BAYOU A VOTER?
Bill Clinton and Al Gore may not be physically in Louisiana trying to bail out Sen. Mary Landrieu‘s campaign, but a lot of behind the scenes, national Democratic Party types are working hard for her. The biggest name to surface is that of Donna Brazile, a native of Louisiana, who has been working to rally the troops in New Orleans and other urban centers where the black vote is critical to Democratic hopes.
“With the election falling on a Saturday, it’s going to take extra effort to get the vote out for us,” says a DNC staffer working in Baton Rouge. “This whole thing seems rigged to go Republican. They are much more motivated.”
The weekend voting aside, Republicans are already getting ready for Florida 2000-like shenanigans at polling places.
According to the DNC source, the party has already lined up a number of “volunteer” drivers to get voters to the polls for a fee of $5 per voter. “This is standard Louisiana politicking,” says the source. It’s how Landrieu won last time out.
Landrieu won her first election by less than a percentage point in 1996, with a wide array of voter fraud occurring throughout the state: everything from multiple votes by the same voter to voters who had been dead for five years when they supposedly pulled the lever.
“We know it’s going to get ugly, but we’re trying to be ready,” says an RNC source. To that end, the party is said to have sent a number of volunteer Republican lawyers to Louisiana to be ready to file complaints in local jurisdictions if irregularities occur.
Brazile may have been the brains behind Al Gore’s campaign, but Bubba is still king for both Democrats and Republicans, if the Louisiana election is any indication. Democrats in New Orleans came alive last weekend when rumors were circulating that Clinton might show up in town to campaign for Landrieu.
And Republicans have been excited by Clinton too, thanks to a radio ad by Republican challenger Suzanne Haik Terrell which features a Clinton imitator who identifies himself as “Bubba.”
“You know, I miss Washington. But there’s a woman in the Senate I can always count on. My Washington and Hollywood friends think she’s great. Hillary? Heck no! I am talking about Mary Landrieu.”
Bubba then sings his political paramour’s praises for voting yes on taxpayer-funded abortions, needles for drug addicts and closing military bases.
WHO WAS THAT CHAP?
Sen. John Edwards‘ relationship with the real Bill Clinton paid off in London on Wednesday, when British Prime Minister Tony Blair met with the now-senior senator and presumptive Democratic presidential candidate.
Edwards had asked Clinton to call Blair on his behalf to help get him a meeting on a European junket Edwards hopes will help burnish a perception that he has foreign policy experience.
But no sooner did Edwards walk out of the meeting, which lasted longer than Edwards expected, than he was on a conference call to reporters in Washington in North Carolina crowing about the meet. Edwards claimed that he and Blair hit it off, but that may be because, according to British press sources, Edwards told the Labour PM that he supported the Bush agenda on Iraq and terrorism without hesitation.
“Blair’s people said he was quite the suckup, as you say,” says a British foreign affairs reporter in London. “We all understood that this man wasn’t serious about anything, it was all for his domestic aims. None of us really knew who Edwards was.”