Getting Tough on Campaign Finance

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WASHINGTON: Be it penance or politics, Bill Clinton is really getting behind the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill. While Minority Leader Tom Daschle was throwing a procedural temper tantrum over Republican stalling on the bill Tuesday, Clinton dropped an even bigger bombshell by writing to Trent Lott and threatening to call Congress into special session unless the bill gets some hearty October debate.

AllPolitics reporter Tom Moore says the President is not winning any friends on the Hill. "This is a very aggressive move," he says, "and not only because these guys are very attached to their recesses. It's very rare for this threat to be even made, and it's going to seriously deteriorate Clinton's relationship with the Senate."

It's unlikely Clinton will have to follow through. But bills do not pass on honest debate alone, and Republicans have a vested interest in the status quo: they make more money out of it than the Democrats do. "Defeating any kind of reform is Mitch McConnell's job," Moore said of the Senate campaign committee's GOP chairman. "It doesn't matter even what he thinks personally. Republicans have to protect their lead."