As the sun finally starts to rise on the political landscape, tough decisions have to be made by tough campaign managers. One faced by Vice President Gore's people is how far the candidate can disassociate himself from President Clinton.
Mr. Gore's handlers are concerned that some of Mr. Clinton's behavior will be attributed to Mr. Gore.
That is why there is now a Gore Damage Control & Spin Team charged with spreading the word that no matter what it looks like, the Gores and the Clintons never ate at the same McDonald's.
At a recent rehearsal for a news conference, the Gore support staff worked over the vice president.
One young man said, "Now, the first question the press will ask you is, 'Have you ever met Bill Clinton?' "
Gore said, "What's my answer to that?"
"Reply that you may have met him at a Democratic fund-raiser when Clinton wanted to have his picture taken with you, but you meet so many people, it's hard to remember everybody you shook hands with at each fund-raiser."
"Okay, next they are going to ask you where you stand with Monica Lewinsky."
"Where do I stand?"
"Say you've read a few stories about her in the newspapers, but as far as you know she doesn't know your name. Above all, if she turns up with a bunch of interns on the White House lawn, don't hug her."
A spin doctor said, "Now you will be asked a follow-up question to the one on Monica. 'Do you believe in adultery?' "
"Of course not."
"Suppose the president of the United States is engaged in something like it?"
Gore said, "That's impossible--no one would do it right there in the White House with thousands of tourists going through every hour."
The campaign aide said, "Let's just say you never heard of it, and don't believe the government should support it with its surplus."
Gore said, "These questions are getting tougher and tougher."
"Now we get to the biggies. Mr. Vice President, what does the name Hillary Clinton mean to you?"
"I believe she is a New Yorker who would like to be the state's next senator."
"Did you know that she is related to Bill Clinton?"
"No, I didn't know that. I've been in New Hampshire for the past three weeks."
"Mr. Vice President, you seem to be doing pretty well. George W. Bush is going to charge that on one occasion you had breakfast with President Clinton and a half-dozen Buddhist priests. We believe you should admit to dining with the priests but deny you ever had scrambled eggs with Bill Clinton."