Former Vermont Governor Howie Dean has always claimed he was proud of signing the first state law allowing same sex unions. But now that he thinks he may be a viable presidential candidate, he’s running away from his gay-lesbian-and transgender base.
Earlier this week Dean was in Des Moines, Iowa, meeting with gays and lesbian voters. When asked about the meeting afterward, Dean claimed that it was the first gay and lesbian event he had participated in in a year. Perhaps he wasn’t aware the story would get outside the state.
Regardless Dean, who has accused other candidates as well as the president of lying, clearly lied, knowing full well he has attended fundraisers and spoken to groups of almost exclusively gay, lesbian, and transgender supporters in New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and San Francisco within the past four months.
In fact, Dean’s own campaign heavily promoted his appearance in New York, where it claimed Dean was the first mainstream Democratic candidate to appear at such a far-left gay, lesbian, and transgender meeting. Dean himself has made much of the fact that he was using such groups to help him finance what was then seen as a third-tier presidential run.
“Clearly Dean thinks he has a better shot of winning than he did five months ago, and he’s embarrassed and fearful of his close ties to the gay and lesbian community,” says a campaign staffer for Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry. Recall that Kerry has been criticized by Dean over the past two weeks for supposedly stealing Dean’s best lines.
“Dean should be ashamed of himself,” says the Kerry campaign staffer. “If you get into bed with a group like these people and use them for your own political purposes, you should at least stick by them until someone calls you on it. Dean’s running away from the gays before anyone has raised it as an issue.”
Dean’s staff, for its part, has not commented on its candidate’s attempt to distance himself from a voting bloc he has spent months scrupulously courting. But now that Dean has so publicly lied about his meetings, look for gay groups to be more resistant to being used by Dean for his political ends.
HILLARY’S CAPTIVE READERS
Now that Sen. Hillary Clinton‘s book has topped out at the 600,000 sales range, Clinton and her supporters seem to have found a way to keep the book sales coming. Clinton’s Senate staff and schedulers have made it clear to her Democratic Senate colleagues and groups interested in having her appear at fundraisers that she will only attend if copies of her books are either purchased in bulk for free distribution at the event or her books are made available for purchase while she is in attendance.
“They told me Mrs. Clinton will be more than happy to sign all the books and that she would spend plenty of time with those people who bought them,” says a publicity director for a Washington-based nonprofit who inquired about a possible appearance by Clinton early next fall. “It wasn’t like they were telling me we had to have the books, but the underlying message seemed to be, if we want a commitment, a promise of the book sales would help us get her.”
Further confirmation of Clinton’s people seeking a quid pro quo would be her planned appearances at fundraisers for Barbara Boxer, Patty Murray, and Blanche Lincoln, all up for re-election in 2004. All three will be selling copies of Clinton’s book and she will be appearing at all three events with the express purpose of signing them.
Also, the Democratic National Committee is negotiating not with the publisher Simon and Schuster, but with several local Washington, D.C. bookstores for purchases of Clinton’s book which would possibly be used as premiums for donors. “We haven’t worked it out yet, but we think by going through the bookstores the sales would be reflected not as bulk and would insure Senator Clinton would have a long stay at the top of the bestseller lists,” says a DNC staffer.
It’s expected that Clinton will emerge in the top slot of the New York Times latest bestseller lists. And Democrats have made keeping her on top a priority throughout the summer.