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More Details on HRC's Donor Day

We wrote earlier this week on the gathering of New York. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's national finance team here in Washington. The guest list was closely guarded but The Fix managed to find out a few of the more intriguing attendees. Remember that while this was ostensibly a donor maintenance event for those helping to raise dollars for Clinton's 2006 re-election "race" (I use that term loosely), it also provides a glimpse into the kind of broad support the New York Senator would enjoy if and when she decides to run for president in 2008.

Here are a few of the highlights:

Fred Baron -- Baron was a major player -- perhaps the major player -- in former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards' successful fundraising operation during his 2004 presidential bid. Baron, a extremely successful attorney based in Texas, was the North Carolinian's finance chairman in that contest. Now Baron is a member of the HRC fundraising team -- at least for 2006. And Baron also happens to be an Iowa native (Cedar Rapids to be exact), a foothold that could help Clinton in the key caucus state should she decide to run in 2008.

Alan Solomont -- A former Democratic National Committee finance chairman, Solomont, who lives in Boston, was a key part of Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry's 2004 fundraising team.

Joyce Aboussie -- Aboussie was the long-time political major domo for Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.). She was the chief fundraiser in the Midwest for Gephardt's presidential effort in 2004 and has been the lead finance person for almost every successful Democratic race both in St. Louis and statewide over the past decade. (I wrote a profile of Aboussie for Roll Call in 2003.[subscription only].)

Terry McAuliffe -- McAuliffe came to prominence with former President Bill Clinton, so there shouldn't be much shock that he is on board with the re-election -- ahem -- effort of New York's junior senator. McAuliffe has proven over the past 15 years that he is the pre-eminent fundraiser for Democrats and a powerful ally for Hillary Clinton both in November and in 2008.

A few other noteworthy attendees of the day-long Clinton fundraising huddle: Esprit clothing chain founder Susie Tomkins Buell (California), investment banker John Emerson (California), venture capitalist Alan Patricoff (New York), attorney Mike Driver (Colorado), New School dean Fred Hochberg (New York), trial attorrney Ira Leesfield (Florida), Elaine and Jerry Schuster (Massachusetts), Pat Eddington (Alabama), Bernard Rappaport (Texas), former Gov. Jim Blanchard (Michigan), attorney Alan Kessler (Pennsylvania) and attorney Mike Cherry (Illinois).

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 17, 2006; 1:39 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: Another House GOP retirement


I like the blog.

Posted by: Ivailo | August 23, 2006 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Hillary will never win in the South. That's true. But I personally don't see a reason for her to be hated.

Posted by: Alcohol counselor | April 17, 2006 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I am a hardcore Democrat from the South who speaks for all Southerners and Hillary will never win in the South. She is truly hated in the South for all the sexist reasons. Until the old farts die, a woman is not a credible candidate, especially one who is independent, smart, and can live without a crutch. Can't we for once nominate a WINNER and host the convention in some other place rather than San Francisco or Boston, anathemas to Southerners. Of course, the South can be totally written off and then what does it matter? But to Middle Americans, it matters a lot for many of them think the same way. Russ Feingold and Mark Warner are my guys. If John Edwards cannot even carry his own state, why should he even be considered? Will Democrats PLEASE look at the big picture and the GOAL?

Posted by: Patricia Leslie | March 20, 2006 11:12 AM | Report abuse

We true americans do not accept your so called middle american anti christian ans anti american values. The RED states in this country account for over 65% of abortions 65% of welfare cases and 70% of divorces.The RED states also have the highest crime rates. The rich and populous Blue states have been subsidising the poor RED states for years. The neocons have killed over 10000 babies in Iraq so you "middle americans" have killed many more babies just by supporting this illegal war than we true americans. You can keep your immoral values.

Posted by: Larry | February 19, 2006 1:40 PM | Report abuse

1) The Democratic Party - all they talk about is abortion. They make anyone who is pro-life feel unwelcome in their party. They hate anyone who is against any kind of abortion, and they spew their venom at them.

2) I am no fan of the Iraq war indeed, but I think Cindy running over to Venezuela to have a rally with Hugo Chavez is just plain bizarre and lunacy. Plus she said she was going to run against Feinstein, one of the few sane Democrats in this country. I feel bad for her that she lost a child, I really do - but what is up with all the theatrics that have nothing to do with the war - having a rally with Chavez? I think she is either insane or she is being used by the lunatic fringe of the Democratic Party.

3) If you had nominated someone other than Al Gore - like maybe Evan Bayh or someone who doesn't insult people, you wouldn't have to deal with Bush right now, and maybe there wouldn't even be a war for you to foam at the mouth about. So keep your own counsel - and continue to lose elections. Maybe by listening to ideas from people who disgusted with both parties would help you. But if you want to keep nominating losers, fine with me. The last time a Democrat won a majority of the popular vote was 1976 with Carter. Gore won only a plurality in 2000, not a majority. Come on - nominate someone who appeals to Middle America and I think people would give you a chance.

And then you run Mondale for the Senate in Minnesota - I know you believe in recycling, but come on, that was one of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen. Don't you have any new people with new ideas? What are your ideas?

Your only agenda is to insult the President - what are your ideas? You have none.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 19, 2006 1:32 AM | Report abuse

When did a single Democrat ever say they think people are interested in having 30 abortions in their lifetime? Cindy you are a loon who makes stuff up and have no real basis for anything you say. If you are no fan of the Iraq war as you claim why is your name "Youdontspeakformecindy"? I wonder if you know what it is like to lose a child because of a lie? Also, you didnt answer any of my questions from before about your earlier comments - which proves you are just ranting and raving, b/c you dont have any answers. Democrats like myself do not want nor do we need the votes of uneducated hypocrites like yourself. Oh, and by the way we nominated Al Gore in 2000 and he beat George Bush by 600,000 votes, so we'll keep our own counsel on who we nominate.

Posted by: Ohio guy | February 19, 2006 1:23 AM | Report abuse

Fine - have it your way. I voted for Bush to vote AGAINST Kerry. Kerry was pathetic. What is wrong with you people, nominating such a condescending and arrogant candidate? Both parties are completely corrupt, but at least the Republicans understand that not everyone is interested in having 30 abortions in their lifetime.

Rush Limbaugh is nothing but a stupid drug addict, but the only reason he has a following is because of the idiotic behavior of the Democratic Party.

Next time please nominate a real person to run for President. You nominated the one person who could make Bush look good. But you won't nominate Bayh or Warner because your lunatic fringe runs your party. I guess Bayh is not pro-abortion enough for you. So instead you end up losing the Supreme Court for the next 30 years.

If you enjoy losing elections, keep it up.

Posted by: YoudontspeakformeCindy | February 19, 2006 12:43 AM | Report abuse

Nothing to do with this topic really just came accross it while doing some research so i'm posting it on all of the threads i've been writing on:

Funny how the rePIGlicans claim to be tougher on national security than democrats huh? Saxby chambliss takes the cake.

Posted by: Ohio guy | February 19, 2006 12:35 AM | Report abuse

You know that Bush was born in Connecticut and went to Yale right? Yale is an Ivy League East Coast university. And what is so ridiculous about Ivy League schools? Sounds like Rush Limbaugh right-wing hypocrisy for someone who claims to hate such people. The Democratic party dosen't insult middle america - it is middle america. Republicans only represent the rich and powerful. Another thing Cindy, we can call the President a LIAR and call him INCOMPETENT because he is so stop your whining - WE CALL IT LIKE IT IS. Get your facts straight and educate yourself and stop being such a hypocrite.

Posted by: Ohio guy | February 19, 2006 12:34 AM | Report abuse

I hate Fox News and Rush Limbaugh - they are just as phony and morally bankrupt as you people in the Democratic Party. Rush Limbaugh has been divorced three times, just like his crony Newt Gingrich. But the Democratic Party is so stupid - they think they can win elections by shoving abortion down everyone's throats and by engaging in all their lunatic leftist campus radicalism. Grow up already. When the Democratic Party stops insulting people in Middle America, then people in Middle America will start voting for them. Give us a real candidate who doesn't insult our values, not H. Clinton. I am not a fan of the war either, but all this conspiracy-theory rhetoric and name-calling of the President just pushes people away from your party. Get a clue. If you like losing elections, just keep it up. People like me who are willing to consider voting for the Democrats will have to vote for the Republicans by default, as much as we hate to vote for a bunch of corrupt people. You need to start offering some people some new ideas of your own, not just the same vitriol blasting the President and insulting people who didn't attend your ridiculous Ivy League East Coast universities. You people are on crack.

Posted by: YoudontspeakformeCindy | February 19, 2006 12:03 AM | Report abuse

Nothing to do with this topic really just came accross it while doing some research so i'm posting it on all of the threads i've been writing on:

Funny how the rePIGlicans claim to be tougher on national security than democrats huh? Saxby chambliss takes the cake.

Posted by: Ohio guy | February 18, 2006 10:50 PM | Report abuse

VP_Warner: like your handle, not your conclusions. Having the most money doesn't mean you're going to win anything 2.5 years from now. If HRC can convince people in the primaries, if she can blow away Warner and the others, then I might reach your conclusions. Until then, I think I'll let the democratic process determine the winner rather than HRC's money.

YDSFMC: turn off Faux News every once in a while, go out and talk to real people and maybe you'll realize that the Democratic Party is made up of Americans who are just like you. If you can't see this, then the mental illness is clearly yours, not ours.

Posted by: Judge Crater | February 18, 2006 10:15 PM | Report abuse

The Dem party has won last 4 pres elections dummy.We do not want you hillbilly middle americans in our party with all your abortions and support for the illegal war. We true americans out number you and we win without you. Stay in your filthy trailor and listen to drug addict Rush and collect your welfare check

Posted by: Larry | February 18, 2006 3:41 PM | Report abuse

The Democratic Party is a joke. Just a bunch of lunatics and freaks. They attack people in Middle America and then turn around and expect those same people to vote for them. What a joke. Many people in the Democratic Party are mentally ill.

Posted by: YoudontspeakformeCindy | February 18, 2006 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Will you people PLEASE stop dreaming and face reality? Hillary Clinton is going to be the Democratic nominee for President in 2008. Period. She wants it, she's willing to fight for it, she's willing to raise $200 million to do it, and no one, not Howard Dean, not Russ Feingold and all the like-minded true believer liberals who love him, can stop her.

So please, for all our sakes, stop wasting time and energy and money on this Kubuki dance. Face the unpleasant fact that grass-roots Democrats have ZERO influence on who their next Presidential nominee will be, and get on board with her. It's for your own good.

Why? Because she and you will be fighting an uphill battle. Hillary's victory will depend less on her own skills and campaign than it will her opponent. If the Republicans put up a good candidate, she is toast. Another four years, (at least!) of GOP control of the Executive branch and Supreme Court appointments. If, however, they put up yet another stiff, (Robert Dole, call your office), she will have a chance, albeit a slight one, to pull off this election.

But she's going to need your help.

Posted by: VP_Warner | February 17, 2006 11:48 PM | Report abuse


I do not know if she would be better than Governor X.

What I do know, despite numerous protesting posts is that this kind of fund raising acumen is extremely important for a national campaign. And if HRC is taking up all the air in the room for the likes of Kerry, Edwards and Gore, than only those candidates outside the CLinton sphere have a chance to be competitive (ie Warner, Bayh, Richardson, Vilsack). Right now, only Bayh and Warner have focused on the fund raising aspect to this point.

As I said in other post, HRC cannot ignore the numbers at this point and with her sense of destiny and history, must be very seriously contemplating a run.

She would be difficult to beat in the primaries but is so divisive in a general election that it causes me great concern if she does decide to run.

Posted by: RMill | February 17, 2006 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Congrats to Chris for finally cracking the HillaryLand code of silence. It's good to finally see who exactly is on board with her.

It would be interesting to see a comparison of all the likely '08ers.

Posted by: H_o_o_s_i_e_r_Ten | February 17, 2006 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Hey Chris, don't you get bored repeating the same story over and over again? Nearly every post seems to be about HRC's fundraising, or McCain's massive support.

Believe me, we know what the standard line in DC is. We get it from you, CNN, and MSNBC every single day. Here is a theme for you: the grassroots of both parties don't like either HRC or McCain, respectively. That's a month's worth of columns right there. It is an inconvenient truth for the party bosses to deal with, but it's true.

Then you can transition to another theme which is that it doesn't matter what the people beyond the beltway think. The party leaders, and the MSM, are going to decide who we get to vote for whether we like it or not. Maybe, perhaps, that is the biggest story of all.

How lucky you are to have such a rich vein on journalism to exploit!

Posted by: Choska | February 17, 2006 3:13 PM | Report abuse

>>>No amount of money can sell a bad product.

Then why not put up a candidate to oppose her in the Senate race this year? Sorry, you repugs are so obsessed with Hillary running national that you can't even put up a fight against her in NY.

I don't think she can win national in 08, but the repugs have no trouble capitalizing on her for fund raising and then can't even field a candidate to oppose her THIS YEAR.

Posted by: jenniferm | February 17, 2006 3:06 PM | Report abuse

>>>No amount of money can sell a bad product.

Ya mean like NCLB or the SocSec Privatization scam? Or were you referring to the Iraq War where Rummy just announced that Al Quaeda is beating the USA in "propaganda"?

Hey Chris, how about one post for each side of the aisle DEVOTED to the potential candidates that you have ignored since this blog was founded? esp Russ Feingold, Wes Clark, many others on both sides, etc. Theres ALREADY enuff coverage of HRC, McCain, Gore, Giuliani "is a jerk" et al, to make one sick. And we still have 2 years. ugh.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | February 17, 2006 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Unresolved questions in the Cheney shooting incident

By Patrick Martin
16 February 2006

Last Saturday, Vice President Dick Cheney, an experienced hunter, was hunting quail with several well-heeled Republican acquaintances, including Texas lawyer Harry Whittington. The two men had been drinking throughout the afternoon, and at one point began to quarrel about a business venture of mutual interest which had gone awry. The argument became heated. Whittington sneered at Cheney’s declining public standing and the most recent disclosure, by Cheney’s former chief of staff Lewis Libby, that Libby had leaked classified information to the press at Cheney’s direction. When Cheney responded with an obscenity-laced remark, Whittington, a man who knows where many bodies are buried in Texas politics and business, suggested he might arrange for certain facts of a sensitive nature to become public knowledge. Cheney, enraged, stormed away, then turned, lowered his shotgun and discharged it, hitting Whittington’s face and upper body.

Is that what happened on February 14 at the Armstrong Ranch in southern Texas? We have no idea, but it is no less likely than the official explanation. And the “angry drunk” scenario would more plausibly explain both the long delay in reporting the event—which made it conveniently impossible to perform the blood alcohol test that would otherwise be routine in such an incident—and the obvious disarray in the White House for days afterwards.

For all the media attention to the Cheney affair, it is remarkable that with virtual unanimity the official claim that the shooting was accidental has been uncritically accepted and reported as though it were established fact, despite the lack of any serious investigation or public presentation of the actual circumstances in which the vice president of the United States shot and seriously wounded another man.

Until the migration of one of the shotgun pellets lodged in Whittington’s body triggered a heart attack on Tuesday, the incident was largely dismissed with joking references to the “gang that couldn’t shoot straight” or criticism of a poor White House communications strategy. Even after the shift to a more serious tone, the major daily newspapers and the television networks continue to refer to the incident as an “accidental shooting,” without either interviewing eyewitnesses or investigating any alternative theory of what took place.

With Cheney’s interview Wednesday evening on Fox television, two conflicting accounts of the shooting have now been given. Kathleen Armstrong, daughter of multimillionaire ranch owner Anne Armstrong, a former ambassador in the Reagan administration, contacted a Corpus Christi, Texas newspaper Sunday to report Whittington had been shot accidentally. She put the responsibility for the incident on Whittington, indicating that he had wandered off the line maintained by his hunting partners and failed to announce himself when he returned from retrieving a quail.

Three days later, Cheney abandoned the “blame the victim” story and told Fox interviewer Britt Hume that he was the one responsible because he had pulled the trigger.

Cheney also admitted to having a drink earlier that day, although he said it was only a single beer at lunch, five hours before the shooting. He denied that any alcohol was being consumed on the hunt.

Cheney made an even more damaging admission, remarking that he “didn’t know until Sunday morning that Harry was going to be all right.” This throws a different light on the decision not to make public any information about the shooting for nearly a full day.

During that period, when Cheney and his aides could not be sure whether the vice president might be facing involuntary manslaughter charges, there were undoubtedly discussions about how to handle the story—perhaps even consideration of whether someone else might have to take the fall for the shooting. Only after Whittington was out of immediate danger was the press contacted with the news that Cheney had been the shooter.

The police were also kept away during the first critical half-day. Secret Service agents contacted the local sheriff’s department immediately to report a shooting accident, but there is no indication that they supplied any details or identified the shooter.

A captain in the sheriff’s department went to the ranch Saturday evening but was told the victim had been transported to a hospital in Corpus Christi. He left without interviewing any eyewitness.

Two local policemen also arrived at the ranch, after learning of the shooting, but they were denied admission by ranch security guards, and went their way. Finally, at 8 a.m. Sunday—after Cheney had been assured that Whittington would survive—the vice president was interviewed by a sheriff’s deputy and made his first declaration that he had pulled the trigger.

What is known about the circumstances of the shooting cast some doubt on the accident theory, especially given Cheney’s long experience as a hunter and the relative rarity of such incidents—only a handful during the most recent Texas hunting season.

According to the account Cheney gave to Fox, Whittington was partially obscured because he was standing in a gully lower than the ground on which Cheney was standing. This suggests that Cheney, in order to hit Whittington, would have had to fire his blast either level or slightly downwards—a strange angle for shooting at a flushed quail rising into the sky.

Press accounts suggest that Whittington was hit by as many as 150 to 200 pellets, meaning that he received nearly the full charge of birdshot from a single blast. This fact and the nature of the wounds seem to confirm the reports that Whittington was standing about 30 yards from Cheney when the vice president opened fire: any closer, and the wounds would have been far more serious; much further away, and dispersion would have caused many of the shot pellets to miss.

There are other aspects of the incident which appear to undercut the “pure accident” theory. How could such an accident occur when the vice president was accompanied by his normal entourage of Secret Service and medical personnel?

The role of the Secret Service is particularly puzzling: if Whittington was in range of Cheney’s gun, then Cheney was likewise in range of Whittington’s. How could the Secret Service have been unaware that a man armed with a loaded shotgun was approaching the vice president from an unexpected direction? If they were aware of Whittington’s movements, how could they have allowed the vice president to open fire on him?

Whittington’s turn for the worse on Tuesday morning raises the possibility that he could suffer long-term physical consequences from the shooting, or even death. In either event, Cheney could be liable for criminal charges involving at least negligence and recklessness, or even involuntary manslaughter, a felony charge never before brought against so high-ranking a public official. His continuation in office under such circumstances would be in question.

The press, however, has been virtually silent on this possibility. It has focused almost entirely on the subsequent handling of the public relations fallout, not on the underlying event in which a man was nearly killed by the vice president.

In a rare exception, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, in a commentary Wednesday devoted to the exposure of illegal NSA spying, remarked in passing: “Nobody died at Armstrong Ranch, but this incident reminds me a bit of Sen. Edward Kennedy’s delay in informing Massachusetts authorities about his role in the fatal automobile accident at Chappaquiddick in 1969. That story, and dozens of others about the Kennedy family, illustrates how wealthy, powerful people can behave as if they are above the law.”

The comparison is an apt one, not only in its implicit questioning of the credibility of the account given by Cheney, but in its reference to the seeming immunity of the top echelons of American society from all normal legal and social constraints. There is indeed one law for the masses of ordinary people and quite another for the financial and political elite. If anything, this is more the case in the far more socially polarized America of 2006 than it was nearly four decades ago.

Cheney’s four-day silence demonstrated the vice president’s arrogant indifference to public opinion. His eventual decision to give an interview with Fox News expresses both contempt for the public’s right to know and personal cowardice—Cheney is willing to be questioned only by a network which has repeatedly demonstrated a slavish political loyalty to the Bush administration and its ultra-right policies.

The rejection of accountability—for the 9/11 attacks, for the lies which were used to engineer the war with Iraq, for the failures in the response to Hurricane Katrina, for the devastating social and fiscal impact of Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy—is the hallmark not only of an administration, but of the ruling elite as a whole.

In that sense, Cheney’s conduct at the Armstrong Ranch and its presentation by the media provide a vivid example of the social relations that prevail in contemporary America, ruled by a financial oligarchy that feels itself as far above the common people as the Russian Tsar or the French aristocracy before 1789. There is one set of laws, one set of prerogatives for the modern equivalent of the ruling estates of the feudal past, and another for the rabble.

See Also:

Posted by: che | February 17, 2006 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Barry: "No amount of money can sell a bad product." Oh, please. Stop waving that red flag so hard.

RMill: what's your take on the big picture? Do you think HRC would make a better candidate than Governor X?

Posted by: Judge Crater | February 17, 2006 2:17 PM | Report abuse

As a progressive Democrat I find this news disturbing. One I don't believe she can win a national campaign. Two, I don't believe she is a worthy standard bearer for the Democratic Party. She's more inclined to put her finger to the wind on Iraq and even flag burning than stick to principle. Of course a Hillary Clinton administration would be better than Bush's (how could it be worse?).

But power without principle is barren and principle without power is futile. Hillary is bereft of principle which means she will not obtain power in '08. To win in '08 the Democratic nominee must be authentic, compassion, and tough. Hillary is definitely tough but she compromises too much on compassion (didn't even vote re the bankruptcy legislation last year!) and lacks authenticity. Her nomination would only serve to extend the Republican's reign of indecency.

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal | February 17, 2006 2:16 PM | Report abuse

This is an impressive cross section of national fund raising muscle. While many players of this magnitude often contribute to more than one candidate, at this level, if HRC is taking the chief fund raising strategists from two of her potential '08 rivals, it may be the clearest signal yet that she is serious about running.

Posted by: RMill | February 17, 2006 2:00 PM | Report abuse

No amount of money can sell a bad product. But I am glad they are going to throw away their money on a loser instead of giving to somebody who could actually win. 08 is looking real good for us republicans.

Posted by: Barry Hoomes | February 17, 2006 1:44 PM | Report abuse

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