President Clinton's lawyer and his private eye have teamed up again, but, no, he's not in trouble. This time it's Vice President Gore getting the bad news.
Robert S. Bennett, Clinton's personal lawyer, and Terry Lenzner, who served the president's legal and political teams by looking into the backgrounds of women in Clinton's past, are among the hosts of a fund-raising reception for Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley to be held in Washington on Dec. 2.
Lenzner acknowledged that the election of Bradley, who is known as the straightest of arrows, wouldn't be very good for his business.
"But it'd be good for the country," Lenzner said with a laugh. "Like most of the country, we'd like somebody in the White House who would not get into the kind of activities this president got engaged in--and he was my client. People want something different."
Lenzner said he met Bradley in 1969, when Lenzner was legal services director of the Office of Economic Opportunity and Bradley used his summer break from the New York Knicks to volunteer to help perform field studies of antipoverty programs.
"I was a Knicks fan, so he was a star in my eyes, but he was a perfectly natural guy," Lenzner said. Later, Lenzner lived next door to Bradley in Cleveland Park for 12 years.
Bennett said he has known Bradley and his family for many years. "I just think Bradley is a truly outstanding statesman and would be great for the country," he said. "I'm happy to give any help I can give."
Asked what's wrong with Gore, Bennett shrewdly covered his bet. "While I don't know the vice president as well, I think he too is an outstanding man," Bennett said. "Anybody watching the debate between the two of them would have to say these are two class guys."
In Democratic Fund-Raising, Style Counts
This holiday season, Al Gore and Bill Bradley hope you remember to drop a little something in the mail to them.
The two Democrats, locked in a tight nomination fight, recently sent out dueling letters asking for money. And like so many other things in their race so far, the fund-raising solicitations are similar in substance but different in style.
Bradley's mailing appeals to the reform-minded idealist. His supporters, he writes, "want a fresh start in Washington" and "have not fallen prey to cynicism or a feeling that establishment power makes their involvement meaningless."
Sprinkled liberally throughout his financial pitch is the word "positive," and the former New Jersey senator concludes with his new ad slogan: "It can happen."
The vice president's plea for money is actually signed by campaign chairman Tony Coelho, one of the early Democratic fund-raising innovators. Coelho gives what can only be called a soft sell, writing that the reason for the letter is to collect advice for Gore in his Dec. 17 debate with Bradley.
"We value your ideas and Al Gore views them as something that can really make a difference in the debates ahead," Coelho writes. He also apparently values their money; at the top of the reply form are four boxes with the amounts $25, $40, $50 and "other."
Millions in Matching Money for Gore
Speaking of money, the Gore camp last week began spreading the word that it is expecting to collect $9.2 million in federal matching funds in January. The vice president's campaign team says the Federal Election Commission gave the blessing to 112,522 contributions as "matchable" under campaign law. Candidates who agree to spending limits are eligible for matching funds up to $250 per contribution.
But the Gore-ites had better not spend that money yet. Officials at the FEC say certification won't come until some time in December.
Vice President Gore, campaigning in New Hampshire: "I played college basketball. The difference between me and Bill Bradley is I don't make a big deal of it."
Staff writer Ceci Connolly contributed to this report.