Washington Prowler

Sounds of Silence

Republicans want to hear from Nighthorse. Democrats shy from condemning Moran.

By 3.13.03

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A NIGHTHORSE IN THE RACE
Republicans in the Senate have asked Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell about his re-election plans in 2004. The former Democrat, who crossed over to the good guys back in 1995, has not made it clear whether he will or will not run for another term.

Republicans hope he will, if only to scare off prospective Democrats who might have eyes on a potentially winnable seat for them. Rep. Mark Udall has said that he would be interested in running for that seat, and some Democrats in the Rocky Mountain State remain convinced that former Sen. Gary Hart has his eyes set more on running for the Senate seat than on running for president.

"If you're Hart, would you rather raise $10 million for a Senate run or five or six times that to run for the presidential nomination?" asks a Democratic National Committee delegate from Colorado. "Some of us think he'll run for either if he thinks he can pull in the money."

MUM'S THE WORD
Jewish groups have gotten a pretty clear view of the courage their longtime Democratic friends have exhibited over Rep. Jim Moran's anti-Semitic comments. According to a staffer for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, it and several other groups, including the American Jewish Congress and the American Jewish Committee, had pressed hard for such senators as John Edwards, John Kerry, Tom Daschle, Edward Kennedy and Barbara Boxer to come out hard and loud against Moran.

"They wanted Moran to hear it from everywhere on the Hill," says the AIPAC staffer. "But we're shocked by the silence over the past few days."

Edwards, among others, has put out press releases expressing dismay and displeasure over Moran's comments. But with the exception of Daschle, who was asked about Moran at a press conference set up for to discuss another issue, few Democrats have been out front on the Moran comments the way they were after Trent Lott's comments last December.

"It's a disappointment," says the AIPAC staffer. "We expected better of the Democrats, many of whom we've strongly supported in the past. They should know that we do remember these kinds of things."

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