Brought to You by the DNC

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WASHINGTON: Another spate of memos and documents released by bitter former White House deputy chief of staff Harold Ickes is casting in harsher light the extent to which the Clinton presidency and the DNC became, in the hunt for re-election, nearly indistinguishable. One memo described the re-election fix Democrats were in by late 1995: "no cash on hand, a $7 million bank debt, and approximately $1.5 to $2.0 million in obligations. Not a particularly satisfying situation." According to the memo, the DNC would need $180 million by Election day. That would require White House residents to pitch in. Events starring President Clinton were slated for $50.2 million "from Trustees, Labor and the Asian community," and specific events were commonly notated "(Asian)" or "(Jewish)" along with specific amounts targeted. Events with Vice President Al Gore were to raise $10.8 million, and some documents suggested that Hillary Rodham Clinton should raise $5 million on her own. A Nov. 20, 1995, memo from then-DNC chairman Donald Fowler even called a Christmas dinner at the White House "an accountability event for prior projections and commitments." As Ickes himself wrote in one memo directed to Clinton and Gore: "The fund-raising needs for the DNC will require a very substantial commitment of time from the President, the Vice President, the First Lady and Mrs. Gore." Those needs, while ravenous, may not have prompted any illegal action. But the latest 800 pages unearthed from the files of the man who managed Clinton’s re-election strategy and led the push for the funds are sharpening the picture of a President, and an Administration, that seems to have pursued money at least as passionately as policy.