Washington Prowler

Clinton on Retreat

It was all about him -- but when isn't it?

By 2.3.03

Democrats on retreat in Pennsylvania late last week came back grumbling that President Bill Clinton didn't give them their money's worth. Of course, he was working for free, so what did they expect?

"It was all about him. His administration, what he did, would have done," says an attendee. "It's nothing we haven't heard before, it's just that there wasn't much constructive about it."

To be fair, Clinton did lay down some markers for the current legislative session and the 2004 campaign season, but those markers must seem pretty familiar to a Democratic caucus that has been wandering around in circles for the last couple of election cycles.

Clinton pressed his Democratic brethren not be bullied by Republicans who have impugned his party's patriotism. The ex-prez told the audience, which according to attendees hung on his every word, to hit back, not to take such charges lightly.

Any additional guidance was built on the classic class warfare rhetoric of Democratic races past. "It was all about the Bush tax cuts and how everything we should be debating, all the issues we as Democrats should be forcing, flow out of those tax cuts for the rich," says the attendee. "He's right. Social Security, health-care reform, balanced budgets, education, all those issues that we care about are in play. But we're too defensive."

Clinton was said to be at his best, speaking without notes, flitting about from subject to subject, deftly tying up loose ends and extraneous ideas.

"It was great to see him on top of his game," says the attendee, no longer as upset as he initially seemed. Clinton can evidently still wow them.

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