Clinton Back on the Money Trail

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NEW JERSEY: How serious is Bill Clinton about campaign finance reform? That question is being asked Wednesday as the President hits the fund-raising road in what could well be described as a masterpiece of bad timing. One day after the McCain-Feingold bill was permanently mired in the Senate, Clinton will be attending no less than five fund-raisers here and in Philadelphia, hoping to raise a total of $2 million in soft money.

The President gave the usual defense: If you want me to stop playing the game, change the rules. "I'm not for unilateral disarmament," he told reporters Tuesday. But coming less than 24 hours after he promised to fight for McCain-Feingold "as hard and as long as necessary", his actions make his words ring somewhat hollow, according to opponents. "It would help to lead by example," said Ann McBride, president of Common Cause. Soft-money reform advocates claim McCain-Feingold is not dead, and that they will try to tack it on as an amendment to future bills. The bill had the support of as many as 53 senators Tuesday.