Sunday, September 05, 2004

Drudge: Clinton tells Kerry to stop talking about Vietnam

OK, I know this is from Drudge, so there's a 50-50 chance it's right. Well, maybe 40-60. Or is it 20-80?

Anyway, the Drudgeman claims Clinton spoke to Kerry for 90 minutes Saturday night.

Here' an interesting tidbit: He says Carville and Begala will play prominent roles in the campaign. (Now, they groomed Zell, right? Does that mean they'll have Kerry challenge Georgie to a duel? Can you imagine? Kerry will be saying, in French, I surrender, while Georgie is asking Rumsfeld, Which one's the trigger again?)

So, what does that mean for CNN? Will Carville and Begala still be hosts on Crossfire? (I was asking McClellan that. He didn't seem to know. I bet Rushie goes nuts about this on his show. Maybe he can get some insight from Daryn Kagan. They're dating, ya know).

Anyway, this is what Drudge was "developing" at about 11:04 p.m. (Sorry. No permalink).

Bill Clinton spoke with John Kerry from his hospital bed on Saturday night in a 90-minute conversation in which he offered Kerry detailed advice on how to reinvigorate his candidacy... Clinton told Kerry that he should move away from talking about Vietnam... Clinton aides who are expected to play an increasingly prominent role in Kerry campaign are James Carville, Paul Begala and Stanley Greenberg... Developing...

UPDATE: NY Times has the story here (registration):

Kerry Enlisting Clinton Aides in Effort to Refocus Campaign
Former President Bill Clinton, in a 90-minute telephone conversation from his hospital room, offered detailed advice on Saturday night on how to reinvigorate his candidacy, as Mr. Kerry enlisted more Clinton advisers to help shape his strategy and message for the remainder of the campaign.

In an expansive conversation, Mr. Clinton, who is awaiting heart surgery, told Mr. Kerry that he should move away from talking about Vietnam, which had been the central theme of his candidacy, and focus instead on drawing contrasts with on job creation and health care policies, officials with knowledge of the conversation said.

The conversation and the recruitment of old Clinton hands came amid rising concern among Democrats about the state of Mr. Kerry's campaign and criticism that he had been too slow to respond to attacks on his military record or to engage Mr. Bush on domestic policy. Among the better-known former Clinton aides who are expected to play an increasingly prominent role are James Carville, Paul Begala and Stanley Greenberg, campaign aides said.

Mr. Kerry's aides emphasized that this was an expansion of the staff for the fall campaign and did not represent another upheaval of the Kerry campaign. Still, several Democrats outside the campaign said the influence of Mr. Clinton and his advisers could be seen over the past few days in Mr. Kerry's attacks on Mr. Bush's domestic policies. They said the Clinton team had been pressing Mr. Kerry to turn up the intensity of his attacks on those policies after a month spent largely avoiding engaging the president.
The installation of former Clinton lieutenants is creating two distinct camps at Mr. Kerry's campaign headquarters on McPherson Square in downtown Washington.