Maryland delegates get upbeat marching orders Campaign emphasizes repetition of themes on Clinton successes

Democratic Convention

Campaign 1996

August 27, 1996|By C. Fraser Smith | C. Fraser Smith,SUN STAFF

CHICAGO -- Maryland's Democratic Convention delegates got their marching orders yesterday from an array of state officials and a representative of the Clinton-Gore campaign.

Order No. 1: Stay on message. Listen for the president's themes and echo them.

Yesterday's talking points, delivered by a campaign aide, included:

"President Clinton and Vice President Gore are MEETING AMERICA'S CHALLENGES and PROTECTING AMERICA's VALUES in ways that matter in people's daily lives through OPPORTUNITY, RESPONSIBILITY and COMMUNITY."

Order No. 2: Never use the word "script." Republicans turned that word into an adjective during their convention in San Diego, as in a "scripted" convention.

The idea, said Gov. Parris N. Glendening, is to "make sure the American public knows what the administration has done." Marylanders should be reminded that the Clinton administration sent $100 million to Baltimore for an empowerment zone program, $22 million for dredging-related work at Poplar Island in the Chesapeake Bay and various other infusions of financial support.

Order No. 3: Always attend the morning delegation caucus. Logistics and "message" are to be updated every day.

What labor wants

With a large contingent of unionists in the delegation, Maryland's Democrats are likely to feel pressure for action that falls outside the boundaries of President Clinton's centrist themes.

Unhappy with erosions of their position yet encouraged by new union leadership nationally -- and signs of increased membership in the state -- the Maryland unionists are looking for ways to make sure the party listens to labor's views.

Ed Mohler, head of the Maryland-Delaware-DC AFL-CIO, and other union leaders are holding discussions in their councils and with party officials.

Many delegates, including Ernie Greco of the Baltimore Central Federated Labor Council, attended a noon rally outside the Illinois State Center yesterday to press their demand for "a living wage" -- some clear plan for shrinking the gap between America's rich and its workers.

They were addressed by a number of rank-and-file workers and by Labor Secretary Robert B. Reich, who said as he has before during the past four years: "There's room in America for a raise. We're going to fight for a raise in America."

Room roulette

The Marylanders are lodged at the Ramada Congress -- referred to by Glendening yesterday as "a wonderful old" hotel, with the accent on "old."

Glendening knew by then that delegates are less than euphoric about their accommodations.

What he had learned about the hotel assignment process, he said, made him even happier about his recently re-stated opposition to casinos and slot machines.

"Hotels are assigned by lottery, so you see what happens when you rely on gambling," he said.

Party pride

Yesterday's delegate caucus was part information sharing and part pep rally.

pTC The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Jesse Brown, used a soap opera theme for his remarks. The Congress, he said, has been dominated for two years by "The Young and The Restless," eager to throw women and children out of "General Hospital." If the Democrats do their job, he said, the GOP will realize it had only "One Life To Live."

Harry Hughes, state Party chairman and former governor, said he had been a Democrat since he was six years old. In that year, he said, he had his first argument.

"My grandfather took sides with Hoover and I took Roosevelt. I won." These many years later, he said, he is prouder than ever of the choice he made: "Think what this country would be today without the minimum wage, Social Security and Medicare."

A novel idea

Senator Barbara A. Mikulski expects 1,500 people to attend a book signing session today for the novel she co-wrote with Mary Louise Oates. Marylanders were advised to stay away to avoid the crush -- with the assurance that the senator would be signing when she meets with them tomorrow.

For the record

The Michael Bachelor family of Columbia will be featured in a video to be shown during the convention's proceedings on Wednesday night. The theme for that day is families.

Bobby Zirkin of Towson, a law student at Georgetown University, spoke during last night's program. Zirkin, who signed up hundreds of new "young Democrats" in Maryland, is mobilizing the under-35 group at the national level.

Connie Galiazzo DeJuliis, candidate for Congress in the 2nd District, held a fund-raiser Sunday night at Maggiano's Restaurant. About 30 supporters were on hand, including Glendening, Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes and a number of labor leaders.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, who had not arrived in Chicago yesterday, is expected to be host for today's delegation breakfast. Glendening -- whose alliance with the mayor has been shaken recently -- told the delegates Schmoke is "doing a great job in difficult circumstances."

Pub Date: 8/27/96

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