The Politics Junkie

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Liberal Night, feeling a little left out. NYT's James Dao and Kevin Sack bury the little-watched old-guard extravaganza in a Wednesday-looking story about Joe Lieberman's Tuesday: "Faced with an undercurrent of grumbling about the centrist tone of its ticket and platform, the Democratic Party devoted much of its convention today to reassuring its liberal base, sending its vice-presidential candidate, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, to appear before black delegates and declare his unequivocal support for affirmative action." WP's Dan Balz cloaks it in the Bill-Al torch echo of Ronnie and George: "As Vice President Gore accepted the mantle of leadership from President Clinton, Democratic leaders launched a sharp attack against George W. Bush and the Republicans here tonight, exhorting the party faithful to rally behind their nominee to prevent 'a return to the politics of haves and have-nots.'"

USAT's Martha T. Moore goes straight, with surprising play for Jeter lookalike Harold Ford Jr., whom Brokaw wouldn't even let talk: "Old-line liberals had their night Tuesday at the National Democratic Convention, but then they gave way to a young moderate whose positions reflect the middle road followed by the party's presidential ticket." WSJ's Dennis Farney and Jeanne Cummings poke at the lion feeding: "Al Gore's presidential campaign attempted a critical midcourse positioning maneuver, reaching out to the make-or-break independent vote while reassuring skittish black voters who remain an equally essential building block for any electoral victory."

LAT is web-only as usual — remind me to find out what's going on over there — but Mark Z. Barabak musters the nicest lede of the night: "The kin and kindred souls of President Kennedy raised the torch of the New Frontier to summon Democrats Tuesday night to extend the nation's prosperity to those left behind." Kin and kindred souls — wish I'd thought of that one.

Verdict: No one watched the speeches.


NYT's Katharine Q. Seelye tackles the torch thing niftily: "With a bear hug and a slight nudge, President Clinton pushed his understudy, Al Gore, to center stage today, relinquishing the limelight to the man he hopes will succeed him."

WP's David Von Drehle read my mind, metaphor-wise, with a thinker on the DLC's inclusion problem: "Four years ago, the Democratic convention talked about building a bridge to the new century. This year, the bridge under construction links the pre-Clinton and post-Clinton versions of the party." Nice.

USAT's Larry Copeland and Jessica Lee fast-forward to Joe Wednesday: "He not only must sway the nation's prized swing voters but also do some preaching to the choir." Isn't that more of a Christian cliché?

WSJ's John Harwood leads well and cheekily on an off-topic Democrat dirt-digger: "In his paper-strewn office above the Cafe Aroma latte shop, Dan Carol gazes at a computer screen and admires a leering image of George W. Bush. 'Doesn't he look like he just hacked somebody up?'" Message: Gore'll go negative, just you wait. And long live the Web.

LAT's Janet Hook and Matea Gold do the web another solid with this: "Hoping to patch up an emerging fissure in the Democratic base, soon-to-be vice presidential nominee Joseph I. Lieberman arrived in Los Angeles on Tuesday and quickly moved to mend fences with black Democrats concerned about his positions on affirmative action, school vouchers and other issues."

Notable: WP's Rene Sanchez and William Booth check in with the scripted con's only villains: the cops. "This city's troubled police department today defended its decision to disperse protesters Monday night by firing volleys of rubber bullets as 'a measured, professional and appropriate response to extremely violent people.' But others saw in the Los Angeles Police Department's aggressive tactics a brutal overreaction to a few dozen obnoxious kids... a reason why Al Gore might want to promise take a few dozen of them mothers off the streets instead of putting 100,000 more on. It'd be like Nixon schmoozing with the longhairs, man, and populist gold for the youth vote.

Quoth the Times

"Gore Grabs Torch From Clinton, Hoping to Avoid Burns"


Follow the Money (WP)

"There's a meeting in my suite Thursday at 11. We're going to bring everyone into the Bay Area for a fund-raiser. I'd love for your help, love for your help." —Joel Hyatt, one of three finance chairs of the Democratic National Committee.

"I can't stand the idea that I can only come to this convention because I can write a huge check... I'm here literally because I gave $100,000. That's pathetic." —Laura Lauder, who helps run the investment arm of her husband's family's cosmetics empire.

"The business of this week is to make sure that everybody has a good time. We have far more major donors than we've had, far more of whom are coming to the convention." —Joel Hyatt

"We are not the party of the privileged. We are the party of the people." —Lydia Camarillo, the convention's chief executive officer.

"My assistant, Hans, will take you there." —Joel Hyatt

"Let's get some dinner. I certainly paid for it." —"one man"

"The system stinks." —Joel Hyatt

Matters of Opinion

NYT's Maureen Dowd makes me laugh out loud, unless I'm just tired and drunk. On Bill-Al-Tipper-Hillary torch event: "This quartet represents the most extraordinary collection of festering resentments and seething jealousies and co-dependent plotting that has ever darkened the White House — with the possible exception of when Richard Nixon dined alone. The miracle was not that the baton got passed, but that nobody got hit with it."

More, if you don't mind: "The Gore team had nightmares that the president would do a fake handoff, and say 'You got it!' when the crowd chanted 'Four more years!'"

WP's David Broder, on Clinton's speech: "It's now clear that Gore is going to have to do it himself." Well and economically said, as always. Proud to walk through the media-center door behind you this afternoon, Mr. Broder.

USAT's Walter Shapiro gives some dubious advice: "Gore Should Speak Like Clinton"

By the way: Just watching Bradley clip on late night CNN-fest. The man's tongue was BRIGHT RED. Think Gore slipped us a cyborg?

By the way: All the papers led with the Russian sub. But the only Red October we'll have this year will be from George W. Bush's blood under Gore's fingernails.