Lehane to lead comms in Kerry's 2004 bid

WASHINGTON: Chris Lehane, former Al Gore spokesman and prolific, high-level crisis consultant, will lead the communications team for Sen. John Kerry's (D-MA) 2004 White House bid.

WASHINGTON: Chris Lehane, former Al Gore spokesman and prolific, high-level crisis consultant, will lead the communications team for Sen. John Kerry's (D-MA) 2004 White House bid.

Lehane, 35, first gained notoriety as Gore's press secretary during the Whitewater investigation, and later as the voice of his 2000 Presidential campaign. In 2001, he and Mark Fabiani, also a longtime Gore spokesman and fellow "Master of Disaster," opened a corporate consultancy in California.

The two found themselves at the center of controversy again when Gov.

Gray Davis (D-CA) hired them to boost his image at a price of $30,000 a month during the California energy crisis. That deal was terminated under heavy fire from the GOP and government-waste watchdogs.

Joining Lehane, who will serve as senior advisor for communications, are a handful of Senate staffers. Robert Gibbs, press secretary for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, will revive his role for Kerry; David Wade, currently Kerry's communications director, will be deputy communications director; Kelly Benander, Kerry's Senate press secretary, joins as deputy press secretary; and Mike Gehrke, research director under President Clinton, will serve under the same title for Kerry.

Asked by The Boston Globe why he chose to side with the Massachusetts liberal and Vietnam veteran, Lehane responded, "'There's a lot of good people running for President from the Democratic side. Of all of them, John Kerry has shown me that he's the one who truly has what it takes. He's taken on President Bush on foreign policy, and ... in this election, it will be important to have credibility on foreign policy."

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