Schmoke and Clinton: A close alliance continues


July 10, 1992|By ROGER SIMON

Your Eyes & Ears at the Democratic Convention.

News you can't read anywhere else!

1. Kurt Schmoke and Larry Gibson will be sharing a hotel room in New York.

You mean a suite, I say to Gibson.

"No," Gibson, Schmoke's campaign chairman, says. "A room."

One room, two beds?

"One room, two beds," Gibson says.

Gibson is telling me this because the Maryland delegation is being quartered in the swank Helmsley Palace Hotel (whose owner, Leona, is currently doing four years for tax evasion). And he does not want me to get the idea that he and the mayor will be living high on the hog.

What if the mayor snores? I ask.

"Let me think," Gibson says. "We shared a room once before in Chicago, and I don't think he snored."

What is this room costing?

"The Democratic Party got a special rate," Gibson says.

How much? I ask.

"I'm not telling you," he says.

Your Eyes & Ears figures it's probably around $200 a night.

But look at it this way: If Schmoke and Gibson watch a movie in the room, they can split the cost.

2. Kurt Schmoke will address the convention right after Aretha Franklin.

"A tough act to follow," Gibson admits.

According to the tentative speaking schedule, which is timed to the second and which Your Eyes & Ears has obtained for you, this is what will happen Tuesday night:

8:11:30 to 8:18:30 -- Texas Gov. Ann Richards calls the convention to order.

8:18:30 to 8:21:30 -- Color guard, followed by Aretha Franklin singing the national anthem.

8:21:30 to 8:26:30 -- Kurt Schmoke speaks and introduces former President Jimmy Carter.

"So the mayor is the first person to speak that night," Gibson says proudly.

Just about the time the All-Star Game is starting on CBS, I say.

"What?" Gibson says.

The 63rd annual All-Star Game, I say. It usually gets pretty good ratings, but with Kurt Schmoke speaking at the same time, Cal Ripken may go unnoticed this year.

3. The close relationship between the Kurt Schmoke camp and the Bill Clinton camp continues.

* Schmoke endorsed Clinton early and campaigned for him not only in Maryland, but also in New York state.

Schmoke also has called other mayors around the country, urging their support for Clinton.

* Schmoke helped draft Clinton's urban policy position, which Clinton unveiled in Baltimore as a favor to Schmoke.

* Schmoke was the only big-city mayor appointed to the 15-member Democratic Platform Drafting Committee.

* Gibson held a Clinton fund-raiser at his home a few weeks ago and raised $67,000. After the event, Clinton and Schmoke shared the back seat of a car on their way to another fund-raiser in Annapolis.

Gibson is now the Clinton whip in the Maryland delegation and will also be Maryland state coordinator for Clinton in the general election. Gibson's son, Steven, 17, is in Little Rock, Ark., working in the Clinton campaign and will be a runner for the Tennessee delegation in New York.

If Schmoke honors his commitment to run for re-election in 1995 so he can be mayor for Baltimore's bicentennial in 1997, he could not serve in a Clinton administration should Clinton win. (And with his drug-decriminalization stand, Schmoke might have a rough time getting Senate confirmation to a Cabinet position.)

But what about Gibson? Rewarding a close associate of Schmoke's would be the same as rewarding Schmoke.

And Your Eyes & Ears reminds you of this: Gibson, now a professor at the University of Maryland Law School, was an associate deputy attorney general under Jimmy Carter.

So if Clinton wins, could we see a Cabinet job for Gibson?

"I am happy teaching law," Gibson tells me. "I am sure many, many lawyers around the nation have expectations they will be asked to be attorney general. I have no such expectations."

Does that mean you don't want the job?

"I am making no categorical statements," Gibson says. "But I have no expectations."

An attorney general named Larry?

You read it here first!

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