Both parties firm up strategy for upcoming election
By Candy Crowley/CNN
WASHINGTON (October 12) -- When Capitol Hill can't go to the hustings, the hustings come to Capitol Hill.
As they wait out the annual budget battle in Washington, lawmakers are revving up the rhetoric for the campaign trail back home where the terra is not so firma.
But their strategies have gelled:
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut) launched into an attack of the Republican Majority from the House floor, saying, "They (Republicans) have done a hit and run on the American people. They killed tobacco reform on behalf of special interests and they killed campaign finance reform for special interests."
On the flip side, Rep. Jerry Weller (R-Illinois) touted his party's record: "In the last two years this Republican Congress has had great accomplishments: balancing the budget for the first time in 28 years, cutting taxes for the middle class for the first time in 16 years."
With eight Senate seats and up to 35 House seats considered "in play" Democrats will feature a kitchen table package.
House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt said, "If you vote for the Democrat you vote for a new agenda: health care; patients' bill of rights; education, school building, more teachers; and saving Social Security."
Republicans are hauling out the tried and true smaller government lower taxes approach.
"This is the Congress that balanced the budget. This is the Congress that gave the first tax cut in 16 years. We moved three million people from welfare to work. And our folks out there have a great story to tell the American people," said House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas).
Historically, the party not in the White House usually does the best at this point in the election cycle. It would all be so predictable if it weren't for the turmoil surrounding President Bill Clinton's admitted sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky and the resulting House impeachment inquiry chaired by Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Illinois).
The unknown is this: Who is more apt to vote? Who is angrier -- conservative Republicans at Clinton, or liberal Democrats at the Republican Congress?
"I do know that there is a great deal of energy out there right now among the base, among those who are good Democratic voters and I it think it is going to have a positive effect in the outcome," said Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota).
It has all pretty much put everyone on edge, with the only certainty is the hope beating the heart of the leadership.
"I think we will have between a 12 and 16 seat pick up," says Armey.
"I am optimistic about still winning the 11 seats we need to pick up to win House back," Gephardt counters.
There is, in fact, only one certainty and that is someone is going to come away disappointed. And, in this season of uncertainty, there is also this: the conventional wisdom now is that when it's all over, not much will have changed.
Thursday, October 8, 1998
Transcripts: House debate on launching impeachment inquiry, pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Poll: Congress, Clinton job approval ratings down
31 Democrats defect, support impeachment inquiry
Fox seeks interview with Monica Lewinsky
The Clinton factor: an uncertain variable in Pennsylvania's 10th C.D.
Roll call: House vote authorizing impeachment inquiry
Businessman makes DeLay allegation
Congress completes Head Start bill
Roll call: House vote defeating Democrat option
Maryland governor gets black backing
House moves ahead on Internet bills
Jones still wants Clinton to pay
Survey: People think Lewinsky coverage improving
Text of Democratic resolution on impeachment inquiry
White House may veto bankruptcy plan
Clinton vetoes GOP farm aid package
Alaska candidate admits wife gave funds
White House handling of classified data criticized
Clinton shows hint of distraction
Senate set to approve $93.4 billion spending bill