The Politics Junkie

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It's Gore's paper party, and he... NYT's R. W. Apple: "made his debut as the Democratic presidential nominee tonight with a vow to work for all Americans, 'especially those who need a voice, those who need a champion, those who need to be lifted up so they are never left behind.'" WP's Dan Balz says the veep "cast himself as a serious if sometimes unexciting politician who will battle against powerful special interests to ensure 'that our prosperity enriches not just the few, but all working families.'"

USAT's Richard Wolf says the aspiring veep "took credit on Thursday night for the administration's strong domestic record of the last eight years, but declared that 'for all of our good times, I am not satisfied.' In a speech designed to lift delegates' spirits and his sagging poll ratings, Gore told the Democratic National Convention and millions watching on television that he has the experience, ability and vision to be the nation's 43rd president." WSJ's Jeanne Cummings: Gore"offered a detailed plan of how he would govern that offered something for both his liberal base and the swing voters crucial to his hopes for election."

LAT's Barabak/Chen play it cool: Gore "stepped forward Thursday night as 'my own man' and pledged to use this time of plenty to build a 'better, fairer, more prosperous America.'"

So we're in agreement, then, on the "debut." Everybody got Gore the same, but nobody wants to show up at the party wearing the same lede.


NYT's Richard L. Berke switches places with Apple, analyzing Gore's political bestriding: "Al Gore tried to accomplish a political feat so daunting tonight that even the maestro himself, President Clinton, might have had trouble pulling it off. Mr. Gore presented himself as his own man and virtually skated over his service as vice president as he sought to persuade the nation that he is more than the dutiful lieutenant. But he also tried to take credit for helping to bring about "the biggest surpluses" ever — the grandest achievement of the Clinton era."

WP's Broder does the lifting: "The path that might carry Vice President Gore all the way from tonight's Staples Center acceptance speech to the inaugural platform in Washington next January is strewn with the same obstacles that his rival, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, must surmount. But Gore has much less room for error, as other Democrats see it. He really has to thread the needle to win." But did he? Read on.

USAT's Susan Page gets the skinny on the fall too, but from the Gore camp itself: "The national political conventions are over, the candidates nominated, the government's check for $67.6 million in public financing on its way and the general election formally launched. Both sides have drafted strategic plans aimed at claiming the November prize." As good an overview as any, without the red header.

WSJ's Kuntz/Cloud are all too happy to make trouble known: "Independent counsel Robert Ray has empaneled a new grand jury to look into the Monica Lewinsky case, roiling Democrats on the last day of their national convention and offering fresh evidence that the scandals that have dogged President Clinton will continue to dog Vice President Al Gore." NOOooooo!!!

LAT's resident Broder, Ron Brownstein, prickles me liberal with a word on Gore's expectant base. Best lede of the night: "In a time of peace and prosperity, Al Gore is betting that Americans want to go to war."

Notable: It's news, even if nobody wants to hear it: The long national nightmare goes into recurring-dream mode again with Ray: WP's Schmidt/Vise say, "The independent counsel's office, first under Starr and more recently under Ray, has been considering possible criminal charges against Clinton that would mirror the allegations Congress weighed during impeachment proceedings in 1998 and 1999. These charges could include perjury, subornation of perjury, conspiracy and obstruction of justice for his alleged efforts to defeat a sexual harassment lawsuit brought against him by Paula Jones." Why does that all sound familiar?


So Long, Farewell — And Don't Let the Door Hitcha

L.A. merchants say good riddance to the Dems (LAT)

"They came in for water and to use the bathroom. We got killed because of this," —Henry Fogiel, owner of the Yorkshire Grill on West 6th Street near Grand Avenue, who suffered a 40 percent plunge in revenue. ("Richard Riordan said we'd make $132 million," he said. "Well, maybe the city did, but not the people downtown.")

"The police came door to door and scared the daylights out of us, and so did the property managers." —Haim Morovati of Silver City, a jewelry wholesaler.

"You can't have the mayor and the police chief for at least three weeks before the convention starts tell everyone what a frightening situation this is and how we practically have to declare martial law, and expect people not to be afraid." —City Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg, who was criticized by some merchants for bringing the protesters downtown, placing the blame for the economic dead zone on police and Riordan.

"It's good to see them marching, but we really need the money. It's hard to miss a day." —Rocio Alaniz, seamstress.

"It's just not what we expected. Everyone was hoping for a piece of the pie, and it hasn't been that way." —Craig Cutler, manager of Engine Co. No. 28 on Figueroa Street.

I'd love to tell you what the commentator class thought of Gore's big debutabeast, but my dial-up's fried and I gotta be up in an hour to launch my punditry career on CNN. Find the opiners yourself, and goodnight, sweet Prince Albert.