Governor willing to appear with president, aides say Glendening said to be 'supportive' of Clinton

October 07, 1998|By William F. Zorzi Jr. and JoAnna Daemmrich | William F. Zorzi Jr. and JoAnna Daemmrich,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Ivan Penn contributed to this article.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening, who made national headlines last month by withdrawing an invitation to President Clinton, would appear with the president if he were to return to Maryland before the election, campaign aides said yesterday.

The comments came as Glendening told teen-agers at an alternative school in Prince George's County that the president had made a mistake -- and, like them, deserved a second chance.

"Everyone makes mistakes," the governor said, echoing a theme of forgiveness he began in church two Sundays ago.

"The president has made some mistakes, and is moving the country forward," he told the group of 40 youths, all of whom had been expelled for drugs or disruptive behavior. "I've made some mistakes, and I'm still here."

A month after spurning Clinton, the governor is now willing to appear by his side, said campaign spokesman Peter S. Hamm.

"If the president comes to the state, the governor would be very proud to attend an event," Hamm said. "We are very, very supportive of the job the president is doing."

The Glendening camp, however, has not extended an invitation to Clinton, Hamm and others said.

And even though the governor is locked in a tight re-election battle, arranging a presidential visit before the Nov. 3 election could prove difficult for Maryland's fractious Democratic Party, which is trying to get two of its top African-American leaders to endorse Glendening.

In the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Glendening chastised the president for failing to provide a proper role model for the nation's youth. He canceled a fund-raiser with Clinton -- and skipped the president's appearance at a Silver Spring school.

In recent days, Glendening has said he had "no regrets" about pulling the plug on the fund-raiser, but added it was time to "move on" from the Lewinsky affair.

"He's made a meaningful, heartfelt apology -- and now it's time to move on," the governor said again yesterday of Clinton.

Glendening has been trying to shore up support for his tough campaign for a second term against Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey.

A new poll prepared for The Sun and other news organizations shows that black voters, a constituency considered key to Glendening's re-election, remains solidly behind Clinton. A full 90 percent of likely African-American voters in Maryland said they approve of Clinton's job performance, according to the poll released yesterday by Potomac Survey Research.

Glendening, Hamm and others refuted a report in the Washington Post yesterday that Glendening was seeking help from Clinton. They and White House officials familiar with the situation also said neither the campaign nor the administration had extended an invitation to Clinton to appear at a re-election event.

"There's been no specific invitation that I'm aware of," Glendening said.

However, U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a Democrat, has invited Clinton to appear at a church in West Baltimore before the Nov. 3 general election, the White House confirmed. Details of a possible visit have not been finalized.

Vice President Al Gore has agreed to come to a Glendening luncheon fund-raiser Oct. 27, and Hillary Clinton is scheduled to appear at an Oct. 21 event to benefit the campaign.

Cummings said he had a long-standing request for Clinton to appear at New Psalmist Baptist Church, the 7th District congressman's church.

He said he first invited the president to Baltimore late last year, but recently stepped up efforts to get Clinton to the Democrats' Get-Out-The-Vote effort in the city -- where a strong turnout for Glendening is critical for re-election.

Such a visit would likely hinge on the support of Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, who is a good friend of the Clintons. The mayor and Prince George's County Executive Wayne K. Curry have yet embrace Glendening.

The Clinton administration, with Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend as an intermediary, has been working quietly to make peace between Glendening and the two men, who had endorsed Democratic rival Eileen M. Rehrmann in the primary.

Schmoke has moved closer to endorsing Glendening since the governor promised late last week to have the state assume the costs of circuit courts across Maryland. But Schmoke wants to make such an endorsement with his ally, Curry -- who is still seeking a commitment for more state aid to build public schools.

Pub Date: 10/07/98

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