BIRD DOG DEMAGOGUE
Former President Bill Clinton couldn't keep his mouth shut over the weekend at Tougaloo College, a historically black institution of higher education in Mississippi. While addressing graduates there, Clinton repeatedly belittled the Bush administration's war on terror, war in Iraq, and lack of focus on domestic issues. At one point Clinton, who was apparently egged on by a raucous crowd, even took a slap at Sen. Trent Lott, telling the crowd that the school should approach Lott to help fund the school's building projects.
"Perhaps the former president's comment about Lott paying reparations was a bit over the top," says a former Clinton staffer in Washington. "But you know how he can be when he's with his people. They just love him, and he goes with the moment."
Clinton received a very warm reception at the graduation ceremony, and was clearly enjoying himself as he joined in with the gospel choir on several occasions.
It appears, with the announcement last week that Republican California Rep. Doug Ose is retiring and will not challenge Democrat Barbara Boxer in the 2004 Senate race, the path is cleared for U.S. treasurer Rosario Marin. A moderate Republican, with extensive ties to the Mexican-American community in California, Marin was considered a top tier choice by the White House. The only other name that has been floated seriously as a potential challenger to Boxer is former Gov. Pete Wilson. But those rumors have seemingly dried up of late.
One other name being floated now is Rep. George Radanovich, who has been campaigning up and down the state for several months but who would probably not run if it appeared the White House was trying to clear the way for Marin.
As it stands for Boxer, she has made the decision to very publicly disagree with her senior senator from the state, Dianne Feinstein. Boxer is said by some of her staffers to be frustrated that she is still considered a lightweight, both politically and intellectually, by the national and California press.
"Part of that perception is from Feinstein's people just badmouthing her," says a Boxer staffer in California. "But she also realizes that to dispel those perceptions she has to be proactive."
One other byproduct of Ose's retirement is talk that former California attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Dan Lungren is mulling a run for Ose's congressional seat.
MOSELEY ON DOWN
Rumors at the Democratic National Committee have Carol Moseley Braun mulling a quick exit from the presidential primaries. The former senator from Illinois did not stay in Iowa after the debates last Saturday evening, and inside the DNC her campaign is considered to be in disarray.
"She isn't raising any money, she doesn't seem to have any kind of support staff in Iowa or New Hampshire," says a DNC staffer. "It's not clear what she's doing."
Since joining the presidential race in mid-February, Moseley Braun has raised less than $80,000, and only recently has she opened office space in Chicago. Braun has also been criticized by Democratic strategists for her poor performance on the stump.
"She has no policies, she has no ideas, and when she does talk there doesn't seem to be much going on upstairs," says a DNC staffer. "If it weren't for the fact that she's barely raised anything, you'd think she was in this just for the money."
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