- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 28, 2001

Democratic leaders took a double hit yesterday — one from Republican National Chairman James S. Gilmore III and the other from one of their own, Georgia Sen. Zell Miller, a conservative Democrat.
"The Democratic leaders are systematically engaging in a campaign of misinformation, partisan rhetoric and hypocrisy about what President Bush is doing," Mr. Gilmore said in announcing the beginning of a television ad campaign "to set the record straight."
The more stinging rebuke of Democratic leadership, however, came from Mr. Miller, the popular senator and former Georgia governor whom many Republicans would like to welcome into their ranks.
"More and more, our Democratic chairman, Terry McAuliffe, reminds me of a sub-par golfer desperately in need of a mulligan," Mr. Miller said of Mr. McAuliffe, who as former President Bill Clinton's fund-raiser and golfing pal would know that a "mulligan" is a free drive granted to a whining player after a poor first shot.
Indirectly accusing Mr. McAuliffe of returning the Democratic party to the hands of liberals and Eastern elitists, Mr. Miller complained that every time Mr. McAuliffe speaks, it "sounds to me like fingernails across a blackboard. And he's making more and more moderates see red the color that dominated the 2000 election map."
TV networks used red to designate states that went Republican and blue for Democratic-voting states.
"He's a caucus of one in the Democratic Party, but a very important one, and his typical independence now has a streak of anger," said Brian Lunde, former DNC executive director. "With this statement, he has grounds to switch parties, if he ever feels he needs to."
The themes enunciated by Mr. Gilmore, at a Republican National Committee press briefing, and by Mr. Miller, in a letter to the editor appearing in The Washington Post yesterday, were similar. Both addressed the "tone" of political debate, and both lashed out at excessive partisanship by Democrats.
"While President Bush is changing the tone in Washington, some Democrats appear to be tone deaf," Mr. Gilmore said. But he said other Democrats are "working with us in a bipartisan fashion. I salute them for rejecting their leadership's partisan tactics."
Mr. Miller accused Mr. McAuliffe — who was Mr. Clinton's choice for DNC chairman — of shrinking the Democrats' big tent to the size of a "dunce cap."
"I'll skip over his naming as the 'rural' coordinator of our party a man from Massachusetts," Mr. Miller wrote. "But when he puts out statement after statement, TV ad after TV ad, railing against the tax cut, whom does he think he's hurting? Those 18 moderate Democrats who voted for the tax cuts, that's who."
"In case he forgot, nine are up for re-election next year," Mr. Miller wrote. "Folks such as Max Cleland, Tim Johnson, Mary Landrieu, Jean Carnahan, Max Baucus and others. Why ridicule them and imply they are dumb and wrong?"
The RNC ad will run in the District and in St. Louis, Mo. — House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt's home — and in Sioux Falls, the largest city in Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle's home state, South Dakota. The spot features film clips of Mr. Bush and ends with head shots of Mr. Gephardt and Mr. Daschle.
A narrator's voice opens the spot by saying: "There's a new tone in Washington. President Bush is sending money back to taxpayers to get our economy growing. He's protected every penny of Medicare and Social Security and still left the second-biggest surplus in history."
The narrator then shifts to attack mode, saying, "But Democrats who for years supported budgets that spent all Social Security money and left no surplus are now launching partisan, misleading attacks on President Bush." The ad's punch line: "Tell them America's had enough infighting and hypocrisy. America needs solutions."
Mr. Miller also castigates Mr. McAuliffe for trying to slap the carpetbagger label on Elizabeth Dole, who is considering a run for the Republican Senate nomination in her native North Carolina. "How Hillaryous can you get?" Mr. Miller wrote in a reference to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a Chicago native and longtime Arkansas resident who was elected to one of New York's U.S. Senate seats last year.
"Down South, even if we vote against them, we are gracious to women or we suffer the consequences," Mr. Miller wrote. "Liddy Dole, as we say down South, was 'born and bred' in North Carolina. She is no carpetbagger."


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