Hillary haters spam cyberspace

Court calls for first lady's phone records. Giuliani to give a final answer, but either way he keeps the cash. Keyes continues crusading on the sidelines.

Published May 18, 2000 8:00AM (EDT)

Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign accidentally exposed reporters to a right-wing spam slam, according to the Washington Post. Late last week, a Clinton Senate campaign staffer unintentionally sent out the e-mail addresses of press contacts and the first lady's inner circle of advisors. The list made its way to Matt Drudge and then to Hillary-hating hubs in cyberspace. Ever since, reporters have been deluged with electronic nasty-grams and conspiracy theory messages. "Since Hillary Klinton was nice enough to publish all your e-mail addresses," begins one such message, "us in the right wing conspiracy wanted to drop each of you a note to say that you're all slime."

Court calls Hillary on Filegate phone records

Speaking of the vast right-wing conspiracy, the New York Post reports that a court is forcing the first lady and several former White House staffers to turn over phone records in the FBI files investigation. The order is the latest chapter in "Filegate," an early Clinton administration scandalette in which the FBI files of several prominent Republicans surfaced in the White House, and represents a victory for those who've pursued the matter from the beginning. "It's huge," said Larry Klayman of Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog organization and the plaintiff in the Filegate lawsuit. On the group's Web site, Klayman asserts that the phone records may turn out to be the "Holy Grail" in this case, but the administration remains confident of exoneration. "Telephone records and billing records don't lie," said White House spokesman Jim Kennedy. "This will involve a Kafkaesque waste of taxpayer money by Republicans intent on using the courts for political purposes."

Rudy runs on

The New York Daily News reports that Rudy Giuliani is likely to continue his Senate run, despite doubts among some Republicans. "My guess is he's going to run," said one anonymous Giuliani advisor. "I can't see Hillary winning this thing." Bob Davis, a county chairman for the New York GOP, concurs. "It's full speed ahead," he said. A definitive announcement could come as early as today.

Money for nothing in Rudy race?

Even non-New Yorkers have something to lose if Giuliani withdraws. An army of out-of-state contributors, the New York Times reports, could see their cash disappear into Giuliani's pockets. Thanks to legal loopholes, Giuliani can keep the $9 million remaining in his kitty if he quits the race. That's not what many of Giuliani's anti-Hillary donors had in mind. "Yes, the money was for Rudy, but the investment I made was in the Senate race," said Andrew J. Futey of Cleveland, who put $1,000 into Giuliani's coffers. "The main goal here is making sure there is somebody else besides Hillary. I would like to see my money stay in the race." Michael Ross, an anybody-but-Hillary supporter in St. Louis, also wants his $1,000 kept in the Senate race regardless of Giuliani's plans. "If he drops out, the money should go to his successor," Ross said. "You could put Mickey Mouse in there and I would give him money."

Blond ambition

But why should Mickey Mouse get all the loot? Mickey Kaus of Slate proposes, in the event of a Giuliani withdrawal, turning the New York Senate race into the battle of the beltway blonds. Former Ronald Reagan scribe Peggy Noonan, Kaus says, would be the perfect foil for the first lady. "Noonan's candidacy would drive Hillary crazy. As a woman, Noonan could even raise the Flytrap issue -- accusing Hillary of being a doormat -- with some impunity," he writes. The Senate race would also give Noonan a chance to prove that her book, "The Case Against Hillary Clinton," was on target. Kaus concludes his column by challenging Noonan to put up or shut up. "You can be someone who writes speeches or someone others write speeches about," he writes. "What do you have to lose? Or are you scared to put yourself on the line the way Hillary has?"

Keyes runs in the dark

Reagan acolyte and rhetorical rabble-rouser Alan Keyes continues his campaign for the presidency, regardless of media and public indifference. According to the Associated Press, Keyes is using his uphill race to keep his "family values" conservatism on the Republican radar screen. "There is a battle for the soul of the Republican Party," warns one Keyes mailing, "and the battle lines are starting to form." The abortion issue, a constant sore spot between moderates and conservatives in the GOP, is a special Keyes concern. Blaming abortion for "the destruction of our moral soul," Keyes exhorts his supporters not to flinch from their pro-life beliefs. "Our rights don't come from God if they are based upon our mother's choice," he told an Alabama audience.

But Keyes may prove to be little more than a decorative hot balloon at the Republican National Convention, according to Brown University political science professor Darrell West. "I don't think he is going to have any real influence, just because his base is very narrow," West said. "But, I suspect he will get some play at the convention because he is a good speaker and it is a way for Bush to appease the more conservative wing of the party."

Talking heads

  • C-Span's "Washington Journal":

    7 a.m. -- Open phones with morning newspaper articles. Online articles and a telephone interview with Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, sponsor of the Freedom and Privacy Restoration Act of 1999.

    8:15 a.m. -- Rep. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, on trade with China.
    9 a.m. -- Open phones and a telephone interview with Rep. Porter Goss, R-Fla., chairman of the House Select Intelligence Committee.

    9:15 a.m. -- Wesley Pruden, editor in chief of the Washington Times, on the news of the day.

    Poll positions

    Presidential race (previous):

  • Bush 46 to Gore 41 (Zogby May 10-13).

  • Bush 47 to Gore 39 (CBS News/New York Times May 10-13).

  • Bush 49 to Gore 44 (ABC News/Washington Post May 7-10).

  • Bush 51 to Gore 43 (Los Angeles Times May 4-7).

  • Bush 46 to Gore 45 (Pew Center May 2-6).

  • Bush 48 to Gore 42 (Voter.com May 1-3).

  • Bush 46 to Gore 41 (NBC/Wall Street Journal April 29-May 1).

  • Bush 49 to Gore 44 (Gallup/CNN/USA Today April 28-30).

    Vice presidential preferences (previous):

    Preferences for Republican vice presidential candidate among Republican voters (NBC/Wall Street Journal April 29-May 1):

  • Colin Powell, 39 percent
  • Elizabeth Dole, 19 percent
  • John McCain, 18 percent
  • Christine Todd Whitman, 5 percent
  • Fred Thompson, 6 percent
  • John Kaisch, 4 percent
  • Tom Ridge, 3 percent
  • Other, 1 percent
  • Not sure, 5 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 44 to Giuliani 43 (Quinnipiac College May 10-15).

  • Clinton 42 to Giuliani 40 (New York Post/Zogby May 12-13)

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

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

    On the trail

    George W. Bush: Texas.

    Al Gore: Washington.

    Ralph Nader: New Hampshire.

    Sound off

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

  • By Alicia Montgomery

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

    MORE FROM Alicia Montgomery

    Related Topics ------------------------------------------