John McCaslin

Who is headlining the 2004 Democratic presidential ticket, John Kerry or Bill Clinton?

An eye-opening list of names compiled by Amy Sullivan in the latest issue of Washington Monthly reveals that Clinton's administration has all but assumed control of the John Kerry-John Edwards campaign for the White House.

In fact, Sullivan says, the actual policy development and message of the campaign is being orchestrated by ex-Clinton aides.

"The Bostonians run the trains, the Clintonites supply the brains," she writes. "The unofficial twin pillars of the policy shop are Gene Sperling, former head of the National Economic Council under Clinton, and Bruce Reed, who served Clinton as domestic policy adviser before heading over to the Democratic Leadership Council."

Then we have former Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and former deputy secretary Robert Altman deeply involved in crafting Kerry's economic proposals. There is former Clinton State Department spokesman Jamie Rubin handling the campaign's foreign-policy sphere (until this week, he was advised by stocking stuffer and former Clinton National Security Adviser Samuel R. Berger), aided by former U.N. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke.

"Those are just a few of the outside advisers with Clinton administration ties. But inside, too, the Kerry campaign staff is beginning to look like a Clinton White House reunion," Sullivan says.

Consider that Clinton's former chief speechwriter, Terry Edmonds, is now Kerry's chief speechwriter. Minyon Moore, once Clinton's director of political affairs, spearheads Kerry's minority-outreach program. Also in the Kerry-Edwards camp are ex-Clintonites such as the campaign's influential communications director, Stephanie Cutter; policy director Sarah Bianchi; speechwriter Josh Gottheimer; and economic policy director Jason Furman.

More incredibly, running mate Edwards' primary campaign "relied even more heavily than Kerry did on ex-Clintonites, and many of his top aides have now moved to the Kerry campaign," Sullivan continues.

Take Miles Lackey, who served on Clinton's National Security Council before becoming Edwards' chief of staff in the Senate. He now is Kerry's deputy campaign manager for policy and speechwriting. Robert Gordon, a former Clinton hand on the National Economic Council and the Office of National Service, previously ran Edwards' policy shop and is now doing the same for Kerry's. And former Edwards spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton's deputy White House press secretary, is a Kerry state media director.

Finally, those two guys who you see on the road with Kerry are trip director Setti Warren and senior aide David Morehouse, both Clinton White House veterans.

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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