The Boeing Corporation evidently has little use for the Republican Party. Last night, Linda Daschle, who works as a lobbyist for Boeing, was one of the hosts of a "Boeing Salutes the Senate Democratic Caucus" in a Washington, D.C. theater space. Mrs. Daschle makes a point of telling reporters that, to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest, she limits her lobbying efforts on behalf of the airplane manufacturer and defense contractor exclusively to the House side of Congress. But she was front and center with her Senate Majority Leader hubby on Tuesday night.
Boeing has no plans for a similar Republican event, in part, one Democratic Senate leadership aide says, because word on the Hill has it that the firm's Washington lobbyists (not including Mrs. D.) advised against it. "It wasn't seen as necessary," says the leadership source. "On the Senate side, we're the ones they have to deal with first, not the Republicans. It would be a slap in our face."
Boeing isn't above slapping some faces, though. Not only were Republicans not invited, but the media were barred from the event too.
DEMOCRATS IN FULL RETREAT
Retreats are the new political "in" thing. Al Gore is planning one, and just last week, House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt let it be known that he is planning a retreat for later this summer to discuss racial issues. The weekend event will be open to members of the House Democratic Caucus, but interestingly, it won't be co-hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus. "They can do their own thing," says a Gephardt staffer. "This is Mr. Gephardt's idea, his funding, his program." So take that, Maxine Waters.
But perhaps the most eagerly anticipated retreat -- which the Prowler plans to attend -- will be held in late June on Georgia's St. Simon's Island by the PAC formed by Sen. John Edwards. More interesting than its actual seminars (to be announced) is who will host the weekend-long event: Mr. Smith Bagley and his wife, former ambassador to Portugal, the Hon. Elizabeth Frawley Bagley.
The Bagleys were large financial contributors to the Clinton campaigns in 1992 and 1996, as well as heavy contributors to the Gore 2000 run. "They jumped off that bandwagon pretty quick," says a former Clinton staffer, who is doing some work for Gore now. "We tried to keep them interested in the vice president's activities, in his plans for the future, but they had moved on to the flavor of the month."
Which, apparently, is Edwards. Not only is he getting Clinton and Gore's financial backers, he's getting Clinton and Gore's braintrust. Clinton and Gore pollster and political strategist Harrison Hickman will be a featured speaker, as will be former Clinton domestic policy guru Bruce Reed, who also worked for Gore as a campaign adviser.
"This happens all the time in politics," says another current Gore adviser. "It is way too early to be talking about who is backing which candidate. Mr. Gore has a fine team and will continue building that team over the next few months."
THE EARLY SHOW
Sen. John Kerry tried to keep his head down last Monday morning, but attendees at Bill Clinton's speech to the Council of Foreign Relations, delivered at New York's Yale Club, were quick to notice Kerry's arrival a few minutes after Clinton began speaking. It really wasn't Kerry's fault -- Clinton for perhaps the first time ever began his remarks five minutes ahead of schedule.
Clinton's speech was little more than a slam on the Bush Administration's plans for a Department of Homeland Security. Clinton said he probably would have created something, but made it clear that whatever he created would have been far superior to anything the Republicans did.
We'll see if similar comments are uttered by Kerry, who was seen furiously taking notes throughout the speech. "Senator Kerry is a Yale graduate, so I don't know why people would be surprised that he would attend a friend's speech at the Yale Club," says a Kerry aide in Massachusetts. Sounds pretty defensive for such an innocent question. Kerry did not stick around for a photo-op with the ex-prez, either.
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