Hillary hopes Eli

Giuliani's "storm troopers" comment criticized as New York sets debate stage, and Gore strikes back while Bush calls for kindness.

By Alicia Montgomery
Published April 27, 2000 9:18AM (EDT)

Hillary Rodham Clinton thinks that a "taste of freedom" may be enough to keep Elian Gonzalez's father, Juan Miguel, in America. The New York Daily News reports that the New York Senate candidate voiced her hopes for a Gonzalez family defection at a Buffalo Town Hall meeting, but effectively ruled out government intervention to keep Elian in the United States permanently. "This has to be the father's decision," Clinton said.

The first lady also ruled out a White House run in 2004, asserting that she has a duty to New York voters to stay and "make things happen" there.

Rudy's "storm trooper" trouble

Rudy Giuliani's tirade against the federal "storm troopers" who seized Elian in Miami drew fire from some Jewish leaders in Congress, according to the New York Daily News. Reps. Nita Lowey, Jerrold Nadler and Anthony Weiner, all representing New York, said that "using terms like 'storm troopers' demeans the federal officials involved in the case and shows insensitivity to the gravity of Nazi and Holocaust imagery." Jewish civil rights organization the Anti-Defamation League also criticized the remarks. Giuliani refused to recant but said that the "storm troopers" slur was meant for Janet Reno and President Clinton.

New York debate

Those who haven't heard enough Rudy vs. Hillary bickering in the press can look forward to catching the live show. According to the New York Times, the two have agreed to a debate moderated by "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert. Though details haven't been finalized, the candidates' campaigns instantly issued competing "it's about time" statements zinging the other side. Giuliani spokesman Bruce Teitelbaum said, "It would be refreshing to have Mrs. Clinton in a setting in which she is finally required to answer real questions without ducking, bobbing and weaving." Howard Wolfson, Clinton's press secretary, replied, "It'll be refreshing if Mr. Giuliani ... begins to offer a positive view of what he would do in New York" instead of bashing his rival.

Gore guns for Bush

True to his campaign's promise, Al Gore has emerged from weeks of near solitude to take serious swings at George W. Bush. The Los Angeles Times reports that the vice president bashed Bush on health care, campaign finance reform and gun control.

Gore repeatedly pointed to a $21.3 million Bush fund-raising gala, sponsored by the National Rifle Association and tobacco giant Philip Morris, among others, to link the Republican candidate's policies to his pocketbook. The guns-and-money connection especially grabbed Gore, who reminded a Connecticut audience that Bush helped overturn a 125-year-old ban on firearms in Texas churches. Calling the move "against public opinion" and "against his basic sense," Gore asked, "Why does [Bush] always do exactly what the NRA says he should do?"

Gore drug buy targets greed

Drug companies also got gored by the vice president's attacks. Gore said that pharmaceutical company profits are "way out of line," according to the Associated Press. To illustrate his point, Gore accompanied Connecticut senior citizen Shirley Kindle to the drugstore as she staged a reenactment of her monthly prescription purchases. The $506.34. cost of her medicines exceeded the amount of her monthly Social Security check by about $10.

Bush politely pockets millions

You can never be too rich or too nice, according to the GOP presidential candidate. Bush used his platform at the record-setting $21.3 million fund-raiser to call for increased civility in American politics, the New York Times reports. Bush asked for an end to "the arms race of anger" that has turned the American public away from politics. Though he chastised Democrats and Republicans alike for childish, partisan squabbling, Bush said the Clinton administration started it.

Bush's new niceness initiative didn't keep him from taking a few jabs at Gore. "Last week was Earth Day. Unfortunately for Al Gore's campaign, every day is scorched-earth day," Bush quipped. "It's time to clean up the toxic environment in Washington," he added.

Outsider's day inside the beltway

While Bush spends much of his time running against Washington insiders, he acted just like one in a day of fund-raising, foreign policy and bipartisan bridge building. According to the Washington Post, Bush met with disaffected Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey of Nebraska and later discussed international affairs with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov. In addition, Bush rallied the faithful at the Republican Women Leaders Forum before finishing up with the Republican National Committee's blockbusting fund-raiser.

Whom should you vote for?

Take our survey and find out. You might be surprised.

Poll positions

Presidential race:

  • Bush 43 to Gore 41 (CBS News April 15-17).

  • Bush 44 to Gore 42 (Newsweek April 13-14).

  • Bush 45 to Gore 37 (Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll April 5-6).

  • Bush 50 to Gore 41 (Gallup/CNN/USA Today April 7-9).

  • Bush 45 to Gore 40 (Marist College April 3-5).

  • Bush 46 to Gore 42 (Zogby April 1-4).

    Vice presidential preferences (previous):

    Preferences for Republican vice presidential candidate among all voters (Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll March 22-23):

  • John McCain, 27 percent
  • Elizabeth Dole, 19 percent
  • Rudy Giuliani, 6 percent
  • Christine Todd Whitman, 6 percent
  • George Pataki, 3 percent
  • Tom Ridge, 3 percent
  • Fred Thompson, 3 percent
  • Connie Mack, 2 percent
  • Other, 3 percent
  • Not sure, 28 percent

    Preferences for Democratic vice presidential candidate among all voters (Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll March 22-23):

  • Bill Bradley, 27 percent
  • Dianne Feinstein, 10 percent
  • Bob Kerrey, 6 percent
  • Bob Graham, 5 percent
  • John Kerry, 4 percent
  • Bill Richardson, 4 percent
  • Evan Bayh, 3 percent
  • Other, 6 percent
  • Not sure, 35 percent

    New York Senate:

  • Clinton 52 to Giuliani 42 (New York Times/CBS News April 1-5).

  • Clinton 46 to Giuliani 43 (Quinnipiac College March 28-April 3).

  • Giuliani 46 to Clinton 43 (Marist Institute March 27-28).

  • Clinton 45 to Giuliani 42 (Zogby March 23-25).

    On the trail

    Bush: North Carolina.

    Gore: Pennsylvania.

    Sound off

    E-mail Trail Mix with your comments, suggestions and tips at alicia@salon.com.

  • Alicia Montgomery

    Alicia Montgomery is an associate editor in Salon's Washington bureau.

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