Memo to the president: Keep the radio off in Skaneateles.
Already dogged by newspaper and radio ads during his week on Martha's Vineyard, President Clinton now faces a radio barrage from GOP presidential candidate Steve Forbes, who is taking no vacation from spending his money on political advertising.
The Forbes campaign will start running radio spots Monday on a number of stations around Skaneateles, N.Y., where the first family plans to continue its summer respite. The ads urge the president to sign the $792 billion tax cut passed by Congress earlier this month. Clinton has steadfastly vowed to veto the legislation in its current form, and Forbes himself has described it as woefully inadequate.
"Republicans in Congress have done the right thing," the Forbes ad nonetheless intones. "By voting for a tax cut, they have taken a step in the right direction. . . . Sign the tax cut Mr. President. I would."
But is Forbes getting ahead of himself? Why should he spend money attacking the president when he will probably have to drop a pretty penny attempting to knock Texas Gov. George W. Bush off his front-running pedestal in Iowa and New Hampshire next year?
"We are sticking up for principle," says Forbes spokesman Keith Appell. Appell would not say how much Forbes is spending on the ads, which will run through Wednesday, but he did describe the buy as "very significant" and said it would run on four different radio stations. Forbes also has purchased ads in New York attacking Vice President Gore for his role in supporting International Monetary Fund loans to Russia that may have been stolen and laundered through New York banks.
"Vice President Gore co-chairs the commission which oversees U.S.-Russian relations, but his aides say he was out of the loop," the 60-second radio spot says. "That's why Steve Forbes is fighting for change--immediately block all foreign aid to Russia until their workers are paid and root out the corruption of Russia's robber barons."
Gore Hires Firm to Help With Race
Vice President Gore, continuing to expand his team of advisers, has recruited the Washington consulting firm of Shrum, Devine & Donilon to help advise his presidential campaign on message and strategy.
Best known among the three is Bob Shrum, a former adviser to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), whose skills include media, speechwriting and general strategy. Partner Tad Devine was campaign manager for Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey's 1992 presidential campaign and is one of the party's experts on delegate selection. Michael Donilon is a veteran strategist and pollster.
The three were brought aboard Gore's campaign by Carter Eskew, who is in overall charge of sharpening and developing Gore's campaign message. They will join other key members of that team, which includes pollster and strategist Mark Penn and media consultant Bill Knapp.
The new advisers bring considerable experience in Democratic presidential primary fights, something that has been in short supply at the top of the Gore campaign and a sign that Gore's team isn't taking lightly the challenge from former New Jersey senator Bill Bradley.
Staff writer Dan Balz contributed to this report.