Saturday evening Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rudy Giuliani appeared together for the first time at an annual political roast in New York called the Inner Circle, at which Clinton demonstrated that she has learned to take a few hits. Clinton was widely roasted and the mayor, as is his prerogative at the event, got to do his own medley of Broadway shows. He pulled some John Travolta moves from “Saturday Night Fever” and even dressed in drag for a skit titled “Rudy/Rudia.”
Bush and Gore, Punch and Judy
With the primary season basically over, George W. Bush and Al Gore are lighting into each other with renewed energy. Over the weekend Gore grabbed the mantle of campaign finance reform, while Bush ridiculed Gore’s new issue and said Gore would “say anything to get elected.”
Gore also introduced new fronts by characterizing Bush’s tax plan as “risky” and invoking John McCain to question the lack of support for Social Security and Medicare in Bush’s plan. “In the words of John McCain, he doesn’t put one penny into Social Security, one penny into Medicare or one penny into expanding access to health care.”
In an interview with the Associated Press, Gore questioned whether Bush has enough experience to be president by describing his time as Texas’ governor as “six years in a position that is more symbolic than powerful.” He then added that Bush “has exercised what power the office does have to make Texas the worst state in the nation in pollution” and concluded, “This raises the question, does Governor Bush have the understanding of America’s problems to be president?”
On Sunday Bush began a new attack of his own by blaming the Clinton administration for high gas prices. Bush said that he was considering calling for suspension of the 4.3-cent-per-gallon sales tax implemented by the administration in 1993. Bush and other Republican legislators like Trent Lott have labeled it the “Clinton-Gore tax.” Bush also accused the Clinton administration of botching foreign policy by not putting enough pressure on oil-producing nations to reduce their prices. He said he would urge Kuwait, Mexico and Saudi Arabia to “open the spigots” and noted that his father had developed some political capital with those countries. “These are countries where it wasn’t all that long ago that a President Bush helped Kuwait, or a United States helped Mexico,” Bush said.
Starr’s legacy to come to fruit?
In the wake of last week’s release to selected journalists of Justice Department prosecutor Charles LaBella’s report (which showed considerable dissent within the department over whether independent counsels should have been appointed to investigate Gore’s and Hillary Clinton’s involvement in the campaign finance scandal that embroiled the Democratic National Committee in 1996), the New York Times reports that Robert W. Ray, the independent counsel who took over from Kenneth Starr, is readying for release a series of reports on Whitewater, travelgate and the case of the missing FBI files.
The press is depressed
Journalists are trying to come down off the McCain high and figure out what they can write about now that all the excitement’s over. Bill Press, co-host of “Crossfire,” summed up the feelings: “I hope we’re not going to talk about Al Gore and George Bush for the next six months. We may have to go back and talk about serious issues.”
V.P. rumors: Pataki is out
The New York Daily News reports that New York Gov. George Pataki is an unlikely choice for Bush’s vice president because he doesn’t bring enough political capital to the table.
Poll positionsABC News/Washington Post March 9-11: Gore 48 to Bush 45 percent.
NBC News/Wall Street Journal March 8: Gore 43 to Bush 40 percent.
Newsweek March 9-10: Bush 47 to Gore 44 percent.
“I’m very, very encouraged that we are drawing a lot of out-of-towners to this performance.”
Giuliani on Hillary Clinton at the Inner Circle political roast in New York. (AP)
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