Clinton Raises Million For Democratic Senate Bids
NEW YORK (AllPolitics, April 29) -- President Bill Clinton made a brief and profitable jaunt to the Big Apple on Tuesday night, raising an estimated $1 million for Democratic Senate candidates.
Clinton, speaking at a $10,000 per person fund-raiser, urged Democrats to seize the opportunity created by the current economic boom. "Good times can be very deceptive," he said. "That is the time when big issues should be faced and problems should be solved."
The key issues for Democrats in the fall midterm elections, Clinton said, are Social Security and Medicare, global warming, teen smoking, and affordable health care. "When times are good, we should bear down and deal with those problems, not relax and walk away from them," he said.
"No political party should let itself disintegrate into petty bickering and small-minded politics," he added.
Democrats hope to take advantage of what they see as disorder and infighting in the Republican Party to gain strength in Congress, and possibly take control of one or both houses, in November. "We feel like at this point that we've got a good shot," White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said.
Push to raise funds before fall elections
Clinton has been presiding over three or four fund-raisers a month, in an effort to clear Democratic National Committee debts and fill the party's coffers before the fall elections. Aggressive spending in the 1996 election cycle left the Democratic National Committee with debts that reached $18 million at one point in 1997.
On Monday, Clinton is expected to appear at a Chicago fund-raiser with Illinois Senator Carol Moseley-Braun.
Tuesday's event, held at the Upper East Side apartment of fund-raiser Shelby Bryan, benefited the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. It raised $1 million from about a hundred attendees, DSCC spokesman Michael Tucker said. Seven and a half percent of the proceeds, or about $75,000, was earmarked for New York candidates.
Rep. Charles Schumer, 1984 Vice Presidential nominee Geraldine Ferarro, and public advocate Mark Green are all vying for the Democratic Senate nomination. The winner of that contest will face three-term Republican incumbent Sen. Alfonse D'Amato.
Clinton was joined Tuesday night by Sens. Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, Robert Toricelli and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Joseph Biden of Delaware, Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, Carl Levin of Michigan, Max Baucus of Montana, and Christopher Dodd of Connecticut.
Around the corner from the Bryan residence, about 45 demonstrators gathered to protest Clinton's decision against pressing for federal funds for needle exchanges. The exchanges, swapping clean needles for used ones, are intended to stop the spread of disease among addicts.
The protesters chanted "clean needles save lives" as Clinton's motorcade arrived. The president got out of his limousine half a block away and did not see the protests.