- The Washington Times - Friday, February 16, 2001

He lost for Ehud Barak of Israel, he lost for Francisco Labastida Ochoa of Mexico and his vehement support for Al Gore during the presidential election couldn't keep the candidate from losing too. Now Washington's favorite "serpent head," James Carville, is taking his venom across the Atlantic to try to help the United Kingdom's incumbent Tony Blair win this spring if there is an early election for prime minister. If Bill Clinton's former political consultant expects this run against Britain's Tories to be easy, he is mistaken.

While Mr. Carville was warming up for his loss for the Democrats, Conservative Party leader William Hague was silently having his own string of luck. Enter "The Bridge," a Bush-Hague team fighting for a common cause. The workings of the relationship began late in 1998, just one year after Mr. Hague became the Tories' leader at age 36. It was then that he began plans to visit a certain Texas governor. Since his Texas visit in 1999, senior members of the Bush team and of the Tory party have formed a contact group, which has had meetings on Mr. Bush's ranch, according to a report in London's Sunday Mirror.

Mr. Hague's affinity for "compassionate conservatism," the role of church and charity in the community and his determination to cut taxes made the working group a natural fit. In fact, two members of the Bush team, Marvin Olasky and Don Willett, who have met with Mr. Hague in London, have been credited with helping to form Mr. Hague's Christian welfare proposals. The proposals are similar to Mr. Bush's own approach to allow faith-based organizations to help alleviate poverty.

The question now is whether inspiration from the Bush Bridge will be enough to eliminate the momentum that the incumbent Mr. Blair brings to the race. Perhaps with Mr. Carville's luck, he just might.

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