Stars Give Clinton Big Bucks
Dole Continues Push For President's Medical Records
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Sept. 13) -- The campaign trail has taken President Bill Clinton to the land of the stars and Republican Bob Dole to the land of his ancestors.
Clinton returned to Washington this morning after attending a Beverly Hills fund-raiser featuring Barbra Streisand. Dole continues campaigning in Ohio, a key electoral state where great-great-grandfather Michael Dole once lived. The Republican presidential candidate also has stops scheduled today in Michigan and Illinois.
Clinton headed home after his 27th California trip, part of a three-day Western campaign swing that ended Thursday night with a fund-raiser at the lavish estate of Ron Burkle -- owner of the Ralph's supermarket chain -- that earned $4 million for the Democratic National Committee.
It was a high-priced affair: tickets ranged from $1,000 per person for a garden reception to $12,500 per seat for dinner and a concert, emceed by actor Tom Hanks, with performances by Chicago, the Eagles, the Neville Brothers as well as Streisand. Poet Maya Angelou read three works.
Celebrity and entertainment industry guests included Rob Reiner, Richard Dreyfuss, Kevin Spacey, Sharon Stone, Shirley MacLaine, Joan Collins, Carrie Fisher, Paula Poundstone, Eric Idle, Calvin Klein, Gary Marshall, Sid Scheinberg and Eleanor Mondale.
Down the hill from the estate was a small group of Dole-Kemp supporters as well as a protest by sign-carrying AIDS activists.
Two California public interest groups raised questions about the fund-raiser and Clinton's ties to Hollywood dollars. They purchased an ad in The Los Angeles Times that pictured a fat cat with a big cigar clutching an armload of money beneath the headline, "Welcome to California, President Clinton."
A Los Angeles Times poll published Thursday said Clinton had a 16-point lead among likely voters, and 57 percent of those surveyed approved of his job performance.
"I ask you to remember there are 54 more days before anybody can celebrate anything," Clinton said at the star-studded fund-raiser, referring to Election Day.
Earlier in the day, the campaigns came head to head over the issue of health records. Speaking at a rally in Montpelier, Ohio, Dole renewed his challenge for Clinton to release his medical history. (192K AIFF or WAV sound)
"I gave them all of mine. I'm in great shape. My cholesterol's lower, my blood pressure is lower -- but I'm not going to make health an issue in this campaign."
Nevertheless, Dole's insistence sparked reporters' questions on whether the president had anything to hide, including sexually transmitted diseases. White House Press Secretary McCurry called the question "astonishing" and denied it.
He said Clinton is in excellent health and has released the same kinds of records that Dole has.
"There's probably been a calculated attempt by those that try to destroy the president to create rumors and then get news organizations to ask about it," McCurry said.
'Deepens The Mystery'
Dole's California campaign manager, Ken Khachigian, also attacked Clinton, charging the president has "violated the public trust ... lied to America about tax cuts and to this day continues to affront our standards of character and integrity".
"He's not chosen to meet with the unemployed, the highly taxed, the dispossessed and the disenchanted. Those whose trust he violates the most are the ones he communicates with the least," Khachigian said. "Birds, rodents, fish and roadside critters get more respect than human beings in the Clinton administration."
Both sides ruefully have been predicting the presidential campaign would turn nasty, early, and the prediction is coming true, even as they claim they don't want it to happen.
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