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Jewish World Review June 28, 2000 /25 Sivan, 5760

David Limbaugh

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Consumer Reports


Some questions
for you, Mr. Gore


http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- YOU HAVE TO hand it to Clinton and Gore. They are simply experts at diverting scandals and demonizing their accusers. They've become so proficient at counterpunching that they're almost able to convert their scandals into assets.

Late last week, reports emerged that yet another Justice Department official had recommended that a special counsel investigate whether Gore had lied under oath in an April 18 interview. Robert Conrad, head of the Justice Department's campaign finance task force, recently became the third Justice official to urge Janet Reno to pursue the matter against Gore. Conrad's predecessor, Chuck LaBella, had made the initial recommendation.

But the Clinton-Gore machine is relentless in manipulating the news cycles to its advantage. With the weekend talk-show blitz, Gore managed to get equal time for his preposterous spin on the latest revelations about his fund-raising chicanery. The sanitized version transforms Gore from villain to victim.

On CNN's "Late Edition," Gore's adviser Ron Klain took the offensive, "The real question is for the Bush campaign -- were they involved in this leak? It's a serious question I think they need to answer."

Keep in mind that there is no evidence whatsoever that Bush was responsible for the dissemination of this story. It is just a naked, bad-faith charge, issued by Gore to divert attention from his misconduct by demonizing Governor Bush.

LaBella, also appearing on the weekend shows, offered his opinion about the source of the leaks. "Somebody, obviously in the Department of Justice at a high level, for some reason decided that this wasn't being fairly handled."

Dismissing LaBella, Gore's defenders tried to paint the leaks as the product of a partisan witch-hunt. On "Face the Nation," Democrat Senator Robert Torricelli said that last week's story about Conrad's recommendation to appoint a special counsel was "a politically-motivated leak that was not fair to the vice president and not right in our electoral system."

Just consider that statement. Who's being partisan here? If Torricelli weren't so committed to protecting his party's presidential hopeful, he would be joining in the call for a special counsel to investigate Gore. Besides, isn't this precisely the right time for us to find out all of the facts? That Gore is trying to be president makes it all the more imperative that we get at the truth.

Instead of worrying about fairness to the vice president, Torricelli ought to be demanding explanations from Gore for these anomalies:

  • Gore insisted that the 103 White House coffees were not "fund-raising tools," even though a Senate panel found in 1997 that supporters who attended these events between November 1995 and October 1996 contributed $7.7 million within one month of having attended them. (Some coincidence, huh?)

  • Gore recalled that he had been to few of the coffees, and specifically remembered "only one that I attended briefly." Yet, the Senate panel found that he had been the host of 23 coffees and attended 8 with President Clinton.

  • Gore denied under oath that he knew that the 1995 campaign event he attended at a Buddhist temple was a fund-raiser. Yet, the event raised more than $65,000 in illegal donations for the Democratic Party.

  • The Reno Justice Department had never questioned Gore directly about the Buddhist temple incident until April 18, just two days before the previously unreleased memos were to be delivered to Senator Specter's subcommittee.

  • When the Department finally interrogated Gore, investigators said his responses were characterized by "overall contentious elusiveness" and contained "misstatements."

  • Gore claimed in his now famous "iced-tea defense" that he was probably in the restroom when discussions occurred about his White House phone solicitations for hard money. Yet, former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta remembers Gore being quite attentive to these discussions.

  • Two FBI agents said that Lee Radek, the head of the Justice Department's public integrity section, told them in late 1996 that Reno was facing job pressure not to seek an independent counsel.

It's time for Democrats to stop the shenanigans and come to the aid of their country. The question, Mr. Klain, is not whether Bush was involved in any leaks -- which he most assuredly was not. Just as during impeachment, the question was not whether Ken Starr was involved in leaks of grand jury information -- which he most assuredly was not. The question is whether Mr. Gore has the requisite character to be president.


JWR contributor David Limbaugh is an attorney practicing in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and a political analyst and commentator. Send your comments to him by clicking here.

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