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The Race to the White House

Ex-Clinton Spokesman McCurry Joins Kerry

September 15, 2004|Matea Gold | Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK — Former White House press secretary Mike McCurry is coming aboard Sen. John F. Kerry's campaign as a senior advisor, officials said Tuesday, the latest in a series of former aides to Bill Clinton to join the Democrat's presidential bid in recent weeks.

McCurry, who will not be paid, will begin traveling with the Massachusetts senator on his campaign plane Thursday. He joins a raft of top aides who already travel with Kerry, including senior advisors David Morehouse and John Sasso, communications director Stephanie Cutter and press secretary David Wade.

Campaign officials cast McCurry's addition as an effort to expand the team for the final leg of the race.

"There's nobody better at articulating what the candidate is thinking and saying," said senior advisor Joe Lockhart, who was McCurry's successor as press secretary in the Clinton administration and is running Kerry's communications strategy.

Kerry aides said the campaign sought to tap McCurry earlier in the year, but he was committed to his work as a consultant for the Washington-based Public Strategies Group.

McCurry said he had been informally advising the campaign since the spring but resisted taking a larger role because of work and family commitments until last week, when campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill renewed a request for him to come aboard.

He said he would be charged with helping Kerry address breaking issues and still get across his message, as well as making sure "the traveling press is happy."

McCurry arrives as many Democrats fret openly about the state of the campaign. The senator has lost ground to President Bush in recent opinion polls.

In response, Kerry has brought on a slew of former Clinton advisors in recent weeks, including Lockhart, Joel Johnson and former Clinton political director Doug Sosnik.

McCurry, who served as Clinton's press secretary for three years, is known for his unflappable demeanor, which served him well when the president came under fire for his affair with Monica S. Lewinsky.

Before he joined the White House, McCurry worked as a spokesman for Secretary of State Warren Christopher and communications director at the Democratic National Committee.

He also worked on the failed presidential campaigns of former Ohio Sen. John Glenn, former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey.

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