ROUND 'EM UP
With it now appearing that an ostensibly recuperating Sen. John Kerry will take a pass on speaking at the DNC's winter meeting in Washington next week, chairman Terry McAuliffe is looking to slot in former Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun, who will officially become a presidential candidate next week when she files papers with the Federal Election Commission.
"With Kerry out, we probably have to take her," says a DNC staffer helping to organize the two-day event. "We have an opening now."
Kerry was scheduled to be the highlight speaker on the second day of the event. Other speakers for the day included Sen. John Edwards and Al Sharpton. And while Edwards is probably relieved that Kerry is off the program, it doesn't mean he'll get center stage for the day.
"We'll probably move Lieberman or Gephardt into the second day to balance things out a bit," says the DNCer. "We can't give our attendees a day of Moseley-Braun, Edwards and Sharpton. No one would stay for that kind of lineup."
When the speaking slots were announced earlier this month, Edwards people were worried about being bunched with the party's early presidential frontrunner and Sharpton, a fiery public speaker. Now, Edwards will most likely have to deal with audience favorite Joe Lieberman or Dick Gephardt on the second-day agenda.
"This is why they call these things a cattle call," says the DNC staffer. "Everyone gets a shot, but we're not giving anyone a better slot over someone else. The slots are what each candidate makes of them."
It's doubtful, too, that Sharpton would stand by and be lumped with Moseley-Braun, especially with rumors swirling that her presence in the race is a McAuliffe contrivance to water down his support in the black community.
GETTING WELL IN A HURRY
Sen. John Kerry is going to blow off the DNC's winter meeting, but not opportunities to meet Democrats important to his presidential aspirations. That's because while his competitors will be freezing in Washington, he'll be in sunny California raising as much as $250,000 for his campaign at three fundraisers.
Kerry may still change his mind and appear at the DNC affair in D.C., which he backed out on Thursday citing his recent prostate-removal surgery. But according to a California-based Democratic fundraiser, Kerry's campaign staff assured their West Coast backers that their man would give the fundraising events priority over the DNC event.
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