Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Washington Insight

May 30, 1996|From The Times Washington Bureau

VERY CLEVER: They're calling it the ad that never ran--and the one that didn't have to. The Republican National Committee circulated advance copies Friday of an advertisement attacking language used in President Clinton's defense against the Paula Corbin Jones sexual harassment lawsuit. Clinton's attorney, in a brief filed with the Supreme Court, appeared to argue that as commander in chief, the president is entitled to the same exemption from civil lawsuits afforded to active-duty military personnel. Irked that Clinton, who avoided military service in Vietnam, would make such an argument, Republicans dashed off an ad and distributed advance copies to the news media. Over the weekend, television networks and some East Coast newspapers gave prominent play to stories citing the advertisement. But early this week, Clinton's lawyer withdrew the commander-in-chief argument--and the Republicans, short of money at the moment, withdrew the ad from its proposed slots. "This was Republican strategy aimed not at the voters directly but at the press inside the Beltway," said CNN's ad analyst, Brooks Jackson. "They scored a bull's eye."

*

LESS PAIN: Republican activists have been floating reports that Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist's bad back is so constantly painful that he may retire from the Supreme Court sometime after the November election. The prediction is intended as a warning to voters: Reelect Clinton and he will have the chance to appoint a liberal to replace Rehnquist, who is among the high court's more conservative members. The strategy has hit a snag, however: The 71-year-old Rehnquist is downplaying such speculation. The chief justice has told friends that his back is feeling better since surgery last fall and he has no plans to step down in the near future.

*

INVITING TARGET: GOP presidential candidate Bob Dole this week merged his effort to portray Clinton as soft on crime with a campaign by Republican women in Congress to narrow the president's "gender gap" advantage among female voters. The nexus is none other than Clinton's top political strategist, Dick Morris. Republican women demanded Morris' ouster earlier this month because he was hired by a defense attorney to conduct a poll in Fairfield County, Conn., to determine whether potential jurors were biased against a man accused of raping two high school girls there a decade ago. Morris has said his role in the case was that of "a disinterested researcher." But two weeks ago, nine Republican congresswomen sent Clinton a letter arguing that Morris' involvement "sends the wrong signal to the country--particularly to women." In a speech Tuesday, Dole sought to portray Morris as a symbol of Clinton's weakness on crime. Unspoken is a third element of the assault: Removing Morris would aid Dole because Morris is a powerful and effective force in the president's reelection campaign. So far, Clinton has stuck by his strategist. White House spokesman Mike McCurry said: "We're always worried that people will make inaccurate and intemperate accusations, and we just hope that the truth of the situation becomes clear."

*

SPENDING SHIFT: Congress is firmly aboard the budget-cutting bandwagon, or so says a study by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation. Five years ago, a total of 16 members of Congress sponsored bills that would result in reduced annual spending, according to the study. In the 104th Congress, 236 representatives and 70 senators sponsored such measures--with bills written by representatives calling for an average of $1.2 billion in cuts and legislation sponsored by senators averaging $4.3 billion in reductions.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|