Bradley and McCain bow out

[UPDATED] Giuliani's shadowy finances, pundits react to McCain while candidates scramble to be like him and V.P. speculation sweeps the nation.

Published March 9, 2000 9:38AM (EST)

Bill Bradley withdrew from the presidential race Thursday morning with a speech that called for party unity.

John McCain also withdrew from the presidential race Thursday morning.

Giuliani's shadowy finances

Back when he was a corruption-busting U.S. Attorney, Rudy Giuliani was a strong
advocate of good government reform.

But the mayor's U.S. Senate campaign committee is doing a poor job of making sure
its contributors comply with federal rules disclosing who they work for - and
thus what industries and companies are backing him, according to a study released
Thursday. The study, by the Washington, DC-based Center for Responsive Politics,
found that Giuliani's campaign only disclosed employment information for 77% of
its contributors, compared to 94% for Hillary Rodham Clinton's camp.

"It's very bad," said Larry Makinson, the Center's executive director, who said
most senate campaigns identify at least 90 percent of their donors' occupations.
(Campaigns are required to make a good faith effort to find out who their donors
work for.) "We try to monitor all the money going into the campaigns, and see who
they owe favors to. If they don't tell you who they're indebted to, there's no
way you can track that."

The study revealed at least $86,000 donated to Giuliani's campaign by employees
of a web of companies connected to New Jersey developer Charles Kushner. But
nearly all the contributors listed obscure corporate entities as their employers,
concealing their connection to Kushner, who held a large fundraiser for Giuliani
last year.

When compared side by side Clinton got the biggest chunk of money from lawyers and law firms: $666,879; employees at securities and
investment firms were Giuliani's biggest givers, donating $781,098. Finally, raising further questions about her bona fides within the state she just moved to, Clinton collected the most money from donors outside New York: 55.8% of
her donations came from outside the state. Giuliani, on the other hand, only
collected 43.6% from non-New Yorkers.

(By Jesse Drucker)

Pundits react!

The pundits get the first shot at writing the history of this primary season.

There's Salon's own assortment of perspectives from across the spectrum.

Jacob Weisberg mourns McCain's departure because it deprives the political landscape of someone gutsy enough to discard the consultants' playbook.

William Kristol sounds ready to lead the draft-McCain movement as he predicts a big Gore win in the fall and Bush's sprint toward the middle in the interim.

Maureen Dowd argues that McCain took a wrong turn when he got angry at Bush.

Andrea Peyser counsels Bush to think like a Democrat.

John Podhoretz argues that McCain should step aside immediately so that the GOP can finally dislodge that @#%$@#(&*! Bill Clinton, demonstrating that McCain is the true "uniter" of the race.

William Safire says you need only look at the GOP's well-thumbed playbook, aka "The Rules" translated from dating to politics.

David S. Broder says that the primary season demonstrates one big lesson about the victors -- "They know how to take an opponent down" -- and that the only real question on the main event is how they'll attack each other.

Richard Cohen writes a heroic paean to the noble McCain.

George F. Will brushes off McCain as a candidate defined by his anger and the media more than anything else.

Mary McGrory thinks that voters changed their minds about what they really wanted and selected the predictable over the innovative.

Michael Kelly says that Republicans have a pinhead nominee who will probably fall to Gore's more well endowed intelligence.

"Like John McCain, I ..."

The Associated Press' Ron Fournier caught Gore using this opener twice, but both Bush and Gore are now actively hunting the elusive moderate voters who pushed McCain's run to the forefront. The presumptive nominees spent most of Wednesday affirming their credentials and prepping for the long run ahead. Both need money (Bush has just $6 million on hand and Gore $4 million) and larger alliances. Look for them to hit the fund-raising circuit more aggressively in the coming months, to bring in more-seasoned advisors and to move some of their people into the party hierarchy. (It always helps to have someone on the inside.)

Nonstop action

It also appears as if the five months between now and the nominating conventions will be full of Bush and Gore vying for an edge. According to Bush campaign manager Karl Rove, we'll be seeing and hearing plenty. "Virtually every day, Bush will be somewhere in a position to comment on something of significance." Both candidates have learned a lot from their insurgent challengers, above all: Don't let your opponent type you; type him before he gets the chance. Look forward to lots of radio and TV advertising as the preferred implements.

V.P. speculation

The other thing that we can count on is speculation over the candidates' choices for vice president. On the Republican side, Elizabeth Dole has been working vigorously for the Bush campaign. Also, Gov. George Pataki helped Bush carry New York, and though Gov. John Engler didn't help Bush in Michigan, both men are included in the rumor mill. Other Republican governors on the shortlist are Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania and Frank Keating of Oklahoma. The Democratic field is more open. California Sen. Dianne Feinstein's name comes up repeatedly, but few others.

Co-opting that reform message

While Gore may say that campaign finance reform is a priority and ask Bush to join in a pact to swear off soft money and debate frequently, he hasn't stopped raising soft money yet.

Governor Bush, what about switchblades?

Now that it's a two-man race, we can finally concentrate on digging deep for the dirt and gotchas that often provide the sole source of punctuation in the long dry spell between the primaries and the conventions. Slate starts things out with a fine gotcha question for Bush: "Should switchblades be illegal?"

Republicans for Choice

Republicans for Choice is beginning a campaign to remove the abortion plank from the Republican platform. According to the group's chairman, Anne Stone, 40 percent of Republicans would like the abortion language removed, while 30 percent want to keep it. More important, the Republicans who want to lose the language live predominantly in swing states.

McCain to bolt from the GOP?

Flying to Phoenix from Los Angeles Wednesday, "Sunny" John Weaver, political director for McCain's presidential campaign, played out how the conversation would go among McCain staff members over the next couple of days. McCain, his family and staff are spending at least one night at Hidden Valley, his 15-acre compound in Page Springs, a small town near Sedona, Ariz.

"The options are obvious," said Weaver. "The options are staying in, getting out and 'other' options."

The "other" is an oblique reference to the possibility that McCain will follow the lead of his hero, Theodore Roosevelt, and leave the Republican Party to run as an independent. Fueled by anger over what they consider a dirty and intolerant campaign waged by Bush, many of McCain's top advisors relish the idea of his continuing his campaign as a third-party candidate. Polls indicate that he would do well running as an independent.

McCain himself has always pooh-poohed such speculation. "We have not discussed the Reform Party," Weaver said. "I can't conceive of John jumping into the Reform Party, but I can certainly see him being pushed into it." Weaver, who clearly was nursing a morning-after headache, said, "We're going to take our time and make a sober decision. I mean that in the second definition." No matter what, Weaver promised, McCain "is not going to walk away from the issues he cares about, particularly reform ..., but from our party's perspective it's not just that, it's opening up our party to be more inclusive, more tolerant."

Then Weaver added, "Today, however, you're not going to get a real answer."

(By Jake Tapper)


"He doesn't waffle. He's not a fence sitter. I like him very much ... I don't think he has a chance."

Bianca Beary, 49, on why she voted for Alan Keyes in the Ohio primary Tuesday. Courtesy of the AP

On the trail

Bradley: Expected to pull out of the race at a news conference in West Orange, N.J.

Bush: Denver, Provo, Utah, and Cheyenne, Wyo.

Gore: Minneapolis.

McCain: Expected to make a "major announcement" at a news conference in Arizona.

Sound off

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By Compiled by Max Garrone

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