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Jewish World Review June 4, 1999 /20 Sivan 5759

Ben Wattenberg

Ben Wattenberg
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Ben Wattenberg


The forest and the trees -- "Suddenly this spring, the Clinton White House has found itself home not to one ambitious agenda but to three. And aides say that is making it a very complicated place to work.

Three powerful political personalities are striding across the political stage, each one supported by a coterie of advisers more loyal to their particular leader than the trio as a whole.." -- The Washington Post, May 30, 1999

Washington, D.C., June 4 -- In the wake of moderate Ehud Barak's election as Israeli Prime Minister, senior administration officials are promising a renewed push to jumpstart stalled Mideast peace negotiations.

A Clinton-brokered peace in the region "puts a foreign policy win on the boards" for a president focused on his place in history and battered by plunging public support for the U.S.-led air campaign against Yugoslavia, explained one official, adding, "It's the legacy, stupid."... "IT'S MY TURN!: Hills Bills, She's In!" (Headline, New York Post, July 5, 1999)

"FIRST STRIKE AT FIRST MATE: Hizzoner Questions Hil Support for 'PLO State'" (Headline, New York Post, July 6,1999) Washington, D.C., July 7 -- Singed by New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's attack on first lady and New York Senate candidate Hillary Clinton for supporting Palestinian statehood in a speech several years ago, aides to the first lady are waging a quiet backstage campaign to ease U.S. pressure on Israel to make territorial concessions in Mideast peace talks.

"It's the 'PLO State-gate' flap thing," explained a senior national security official. "Hillaryland is telling the legacy people to throttle back on Barak, which means the peace process loses momentum and worst-case, the Barak window closes."...

Washington, D.C., July 8 -- Amid reports of an emerging rift between a White House "legacy wing" committed to rapid progress in Mideast peace talks and advisers to New York Senate candidate Hillary Clinton, aides to Vice President Al Gore wrestled with the political implications of the internecine strife for his own campaign, as it struggles to gain traction. "It's lose-lose," said a source familiar with Gore's dilemma. "He doesn't want to seem disloyal to the president, but he can't hand New York to Bradley on a platter. Al is slapping himself on both sides of the face, just torn. You guys wonder why he can't relax?"...

Des Moines, July 9 -- In a speech last night to Story County Democrats, Democratic dark-horse candidate Bill Bradley said that while it is "too early" to offer specifics on Middle East peace negotiations, voters "want a nominee -- whoever he is -- who is not afraid to be his own man."... Washington, D.C. August 4 -- In a bid to overcome the lingering effects of the accumulated Clinton scandals, Al Gore will deliver a series of addresses on "Faith, Family and Character," aides to the vice president said today. Calling the planned addresses a "serious intellectual exploration," a Gore policy adviser said the candidate "hopes to outline his vision of a forward-looking morality for the early third millennium firmly rooted in the monotheistic faith-based systems of the early first millennium."

But there is an element of political calculation in the vice presidential "big think," a senior Gore campaign aide admitted. "It lets him dump some Clinton scandal baggage off the balloon and, two, engage (Texas Governor George) W (. Bush) in the 'compassion' arena," explained the campaign aide...

Washington, D.C., August 7 -- President Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton are "hurt and uncomprehending" according to a long-time friend following press leaks implying that Vice President Al Gore is looking for ways to distance himself from the first couple's ethics record...

Washington, D.C., August 10 -- Newspaper and network news editors are in a quandary over how to handle publication by Internet magazine Salon of a grainy and shadowed photograph of what appears to be a younger, less inhibited Texas Governor George W. Bush.

Depicting the GOP presidential favorite atop what appears to be a bar performing what an accompanying article calls a "Risky Business dance," the unauthenticated photo...

Austin, Texas, August 11 -- A peeved George W. Bush today dismissed reports of a compromising Internet photo as "just more dirt from the firm of Clinton, Clinton, Flynton and Gore."

In his first comments about the grainy photo published by Internet magazine Salon, the GOP frontrunner told reporters, in a veiled jab at Gore, "In my monotheistic, faith-based system, we believe that people who live in glass houses..."

Washington, D.C., August 12 -- Stung by angry charges of collusion between Gore campaign aides and Internet magazine Salon that have dredged up unwelcome memories of the impeachment saga, Vice President Al Gore is huddling with top campaign advisers for what one termed a "soup to nuts strategic reassessment" of the Democratic frontrunner's troubled campaign.

"Everything is on the table," said the Gore aide. "Legacy vs. campaign politics, the national campaign vs. the New York race, loyalty vs. being his own man -- we are dissecting, I mean debugging this campaign. We will turn it around."

Another aide was less sanguine. "The tactical stuff we can tweak. But we're left with the strategic problem: basically, you got three powerful political personalities striding across the political stage, each one supported by a coterie of advisers more loyal to their particular leader than the trio as a whole."...

Ben Wattenberg is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and is the moderator of PBS's "Think Tank."


06/01/99: Must we still subsidize 'cultural pollution'?
05/24/99: Whatever happened to Kittlitz's Murrelet?
05/17/99: The contribution revolution
05/10/99: 'MacArthur' not wanted for Belgrade
05/03/99: Reality: home and abroad
04/26/99: John McCain: born leader
04/19/99: Gore in the balance
04/13/99: Hollywood is sharing the spotlight
04/05/99: Lessons of Vietnam, and Serbia
03/26/99: Politics as dog food
03/19/99: Bush-whacked Bush-whackers
03/08/99: Axioms for good politicians
02/26/99: L.A., D.C. try to get back to the past
02/23/99: The sprawl brawl
02/11/99: Celebrated lives writ short
01/28/99: Who's afraid of the Euro?
01/25/99: The Vast Right-wing conspiracy and Danny Williams: The last word (hopefully)
01/14/99: Sum of scandal? It's OK
12/31/98: Predictions? I don't think so
12/11/98: Better dead than read?
11/25/98: Polling the Pilgrims
11/13/98: The icon and the iconoclast
11/06/98: What happened? Nothing!
10/28/98: Two billion never-borns!
10/22/98: Election pundits know nothing
10/15/98: The too-big-to-fail doctrine
9/29/98: The Jerk Factor at work
9/24/98: American civic engagement thriving
9/16/98: Anatomy of a cover-up
9/09/98: Draft Joe Lieberman!
9/03/98: Get over it, folks
8/28/98: McGwire. Maris. Ruth. Clinton.
8/20/98: Is consuming a Big Mac eating?

©1999, Creators Syndicate