The Politics Junkie

  • Share
  • Read Later
Clinton's long good-bye is good enough for NYT, WP and USAT, but how to lede the lead? NYT's Richard Berke downplays Bill's self-congratulation with "savored what he called 'this moment of unprecedented good fortune' and gets right to the bounce-friendly "implored Americans to protect his achievements by electing Al Gore to succeed him." WP's Dan Balz watched an angrier speech: "a sharp rebuttal to Republican criticism that he had squandered his presidency" before Goring with "praising Vice President Gore as someone who would 'keep our prosperity going.'" USAT's Mimi Hall reads Bill's mind with "President Clinton, increasingly worried that his would-be successor lags in the polls, vigorously defended his record Monday night and pleaded with voters to keep the good times rolling by electing Al Gore." Funny, I could have sworn Al got a shorter shrift than that.

WSJ would rather worry the undecideds: "Gore, Gephardt Rift Remains: Could They Really Get Along?" — giving us a brief history of the most laughable hypothetical ticket since Bush-McCain — and conveniently ignoring both men's history of putting power before principle. LAT, well, LAT is still running yesterday's print edition at 3:30 — PT, no less — and the web version leads with a Ron Brownstein take on a Gore "burdened by voter doubts about his leadership and widespread skepticism that he deserves credit for the strong economy, a new Times poll has found." But at least it's a new Times poll.


WSJ discovers Clinton speech: "In perhaps his final address to the nation, President Clinton offered a robust assessment of America's growth and progress in the past eight years and highlighted Vice President Al Gore's role in bringing it about." Then they get right to the protests.

LAT gets newsy too in second: "Seizing his party's center stage one last time, President Clinton opened the Democratic convention Monday night with a laudatory tour of the past eight years and asserted that only Al Gore can keep the good times going."

NYT's son of Apple ledes historical — shocking! — for his typically fine rumination on whether Gore will always be second best: "The transfer of power is one of the key tests of democracy. At the governmental level, the United States has managed it exceptionally well ever since George Washington, hero of the war that brought the nation into being, handed over to John Adams in 1797." Hey, Papa Bush got a term out of it, anyway. But then again, Nancy never ran for Senate. Knock on wood.

(A Quoth the Times Personal note: Apple gives Pellegrini a probably unwitting nod from up the stature ladder with two shared thoughts: "sounded at times more like a State of the Union address than anything else," "Mr. Clinton was unstinting in his praise of his vice president. Good word, unstinting. Thanks, R.W. — call me about a job.)

WP gets inside Bill's head on whether Clinton squandered good times or created them: "One of the abiding themes of Clinton's presidency is a frustrated conviction that he has never received the credit he deserves for his accomplishments — most of all for the prosperity he believes flowed directly from his 1993 budget plan."

USAT goes very very populist, seconding with Caroline Kennedy's Tuesday address in a search for the new paper-selling Kennedy: "The national scrapbook is filled with snapshots of Caroline Kennedy. But because she has rejected fame's enticements, most of us have never heard her voice. Tuesday night — probably between 8 and 9 p.m. ET — we get the chance, as President John F. Kennedy's last immediate survivor addresses the Democratic National Convention." If you're superstitious, skip right to the Gore baton-passing piece.

Notable: NYT's Peter Marks does some nifty channel-surfing and notes that "The Democratic convention program was running behind by 20 minutes tonight, which happened to be just long enough to ensure that Hillary Rodham Clinton's speech to the delegates was broadcast live in prime time on all three of the major broadcast networks."


"It was not intentional." —Peter Ragone, convention spokesman, on Hill's spotlight grab (NYT)

"These girls are working. They're not here to be interviewed. They're here to mingle with the guests." —"beefy guards," warning reporters away from the Playboy Bunnies at Hef's place. (NYT)

"I love you." —Bill Clinton's last words to audience Monday night

Protest Songs (WP)

"Before the convention is over, we're going to show the country just how much special interests have completely taken over our political system." —Aaron Lehmer, 28

"Both parties have made a decision about who they're going to represent. And it ain't us." —Mark DeMartini, 43

"They've all locked themselves inside the Staples Center and are trying to hide from important issues." —Hannah Schiesel, 23

"We're just here to see Rage." —Sam Baker, 19, at the rubber-bullet-and-riot-gear-filled RATM concert in the Staples parking lot.

Matters of Opinion

NYT's ever-witty Gail Collins: "Al Gore has been hovering outside California waiting for the Clintons to depart, like a host tapping his foot at the door while the longest-winded guest at the party launches into one last anecdote by the coat rack. But now the convention is his, his, his, and we are going to hear more about Mr. Gore over the next three days than you might have thought humanly possible."

WP's E. J. Dionne: "So how much will we miss Bill Clinton? The politician who welcomed himself into American history as the Man from Hope eight years ago says goodbye as the Man of Hopes Realized."

WSJ's Al Hunt: "The Democrats are reveling in a preconvention electoral bounce with the choice of Joe Lieberman as Al Gore's running mate. Yet they remain beset by political problems."

But aren't the Clintons leaving town now?