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Washington Insight

October 06, 1994|From The Times Washington Bureau

MARIO MANEUVERS: Facing tough sledding in his bid for a fourth term as New York governor, Democrat Mario M. Cuomo, has been trying to sow dissension among state Republicans. Cuomo has been unashamedly bidding for the endorsement of New York City's recently elected Republican Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, claiming that he would be more attentive to the needs of hard-pressed Gotham than would his GOP opponent, George Pataki, who boasts of his fiscal conservatism. So far, His Honor has irritated Pataki partisans by remaining on the fence. Insiders say that it has not hurt Cuomo's cause that he hired renowned New York media consultant David Garth to aid his campaign. Among Garth's other clients: Mayor Guiliani, whom he helped steer to victory last November.

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DUBIOUS HELP: Although other Democrats are shunning the company of President Clinton, U.S. Senate candidate Ann Wynia bravely invited the battered chief executive to Minnesota last month to raise money for her campaign. The President succeeded in bringing money to the campaign. But after he left, so did Wynia's narrow lead over Republican Rep. Rod Grams, according to a poll released last week by the St. Paul Pioneer Press. She now trails 44% to 42%.

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DUBIOUS HELP II: When the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee hosted a press briefing this week--offering the grim prediction that the party would lose 25 to 30 House seats in the November election--reporters were offered coffee and sweetener, but no whitener. An embarrassed aide ran off to correct the oversight, returning 10 minutes later with half a pint of milk. It was sour.

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CONGRESSIONAL HEALTH: When Sen. Harris Wofford (D-Pa.) says that he's not in Congress to win popularity contests, he seems to mean it. The senator, whose 1991 upset election galvanized efforts to revamp the nation's health care system, is so mad that Congress took no action on the issue that he wants to cut off the generous--and tax-financed--coverage of members until they pass comprehensive reform. Numerous senators privately have accosted Wofford to complain--out of concern that they could become uninsurable in the current market because of some existing medical condition. Wofford is unmoved. "Members of Congress shouldn't take from the American people what they won't guarantee for the American people," he said. "This is a good, clear, fair proposition that people will understand."

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NO JOSHING: A small group of "really angry" 20-somethings in Boston have banded together to express their generational rage under the banner of the "Save Josh Steiner Committee," named for the 28-year-old Treasury Department aide who shocked and amused America during Whitewater hearings last summer by revealing that he lied to his own diary. The group, which has "at least" 10 members, is the brainchild of 27-year-old Brian X, who adopted his nom de guerre from the "Generation X" moniker assigned to his age group by the media. X says that his goal is "to rally support for Steiner and to dramatize the problem of age-based discrimination." Also, X said, he'd like to raise enough money for stamps to mail his newsletter, "The Steiner Diary," to its 100 non-paying subscribers. The first issue revealed that Steiner has been a loyal American Express cardholder since 1991 and announced a "Rock for Josh" concert next spring. Steiner was traveling Wednesday and could not be reached for comment.

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