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Health and 'backbiting' push Coelho out of picture

June 15, 2000
Web posted at: 12:31 PM EDT (1631 GMT)

(TIME.com) -- Tony Coelho's resignation comes after weeks of speculation about his continuation in the job, for which he was selected last year when Gore's campaign was floundering. While he is credited with bringing discipline to the campaign, he has also been a lightning rod for criticism. Gore has asked Commerce Secretary William Daley to replace him.

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Staff morale suffered because of what many said was his autocratic leadership style, and Coelho is under continuing investigation by the Justice and State Departments for his activities as head of the U.S. participation in Portugal's 1998 Expo. A Justice Department prosecutor is deciding whether to begin bringing witnesses before the grand jury in the probe, which involves questions about whether Coelho misused government resources.

Coelho was reported to be weary of what one source close to the campaign "backbiting" and rumors. But his health was the most imminent concern. Coelho began experiencing abdominal pain late last week, and was admitted to the hospital on Monday, where he has remained. According to campaign sources he has an inflamed colon and is on a liquid diet.

Copyright © 2000 Time Inc.


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