Bringing Back a Tough and Tainted Pol

Cherubic and wide-eyed, David Wilhelm, 37, lacks the public ferocity usually expected of a party's national chairman. "The White House wants to hear a Great Dane barking," said one of Wilhelm's friends. "David often sounds like a Chihuahua."

And so in the end he proved to be no match for Barbara Mikulski. On July 26 the diminutive but unquestionably ferocious Senator from Maryland went to the White House with several Democratic colleagues to review major legislative problems like health care with Bill Clinton. But she pressed a different priority: removal of Wilhelm as party chairman. If the Democratic caucus were polled,...

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