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Inside Politics

DNC holds 'Mission Not Accomplished' bash

McAuliffe: 'George Bush for four years has misled America'

By Susan Pettit

Republican Convention
Democratic Party
America Votes 2004

NEW YORK (CNN) -- As first lady Laura Bush and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger were recommending President Bush to the nation for another four years Tuesday night, a merry band of Democrats across town was partying against another Bush term.

The "Mission Not Accomplished Masquerade Ball," sponsored by the Democratic National Committee and New York Democrats, was a small but energetic event designed to "unmask" the Republicans and "tell the truth" about the Bush administration, party organizers said.

"We're here to tell the truth about this administration," Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe said to a full house at the Social Club at East 27th Street and Madison Avenue. "George Bush for four years has misled America. It's a big masquerade ball, a big charade." (Special report: America Votes 2004, the Republican convention)

Other Democratic heavyweights at the bash included Gifford Miller, speaker of the New York City Council, who is positioning himself for a run against incumbent Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2005; and Rep. Gregory Meeks, a fourth-term Democrat from New York.

"We're telling the truth about those people over there," Meeks said, referring to Republican convention attendees in Madison Square Garden. "There's no champagne and caviar over here."

The party featured a man wearing a George Bush mask and a flight suit, a group called Billionaires for Bush and a team of four known as the Super Zeroes: "Enron Ed," "Halle Burton," "Miss Leader" and "The Uncredible Hulk."

According to Rebecca Rubins, who masqueraded as "Miss Leader," the Super Zeroes are Democratic Party volunteers who appear at events around the country, especially in battleground states, "to put the word out about the Bush administration."

David Goodman, the 18-year-old DNC volunteer dressed as The Uncredible Hulk in a green and white outfit with matching headgear, said the Super Zeroes have enjoyed positive reception in general, "but I feel like a buffoon in this. I didn't want to do this, but the DNC called and anything for John Kerry, I'll do."

Goodman said he thinks the youth vote, those 18 to 24 years old, is going to increase in this election. "I don't think it will skyrocket," he said, "but I think it will go up."

Billionaires for Bush, whose members were decked out in top hats, tails, evening gowns and tiaras, bills itself as a grassroots media campaign seeking to sway voters in swing districts.

According to Guen Donohue, in costume as Hanna O'Verfist, they're a group of comic actors dressed in evening clothes who use humor, street theater and creative media to "show how Bush's economic policies benefit the corporate elite."

Billionaires for Bush says it is a nonpartisan group with 77 chapters across the country.

Donohue said she didn't know how many members the group has but she was certain "there are more Billionaires for Bush than billionaires in the country."

Also present at the masquerade ball was Catherine Sui, the reigning Miss Trinidad and Tobago New York, in ball gown and tiara, accompanied by two attendants in ball gowns.

Sui said she came to the party because "as young women, we represent a new voting public. ... And besides, I wanted to show that my tiara is bigger than everyone else's."

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