Washington Prowler

Lieberman Positives

Bill McBride's trump Democrat. Plus: Rocky Republican lows. Also: Rob and the Exterminator.

By 10.21.02

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McBRIDE'S SECRET WEAPON
With Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill McBride feeling the "big mo" and poll numbers showing he's got an actual shot at beating Jeb Bush, his campaign sent out a request for a big gun to appear with McBride over the weekend on campaign stops. Clinton? Gore? Nope. "We wanted [Joe] Lieberman," says a Florida Democratic Party staffer. "He's the only one of the bunch who doesn't carry a lot of negative baggage."

And it isn't just the party folks who are pushing that message. It's Lieberman's people too. "There isn't a Democrat in this country who wouldn't want to be pictured with the Senator. You can't say that about Clinton or Gore or Hillary," says a Lieberman staffer. "Democrats might want those folks in a meeting behind closed doors where there was no risk of embarrassment. But you never have to worry about that with Lieberman."

According to the Florida Democratic staffer, Al Gore offered to campaign for McBride and has made appearances in Florida on behalf of the state party, but the McBride campaign has thus far declined his offer.

"McBride doesn't want to be linked to Gore," the staffer says. "You don't get as far as he's gotten and then piss it away with a Gore appearance. Just too many bad memories."

A ROCKY REPUBLICAN FINISH
The White House is considering adding appearances by the president in South Dakota, Missouri, California and Colorado in the waning days of campaign 2002 in the hope that his presence can further boost the chances of their GOP candidates in those important states. While it appears that Jim Talent is pulling away a bit from Sen. Jean Carnahan in the Show Me State, the real focus is on South Dakota, where John Thune appears to be finally pulling ahead of Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson.

Meanwhile, the Colorado trip is an attempt to save the hide of Sen. Wayne Allard, whose campaign is in desperate straits after a series of missteps by the candidate. The latest gaffe was his inability to identify the leader of North Korea on the same day that country and its nuclear weapons program were all over the news. Allard even misstated the price of a first class postage stamp.

"It may be too late to save Allard," says a Republican National Committee staffer. "People complain about the Simon gubernatorial campaign in California. They ought to look at Allard's campaign. What a disaster. Our chances of taking back the Senate could really hinge on this boob."

Assuming Republicans held on to Senate seats they already control in Texas, Tennessee, North and South Carolina and New Hampshire, potential pickups in South Dakota and Missouri would have given them a clear shot at regaining majority. But a loss by Allard throws all those plans out the window and pushes the GOP back to treading water and out of control.

"There's always one candidate you overlook, and we just didn't see how potentially weak Allard was going be. It wasn't on our radar screens six months ago the way some of these other states were," says the GOP staffer.

SLIM CHANCES
According to a member of the artsy-fartsy Creative Coalition in Los
Angeles, actor/director Rob Reiner, best known for playing "Meathead" on "All in the Family" and vetting Al Gore's speeches, is on a diet and talking about possibly running for governor in 2006. Such a candidacy might pit the Hollywood liberal against Republican muscleman Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"Who know if Rob is serious, but he's got just as much political credibility as Arnold does, perhaps more," says the Creative Coalition member.

Ah-nald is currently campaigning for a state proposition to better fund youth physical fitness programs. Reiner has long been an advocate for children's literacy and early development programs. He was a favorite in the Clinton White House for taking far-left children's rights positions.

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