By refusing to meet with the Log Cabin Republicans, Texas Gov. George W. Bush is violating his claim to support inclusive approaches to politics and governing, leaders of the gay group charged yesterday.
"Bush is not living up to the image of an inclusive candidate that his campaign has been pushing," said Rich Tafel, the club's executive director. "He meets with scores of groups, including the Christian Coalition, and lectures the Republican Party on the importance of reaching out to minority groups like Latinos and African Americans, and now says he won't meet with gays because we are a 'group.' "
The dispute grows out of Bush's Sunday appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press." When asked if he would meet with the Log Cabin group, the Republican presidential front-runner said "probably not," adding, "I am someone who is a uniter, not a divider. I don't believe in group thought, pitting one group against another. And all that does is create kind of a huge political, you know, nightmare for people."
Tafel said that when Bush argued a meeting would create "a political nightmare for people," he could only "be referring to . . . those on the far right that his campaign is busy claiming Bush is not captive to. This raises the most difficult questions for moderate Republican elected officials who have endorsed Bush."
Arizona Sen. John McCain has met with the Log Cabin Republicans, and Kevin Ivers, the organization's director of public affairs, said Steve Forbes has agreed to a meeting.
Clinton Camp Blames Giuliani for Jewish Group's Attack Ad
Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign is holding New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani responsible for a television ad that attacks--some might say, mocks--the first lady for sitting silently as Suha Arafat, wife of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, charged that Israel had poisoned Palestinian women and children with toxic gas.
The ad, which began airing yesterday in New York and Washington, is paid for by the Republican Jewish Coalition.
"These ads make it clear that the mayor and his allies are going to run the same kind of campaign they always have--negative and nasty," said Howard Wolfson, spokesman for Clinton's Senate exploratory committee. He demanded that Giuliani "take them off the air immediately," claiming the mayor was associated with the coalition.
Bruce Teitelbaum, an adviser to the Republican mayor, told the Associated Press that Giuliani and his team "have nothing whatsoever to do with the ad that's currently running." But he added: "They have to realize there are a lot of people around the country upset with Mrs. Clinton's reaction or lack of reaction to Mrs. Arafat's comments. And, they have to accept that there are people who are going to respond and do ads like this."
The executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Matthew Brooks, said yesterday that "we have not communicated, discussed, coordinated or in any way talked to the Giuliani campaign about this ad."