WASHINGTON -- Democrats received in the mail this week another appeal for contributions to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) that was not signed by Chairman Terry McAuliffe. This letter bore the signature of consultant and television commentator James Carville.
When this column reported surprise by donors that recent DNC appeals did not contain the controversial McAuliffe's name, he demanded a "retraction." His aides contended the chairman had signed more such letters than any predecessor.
However, last week's appeal for "the Democratic Party's 2004 victory campaign" was signed by Carville, who holds no party position. The letterhead consists of "James Carville" in bold letters, with this small-type disclosure at the bottom of the letter: "Paid for by the Democratic National Committee." The reply envelope is addressed to the DNC.
ADVICE FROM THE CLINTONS
Hillary and Bill Clinton, responding to growing speculation, advised a longtime Iowa supporter this week that under no conditions would the senator run for president in 2004.
The supporter, who has committed to Sen. John Kerry for 2004, personally asked the former president about renewed talk that his wife would enter the race. Bill Clinton said that would not happen. That was confirmed in a separate chat with Hillary Clinton.
Hillary-for-president talk was revived by fear engendered among some Democrats that Howard Dean may become the presidential nominee. Sen. Clinton leads all possible candidates in Democratic preference polls and runs best against President Bush.
Rank-and-file conservative Republicans in the House are privately grumbling they get no support from the White House and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to control runaway spending.
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is reported by colleagues to believe President Bush's spending requests are too high. So far, House leaders have not taken the bold step of trying to under-spend the administration. However, the president's public exhortations about spending restraint irritate conservatives on the Hill.
A footnote: Democrats want to use the president's $87 billion war spending request to push for still higher domestic outlays. The two most senior Democratic senators, Robert Byrd and Edward M. Kennedy, are leading that effort. Both vigorously opposed the original Iraqi war resolution.
EDWARDS'S SENATE EXIT