Inside Report: Cheney Surviving

Posted: Aug 07, 2000 12:00 AM
CHENEY SURVIVING PHILADELPHIA -- Gov. George W. Bush's campaign strategists figure the Democratic attack on vice-presidential nominee Dick Cheney's old congressional voting record will end within two weeks. Actually, most Democratic television ads assailing Cheney's record in the House during the 1980s were withdrawn after internal polls showed him gaining rather than losing in the polls. Vice President Al Gore's advisers now doubt whether it is possible to paint the former Secretary of Defense as a right-wing extremist, though the Democratic campaign may continue to attack his old votes. A footnote: Cheney and his wife, Lynne, wrote the first draft of his acceptance speech and really wanted an even more partisan version. Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson polished the Cheneys' prose in the final version. CHENEY'S ADVISER Far from Philadelphia at his ranch in Oregon, famed campaign consultant Stu Spencer made his influence felt as longtime friend Dick Cheney picked his staff for the vice-presidential campaign. The presidential candidate dictated staffs for running mates Dan Quayle in 1988 and Jack Kemp in 1996, but Cheney insisted on picking his own people after conferring with the retired Spencer. Kathleen Shanahan, a veteran political pro now with the Paine Webber financial house in New York, was named chief-of-staff by Cheney at Spencer's recommendation. A footnote: Spencer was assigned to Quayle's campaign staff in 1988, but it was not a good match, and Spencer later stopped traveling with the future vice president. DISHING BOB GRAHAM Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, the Democratic vice-presidential prospect most feared by Republican leaders in Philadelphia, is no longer on the short list and out of the selection process. Graham on the ticket would make Al Gore a contender for Florida's 25 electoral votes and possibly win him the presidency. But the Time magazine account of Graham's meticulous, minute-by-minute diary killed his chances. "We didn't want to hear about this from now to November," said one Gore insider. The GOP leaders said they are rooting for Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, contending he would pull the ticket to the left. Kerry is on the short list, but Democratic speculation also centers around freshman Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina. WHERE WAS HENRY HYDE? Republican National Convention delegates, who wanted to give Rep. Henry Hyde of Illinois a hero's welcome, were bitterly disappointed that the leader of the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton did not address them from the podium. The convention started badly for Hyde as a member of the platform committee that he headed in 1996. Toni Casey, a California delegate who changed her registration to Republican only four months ago, removed Hyde's name placard and substituted her own in order to get a better camera angle. A Clinton supporter and Democratic fund-raiser, she used pro-life hero Hyde's seat to advocate abortion rights. A footnote: While Hyde and other congressional leaders had no podium time, a speaking slot was given to an environmental activist with a great Republican name but poor Republican credentials: Teddy Roosevelt IV. Chairman of the Democratic-inclined League of Conservation Voters, Roosevelt in his speech said nothing favorable about George W. Bush or the Republican Party. BANKING POLITICS Washington's banking lobbyists turned up in force at a reception given for House Banking Committee members by Rep. Richard Baker of Louisiana during the Republican convention. The event was seen by the lobbyists as bolstering Baker's bid to become the committee chairman despite seniority enjoyed by Rep. Marge Roukema of New Jersey. House GOP leaders favor Baker for the chairmanship over the more liberal Roukema who just survived an attempt to purge her in her state's Republican primary by the supply-side Club for Growth. The banking community prefers Roukema, but its lobbyists could not afford to skip Baker's reception held at the First Union Bank in Philadelphia. Roukema also attended. A footnote: Kemp resigned earlier this year from the Club for Growth because of the Roukema purge. But he turned up at the organization's meeting in Philadelphia Thursday to boost two-time presidential candidate Steve Forbes as Secretary of the Treasury in a Bush cabinet.