AllPolitics - News

Clinton Looks To Another Four Years

By Bridget Hall/AllPolitics [Clinton]

CHICAGO (Aug. 29) -- President Bill Clinton had planned to spend Thursday preparing his speech to accept the Democratic Party's nomination, but any hopes for a quiet day of speech practice were blown away by the news of campaign chief Dick Morris's impending resignation.

Now the Clinton-Gore campaign will scramble to make the best of the resignation, which was prompted by stories being published in the tabloid paper The Star and The New York Post.

According to the stories, Morris has maintained a yearlong affair with a former prostitute who was privy to Morris' conversations with the White House.

Clinton will have to find a way to shape the tone of the fall presidential campaign with the acceptance speech while deflecting criticism of Morris and the Clinton campaign.

He will have his work cut out for him. By the time he arrived in Chicago Wednesday night, the president (with the help of three speech writers) hadn't even finished his speech, let alone rehearsed it.

[Al Gore]

And because Vice President Al Gore gave his riveting speech Wednesday night, Clinton will have the spotlight all to himself tonight, although Gore will make a brief acceptance speech.

Clinton is not expected to blast Republican rival Robert Dole directly, but the president will implicitly contrast his plans to pay for specific policy initiatives with Dole's $548 billion tax-cut plan.

Clinton will appeal to the middle class by proposing a modest capital gains tax break for homeowners, according to aides who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The proposal would allow all Americans to claim a one-time $125,000 tax exemption on profits from the sale of a house. Now the exemption is only available to homeowners 55 years or older.

The president will also unveil welfare initiatives to appease liberal Democrats who think the welfare legislation that Clinton signed last week is too harsh. Clinton will announce a $3.4 billion package that encourages companies to hire people off the welfare rolls, either through corporate tax breaks or federal contracting preferences. In addition, aides said the president was considering funding state programs that would create jobs for welfare recipients.

[Clinton and family]

The $8.5 billion worth of initiatives that Clinton announced during his four-day train trip through the Midwest -- including a $1.9 billion plan to clean polluted lands and waters and a $1.75 billion literacy project -- will also be emphasized in the speech.

To pay for these programs, Clinton will propose 11 corporate tax law changes, such as charging higher fees for corporate mergers and increasing taxes paid by companies that do business overseas. If all his tax changes and programs are enacted, the government would still have $1.4 billion left for other projects.

Clinton also will stake his claim as the protector of Medicare, Medicaid and spending on the environment and education. He will also surely point to his track record in cutting the deficit by 60 percent, raising the minimum wage, signing the family leave and insurance portability legislation and supporting the NAFTA and GATT trade acts.

The general unifying theme of Clinton's speech will be, as his 21st Century Express train suggested, the future. Clinton will describe himself as an accomplished president who is best suited to lead the country into the next century. With a second term, Clinton says, "the best is yet to come."

Other Prime Time Speakers:

  • Rep. Joe Kennedy (Mass.) will renominate Vice President Al Gore.
  • Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell and California House candidate Michela Alioto will second the Gore renomination.
  • Although Vice President Al Gore gave his lengthy address Wednesday night, he will make a four-minute acceptance speech tonight.

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