Clinton's local visit raises spirits, funds CAMPAIGN 1996

The Political Game

October 24, 1995|By William F. Zorzi Jr. | William F. Zorzi Jr.,SUN STAFF

PRESIDENT CLINTON breezed into Pikesville on Wednesday and returned to Washington with a cool $330,000 more in his re-election kitty.

The local fund-raiser was set up courtesy of Michael G. Bronfein, the NeighborCare Pharmacies president who also was finance director for the ill-fated gubernatorial campaign of former Lt. Gov. Melvin A. "Mickey" Steinberg.

Baltimore-area Democrats pulled together quite a show for the president, who was choppered in to the $1,000-a-head event.

The evening featured an all-star cast of Dems who had come together behind Mr. Clinton, leaving behind the differences that had arisen during last year's primary season.

Conspicuously absent were both Gov. Parris N. Glendening and Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who support the president's re-election bid and were invited, but did not attend because of scheduling conflicts.

As host, Mr. Bronfein introduced a long list of elected officials attending the event, which coincided with his 20th wedding anniversary. Prompting a couple of grins, he thanked the president for dropping by to celebrate with friends and the family.

A handful of elected officials spoke. Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke led, followed by the normally sedate Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, who joined his fellow Democrats at slamming the GOP on the Hill.

He praised Mr. Clinton for offering "thoughtful, compassionate" alternatives to the Republican budget cuts and proposals for Medicare, and then warned of the GOP: "The barbarians are not just at the gate; they're in the courtyard."

Mr. Sarbanes then introduced Maryland's junior senator, the spunky Barbara A. Mikulski, who was recovering from an attack and purse-snatching outside her Fells Point home three days earlier.

"I would have been scared to mug you," Mr. Sarbanes said of his colleague, whose arm was in a sling from the mugging.

Baltimore County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III showed up with a clear agenda, in addition to being there for the president.

Mr. Ruppersberger had wanted to corner the president over a proposed settlement of a desegregation lawsuit that calls for shifting 1,324 families from Baltimore's public housing to better neighborhoods, mostly in the suburbs.

The Baltimore County executive, however, decided against broaching the subject when it became clear that Mr. Clinton was fatigued from his hectic travels around the nation last week. The president apparently had no idea that the Cleveland Indians had won the playoffs and were headed for the World Series.

In a brief speech under a tent outside the Bronfein's house, Mr. Clinton delivered the party line.

"My goal as president has been to create and forge an economic policy to help Americans have a better life," he told the crowd. "We all share the same ideals of family, a good job, a good economy and a strong nation. Together we can make America what it should be.

"The best days of the country are ahead of us, if we concentrate on four things: values, responsibility, opportunity and obligation to ourselves and to our country," Mr. Clinton said.

In a Mason-Dixon Maryland poll released earlier in the day,

President Clinton, who appeared to guests very much at ease, widened his lead in the state over all of the declared Republican candidates, including the GOP front-runner, Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas.

Mr. Clinton, who only carried his home state of Arkansas by a larger margin than Maryland in 1992, would lose to only one potential candidate, retired Gen. Colin L. Powell, if the election were today, the poll showed.

Ann F. Lewis, spokeswoman for Clinton-Gore '96, said the Baltimore fund-raiser keeps the campaign "absolutely on target for raising funds in 1995." The campaign already has raised more than $11 million.

Ms. Lewis said the campaign's fund-raising events will stop by mid-November, though the campaign will send some direct mail solicitations.

Schmoke's fund-raiser is 'whatever you can afford'

Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, who is expected to walk to his third term in the city's general election next month, is holding a fund-raiser Monday at Martin's West from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The Kurt Schmoke Committee is trying to retire a campaign debt of about $50,000, according to Craig Kirby, spokesman for the campaign.

"Mayor Schmoke's Whatever You Can Afford Celebration and Fund-raiser" will feature a four-tier ticket-price structure, requesting contributions of $500, $250, $100 or $50.

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