Apparently not satisfied with the damage he wrought upon himself by speaking about Iraq, Al Gore will venture into Washington's Brookings Institution on Wednesday for what his people are terming "a major address" on the U.S. economy. According to Gore staffers, while he may not utter, "Are you better off now than you were two years ago?" to the eggheads and media elites who have booked seats for the event, the theme will be front and center.
"This was the DNC's idea to put him out there on the economy given the media play we got on the Iraq speech in San Francisco," says a Gore adviser. "The fact that the DNC was pushing us should give you an idea of Gore's standing in the party."
Sure, the Prowler will concede that the DNC may be pushing Gore, but toward what? A cliff?
As reported last week, Democratic Party leaders are looking for any number of ways to jettison the former presidential candidate to clear the way for more electable and appealing candidates in 2004. Those ways range from pressing his former running mate, Sen. Joe Lieberman, to perform a verbal coup de grâce to, apparently, letting Gore orally do it to himself with these "major addresses."
Gore probably has little to no standing in the Democratic Party judging from his performances on the stump and for Democratic candidates. He has himself raised almost no money to funnel to candidates: this past quarter saw him dole out less than $75,000 to Democrats. And there is grumbling among many House Democrats that Gore has declined invitations or backed out of commitments to attend individual candidate events across the country.
"By our count he's attended maybe ten events total for us, and he'd promised us he'd be front and center to help us win back the House," says a House Democratic fundraiser. "And he's given practically nothing in the way of cash."
Those events he did attend for were mostly for former aides or longtime friends running for the House. In some cases, Gore's wife Tipper attended in his stead. Still, ten events in a critical election cycle is paltry by any standards.
Former President Bill Clinton is at it again with his Hollywood types, but in this latest round there is reason for some Republican concern. Before heading off to Africa with movie stars Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker, Clinton stopped in on the set of Terminator 3 to spend some time with future California Republican star Arnold Schwarzenegger. "We were joking that he probably showed up thinking he'd see the naked female Terminator that's in this movie," says a cameraman on the film.
Clinton and Arnie spent some quality time in the actor's trailer, apparently talking shop about the Austrian muscleman's foray into Golden State politics. This year he's backing a statewide initiative to fund better physical fitness programs for school kids.
"I'm praying that Clinton wasn't advising him on anything else," says a political consultant doing some work for Schwarzenegger.
From L.A. Clinton, Spacey and Tucker were off to South Africa. Tucker, a comic actor best known for his second-banana roles to Jackie Chan and Bruce Willis, has been spending lots of time with Clinton in both L.A. and New York. According to several Clinton confidantes, the former president enjoys hanging out with the younger actor because of the many models and young actress types that he attracts. Maybe the former president can get them a role in the next Terminator.
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