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Clinton, GOP focus on California

LOS ANGELES (AllPolitics, September 27) -- With the November midterm elections fast approaching, California became the focus this weekend of high-powered political efforts by both Democrats and Republicans to fill party election coffers and shore up voter support.

While embattled President Bill Clinton was given a rousing ovation at a Beverly Hills $1.5 million fund-raising dinner Saturday night, the California Republican Party convention in Long Beach underlined that "integrity" and "lying" would be important issues in the upcoming state gubernatorial race.

Clinton
President Clinton's image is reflected on Air Force One as he heads to Los Angeles for a fund-raiser  

At the private Beverly Hills fund-raiser, Clinton basked in the glow of celebrities from the worlds of politics, industry and entertainment.

He again focused on the main theme of his campaign, which heads to Texas next: that voters predominantly care about issues close to their lives.

"The kind reception you gave me is an indication of a deep feeling that you and millions of other Americans have about what's going on in Washington," he said. "But what I desperately want this election to be about is what's going on outside of Washington."

In an obvious reference to the Monica Lewinsky affair, Clinton thanked those in attendance for standing by him and his wife in this time of crisis.

"I thank you especially for the personal messages you had for me and for Hillary," Clinton said. "You know, even presidents and their families have to be people, too, and that means a great deal to us."

The Beverly Hills "Unity Dinner" of salad, beef tenderloin and sorbet was expected to raise money for the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

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CNN's Jennifer Auther reports from Long Beach, California
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The dinner was hosted by Haim Saban, who made a fortune on the Power Rangers action figures phenomenon.

"We all know that these are difficult times for you and your family, Mr. President. ... Our support for you is absolutely unwavering," Saban told the more than 200 guests, who paid $5,000 each to attend.

Madonna stopped by the dinner briefly, and producer and director Rob Reiner, actress Mimi Rogers, former Doobie Brothers Band member Michael McDonald and Motown Records founder Berry Gordy were among the other entertainers present.

Politicians present included Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democratic gubernatorial nominee Gray Davis, House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, Sen. Robert Torricelli and Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Henry Waxman.

GOP shouts across the fence

Even though Davis, California's lieutenant governor, could not hear it, he became the focus of a strong GOP attack during the California Republicans' convention Saturday.

In an effort to portray his Democratic gubernatorial opponent as dishonest and soft on crime, Attorney General Dan Lungren accused Davis of lying about his record on California's "three strikes" anti-crime law.

"I ask you, was Gray Davis there to help us fight for three strikes?" Lungren asked rhetorically, while delegates responded with a resounding "No."

"I think Gray Davis owes all of California an apology," Lungren said.

Hoping to raise questions about Davis' character, Lungren strongly criticized Davis for both his attempts to appear tough on crime and his close relationship with the beleaguered president.

"This has as much to do with integrity as it does with crime. The issue here is it's a sin in politics to lie ... about your record," Dave Puglia, Lungren's campaign spokesman, said at a news conference unveiling a new Lungren TV ad. "He is attempting to pull the wool over voters' eyes."

Davis, in fact, supported legislation that would require three-time felons to be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, but did not back the bill that ultimately became California's "three strikes" law. The measure Davis supported would have required the third felony be a serious or violent offense.


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Saturday, September 26, 1998

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