Robert Novak

WASHINGTON -- More than just assailing the ABC and FOX networks, Bill Clinton is taking an unusually partisan stance for a former president with a fund-raising attack on the Republican "right-wing."

In a letter seeking $35 to $50 contributions to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Clinton charged that Republicans in Congress "exploit wedge issues that divide America, foster fear and promote insecurity." He concluded: "The right-wing will be coming after our candidates a lot harder than they've been coming after me."

The other living ex-presidents -- Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush -- have engaged in partisan activity but used less strident rhetoric than Clinton.


Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) chairman, is unhappy with the lack of support from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) under Chairman Howard Dean for seizing control of the House of Representatives in this year's elections.

Dean pledged just $2.4 million for 2006 House races, about one-tenth of what the DNC has given the DCCC in past campaigns. The Republican National Committee is expected by Election Day to spend at least $2.4 million in each of some 20 competitive House districts.

Dean defends de-emphasis on congressional races. "For the first time in decades," he said in a Sept. 19 e-mail to supporters, "we Democrats have a true 50-state operation on the ground." Dean attached a news report about his decision to organize precincts in heavily Republican Mississippi, though none of the state's four House districts nor the Senate race is competitive this year, and state offices will not be on the ballot until 2007.


George W. Bush moved a step closer to Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman's re-election bid in Connecticut as an independent candidate when Tom Kuhn, the president's college roommate and close friend, co-sponsored a Lieberman fund-raising luncheon Thursday in downtown Washington.

Kuhn, president of the Edison Electric Institute, raised more than $100,000 for Bush in the 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns. Also among the Lieberman event's sponsors was Rick Shelby, a longtime Republican operative who currently is executive vice president of the American Gas Association.

The luncheon's sponsors pressed fellow Republican lobbyists to pay a minimum of $1,000 a ticket. Lieberman has announced he will stay in the Democratic caucus if re-elected. But Republicans backing him against antiwar candidate Ned Lamont, the Democratic nominee, hope for a change of heart by Lieberman.


Robert Novak

Robert Novak (1931-2009) was a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report.

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