Dole on a roll

Dole on a roll

Elizabeth Dole had no trouble getting media attention during her first trip to New Hampshire since leaving the American Red Cross to weigh a bid for the presidency.

Flanked by 40 reporters, 10 television cameras, and 12 photographers in a Manchester hotel, Dole spoke to 1,200 fans on Feb. 8 at a dinner organized by the local chamber of commerce. More well-wishers stood outside carrying "Elizabeth Dole 2000" signs, buttons, and bumper stickers shipped from Dole's home state of North Carolina, reported Matt Reed of the (Manchester) Union Leader.

WMUR of Manchester, an ABC station and the only network-TV affiliate in New Hampshire, extensively covered Dole's speech, devoting nearly one-third of its 11 p.m. newscast to it. Steve Cooper of WMUR reported that it's "a fair bet" Dole is "testing the political waters around here."

National reporters interviewed on WMUR explained their presence. Tom Ferraro of Reuters called Dole "potentially one of the best political stories of the year." Jill Lawrence of USA Today: "She's showing all the signs of really being seriously interested." (WMUR, 2/8)

But many reporters on the scene groused that access to Dole was severely restricted, allowing them little chance to question her beyond the scope of the script she carefully read on stage.

Richard L. Berke of The New York Times wrote, "Even some of Mrs. Dole's supporters, citing her well-known tendency to constantly rehearse and try to control situations, said they fear she may lack the spontaneity needed to successfully seek the presidency. On Monday, it was clear she had not shed those traits." Manchester Chamber of Commerce Vice President Bill Hamilton: "It was her request not to be exposed to the media." (The New York Times, 2/9)

Meet Dan Quayle

Now that Dan Quayle has launched his presidential quest, he is ready to start "spending some quality time" in Iowa and New Hampshire, The Indianapolis Star reported. With trips to both early voting states this month, Quayle is set to begin the serious work of building a foundation for the first contests of the 2000 race. New Hampshire Republican Party Executive Director Michael Dennehy said: "A candidate who wants to do well there will have to visit 15 to 20 times a year-for as many years as possible-before the primary."

Quayle campaign Chairman Kyle E. McSlarrow said, "Quayle probably has been in each state about 10 times in the past year." McSlarrow figures that if he "can get Quayle to meet as many Iowans and New Hampshire voters as possible, Quayle's chances of winning only go up." McSlarrow: "Our goal has to be to get him in front of every person possible. ... If I could assure that every single person got a chance to spend two minutes with Dan Quayle, I know that person would vote for him." (The Indianapolis Star, 2/8)

Reaching for Reagan

New York Gov. George E. Pataki is not shy about the possible ramifications of his nationwide "campaign to revamp" the Republican Party. The New York Post reported on his Feb. 5 trip to Chicago, noting that Pataki was promoting himself for the presidency "by turning to Ronald Reagan." In his half-hour speech at the University of Chicago Law School, Pataki used Reagan's name 17 times. (New York Post, 2/6)

The New York Times also picked up on the Reagan theme, noting that while Pataki "warmly identified himself" with Reagan's economic policies, he avoided comparison to Reagan's "conservatism on social issues, like abortion rights."

A Pataki aide told the Chicago Tribune that the governor will stump the nation to promote "his vision of tax-cutting fiscal conservatism and social moderation." (Chicago Tribune, 2/6)

In Search of Meaning

In what aides called the first major policy address of his budding presidential campaign, Democrat Bill Bradley told a gathering of Virginia Democrats on Feb. 6 that the party "must put aside its obsession with winning and stand for principle again." Bradley: "Compromise that offends no one and gives everyone something might help us win in the short term. But our party will cease to have any long-term meaning or content at all."

Bradley did not mention his rival, Vice President Gore, or President Clinton by name, but the Richmond Times-Dispatch observed that "implicit in his prepared remarks was criticism of the Clinton-Gore Administration." Bradley: "We need an honest conversation with the American people, even if it endangers our poll standing for a while." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2/7)

The (Hackensack, N.J.) Record reported that Bradley "challenged the Democratic Party to return to the big-picture idealism that rebuilt Europe." Bradley: "If holding power is our greatest aspiration, we'll have broken a promise that we've made to ourselves and to our country. ... We need to get clear on where our commitments lie and then not only win again, but lead again." (The Record, 2/7)

Bradley: "It's important for us, as the Democratic Party, to remember the good we've done in order to see clearly the good we've yet to do. We should lead people back to politics as an honorable undertaking, to decision-making not through polling but through participation." He said he wants to "distinguish himself from a political system that is `obsessed with the mechanics of winning,' " and will run a populist campaign focused on race relations, human rights, health care, family values, and campaign reform. (The [Newark, N.J.] Star-Ledger, 2/7)

Al Plays on Bill's Court

While Bill Bradley talks about putting aside an obsession with winning, Al Gore is busy raising money in Bradley's home state. The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger reported that Gore operatives are in New Jersey "laying the foundation for" Gore's fund-raising efforts. The state's donors "were a rich vein" for President Clinton's 1992 and 1996 campaigns. Gore's "allies have no intention of conceding them to Bradley, who normally would be expected to have a considerable advantage in his home state." At this early date, many prominent elected Democrats "are content on the sidelines, although they expect Bradley to win" the New Jersey primary election next year.

Democratic Rep. William Pascrell: "The delegation is committed to sitting on its hands. We have to deal with the White House every day. That's in the mix. We like Bill, but you can like somebody and not marry him."

Bradley's first major fund-raiser in New Jersey is not until next month, but Gore's supporters in the state have already begun to "rake in contributions." State Sen. Raymond J. Lesniak, a Democratic Gore backer, "said he expects a number of wealthy and politically active" Democrats to contribute to both campaigns: "We don't mind if they contribute to Bradley as long as there is something for us." (The Star-Ledger, 2/7)

Heartened by Harkin

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, provoked media attention and a possible White House draft movement with his high-profile defense of President Clinton against the House impeachment managers. The Des Moines Register reports that a group called Americans for Tom Harkin for President-2000 is urging the Senator to make a second White House bid.

On its Web site, the group calls Harkin the strongest possible nominee: "He has proven time and time again to be the vigilant watchdog for seniors, veterans, young people, and the working families across the United States. ... He is not bound by arrogance of power, an ideological agenda, or big-money interests." Group organizer Andrew Pritt: "We have people in 21 states now. ... Web sites are being created."

A Harkin press aide said "Harkin appeared genuinely astonished" about the site. Harkin, when asked by a reporter if he'll run: "If Gore can't beat them, what makes you think I could? I don't know. It's early yet. These are just early kinds of musings of people." (The Des Moines Register, 2/7)

Make Up Your Mind

Columnist Wayne Woodlief of the Boston Herald writes that "it's time" for Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., "to make up his mind whether he has the stomach for a presidential run." If Kerry "believes his ideas about nationalizing charter and pilot schools and otherwise reforming education can make this country better, he ought to hustle out" to Iowa and New Hampshire and California "pronto and start testing them on the stump." Woodlief believes a Kerry campaign "makes sense on several counts." Even if Kerry loses, Woodlief thinks "a credible campaign by Kerry would introduce him to the nation and probably give him a leg up for a future run." (Boston Herald, 2/7)


"They look to me like men in possession of their own souls."-William J. Bennett on House impeachment managers (The News, MSNBC, 2/8)

"At first, I thought I was watching an old Delta Burke screen test."-Jay Leno on videotape of Monica Lewinsky testimony (The Tonight Show, NBC, 2/8)

"I am wondering that the first thing he may do is fire Ken Starr."-Dick Morris on President Clinton after the Senate trial (O'Reilly Factor, Fox News Channel, 2/8)

"I wonder, in future generations, whether there'll be enough vitality left in duty, honor, and country to excite our children and grandchildren to defend America."-Rep. Henry J. Hyde, R-Ill. (closing argument, Senate impeachment trial, 2/8)