August 5, 2002


You'll Never Guess Who's Still at the Party : Bill Clinton offers advice to Democratic contenders (Howard Fineman, 8/12/02, NEWSWEEK)
Bill Clinton didn't attend the public sessions of the recent Democratic Leadership Council meeting in New York-one of the first "cattle shows" of the 2004 campaign-but he was an important behind-the-scenes presence.

IN LATE-NIGHT phone calls and at-home bull sessions, he advised at least three leading figures on the wording of their speeches at the event: Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards, and (noncontender) Hillary Rodham Clinton. And, just three days before the meeting, the former president had a private breakfast at his Washington home on Embassy Row with Rep. Dick Gephardt, another top contender slated to speak. "He loves to kibitz and would manage everybody's campaign-at the same time-if they'd let him," said one party strategist.

His message to all advisees: Take on President George W. Bush, big time. "Let him have it," he told one. The speaker who most enthusiastically followed that counsel was his wife, who got the best reception of anyone at the DLC event with a rousing defense of her husband's economic stewardship in the '90s. Her performance was so good that many in the audience wished aloud that she would run in 2004-something she has so far ruled out.

Lord, help us, he really is a clone of Richard Nixon. Posted by Orrin Judd at August 5, 2002 10:12 AM
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