GROOVY KIND OF ROVE
More accusations are flying in the war of words between White House adviser Karl Rove and John Weaver, the renegade McCain adviser turned Democratic Party adviser. Weaver, you'll recall, has just signed a fat contract with the House Democratic Campaign Committee and is also helping Democratic leaders Dick Gephardt and Tom Daschle in strategic planning for this fall's elections.
Weaver was basically run out of Republican politics by Rove, after Weaver engineered John McCain's initial success in the 2000 Republican presidential primary. Once the White House was won Rove went on the warpath, warning Republican incumbents and other candidates that Weaver was persona non grata.
Rove has downplayed his role in Weaver's loss of GOP work. But Weaver is telling folks on Capitol Hill that Rove wasn't just chasing away political clients. There were other embarrassments too.
According to several Hill sources, Weaver has told his new Democratic colleagues that Rove contacted potential business clients Weaver was wooing for strategic planning and lobbying business. "He says there were several clients, a big air carrier, some computer software and hardware clients," says a House Democratic staffer. "Rove scared them off too."
But all of Weaver's badmouthing and carping seems to be having the opposite effect. "The way he keeps talking about him, Rove sounds like the kind of guy I'd want running my campaign," says a House Democrat. "I look at Weaver and wonder, if he could get that outmaneuvered by Rove on every front, then why are we using him to outmaneuver Rove?"
Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe is extremely unhappy at leaks claiming that his dream of building a new party headquarters for the 21st century has been quashed due to lack of funds and other priorities.
In a recent New Republic article, sources said that the high cost of construction and the imperative to raise money for campaigns were killing McAuliffe's fantasy fundraising haven. Instead, DNC board members were pressing the party chieftain to renovate the current building in southeast D.C. near Capitol Hill, and perhaps expand into adjoining buildings if necessary.
But McAuliffe doesn't want to do that, believing that in the current space he can't build the cutting edge television and radio broadcast center he feels the party needs, nor could he house the partially funded Democratic think tank and policy shop he'd like to create over the next five years.
"If we have to renovate for now, fine," says a party source close to McAuliffe. "That just adds to the value of the building for resale. But we're not going to be satisfied with some makeover. We raised a lot of money for a new building, dedicated money that we could lose if we don't use it. Terry deserves to get the chance to build this for the party. It's his legacy. And he'll find a way."