When Vice President Gore opened his new headquarters here today, he also named a new campaign manager.
Gore announced he had chosen Donna Brazile, a veteran of a number of Democratic presidential campaigns and former chief of staff to D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, to replace former Clinton adviser Craig Smith. She will report to campaign chairman Tony Coelho.
Brazile, one of the party's most experienced grass-roots organizers, has been the Gore campaign's field director. Her elevation puts a woman and an African American in a top position in a campaign that has been criticized for being light on both.
Later, over lunch at the Jubilee restaurant, Gore brought Brazile on stage to introduce her to the crowd of about 150 African American leaders.
In explaining the choice, Gore quoted Scripture: " 'Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.' Donna kind of lives out that Scripture. She is a person of high quality and high commitment, high energy and real soul."
Gore, indirectly referring to the backbiting and split allegiances of many on his campaign team, added: "She earned it."
The move 665 miles southwest will be a dramatic change for a team of strategists accustomed to Washington's K Street, dubbed "Gucci Gulch" for its plethora of high-priced lobbyists. The new headquarters, about a mile from downtown Nashville, is still decorated with the "clean linen" and "hydrotherapy" signs of its former tenant, a rehabilitation center.
Telephones, computers and desks will arrive later this week and Coelho said he hopes much of the staff will be in place by Oct. 18. Sources estimated that 65 people will work in the Nashville operation, a steep drop from the 160 on the payroll this summer, although about 40 fund-raisers were scheduled to finish their work.
"We're leaving a lot of people behind," said Coelho, who has put down a deposit and first month's rent on a three-bedroom house here.
CAPTION: Vice President Gore is applauded by new campaign manager Donna Brazile, second from left, his wife, Tipper, and campaign chairman Tony Coelho.