Pa. governor is likely to raise abortion issue DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION

July 13, 1992|By JACK W. GERMOND AND JULES WITCOVER

NEW YORK -- One problem with a suspenseless political convention is that there are still several hundred reporters trying to justify their expense accounts and thus tempted to make big ones out of little ones. A result at this Democratic convention is likely to be a dustup over the abortion issue that is supposed to be largely a problem for Republicans this year.

Pennsylvania Gov. Robert P. Casey has been complaining bitterly about the party's unqualified commitment to abortion rights, which he just as unqualifiedly opposes. Despite much evidence to the contrary, Casey insists the abortion issue cost the Democrats the last two presidential elections by alienating culturally conservative, working-class Democrats.

But Casey failed to muster enough votes on the tightly controlled platform committee to bring a minority report on the issue to the convention floor when the platform is passed tomorrow night. So Casey began demanding a chance to address the convention.

National Chairman Ronald H. Brown turned him down on the grounds that no one would be allowed to address the convention unless he had endorsed the nominee.

But Casey is chairman of the Pennsylvania delegation, whichmeans he will get the floor during Wednesday's nomination roll call, when he can say anything he likes.

*

Although Gov. Mario M. Cuomo has agreed to nominate Bill Clinton, the relationship between the two remains somewhat testy. One reason is a phone call last month to Cuomo from Warren Christopher, head of Clinton's committee to screen potential vice presidential nominees.

When Christopher asked if Cuomo was interested, he reportedly emphasized that, if so, he would have to expect a thorough investigation of his background and personal life. Sources who should know said the New York governor hit the roof, told Christopher angrily that he wasn't interested and abruptly ended the conversation.

Anyone who knows Cuomo also knows he is supersensitive about any suggestion he or his family ever had any connections with organized crime -- or as he once put it to a reporter, "If I don't run, they'll say I have a Mafia uncle."

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