heart.
"You should be of good cheer because we can turn around these polls," Mr. Clinton said. "But it's not the work of a day. It's going to take every day between now and November and you're going to have to go to every friend you have."
Once the Clintons deliver their hotly anticipated speeches tonight, the pair leave Los Angeles and rendezvous later this week at a friend's cabin near Lake Placid, N.Y.
Mrs. Clinton was upbeat in interviews with reporters from a handful of New York newspapers when she talked about her neck-and-neck Senate race with Republican Rep. Rick Lazio. She was confident that her differences with Mr. Lazio will become clearer after the hoopla subsides.
"It's a question of time," she said. "It's a question of issues. And people understanding what's really at stake in the election, and what the differences are between us."
Mr. Lazio's strategy so far, Mrs. Clinton said, has been a "deliberate obfuscation" of his record that she finds "troubling."
Mr. Lazio's spokesman, Dan McLagan, countered: "It's flattering that the first lady would take this time out of her busy soft-money feeding frenzy to attack Congressman Lazio."

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide