CAMPAIGN CONFIDENTIAL

By E.J. Kessler

Published October 24, 2003, issue of October 24, 2003.

Lieberman Defections: A number of fundraisers are joining the exodus of staffers from Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman’s presidential campaign.

Fundraisers Jaclyn Brot of his New York operation and Chad Fitzgerald and Colleen McCarthy of his Washington-area operation have left, campaign spokesman Jano Cabrera confirmed.

Cabrera suggested the campaign was streamlining.

“As the campaign season begins in earnest, we are going to marshal and redeploy our resources as any other campaign will do,” Cabrera said.

Others said the staff departures likely were a more ominous signal.

As the Forward reported last week, consultant Shari Yost and Mid-Atlantic fundraising director Stephanie Friedman Schneider recently departed, in an echo of an earlier staff shakeup that operatives said was an indication that Lieberman’s fundraising operation is losing steam.

The added defections underscored that point, professionals said. Campaign operatives seldom depart if they have steady paychecks and there is still plenty for them to do.

Even so, the campaign was trying to spin its third-quarter fundraising figures to show that Lieberman’s fundraising has room to grow, especially in Florida. That state’s favorite son, Senator Bob Graham, left the presidential race last month, so Lieberman stands to pick up many of the moderate Graham’s supporters, Lieberman’s campaign is arguing. The campaign noted in a memo sent to reporters that Lieberman raised $318,444 in Florida last quarter, compared to $174,705 raised by former Vermont governor Howard Dean and $155,183 raised by Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. “Our analysis also shows that Lieberman has outraised all of his rivals (again, except Graham) in Florida since the campaign began,” the memo states.

Lieberman has raised $802,719 in Florida so far in 2003, while Kerry has collected $787,877 and North Carolina Senator John Edwards $576,535. Lieberman raised a total of $3.6 million in the third quarter, which ended September 30, down from $5.1 million the second quarter. In another retreat, he pulled most of his campaign operation out of Iowa this week, declining to compete in the January 19 caucuses.

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Extirpating Arafat: At least six Republican members of Congress evidently think that President Bush has not taken a hard enough line against Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat.

In a letter being circulated by Rep. Marilyn Musgrave of Colorado and the Republican Jewish Coalition, the members are urging Bush to support the decision of the Israeli Cabinet, as yet unenforced, to exile Arafat from the territories.

“Recently, Israel has called for the removal of Yasser Arafat as the leader of the Palestinian Authority, and we urge the administration to take a firm stance in support of his removal,” states the letter, which was dated October 15 and was obtained by the Forward. “We are a nation committed to ending terrorism, and now is the time to be consistent in that vow. Yasser Arafat is a terrorist. We urge you to lend your strong support to the people of Israel in their call to remove Yasser Arafat, the chief obstacle to progress in the peace process, as the leader of the Palestinian Authority.”

An observer noted that it was highly unusual for the Republican Jewish Coalition to be circulating such a letter, because that group rarely criticizes Bush, even implicitly.

As of Monday, the signers of the letter, in addition to Musgrave, included Reps. Tim Holden of Pennsylvania, Eric Cantor of Virginia, John Sweeney of New York, Wally Herger of California and Steve King of Iowa.

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Campaign Conquests?: On the lighter side, Lieberman’s 29-year-old “minister of information” (a.k.a. campaign press secretary) Jano Cabrera has gained a nickname on the trail. Some call the merry mouthpiece, a dark-haired charmer with horn-rimmed specs, “Don Juano” because of his winning way with women.

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Martinizing: Dean’s campaign is hiring Tara Martin, chairwoman of the New York State Democratic Committee’s “Caucus of Color,” as its New York political director, the campaign confirmed. Martin was an aide to New York City Councilwoman Yvette Clark of Brooklyn.



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